Ed Driscoll

Internecine Battle Predicted Last Year Arrives

Going through my archives, I found this post from March 5th of last year, which quoted Richard Baehr of the American Thinker:

If Hillary’s campaign collapses, it will be one of the least pretty sights in American political history. This is a woman wound up very tight, and always controlled, but completely unprepared for failure in her Presidential quest.

Given that Obama has come close to pulling even with Hillary already, I think there is a very good chance that at some point this year he will pass her, since he has room to expand his base of support, and she is desperately trying to hold on to what she has. If Obama becomes the frontrunner, I think Hillary is finished. While a new face frontrunner would normally get tough critical reviews from the press, the major media is in full swoon mode over Obama.

Pretty spot-on, though Hillary herself more-or-less kept it together until her badly phrased RFK-reference a couple of weeks ago. (Which is probably why, as Tammy Bruce speculates, that Hillary pushed back her announcement that she’s winding her campaign down until tomorrow, lest it occur on the 30th anniversary of RFK’s assassination.)

But look what it’s done to her supporters: a half a year after MSNBC came out of the closet and announced (in the New York Times, appropriately enough) that it is indeed a leftwing TV network, there are calls from those who would otherwise be its core viewers for a boycott over the cable network’s handling of Hillary (which included a veiled death threat from Olbermann and David Shuster’s infamous “pimped out” line regarding her daughter). And Michelle Goldberg, a writer in the moderate-liberal New Republic, says that it’s “3 A.M. For Feminism“:

Hillary Clinton has lost the nomination, but some of her most ardent female backers seem unwilling to accept it. A strange narrative has developed, abetted by Clinton and some of the mainstream feminist organizations. In it, the will of the voters was thwarted by chauvinistic party leaders in concert with a servile media, and Obama’s victory represents a repeat of George W. Bush’s in 2000. It’s a story in which Obama becomes every arrogant young man who has ever edged out a more deserving middle-aged woman, and Clinton, hanging on until the bitter end, is not a spoiler but a feminist martyr.

This conviction, that sexism cost Clinton the nomination, is likely to be one of the more toxic legacies of this primary season. It is leaving her supporters feeling not just disappointed but victimized, many convinced that Obama’s win is illegitimate. Taylor Marsh, a blogger and radio host whose website has become a hub for Clinton fans, says she gets hundreds of e-mails from angry Democrats pledging not to vote for Obama. She’s started running posts from such readers under the headline DEMOCRATIC STORM WARNINGS. “I’m not saying that this is a huge voting bloc,” she says. “I’m just saying that there is a huge amount of talk and I’m convinced it’s a reality that needs to be addressed.”

Surely some of this political nihilism will fade by November. Right now, it’s hard to quantify; Internet forums and political protests exist, in part, to magnify the passions of a few into an illusory groundswell. In exit polls from Indiana and North Carolina, at least half of Clinton supporters said they wouldn’t vote for Obama, but there’s no way to calculate the role of gender in their disaffection.

In the months to come, feminist leaders and Clinton herself will urge women back into the Democratic fold. Still, the bitterness is intense. Kate Michelman, the Obama-supporting former head of NARAL, has heard enough of it to get worried. “It does feel to me, just recently, like we’re on a death mission,” she says. “[T]here is a danger where we set a course for failure in November.”

Logically enough, Daniel Henninger posits that since their views on the issues are nearly identical, Obama’s identity politics defeated Hillary’s identity politics. But at what cost? Time will tell.