By Joe Campbell
January 23rd, 2008
For Part 2 of this two-part case, check out The Case for Barack Obama.
I realize, of course, that Hillary Clinton will not be withdrawing from the race any time soon. And I realize that, from a short-term political perspective, it makes no sense for her to do so. She just won New Hampshire, Michigan, and more overall votes in the caucus in Nevada. But all the same – if Senator Clinton truly believes in the values she claims to, if she would rather liberal values prevail than gain power herself, if she would rather America unite under the next president instead of becoming further divided – she must withdraw her candidacy. Whether she throws her support behind John Edwards or Barack Obama makes no difference. Either individual can unite the country. Hillary Clinton cannot.
Here are 11 reasons Hillary should withdraw now:
- Her experience argument is bogus. Even if it were true, historically, experience is a poor predictor of presidential success. Further, anyone who claims to be prepared to be president “from day one” is lying – because no experience can prepare you for the presidency.
- Her most successful and most-used tactic against Barack Obama in the primaries and caucuses – suppressing voter turnout – will ensure her loss in the general election as it alienates many of those who she most needs to appeal to – younger voters (under 55), black voters, and swing voters. The Clintons have also introduced identity politics into the primary – and have tried to encourage racial polarization, especially between Latinos and blacks. The Clintons are running a campaign very different from most primary campaigns – they are attacking Obama with a ferocity usually reserved for attacking Republicans in the general election. In an election that splits the country roughly 50/50, Hillary can’t afford to lose anyone. At the rate she is going now, she won’t be able to put together a winning coalition.
- Bill Clinton became an admired elder statesmen after retiring from the presidency. The fact that he was still chasing skirt became a quirk rather than a political liability and a possible threat to the Democratic Party. And things like this might be considered charming. Now, he’s become Karl Rove with Secret Service protection, a bigger media presence, and with the same lack of conscience. Even top neutral Democrats are telling Bill to shut up. I’d like the old Bill Clinton back.
- If Hillary Clinton wins, her success will become a lesson in how women should achieve power: marry well; put up with any humiliations your husband throws at you, and then, maybe, if you fight dirty, and ask your husband to run your campaign, you might be able to ride his coattails to your “own” political success.
- The Clintons are relying on the laziness and stupidity of the American people to attack Barack Obama unfairly: through lies, distortions (eg. regarding Reagan), and other unconscionable means. It just goes to prove the most dangerous place to be in America is between the Clintons and an elected office.
- Her three most significant political acts: botching health care reform and setting it back for a generation; deciding to stonewall independent investigators, Congress, and the press on Whitewater, and voting for war with Iraq.
- The Democratic Party has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to re-align the country and reinvigorate liberalism and America. Hillary Clinton has shown no interest in seizing this opportunity or any capacity to rally Americans to a broad consensus. She remains a highly polarizing figure. Her winning strategy does not involve winning a significant majority but eking out a 51% win by micro-targeting, niche marketing, and espousing incremental targeted policies – all working off of a broadly Republican status quo.
- The Clintons are fundamentally and irredeemably corrupt. And we don’t need to have a Clinton dynstasty to rival the Bush dynasty.
- No other candidate can rally the Republican base and right-leaning independents as effectively as Hillary Clinton.
- Hillary Clinton use language exactly as George Orwell lamented in “Politics and the English Language” – to hide her true intent and demonize her opponents.
- Her breakthrough moment came when she her eyes got misty over how much effort she had put into making the country better.
For the good of the Democratic party; for the liberal ideas you have fought for; for the good of the country – drop out of the race today.
We know that Obama is not perfect. But he’s the best chance we have of creating an electoral shift around liberal ideas. If you can take a step back from your campaign – I’m sure you would realize that. You are running against him with a fury Democrats normally reserve for Republicans. You seem to believe that creating a Clinton dynasty is the only chance America has to “not fall backward”. But you’re wrong. Get over yourself.
-a committed liberal, Democrat, and Barack Obama supporter
Edit: I am not hiding my name as one of the commenters alleges. My name is Joe Campbell, and I stand behind this post.
Another Edit: Welcome Andrew Sullivan readers!
Updated: The New York Times has endorsed Hillary Clinton. Make your feelings known.
Updated: Responding to some of the comments suggesting that Obama and Hillary are the same.