Monday, May 26, 2008

Apologizing to Hillary?

Paul Krugman, in his column in this morning's New York Times has the following to say:

This… involved an interview Hillary Clinton gave the editorial board of South Dakota's Argus Leader, in which she tried to make a case for her continuing campaign by pointing out that nomination fights have often gone on into the summer. As one of her illustrations, she mentioned that Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June.

It wasn't the best example to use, but it's absurd to suggest, as some Obama supporters immediately did, that Mrs. Clinton was making some kind of dark hint about Barack Obama's future.

But then, it was equally absurd to portray Mrs. Clinton's assertion that it took L.B.J.'s political skills to turn Martin Luther King's vision into legislation as an example of politicizing race. Yet the claim that Mrs. Clinton was playing the race card, which was promoted by some Obama supporters as well as in a memo by a member of Mr. Obama's staff, achieved wide currency.

Why does all this matter? Not for the nomination: Mr. Obama will be the Democratic nominee. But he has a problem: many grass-roots Clinton supporters feel that she has received unfair, even grotesque treatment. And the lingering bitterness from the primary campaign could cost Mr. Obama the White House.

Read the entire column.

If Paul Krugman is being sincere here and this is what he and other Hillary Clinton supporters truly believe then the divide between them and supporters of Barack Obama that he decries is unbridgeable. I, and everyone else I have personally discussed this with (all Barack Obama supporters), gasped with shock and horror when we heard that Hillary Clinton mentioned Robert Kennedy's assassination in the context of why she should stay in the race. This was an immediate reaction before we had heard anyone's spin. This was not a manufactured – it was a visceral response.

If, as Paul Krugman believes, the only hope the Democrats have for winning the presidency in November is for Obama's supporters to admit to Clinton's supporters that she has been treated unfairly by them then we all better get used to the idea of President McCain. How can Barack Obama's supporters admit for the sake of party unity that it was "absurd" to suggest that Hillary's comment was "some kind of dark hint about Barack Obama's future" when that was exactly what it sounded like to us? The only hope for party unity would be for Clinton's supporters to be satisfied with Brack Obama's magnanimous suggestion that she had simply misspoken.

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