Now, I like Barack Obama as much as the next guy, but I have to say, after reading the polemical freak-outs that my peers have been posting on Facebook after Hillary's victories last night, perhaps it's time to calm the hell down. Barack Obama is a POLITICIAN. People are flipping their shit on Hillary right now, lashing out like she's their mom and they just received an unfair grounding. Look, I don't love her politics, but I'm surprised people can feel so 100% aligned with Obama that they act so shocked and defensive when Hillary puts up a fight. I hear a lot of, "She'll do anything to win." I don't think that's true; I think she WANTS to win, but that's the whole point. I hear a lot of complaints about her Iraq war vote. In fact, I'm not voting for her because of her Iraq war vote, but then, I voted for Nader in 2004 (and I'll probably do it again because fighting the two-party system is more important to me than any candidate's rhetoric). My point is, Hillary is the Senator from New York. The JUNIOR Senator. She's the New York City brand Senator. Everybody in my family is from New York City, and back in 2003, every one of them was like, "Yup let's go to war!" Granted, none of my recent-college-grad friends living in Manhattan felt that way; they weren't fooled by the deliberate obfuscations of the Bush/Cheney/Rove war machine. But please remember, we were living in a PTSD propaganda state, and I honestly think Clinton voted the way she heard from her constituents that they wanted her to vote. It's a tough choice, and she did the wrong thing, but she didn't start the Iraq war. Bush did.
So as I made clear above, I'm not a Democrat; I'm a lefty, and I'm usually pretty alienated by the mainstream Democrats. What I don't understand is why so many of my highly, highly educated Facebook-posting peers feel such a genuine sureness about Barack Obama and such patent hostility towards Hillary Clinton. I work at comedy clubs every night, and cheap shots at Hillary (about her frumpiness or her nut-cracking or her thick ankles -- in fact many of these jokes are about her appearance) are an instant easy laugh, especially in ultra-liberal Cambridge, MA, where I work the most. People have very little sympathy for Hillary Clinton, and people my age seem suspicious of her motives ("She wants to be President at every cost!") while simultaneously believing all the hype about Barack Obama and his "we"-will-win-the-nomination-type rhetoric. In my mind, they're both politicians. They both have strong points and weaknesses. Barack Obama would be better for the world image of this nation, better for American democracy (having the same 2 families in the White House since 1989 or even 1981 if you count the Bush Vice-Presidency is kind of freaking spooky), and better for consensus-building. But if rank-and-file party members in Texas and Ohio and elsewhere hand Hillary the nomination, what are Barack fans going to do, vote for McCain? The Straight Talk Express doesn't seem like it would be very good at international diplomacy or consensus building or leadership or, well, anything, except being a dude instead of a Mom.
This election has definitely brought to the surface my feminist social observations more than once (Oprah's whiney lady impression, anyone?). One positive such moment was when I realized that, wow, a mother could be the President. Not just a woman, but a mother. There's something moving about that. And it's wonderful that either of the Democratic candidates getting the nomination will make history. Now it's just a question to see if the kids in the Obama camp can even give a shit about Hillary's positive points after all of this. If not, and if she gets the nomination, then the Dems will probably lose.