The Clinton Protest

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DesyhrRYtB0]

Looking around the blogosphere, Steve Benen quotes from the report at The Stump on the Clinton protests which I linked to in the previous post:

Howard Dean may hope that the “healing will begin today,” but two blocks away from the northwest Washington Marriott where the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee is meeting right now to try to figure out Florida and Michigan, the Hillary protesters are occupying an utterly alternate (and healing-free) universe: a universe in which one of the big lawn rally’s speakers yells that the Democratic Party no longer is in the business of “promoting equality and fairness for all”; in which a Hillary supporter with two poodles shouts, “Howard Dean is a leftist freak!”; in which a man exhibits a sign that reads “At least slaves were counted as 3/5ths a Citizen” and shows Dean whipping handcuffed people; and in which Larry Sinclair, the Minnesota man who took to YouTube to allege that Barack Obama had oral sex with him in the back of a limousine in 1999, is one of the belles of the ball.

“They almost made me cry this morning when they told me to get out of there,” the blond Sinclair–who’s looking roly-poly and giddy in a blue-and-white striped shirt with a pack of Marlboros protruding from the breast pocket–says, referring to several nervous protest organizers who tried to evict him when he first showed up at the rally site early this morning carrying a box of “Obama’s DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS: Murder, Drugs, Gay Sex” fliers. Since then, though, he goes on, “I have been totally surprised by the reception I have received!”

He’s not kidding. Clusters of people in Hillary shirts ask to take their photo with him, one woman covered in Clinton buttons introduces him to Greta Van Susteren, and he estimates he has handed out 500 fliers. “You could improve your credibility if you downplayed the gay sex and focused on the drugs,” sagely advises one Hillary supporter with auburn hair and elegant makeup. But in this universe, Sinclair’s credibility doesn’t seem to be suffering too much. In fact, he’s treated nearly as well as he might be at a meeting of the Vast Right-wing Conspiracy. In the thirty minutes I stand with him, only one woman expresses disgust at his fliers and his willingness to chattily discourse on whether Obama is “good in bed.”

This selection, along with the rest of the post, certainly demonstrates considerable hostility towards Obama from the Clinton camp. What is bizarre is that while Obama supporters can provide real examples of dishonest campaigning from Clinton, as well as real differences in policy, the objections from the Clinton camp come down to a pack of nonsense. You know that their arguments are weak when they resort to quoting Larry Sinclair, who has already failed a lie detector test regarding his ridiculous accusations. This attitude from the Clinton camp leads Steve Benen to be concerned:

Hillary Clinton has said, on multiple occasions, that she will work her heart out for the Democratic ticket this year, whether she’s on it or not. I have every reason to believe she means it, and will follow through on her commitment.

But I get the sense some of her supporters are going to need more convincing than others.

Considering the huge numbers of people who have voted for Clinton this year (even if less than those who voted for Obama), it should not come as a surprise that there are vast differences among them. Some, such as the person in the video above, will need more convincing than others.

Some are socially conservative working class voters who might wind up voting for McCain. Whether or not that makes sense is a different matter, but there is a distinct portion of Clinton’s support which is closer to Republican than Democratic voters of recent years. There’s also a racist element who will not vote for Obama.

There are also many long time Democratic voters who are unlikely to vote for McCain over Clinton once the passions of the primaries are over, regardless of what Clinton does. Most will vote for Obama, especially if Clinton keeps her word and backs him.

There’s a strong feminist component to Clinton’s support. Some want a woman president, and are willing to overlook Clinton’s lack of ethics, her lack of experience (as they promote the fantasy that her years of proximity to power are the same as actual experience), and her many flawed policy positions. At the moment they might say they will vote for McCain in revenge. Three words will ultimately change their minds: Row versus Wade.

Obama will undoubtedly lose some votes due to the fanaticism of some Clinton supporters. He will also pick up far more votes from independents and disenchanted Republicans who are supporting him, but will not support Hillary Clinton.

Matthew Yglesias quotes from another report on the Clinton rally and questions if it makes sense for Clinton supporters to vote for McCain:

Meanwhile, people who are seriously drawn to Hillary Clinton’s plans on health care, climate change but also think they might vote for John McCain in the fall rather than the candidate with plans that are very similar to Clinton’s are being a bit confused. People who are seriously drawn to Clinton on feminist grounds but are considering staying home in the fall so McCain can replace John Paul Stevens with another justice in the mold of Alito or Roberts really need to think harder.

Perhaps the ultimate answer comes at the end of the report at The Stump:

Inside the Marriott’s gift shop, the sales clerk tells me that Democratic bumper stickers have been selling like crazy today. “Mostly Hillary?” I ask.

“Actually, mostly Obama,” she giggles.

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