So last night I went to a party, a really great party. The guests were, to a person, smart, well-educated, erudite liberals, and I have fairly high standards. (Yes, I'm an intellectual snob. Sue me.)
But something bugged me. Bugged me hard. Almost all of them will be voting for Obama in the primaries. Nothing wrong with that, per se; Obama is, all things considered, a decent centrist candidate. He's not going to actually fix anything substantial; he's not at any kind of progressive (not even a tepid Edwards-style progressive), but Clinton has the same problem.
What bugged me is why they're voting for Obama. Is his position on universal health care better than Clinton's? Are they punishing Clinton for voting for the Iraq war in 2002? Obama will better restore civil rights and privacy? Has better ideas for the economy? No.
What I heard was a chorus of "Clinton is 'ambitious' and 'phony'."
And I call bullshit.
The charge that Clinton is too "ambitious" is obviously, patently misogynist. It would be ludicrous to charge a man with being too ambitious.
And, in case anyone hasn't noticed, both Obama and Clinton are politicians. They're running for President of the United States. Ambition and insincerity are professional requirements. Few who are sincere and unambitious manage to get elected to the school board, much less President of the United States.
I mean, come on. Obama (so I'm told) speaks with great sincerity, but he speaks without substance, in meaningless generalities. If that's not phoniness, I don't know what is. I don't really fault him for speaking in generalities; anything specific (especially at this point) will get him nothing but trouble. But still.
As Bob Somerby has been pointing out for years, the whole "sincerity and authenticity" narrative is nothing less than pure propagandistic bullshit. Swallow bullshit once and you'll swallow it again: In the general election, the media will portray McCain or Romney (or, God help us, Huckabee) as the "authentic" candidate and Obama as "inauthentic". And half the people who swallowed the "Clinton is phony" bullshit in the primaries will swallow the "Obama is phony" bullshit in the general.
Worse yet, we Democrats are inflicting this bullshit on ourselves. The Republicans want Clinton to win the nomination: It's a hell of a lot easier to be openly misogynist than it is to be racist, and there's a deep well of disgust in the ignorant middle for just the name "Clinton".
If the smart people are still falling for this sort of bullshit propaganda, I just don't see how we have any chance to avoid falling into chaos, civil war and revolution.