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Are these Clintons the same Clintons we thought we were voting for?

Upfront, let me say I support Barack Obama. And have since sometime shortly after Iowa.

But I was a Clinton supporter before I was an Obama supporter.

I had a ton of respect for both Bill and Hillary. My friends and I joked that if Bill decided to run again we’d vote for him for a third time and figure out the Constitutional issues later.

We were appalled by the maneuvering of the Republicans during his presidency and duly hated the (very real) vast right-wing conspiracy.

I believe that history will judge him as a great president.

And I always gave Hillary a lot of respect for carrying a share of the load in making him who he was. And for being a leader in her own right.

When she decided to run for prez, I was excited. She, on her own, was more than enough, but I ate up the “two presidents for the price of one” idea.

I reveled in the fact that we could put Bill Clinton back into the White House (take that vast right-wing bastards!).

It felt good to think that history could actually be made by putting the best person for the job into the most respected job in the world.

Best of all, her closest rival for the position was someone I could support, too.

Barack Obama agreed with her on 90% of the issues, was a fresh face, and got the people excited about the process. And hell, HE would make history, too!

We Democrats couldn’t lose! America couldn’t lose!

But there were missteps along the way. I really wished Bill hadn’t dismissed Obama’s win in South Carolina by saying that Jesse Jackson had won it, too. Maybe it wasn’t an attempt to tie Obama to a failed and less broad-based black candidate. Maybe it wasn’t an attempt to remind everyone that Obama had only won a “black state”. Maybe it wasn’t an attempt to remind everyone that Obama was black.


But, man. Didn’t Bill know that Jesse Jackson was *born* in South Carolina?

And when people questioned his intentions, Bill said people were trying to play the race card on him.

And then there was the “Muslim-garb” picture.

And the “He’s not a muslim…as far as I know” thing from Hillary.

And Hillary’s campaign couldn’t seem to win any caucuses. So they seemed to give up and decide that caucuses were stupid. And then they started badmouthing caucuses, as though Barack Obama, in conjunction with the DNC, invented them in late 2007 just to stymie her.

And somewhere along the way, she gave an interview in which she pointed out that MLK *could* not and JFK was unable to get the Civil Rights Act passed. And that it took a President like Lyndon Johnson to get it done.
At the time, I remember wondering, “What 8th grade candidate for Hall Monitor would have been steered into having *that* conversation?”

In short, everything seemed…off. The candidate, her campaign, even Bill.

Why couldn’t they raise enough money? Why were they spending so much? Why was there so much in-fighting in the campaign? Why were people complaining that Bill kept going off-message, saying what he shouldn’t say or saying what he should say badly?

Finally, a month or so ago I started realizing something: These Clintons are not the Clintons of 1992. Or 1996. I think time has caught up with them.

Or passed them by.

What was all of this “hard-working Americans” talk? Why were they pretending like they hadn’t agreed that Michigan and Florida wouldn’t count until they decided that they had “won” them? Why were they attacking the Democratic party, the party that they BUILT, undemocratic? As being supportive of disenfranchisement and WORSE than the Republicans? Clinton’s don’t quote Karl Rove. They don’t make nice with Scaife or get defended by Pat Buchanan or benefit from a GOTV from Rush Limbaugh!

What the hell was going on?

It’s as though you’ve run into old friends on the street and you can only see them as they were. But like you, they’ve changed–and the world has changed. And you both feel awkward about it.

The “assassination” statement is just more of the same. Some people take issue with what was said, but the real issue is that it was said at all. No, no one *really* believes the Clintons were planning anything. No, no one really thinks it was a dog whistle plea to anyone else to do anything. But, with all that has gone before it, I must admit that I wonder if it wasn’t an inadvertent expression of a, dare I say it: hope.

Hope that something, anything at all, would happen to save their lost campaign. And if THAT’S true, it would mean that those idealistic winners that we all loved so much in the 90’s are gone. And what is left in their place are cynical, sore losers that seek victory by default.


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