I only know Hillary Clinton as a politician. I like her. I respect her fighting spirit and loyalty. I share her values that focus on concern for the underdog and the poor. Although some male neanderthals find her shrill, I love her feisty and articulate presentation. She is honest and - a rarity among politicians - outspoken. And she is smart. She would make a great President of the United States.
As I see it, all of her many qualities converged during this year's exciting Democratic Primary campaign season. But it has been a tough campaign. With Barack Obama, she is up against an equally smart and articulate younger man. He has the added advantage of not having to carry the usual baggage accumulated by politicians who have been around for awhile.
Obama is the new kid on the block. Hillary is the battle scarred veteran that people have been watching on the tube for years. After almost eight years of the worst Presidency in the history of the United States, the American people are yearning for change. There is a sense that Obama will more likely be the agent of change. And so, despite her skills and drive, Hillary is in trouble.
Indeed, according to the delegate count, Obama has already won the nomination. The talking heads, two-bit pundits, and party hacks are demanding - in the interests of party unity - that Hillary toss in the towel and publicly concede defeat. They warn that if she stays in the race and fights down to the wire towards the August Democratic convention, the Party may split into hostile factions, making it easier for the Republicans to retain the White House.
Ah, but she battles on. Speeches, debates, perpetual travel, massive campaign expenses and debt - nothing deters her. It is an altogether heroic performance.
Why does she continue in the face of now almost impossible odds? Because she knows - as every American in their heart knows - that anything can happen in a U.S. Presdential campaign. Indeed, anything can happen in the U.S. political process which can immediately, violently and permanently change the course of history. To any observer of the passing political parade in the United States, that is the crazy aunt in the attic, the elephant in the room, the sum of all fears.
The very tough Clinton and Obama campaigns have reminded all but the densest of human beings of the dark moments of recent American political history when shadowy and violent madmen or conspirators have dramatically changed or tried to change the course of events with the gentle squeeze of a trigger. The dangers are compounded during times of emotion-charged political upheavels, when charismatic men and women fight to lead the masses, each enlisting millions to fight on opposite sides in the conflict. Indeed, anything can happen. And we've seen it.
On May 23 during a meeting with the editorial board of the Sioux Falls Argus-Leader, during a discussion as to why she should stay in the race, Clinton said, "My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somehere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California, I don't understand it."
You can see the video here:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/05/23/clinton-kennedy-assassina_n_103319.html
She has faced a volley of criticism for her remarks. She has issued an apology
Clearly her words were impolitic and probably damaging to her. But consistent with her political record, they were honest. The words that slipped from her mouth have been on the minds of every political observer of this election. Yes, assassination is clearly not outside of the realm of possibility in a contest that features a charismatic black man against a charismatic white woman both of whom are obvious agents of real change and either of whom is likely to be elected the next President of the United States. With the exception of some of the events of the sixties, I can't think of an American political situation in the last fifty years that is more explosive and conducive to the incitement of crazies or conspirators to do bad things.
Yes, it is true, between now and August, anything can happen. And people should not be too critical that Hillary had the guts to say so.