Tuesday, August 26, 2008


This morning on NPR, Renee Montagne interviewed two Hillary Clinton delegates, Awilda Marquez and Daniel Kagan, who still feel loyalty to their preferred candidate. Fine, I accept that -- vote for Hillary in the roll call if you must. What I care about is what you'll do in November. And (starting at about 2:43 of the audio) it seems at first as if these are loyal Democrats and everything's fine:

RENEE MONTAGNE: What about it? Are either of you planning to vote for John McCain?


DANIEL KAGAN: Definitely not voting for John McCain. There is so much anger out there that there will inevitably be some people who will vote for John McCain, but I'm not one of them.

AWILDA MARQUEZ: I'm a proud Democrat. I would never even think of voting Republican. No.

Ah, but for Ms. Marquez, this is a two-part question, and here's the second part:

RENEE MONTAGNE: Does the fact that neither of you say you'll vote Republican, does that translate into you're both going to vote for Barack Obama come November?

AWILDA MARQUEZ: I'm not sure yet. He hasn't asked me for my vote. He's asked me for money, but he's not asked me for my vote.

Kagan says he'll vote Obama but won't work for him. Fine -- I can live with that.

But Awilda Marquez, you're an idiot.

You know why? Because this is not about you. We are not electing the president of you -- we are electing the president of the United States. Voting is not something you do for yourself -- voting is something you do for your country. You do it for your kids and grandkids, you do it for your neighborhood and neighborhoods like yours, you do it for schoolchildren and workers and elderly people and servicemembers and everyone else around you. It is not an act of self-actualization. It is an act of citizenship.

I've seen this movie. I saw it in 2000. Back then, the invocation of self came from Ralph Nader supporters, who said, "Democrats think I owe them my vote." The answer to which was at the time: No, nobody thinks you owe anything to Democrats. But you owe it to your country to keep the party of Ken Starr and Tom DeLay and Trent Lott and William Bennett and Antonin Scalia and Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter the hell out of the White House, especially since they already control both houses of Congress and the Supreme Court. But no -- for Naderites, it was about not being courted and stroked and placated. It wasn't about what was good for the country.

And we see the result.

The demonstrators outside the Democratic convention call their movement Re-create '68" We should call the Hillary-absolutist movement "Re-create 2000." That's really what it is.

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