Yesterday, I wrote about the need for Clinton supporters to accept that they must come around and support Obama. And while my tepid support for Clinton- and my much more passionate crusade for a degree of fairness, honesty, and decency in how both Clintons are treated by the corporate media and its mirror, the shrillosphere- often has me lambasted by the usual victims of CDS, yesterday it was the passionate Clinton supporters who were less than pleased with me. Lacking passionate support for either candidate leaves one open to criticism and anger from passionate supporters on both sides. It's fascinating.
Some of the Clinton bloggers have already begun to attempt to rationalize why McCain wouldn't be all that bad, or why Obama is so horrible that he doesn't deserve the presidency, even at the cost of having to live with McCain. One blogger, whom I like and often agree with, even tried to make the case that we don't have to worry about McCain appointing Supreme Court justices, because the Democratic Congress will prevent their being confirmed. Which is laughable. If the past year has taught us anything, it is that we can't expect much leadership from the ostensible leaders of this Democratic Congress. And I don't see the gains we will make in this year's election dramatically changing that. Change will have to come from the top, and although I don't buy into Obama's clever "change" schtick, he certainly would be paradigmatically different than the extremism that is Bush, and that would be McCain.
But this is not meant to criticize the passionate Clinton supporters. Support from people like me is easy for Obama to obtain, because I don't see many substantive differences between him and Clinton, and I loathe McCain. Passionate Clinton supporters do see substantive differences. I had subtle and complex reasons for coming to prefer Clinton, but tens of millions of people were in Clinton's camp from day one. And one point many of them are fairly making is that Obama has to win their support. He has to ask for it. He has to lead the effort to heal the party's wounds. The Clinton critics love to blame them for practially everything that is wrong in the Universe, but the reality is that Obama is also a deeply flawed person and a deeply flawed candidate. He's human. And he's a politician. And in a tough campaign, he has done his share to exacerbate the divisions within the party. If he's going to be the party's nominee for president, he is going to be the leader of the party. And it will be his singular responsibility to bring it back together. Others must do their parts, including being open to what he says and does, but he is the one who has to say and do what is necessary to earn the respect of those who are capable of giving it. And the vast majority of Clinton supporters are capable of giving it. But they are skeptical, and angry, and wounded. So, how Obama declares victory, how he handles Florida and Michigan, and, more than anything, how he addresses the issues that are the core reason many voters preferred the wonky Clinton still matter. Clinton had electability problems, but anyone who believes Obama doesn't is delusional. And discussing the demographic aspect of that is not racist, it's factual. Reality-based. A long lost concept, in the shrillosphere.
This is going to be a very tough race, and the corporate media will make it even tougher. And those Obama supporters who have paroxysms of hysterical shrill every time the Clintons or their surrogates take a tough shot- or even every time a tough shot is invented or promoted or post-parsed into being by the magical prestidigitational powers of pathological liars- might as well just spend the next several months buried in tabloid magazines, avoid all blogs and news media, and ignore television altogether, because when the GOP 527s take aim at Obama it will be as ugly and vicious as anything any of us have ever seen. And some of you aren't prepared for it. But Obama and the professionals around him had better be. And they'd better be ready not only to respond to the attacks, they'd better have long before succeeded in healing most of the rifts and tensions that are currently roiling the party. Obama's most passionate supporters need to understand that many passionate Clinton supporters have valid reasons for their anger- both at the Obama campaign, and even more so at you. If Obama is going to beat McCain, both he and his supporters are going to have to figure out a way to be political healers. It won't be easy, but failing to succeed at it will mean failure in November. We've heard a lot about change; it's time we began to see it.