This is madness.
Howard Dean may hope that the “healing will begin today,” but two blocks away from the northwest Washington Marriott where the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee is meeting right now to try to figure out Florida and Michigan, the Hillary protesters are occupying an utterly alternate (and healing-free) universe: a universe in which one of the big lawn rally’s speakers yells that the Democratic Party no longer is in the business of “promoting equality and fairness for all”; in which a Hillary supporter with two poodles shouts, “Howard Dean is a leftist freak!”; in which a man exhibits a sign that reads “At least slaves were counted as 3/5ths a Citizen” and shows Dean whipping handcuffed people; and in which Larry Sinclair, the Minnesota man who took to YouTube to allege that Barack Obama had oral sex with him in the back of a limousine in 1999, is one of the belles of the ball.
The sense of entitlement is overwhelming.
Of the eight Hillary supporters I quiz at the protest (six of them women), only one says she’d even consider voting for Obama in the fall. “It’s sad. I’m a lifelong Democrat and the party’s been taken over by these Obama people who say they want ‘change,'” gripes Linda of Horseheads, New York, outside the Marriott as a honking car decorated with a painting of Hillary, a glued-on bust of Cleopatra, and a tampon drives by. Linda, she says, has already gone to the state Board of Elections to learn how to write Hillary’s name in in November. “So much has been stolen from her.”
Hillary has absolutely poisoned the well.
It’s easy to sink into despair here. Standing and watching all these Democrats chat up Sinclair–who’s retained Montgomery Blair Sibley as his lawyer and says the Republican National Committee has also been in touch with him–makes me want to fall to my knees, rend my garments, and start insanely screaming, “Wake up! Wake up! You’ll hate a President John McCain!” But the rhetoric from the top has imparted its poison below, and the bitterest criticisms of Obama gain traction as they circulate through the virulently-pro-Hillary echo chamber. “Would you rather have a president who had an affair [Bill Clinton] or one who was a murderer [Obama]?” Jeannie, the Greensboro Democrat, asks a fellow in a floppy Tilley hat and Hillary buttons. “That’s a good point,” he replies.