Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Notes to a colleague written on a flight back from London - June 4

As readers of this space know, I have been in Edinburgh and London this past week, for business purposes. I found the MSM coverage of the nomination process and the current standing of the two Democratic candidates - Senator Obama and Senator Clinton - as sloppy there as it has been here, for the most part.

One of my colleagues in the U.K. takes an active interest in U.S. politics. He also took me to more than one good meal in London. So he was on my mind as I was flying back. I jotted him an email, which I've sent off, and I thought I would share with you the political facts and opinions I wanted my friend as a European observer to bear in mind at this moment.

An excerpt from a missive to a friend:
I did notice that the English television seems wholly to misunderstand Senator Obama's status at this point in the nomination process. Here is the key fact: Senator Obama does not have sufficient "regular" delegates to win the nomination without the votes of socalled "superdelegates". And regardless of what any superdelegats say now, they cannot commit themselves in a meaningfully binding way until they have to cast ballots in August. I believe that Senator Clinton will tread very lightly now. I do not believe she is particularly interested in the v.p. spot, nor do I think Senator Obama would offer it to her. Of course, in politics, one never knows until the processes have occurred and the dust settles.

I think that as the summer progresses it will become increasingly clear that Senator Obama will be unable to beat John McCain and that Senator Clinton can. If it becomes clear enough, the superdelegates will have to cast their votes for Senator Clinton or risk the absolute abeyance of the Democratic Party for the next 4 to 12 years. The superdelegates may be willing to take such a foolish risk. I will work my hardest to prevent that.

My support for Senator Clinton as a political figure will remain unwavering. You realize, I know, that this does not mean that I will support any course of action she recommends to her supporters. It means that I hope she fights for the nomination and that, if she does not get it that she chooses to return to the Senate, where she will be the most significant progressive political force there, especially with the unfortunate situation regarding Senator Kennedy's health. (He, by the way, has had an operation that will give him a fighting chance to live a year and of course he could be a statistical anomoly and live longer, but having been through such a similar situation with regard to my own mother I know the chemotherapy and radiation he will have to have now tends to impair the strongest of the strong.)

Just as I was in the departure lounge at the airport, friends and fellow supporters of Senator Clinton helped me hit a new high in fundraising for her. This seems a very good sign, for any number of reasons. Meanwhile a political action group that has been quite effective with regard to asserting the proper representation of Michigan and Florida at the Party Convention - WomenCount PAC - is hard at work again.

It may sound strange to say this, and even I find it surprising, but the real revolution that is taking place in American politics is not the arrival of the first black man to be a viable major Party candidate for president. Instead there is a quieter revolution of people dedicated to the propositions that voters' rights are human rights and women's rights are human rights. These are the true torchbearers of progressivism in the U.S.A. today.

The progressives will triumph in the long run, maybe even the medium run. We shall see whether they can achieve the short term objective of convincing a hapless D.N.C. that progressivism does not require nominating a candidate who may have liberal policies but who will lose the presidency to a dyed-in-the wool conservative such as John McCain.


Blogger Julianne said...

Dear Heidi--

Your thoughtful, cogent commentary on this heart-rending nomination process has given me more solace than I can express to you. I found myself at TM increasingly anticipating your posts to read more of your insights and feel grateful that you have this blog where I can continue to read your beautiful and persuasive writing.

The wisdom I read in your various posts is infused with such optimism that right will be done. I find your approach to be a great salve to my own disenchantment, and at times pure rage, at the sickening double standards and injustices so ubiquitous during the last several months. This experience has turned me from a skeptic to a cynic. I find that I am more of a feminist than I ever realized I could be. I hope that in time the anger will abate and that I will be stronger for it. But to my astonishment there is absolutely no rancor in your writing and I admire you all the more for it. Again and again you have taken action while many of us have only thrown up our hands in frustration. You have been remarkable.

So please know that you have touched so many with your words and deeds. I will continue to eagerly await your posts and I will attempt to set aside some of my disdain for the process and remain cautiously optimistic that in the end right WILL be done.

You have really been such a champion for Hillary and I offer you my humble thanks for being one of a very, very few ports in this storm.


June 4, 2008 at 7:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, Heidi certainly is a light in the darkness!

What she is showing us, is that EVERYONE can take some small action to share the light, that demonstrates faith in a REAL cause that is built on principles.

The challenge for us therefore, is to take action even while we may feel 'powerless'. For we know that we have oases like Heidi to empower us.

May I suggest that while we are visiting elsewhere, we can spread some of her clarity and resolve to so many others 'out there' who are experiencing disillusionment at the 'new politics'.

Healing voices like Heidi's are very much needed during this period.

Thanks Heidi!

June 6, 2008 at 8:10 AM  

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