International Writers Magazine: US
Party v The Machine
Behind The Scenes Of Madam Shoo-In's Last Stand
"Justice is the end of government."
- Alexander Hamilton
When you do this
for money and turn it over in print, you end up on the e-mail list
for all kinds of promotional drek and various levels of campaign
palaver from county comptroller to president of the United States.
Privy to this stream of information and access to the individuals
who compile and send it along is a unique perspective, especially
as times careen into desperation.
And desperate are
the times for the doomed Hillary For President campaign and its grab-bag
staff, many of whom have been hammering me to tell the story of their
wounded candidate being bullied by party officials and stuffy "male"
elders, who wish to steal the will of the people and hand it over to
backroom Democratic moguls that would crush their champion of the underdog.
For a sizable
fee I would take on such a task, a ringing endorsement, a defense worthy
of William Kunstler. You would walk from these words a changed human,
crying out into the wilderness that Clinton is Virgin Mother to us all,
elixir to our economic ills, commander of our fate, and spiritual center
of the American Dream.
But there is no fee forthcoming, so there will be no unabashed defense
of a multi-million dollar political celebrity, whose surname has unleashed
havoc through Democratic Party circles for decades, and who, before
the shock and awe of Super Tuesday Part One, February 5, was the overwhelming
favorite to nail down an early nomination and set sights on the Vast
Right Wing Conspiracy.
"Weep not for the big and strong that take it in
the groin, bend over, and wail that they have been wronged."
Benjamin Disraeli said that.
It was either he or a rug salesman I met in Jerusalem.
But one thing is certain; a funny thing happened on the way to the ball,
Cinderella became a washwoman, and her coach a rolling vegetable, and
those on board became feral and unhinged. They quit, they bickered;
pointing fingers and cursing at each other like townie drunks on conference
calls to the national press. Many who had been pulling down big paychecks
suddenly realized there had been no plan past mid-February and that
Barack Obama was not only failing to go away quietly, he was repeatedly
beating their candidate, state after state, like a military drum.
That's when the e-mails and calls started to become more and more bizarre,
crazy claims of having won primaries that didn't exist, making certain
state votes more equal than others, playing every half-baked card from
race to gender to silly claims of media bias.
That's when campaign bullhorn Howard Wolfson began to admit that he
wasn't as smart and as tough as he thought he was, that his candidate
was grating and ill-prepared for battle, that most people cringe at
the sight of her and others become violently ill at the prospect that
she might reopen the Lincoln Bedroom to scores of drug dealers, Hollywood
creeps, and Southern real estate rapists.
It was Wolfson's idea to create the Clinton Myth that she had any chance
of winning anything after Obama made mincemeat of the math on February
19 in Wisconsin, that his candidate should go on national television
and say the Republican nominee was a better leader than her Democratic
opponent. It was Wolfson, not the beleaguered and now emasculated strategist
Mark Penn, who commanded a Red Bull swilling Wall Street actuary to
claim his candidate had a de facto Electoral College number lead over
the soaring Obama, or that somehow, as the final votes were counted
in Texas last week and the opponent had won, that "momentum should
But no one listens to Wolfson anymore, least of all Hillary Clinton.
Her husband has convinced her to decry the weasels that silenced him
when he had this baby on the run back in South Carolina, calling Barack
Obama "Jesse Jackson-Lite". Now he's back, imploring The Party
he used to have in his back pocket to calm down. But they're too busy
running for the hills to listen. Calm is the last emotion political
animals express when they see an inevitable November stomp turning into
a John McCain Comeback.
Every poll imaginable has the Republican candidate leading both Democrats
in this election year of endless war, economic disaster, and Ulysses
S. Grant approval ratings. So the Party is through being the Clinton's
bitch and has begun to fight back, privately and publicly. The groundswell
is palpable and overwrought with feeble dealmakers. None of them appreciate
the Hillary Machine mocking their un-democratic rules, riling up spurned
delegatations from Michigan and Florida, accusing caucuses of being
fixed, calling The Party a strong-armed fascist regime, and shitting
all over its frontrunner at every turn.
Since the aforementioned Super Tuesday last gasp, Obama has gained 53
all-important Super Delegates and Clinton has lost a net of five. These
include insiders who have been carrying the Clinton's water for over
a decade, not the least of which is the opportunistic Bill Richardson,
governor of New Mexico and former presidential candidate, as clever
as any vermin abandoning a sinking skiff. Richardson, a former Clinton
lackey, is just the biggest name to go public. More are coming.
They were promised big futures, free rides, and a bask in victory, not
this tedious wallowing in the sad fumes of yesteryear and an endless
mop-up after a series of bogus claims the candidate makes about bartering
peace in Ireland, taking on pharmaceutical companies, and dodging sniper
fire in Bosnia. Only the stupid ones remain. The ones who apparently
missed out on Monica Lewinsky and Vince Foster and Whitewater and Marc
Rich and the other incredible piles of feces left by the rancid trail
It is over for them and the Democrats, who had their chance to change
the country and maybe the world, but will now be relegated to a blue
dot query in Trivial Pursuit.
But that's too fucking bad.
If the Clintons want to battle on, they should, and have every right.
No party insider, also-ran candidate, bleating pundit, Super Delegate,
or voting public should decide. Obama can't get the magic number of
pledged delegates anyway. If it goes onto the Denver National Convention
and ignites the mass suicide of old liberals, let it. If Obama or Clinton
can't win, then let the party die.
Let both parties crumble under the weight of a brutal truth: The two-party
system has wrought this groaning creature, not Clinton or Obama. They
are merely its symptoms.
This is something of a media tour for the Clintons now, a farewell march
akin to Douglas Macarthur those last few months in 1952 when he still
thought everyone would ignore his insanity and hand him a nomination
for president. He was merely a ghost then, as Hillary is now and has
been since Obama emerged victorious on February 19 in Wisconsin, two
weeks after the Waterloo of Super Tuesday and fifty long days on the
morning these paragraphs hit the newsstands.
The Clintons have been around. They are no strangers to this Party nonsense.
Primaries are not about democracy. They are about a team choosing its
best player. Since February 5 that player has been Barack Obama.
But, hey, maybe the DNC should consider handing this whole thing over
to the Clintons. Apparently to be president now is to be embroiled in
a meaningless unachievable goal and pretend its wine and roses.
Madam president, your surge is working.
© James Campion
April 4th 2008
Speech + Readers Letters
James Campion on Obama
To Our Bitter Demons & Better Angels
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