Thursday, February 21, 2008

An Open Letter to Hillary: Bow Out and Live to Fight Another Day

Dear Senator Clinton:

I know you're a little preoccupied, but I'd like a moment of your time. I promise I'll make it worth your while. I just think it's time for a little home truths from someone who cares.

So here it is: on the eve of what could be an ugly intra-party brawl, I have come to one inescapable conclusion. Pardon my bluntness, but you're done. Toast. Stick a fork in you. Etc. Though I have never been a huge fan of yours, as a women's advocate the fact that the first truly viable, give-the-boys-a-run-for-their-money candidate is washed up causes me more than a twinge of regret. I can only imagine how it must feel for you -- so close and yet so far. I believe you truly wanted to serve your country, and I think you would have been a great "first." But it's not going to happen.

But here's the other thing. I don't want you to lose outright. I don't want you to definitively get beat -- you've had a taste of that with Obama's 11-zip run. It's no fun, is it? But, if you employ the smarts and savvy you're known for -- if you can pause for a moment, take a deep breath, and see the forest for the trees -- there is still a way you can escape this Gordian knot with some of your reputation and cachet intact. But, I fear, if you continue in this mud-slinging slugfest, I believe you have much more to lose than a presidential campaign.

Hillary, you entered this election as the most recognized woman in the world. As the presumptive frontrunner with a prohibitive amount of cash on hand. When this whole saga started, you were known as an effective, tough advocate for children's issues. As a woman who has stood up to the swiftest of swift boat captains and spit in their eye for good measure. And, Hillary, despite your carpetbagger origins, you have also turned out to be a damned effective senator -- for your state and for the nation. You are savvy to the ways of Washington, familiar with the halls of power and the art of the deal, and you used your knowledge of both Senate rules and inside baseball to make things happen.

Here's the thing, Hillary. I believe there is important work left for you to do. Critical work that will improve the lives of working families in this county. But to do that work, you must retain your respect and clout within the Democratic party. Your presidential run may be over, but your political career doesn't have to be. As a neutral observer, as someone who is not in either your camp or the Obama camp, here is my advice to rebuild your political capital and lay claim to the political destiny that could still be yours.

Cease campaign operations -- NOW. Call a press conference. Preferably before another bruising, divisive, cringe-worthy debate -- definitely before the Ohio and Texas contests. Have your daughter and your former president husband at your side (who needs to do some image-burnishing of his own, as well). Also at your side, have your worthy adversary, Barack Obama and his why-doesn't-she-run-for-office-herself wife, Michelle (you should be able to relate to her, Hillary). If you ask him, I think Obama will be a class act and join you in ending this historic primary together. I believe he will be gracious, and you will need the respect of (hopefully) President Obama to continue to be the player I know you can be.

At this press conference, Hillary, you need to tell the American people in general, and Democrats in particular, that it's been an amazing campaign. A well-fought campaign. A campaign for the ages that you were privileged to have been a part of. Tell us that you fought the good fight, but that the time has come to keep our eyes on the prize. Hillary, you need to step up, take one for the team and party unity, and call it a day. I know this is hard. I do. But if you can deal with the entire world knowing your husband got a blow job from an intern and was impeached for his pleasure, you can certainly deal with this. You have nothing to be ashamed of -- you made a full court press towards a worthy goal, and fell short. Take pride in that effort, but also in the unselfishness that comes with knowing that this is bigger than you, and acting accordingly. Now that the handwriting is on the wall, you can bow out graciously and become part of the solution to the horrific problem of 8 years of a shrub in the White House.

And, Hillary, most importantly, you need to sincerely and enthusiastically endorse Barack Obama in the process. You need to join hands with him, literally and figuratively. Making this gesture with Obama at your side would be the ultimate signal that bygones are bygones, and let the party faithful know that the Big Blue Machine is once again one united force, ready to take on the Straight Talk Express, the Republican Party, the swift boat machine guns, the religious wingnuts, and whatever else is thrown our way. Thank your delegates and superdelegates, share their disappointment, but tell them it's a new day. Tell them that the ultimate goal -- the brass ring of CHANGE -- is still within our collective reach if we support Barack Obama and help him grab it.

Hillary, if you do this, I believe there is a future for you in the Senate. I have always thought you would make a great Senate Majority Leader. All due respect to current Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), but we need a leader who is not afraid to knock some heads together, twist some arms, play hardball, and move the Democratic agenda forward. We also need someone who is not even remotely afraid of the Republicans -- that's you to a capital T. Senate Majority Leaders have great power to influence legislation and national policy, not to mention the direction of the party. Look at what Lyndon Johnson did when he was Senate Majority Leader -- his tactics, and results, were legendary. You could be that revered-and-feared Majority Leader the Democrats need to actually get things done in the crazy world that is the Senate. But you need your clout and cachet to pursue that goal.

But that's my dream for you, Hillary. You have your own plans, I'm sure. Regardless, however, it's time to call it a day. An amazing, well-fought, historic, memorable, day. You can unite the party in the process, and we'll all thank you for it -- well, everyone but the Republicans.

All the best,
The Zaftig Redhead

1 comment:

Spencer said...

Couldn't agree with you more, Zaftig. She can't win the race but she can bloody Obama, hurt the democratic party's chances for winning back the white house, tarnish her own reputation and jepordize her political future. And, if that's not enough -- she will have to live with the consequences of putting her ego ahead of the needs of millions of Americans who are hurting economically and physically because they are without health care.

So Hillary, bow out of the race and hold your head high. Not only are you a trailblazer for future female presidential candidates, I hope you blaze the trails once again by becoming the first woman senate majority leader.