This is my open letter to Senator Obama’s campaign staff and supporters, asking you to stop the madness and follow Obama’s mantra to “unify the party” and end “politics as usual”.
Republicans have tried to make political gains from the fact that we Democrats support the troops but do not support the Commander-In-Chief. Well, I support Barack Obama but, at the moment, I don’t support his “troops” – his campaign staffers and supporters, especially some of my friends in the blogosphere and the commenters in their blogs.
When it comes to Hillary Clinton, you have been making, and continue to make, the same mistake Republicans made throughout the 90′s with Bill Clinton. You are treating Hillary as if she’s some random public personality with no connection to friends and supporters who may be deeply offended by your outrageous insults and accusations. Much like we all treat Paris Hilton or Lindsey Lohan as a disconnected public personality, you criticize Hillary for her words, her clothing, her hair, her makeup, her family and more without any thought or caring as to how it affects her supporters, who make up nearly half of the primary voters, voters Obama will need to get elected. Some of you are the source of language like “monster”, “fucking whore”, “racist bitch”, and the C-word. Go to our Blogosphere page and select any headline that’s obviously anti-Clinton and you’ll find comments that include these outrageous insults, and some that cannot be repeated in this blog. And the endless debate about who dissed who first… will that help Obama’s movement?
Some of you have acknowledged Hillary’s supporters and admit there is “work to be done” to bring them over to the Obama camp; the white working-class and elderly women voters who have had a long-standing relationship with the Clintons. But many of you in the blogosphere and on cable news have decided to extend the insults to those supporters with language like “old, racist whores” and “Hillary’s getting the racist vote”. Rather than making an attempt to bring them into the Obama movement, you seem to have decided to prematurely reject them and destroy any possibility of merging the Clinton and Obama supporters, effectively handing their votes to McCain or throwing them away.
I live in Arizona where a large portion of the voters are elderly. Of those I speak with or read about, many in that age group do not vote for the party, they vote for the person. And they identify to people in their own age group, like the Clintons and McCain. I’ve heard many of you in Obama’s camp say that Hillary’s supporters will surely vote for Obama because it’s all about Iraq and Obama is their only possible choice. We’re talking about a generation that sacrificed financially, bought war bonds, and rationed through the Second World War. There were 1,076,245 US dead and wounded and 30,314 missing, so it was likely that they knew someone who was a casualty of that war. In contrast, the number of US dead and wounded in the Iraq War is around 44,321 – a terrible loss, but in a country of 300 million, much less likely they have a personal connection to the person lost. And Bush has asked for no financial sacrifice for this war, pushing the cost to future generations. So is the Iraq War really their main concern? Is it really all that likely that they will vote for a man whose campaign staffers and supporters are the source of outrageous insults, who arrogantly state they will have no choice but to vote for Obama?
A more likely scenario is that the Clinton vote will be split, with a portion going to Obama, a portion to McCain, some to Nader, and many who will just stay home. In fact, Obama’s nomination has completely changed the balance of power - he can no longer win without Hillary’s supporters. With so much on the line for our nation and the world, does it make sense to reject Hillary’s supporters out of an ongoing anger and defense of your candidate? Or does it make more sense to stop the endless insults, charges of racism, and 90′s-like Clinton-bashing, and make the effort to reconcile with Hillary’s supporters and persuade them to get behind the Obama movement?
My appeal to you is to make the effort. Start with the blogs supportive of Hillary or a supporter you know personally – an acknowledgement that the insults went too far and an invitation to join the Obama movement could make a real difference. Continue with the blogs or supporters you know personally that are against Hillary and persuade them to make an effort, as well. The stakes are too high not to make the effort.