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Barry Crimmins

words to live near


political satirist Barry Crimmins

De-electable Friday, May 9, 2008

From the "comments" section...
Among other things, reader Walter Dufresne opines:
If instead the GOP attack machine tears apart Obama this autumn, we'll never know for sure if Hillary would have better withstood their attacks. For me, the Democratic primaries have always been about precisely that issue, electability.

OK, I encourage comments on this site but it's a serious mistake to look upon my interest in your views as a sign of weakness. I haven't worked on for twelve years and I haven't built up such a respectable following to simply allow people to paste copied conventional wisdom around here as if it's a relevant editorial comment on my work. And please don't presume I'm some sort of sap who is waiting to be saved by the Democratic Party.

That said, thanks for writing, Walter. You've given us a chance to consider the asinine and insidious term "electability." Hillary Clinton's electability is no longer in question. This is because SHE HAS LOST ELECTION AFTER ELECTION. She has been deemed unelectable by millions of voters and participants in four dozen Democratic primaries and caucuses. Her unelectability has been underscored by all the reactionaries who suddenly became her "grudging admirers" when it grew obvious that this fall's choice was going to be between a young and dynamic candidate and a man who should select a running mate capable of overseeing the transformation of the White House into an assisted living facility. If you really think troglodytes like Pat Buchanan, Joe Scarborough, Peggy Noonan and so many more suddenly developed an appreciation for the Clintons then I assume you are living in poverty because you gave your credit and banking information to an e-mailer who promised to send the national treasury of Nigeria to you for safekeeping.
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Barack Obama and his campaign staff figured out exactly why Clinton is unelectable.

She is unelectable because...

People are sick of her and her husband -- sick to the point of colic.

People find her more annoying than Billy Mays.

People find her less credible than the science department at Liberty University.

People understand that electing her would give a booster shot of relevance to scum like Rush Limbaugh.

People are beginning to suspect she may actually be crazy -- it's those wide-eyed entrances.

Her "kitchen sink" has included everything from race-baiting, to gas tax-pandering, to promising to "obliterate" Iran -- as well as some serious fangs that she has shown too often, to too many people.

Her family is worth almost $140 million and yet she has run as one of us. This demonstrates how stupid she thinks we are.

She ran as if she were the incumbent president at a time when the incumbent president is reviled.

I could go on, but something about dead horses.

Anyway, now they're telling us Obama has to pick her as his running mate to make himself more -- you guessed it! -- electable.

Electability is just another way to say "pandering." It's a pretentious concept used as a smokescreen for the low act of assuming the worst of Americans and then making every effort to bring it out in them. In the case of this election the word is meant to  remind us that Barack Obama is black. It is meant to imply that above anything, Americans will vote their bigotry. (Even if that's true, the only choice left is to support the candidate who annoys the bigots, isn't it?)

Concerns about electability are inevitably based of fear-- fear of sexuality (either different from your own or -- more scary-- the same), fear of non-flag pin wearers, fear of anyone willing to talk first and consider shooting later, fear of insulting our corporate masters, fear of falling out of lockstep with the mob, fear of intellectuals, fear of youth, fear of fellow workers, fear of diverse coalitions based on positive ideas and so on.
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While I have serious concerns about Senator Obama's promises concerning several bad policies, his de facto publicly-financed campaign and sensible refusal to eschew sleeve-worn patriotism are encouraging. Mostly, I like the throng he has brought out. If and when he is elected, I hope these folks realize that it is not their job to immediately go to some website to agonize over his "re-electability" but to instead become watchdogs over the power they have just granted to their new president. He should listen to them because he will owe them.

Hillary Clinton's historic run for the presidency is now history and everyone knows it, even Senator Clinton. She isn't still running because she's actually  crazy, she's running to recoup as much of the nearly $11.5 million she's "loaned" her campaign. Think about it-- at a time when this election could hinge on the public's perception of how a candidate would handle the mortgage mess as president, one candidate has openly poured good money after bad -- into her own doomed presidential bid. Even more electability!

Now she wants us to repay her by donating to her campaign or (if you believe the rumors) she wants us to repay her via Barack Obama's campaign chest. Senator Clinton's campaign may be broke but it's still bursting at the seams with audacity.

Perhaps there is more to this than just the eight figures the Clintons have "loaned" the campaign. Perhaps the true source of that bread is the problem. What if Bill's "speaking fees" were simply advance payment for influence that, when Hillary loses, will no longer be his to peddle? Maybe the reason he was said to be crying the other night was because he was thinking what certain Colombians do to people who do not pay their debts in full.

Senator Clinton knows once she officially tosses in the sponge, it will be hard to ask the little folks to restore the ten or so percent of her family fortune that she's squandered in a vain attempt to scare her way into the Oval Office. She knows once the door is slammed on that office (at least for now) that it will be difficult for Bill to find work banging nails next to Jimmy Carter much less collecting speaking honorariums the size of many nations' GNP's.

So while Mrs. Clinton maintains the pretense of continuing a noble fight for the public good what she's really fighting for is her own money. Bet the bank that she'll seem more sincere doing this than  she's seemed at any other point during her run for the presidency. And this will result in some people telling us she has become that much more electable.