Sunday, April 27, 2008

Tom Hayden reminds us of Hillary's radical roots

Former Michigander Tom Hayden, an author of the Port Huron Statement of the Sixties, writes in The Nation about how disingenuous Hillary is being by piling on in attempts to tie Barack Obama to Sixties' radicals.

As Obama noted, he was only eight years old when the Weathermen were active. But he did not point out, as some think he should, that Hillary Clinton was a radical back then -- something that the "right-wing attack machine" is holding in reserve if she gets the nod for the fall election.

After leaving Yale, newly minted lawyer Hillary went to work for a left-wing San Francisco firm that specialized in defending the Black Panthers and labor leaders tied to Communist causes. Those facts may make me wish Hillary were more like she once was. But they also show that people change and that you cannot be judged by the actions of every friend or family member. (Though I am not sure I can forgive Hillary for sticking with Bill, especially now.)

As Hayden writes:

. . . doesn't she see how the Hillary of today would accuse the Hillary of the sixties of associating with black revolutionaries who fought gun battles with police officers, and defending pro-communist lawyers who backed communists? Doesn't the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, whom Hillary attacks today, represent the very essence of the black radicals Hillary was associating with in those days? And isn't the Hillary of today becoming the same kind of guilt-by-association insinuator as the Richard Nixon she worked to impeach?

I am glad to see Obama remaining above the fray, but I hope that Hayden's comments get a wide play. The argument that the right has thrown everything at Hillary belies the fact that they haven't even started.

First sign that the Dem establishment will give it to Hillary?

I just watched in horror as Howard Dean told the "Meet the Press" audience this morning that the Dem race is a virtual tie. A tie?

As Politico et al have explained, there is simply no way under the prevailing rules that Hillary Clinton can catch and then overtake Barack Obama in the remaining primaries. Tie? A tie where superdelegates should break the tie by choosing the person on the basis of who is perceived as most electable? Is that code for the black man cannot win, so give it to Hillary?

Rep. James Clyburn notes that many African Americans are worried that this is the "graybeards" of the party finding a way to rob the upstart black man of the nomination. Hillary is the mainstream candidate, arm twisting the superdelegates with promises of favors and threats of retribution - made all the more credible by years of doing just that. All Obama is offering is hope of a better society.

So is this a sign that the party elders are going to do whatever it takes to give Hillary a shot, even though her negatives are so high that they give John McCain a real shot in the fall? And will mainstream media collude because they love to keep the race going?

As Clyburn rightly noted, the idea that whites are the swing vote that should decide the race treats black voters as irrelevant. Why isn't anyone asking why Hillary no longer does as well with black voters as she once did?

No Democrat can win in the fall without the black vote. So why doesn't it matter that Hillary is threatening to bring the party down with the divisive tactics her campaign has been using, especially husband Bill?

If Howard Dean and his pals end up giving the nod to Hillary, then I will wonder why I ever returned to the fold after going to the Green Party in 2000.