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Saturday, May 31, 2008

Clinton Demonstrators Threaten to Vote for McCain

This is exactly the wrong sentiment to be spreading for the national news media to grab onto.

Regardless of your support for either of the Democratic candidates, it is unhelpful for the Democrats' changes in November to be repeating the wounded "I'll take my toys and go home" canard that if someone can't have their candidate nominated, they'll go vote for the other party.

I have seen this sentiment echoed on sites like MyDD.com for months. And now, a bunch of Clinton supporters demonstrating outside the DNC Rules & Bylaws Committee meeting are continuing and heightening the threat:

"We are all a nation together, there are 50 states, not 48," said Constanta Nour-Hinkle, 35, who traveled by train from Reading, Pa. today to attend the rally. "I felt I needed to make my voice hear and I wanted to show solidarity with the 2.3 million voters [in Florida and Michigan] whose voices were not heard."

Mrs. Nour-Hinkle said she would rather vote for Arizona Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, than for Mrs. Clinton's rival, Sen. Barack Obama -- echoing the sentiments of many protesters.

"It would be the first time in my life I would vote Republican for president," said Mrs. Nour-Hinkle, 35. "I think Obama is an empty shirt, the same as [President] George W. Bush but only a Democrat."

John Overton, who shouted pro-Clinton slogans outside the hotel, said he would leave the party if Obama receives the Democratic nomination for president.

"I can't stand for the Democratic Party if they don't stand for voters' rights," said Mr. Overton, who traveled from his home in Chapel Hill, N.C., to attend the rally. The party "would no longer exist to me as a party."

"I don't scream like this normally, I'm a rational guy, but I've never felt like this before," he added. "This had been a travesty of democracy."

Look, I know a lot of bad things have been said and done by supporters of both candidates in this campaign.

But, the simple fact is that Clinton OR Obama would do a LOT more for progressive issues, like ending the war in Iraq, universal health care and reversing the Bush tax cuts on the wealthy, than John McCain and the Republican Party ever would.

We really need to stop this madness. The race will be decided soon, the RBC will make their decision, and the last primaries will be held. We will have a nominee and we need to focus on unity, not childish threats.

: Here's more commentary on the insanity:

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.


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."


It's easy to sink into despair here. Standing and watching all these Democrats chat up Sinclair--who's retained Montgomery Blair Sibley as his lawyer and says the Republican National Committee has also been in touch with him--makes me want to fall to my knees, rend my garments, and start insanely screaming, "Wake up! Wake up! You'll hate a President John McCain!" But the rhetoric from the top has imparted its poison below, and the bitterest criticisms of Obama gain traction as they circulate through the virulently-pro-Hillary echo chamber. "Would you rather have a president who had an affair [Bill Clinton] or one who was a murderer [Obama]?" Jeannie, the Greensboro Democrat, asks a fellow in a floppy Tilley hat and Hillary buttons. "That's a good point," he replies.