Sunday, June 01, 2008


I'm reading the Huffington Post and New Republic reports about the now-maddened people who went to the DNC meeting to protest on Hillary Clinton's behalf:

..."You know who is backing him is George Soros. It'll be George Soros, not Obama, who is running the country."

..."[Obama] is a socialist! You know what the Nazi Party was before it was the Nazi Party? It was the Socialist Party." ...


...Hillary protesters are occupying an utterly alternate (and healing-free) universe: a universe ... in which a Hillary supporter with two poodles shouts, "Howard Dean is a leftist freak!"; in which a man exhibits a sign that reads "At least slaves were counted as 3/5ths a Citizen" and shows Dean whipping handcuffed people; and in which Larry Sinclair, the Minnesota man who took to YouTube to allege that Barack Obama had oral sex with him in the back of a limousine in 1999, is one of the belles of the ball.

...Clusters of people in Hillary shirts ask to take their photo with him....

"Would you rather have a president who had an affair [Bill Clinton] or one who was a murderer [Obama]?" Jeannie, the Greensboro Democrat, asks a fellow in a floppy Tilley hat and Hillary buttons. "That's a good point," he replies....

This a small mob, and a nonviolent one -- but I find myself thinking of a moment nearly half a century ago when another politician felt it was more important to stir up hate than to lose face, knowing full well his cause was doomed. The comparison is harsh, but there it is:

...Historian Bill Doyle, author of American Insurrection: The Battle of Oxford, Mississippi, 1962, says that [Governor] Ross Barnett knew integration was inevitable, but needed a way to let James Meredith into Ole' Miss without losing face with his white, pro-segregation supporters. "Ross Barnett desperately wanted the Kennedys to flood Mississippi with combat troops because that's the only way Ross Barnett could tell his white segregationist backers, 'Hey I did everything I could, I fought them, but to prevent bloodshed in the end I made a deal,'" Doyle says....

Barnett knew the mob couldn't stop integration and yet he wasn't going to tell the mob that that was the case. Ultimately, after a great deal of negotiating and some hardball on the Kennedys' part (Bobby threatened that JFK would reveal to the nation that Barnett was negotiating with him), Meredith was registered -- and riots broke out anyway.

I'm not saying there's going to be violence in this case. But the difference is one of degree. Barnett understood the inevitable end of the struggle, but he did what he could to sustain his followers' hatred. I think Hillary Clinton is doing something very similar.

If this hatred can't be put back in a box, the result is unlikely to be bloodshed, but Hillary Clinton may have helped create a new Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, a group of conspiracy theorists and cynical liars who'll help give us yet another Bush term, with John McCain as a surrogate, by making preposterous allegations and claiming victim status. All because Hillary Clinton thought that nothing was more important than not personally losing face.

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