The cross tabs tonight are actually pretty close to what they have been in every other primary: Whites and women vote strongly for Hillary, Independents and Republicans have crossed over to vote for Obama and try to defeat Hillary in the primaries, AAs vote for Obama, and he has yet to prove he can carry a large state with a minority Black Democratic constituency. All the votes of all the caucuses added together do not equal the turn out in just Florida, let alone California, so Hillary has still proved more popular with a wider swath and greater number of voters than Barack can dream of.
My mother is a strong Hillary supporter, but was too ill to attend the caucus in Washington last Saturday. She loathes Golden Boy Barry and detests his cultish followers even more. We talked for about 30 minutes tonight and she flatly said he was ripping the party apart with his self-centered, shallow, and arrogant campaign. You see, my mom was part of those 60s disturbances and an early feminist, and she knows that you don't get anywhere by refusing to defend what matters. She prefers Edwards to HRC (fair enough), but had no doubt who she would pick once Edwards dropped out. This is one life-long Democrat who will not cast a vote for Obama in November - she, like me and all our female relatives, will write in Hillary.
Why does Mom feel so strongly about this? She's a party-line voter and has been with a sole exception, to support Dan Evans as Washington governor in the 70s. She endured the tear gas in Berkley, she supported ERA, though she opposes abortion she defends a woman's right to choose, and she knows which political party supports her causes. Her support of Edwards was for his policies on the poor and disadvantaged and for his willingness to be the advocate of the "losers", the people America likes to pretend don't really exist.
One thing Hillary said in her Politico interview was that it's not clear what struggles of the last few decades Golden Boy Barry would consider worth his time. As I have asked over and over, just what is it that The Golden One offers Democrats? Be concrete. What fights is he going to wage for us? Taking troops out of Iraq? Uh, all the Dems say they will do so. Has he committed to what kind of judges he will appoint? What parts of Social Security are off limits to discussion? Holding the line against Republican intransigence? Saying unequivocally that the Democrats advocate what is right, good and for the betterment of the nation, and that the Republicans are fear-mongering cretins? Exactly what he will do to reverse the gutting of the Civil Rghts division of the DOJ? His policies on restoring privacy to the average American? Etc.
Hillary said something powerful in that interview that the A-List Blogger Boyz keep side-stepping in their fanatical promotion of all things Obama - there are fights worth having. Division can be constructive. Unity is self-defeating if it leads you to undermine the core beliefs that make you what you are. This is what Krugman and Perlstein get at, this is what my mother knows from having fought these battles in her youth and right through her life; it matters what we are for, what we are willing to stand up and defend.
Mom's memories of Kennedy aren't so much of JFK the sexy dude with the big speeches, though that is there. She talks of the day he was murdered. "They got him," she says, with disgust and anger, even today, "they knew they had to bring him down. Bobby, too." My mother looks up to Kennedy the martyr, the man who died because the right-wing in this country will literally kill to keep the world from changing around them. It goes beyond money or raw power or religion - these are markers of the root cause. It is the mix of hate and fear that powers fundamentalists around the world, allowing fanatics in the US to speak approvingly of al Qaeda's murder of thousands in the WTC. The pervs had it coming to them, praise the Lord! It is the impulse that powers the Republicans' Southern Strategy. Race may lead it, but the people who promote and support this mode of politics are opposed to anything that seeks to be open-minded, inclusive, ecumenical, and progressive. They are opposed to liberal democracy itself.
These are the battles that are fought when it seems we are just doing some policy wonkishness. The details matter. The concessions matter. There are points on which there cannot be compromise, where unity is not just undesireable but a mark of failure. Bashing the battles of the 90s, when the Movement Consevatives were ascendent, is not just stupid. It ignores the fundamental ground of the battles. Dismissing them all, as the Right so fervently wants to dismiss them, as some kind of character flaw of Bill Clinton, trivializes the brutal damage done to the fabric of the nation, turns us away from the sundering of judicial warp and legislative weft, and normalizes the assault upon reason, equality and justice conducted against the country by the Republicans since Goldwater.
It refuses to acknowledge that they will stop at nothing to turn our country into Nixonland.
The wine-track Left's fatal flaw is its distaste for politics, the dirty hurly-burly of trades and deals, scams and sales, scratching backs and twisting arms. It is the disdain of the philosopher kings for the agora. But the public good is just as much the public's bad (as Madison famously balanced out), and there is nothing pure or simple about that market. They keep wanting to pick a leader who will somehow transcend politics, change the tone of the dirty market traders, dare us to hope for a time when we will unite as a single people with a single vision and march forward into a better future.
It isn't so much liberal fascism as the fantasy of the zipless fuck.
One Obamabot in a Corrente comment thread whined that he wanted to win, not struggle, and so he was voting for Obama, demonstrating once again the deep stupidity of the Obamaphilic Left. There will always be a struggle as long as there is a right-wing. We cannot "win" by putting a single person into a single office because of his mad oratorating skillz. This has to be likened to fending off a tide that will always be moving against us, corroding our foundations even when it ebbs. The A-List Boyz, the ones so angry at Hillary Clinton for daring to stand up against the calumny thrown at her (and most especially the calumny that comes from their own, dear, sweet little sexist mouths) are all slavering and quivering over the prospect of a political zipless fuck, where they can have their philosopher king, and an election success and have sweetness and light magically transform and transcend the icky struggles of the Clinton era into a progressive wonderland.
Oh, and a pony, too.
Here's some real history, little boyz. The wins of the Left have come almost as afterthoughts to the struggles, and are inevitably tarnished and dimmed by them. That is the nature of the struggle of liberalism against fundamantalism, because our opposition literally will kill to preserve their way of being in the world. The victories of the 60s came through the blood of our leaders. We envy (oh, how we envy!) the seemingly teflon triumphs of the Right, their Saint Ronnie, their wiggling out of scandal after scandal, their ability to catapult the propaganda. We want that, too! We want to be able to do as we like and get away with it. That, deep down, is the fundamental appeal to Obama - that he might be a "media darling" and thus get away with it. We want our zipless fuck. It's part of the guilty pleasure of watching him bash the Clintons with the same arguments and tone that a McCain would do, because, to our assaulted senses, that's what winning looks like.
It is against these kinds of wins that our struggles take place. These are the fights worth having.