Destroy all monsters

It’s the end for Hillary Clinton, but other beasts will soon rise from the deep

Illustration By robert armstrong

It’s over. If you’re reading this after the final Democratic presidential primaries on Tuesday, June 3, Barack Obama has been anointed officially as the party’s nominee. If you’re reading it before then, call me master of the obvious. After months of gaffs, quasi-racist attacks and outright lies, Hillary Clinton has finally gone too far. In case you were packing up for the Memorial Day weekend and missed it, the world’s most celebrated woman scorned explained why she was staying in the race to the editorial board of a Sioux Falls, South Dakota, newspaper, The Argus Leader:

“My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. I don’t understand it.”

Obama, as the Clinton campaign has repeatedly reminded us, is a black man, and as a black man seeking the nation’s highest office, he has been beset by death threats since declaring his candidacy. Clinton is now exploiting the one avenue she has left to the presidency, her Democratic rival’s assassination.

No one, with the possible exception of the right-wing media morons who’ve recently become Clinton’s best friends, is going to let this one slide. As the esteemed leftist pundit Alexander Cockburn so eloquently put it, Clinton has conjured a scene straight out of The Manchurian Candidate. Inadvertently or not, she has encouraged every James Earl Ray wannabe in the phone book to take a potshot at the senator from Illinois. Writes Cockburn:

“The wish is mother to the deed. If anything does happen to Obama in California, Mrs. Clinton should surely be indicted as a co-conspirator.”

In short, it’s curtains for Clinton, who as The New York Times noted in the wake of her reprehensible RFK reference, faces a rocky return to the Senate, where many of her colleagues abandoned her in favor of the senator from Illinois.

With this fall’s battle winnowed down to the final two combatants, Obama and Republican Sen. John McCain, what happens next is anybody’s guess. Will we enjoy the standard race to the center the last five presidential elections have presented? Or is Obama truly the candidate of change who will withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq, reverse the decline of American industry and redeem the nation in the eyes of the world? Moreover, are Americans, who oppose the Iraq war by at least a 2-to-1 margin, ready to put their votes where their mouths are?

Much depends on whether McCain makes it to November, not to mention the Republican convention this September in Minneapolis-St. Paul. Rush Limbaugh’s Operation Chaos seeks to disrupt the Democratic Convention, but the real fun and games could happen at the GOP hoedown. McCain faces significant backlash from the party’s right-wingers, who undoubtedly gasped in dismay when McCain threw the homophobic, warmongering nut ball televangelist John Hagee under the bus last weekend, ostensibly for the pastor’s oft-stated belief that the Holocaust was God’s way of returning Jews to the holy land. Ironically, neocons consider the anti-Semitic Hagee a strong supporter of Israel, and McCain’s disavowal won’t sit well with them. President Newt Gingrich, anyone?

Then there’s the chance that cancer—McCain has had three bouts with the most serious form of melanoma—might remove the Republican candidate from play. George Ure, an Elliot Wave data freak who runs the Urban Survival and Peoplenomics Web sites, has used linguistic searches via Google to predict that one of the presidential candidates will drop out before October due to health issues. Of course, as Hillary Clinton pointed out, a bullet in the head can be pretty unhealthy, too—almost as bad as putting your foot in your mouth.

Bottomed out: In my recent column, “Guilty till proven innocent,” (SN&R Race to the Bottom, May 15), I incorrectly stated that there are only 14 attorneys working under Sacramento County Chief Public Defender Paulino Duran. In fact, Duran informs me that there are 108 attorneys in the office, including Duran and his two assistants.

Duran also wished to emphasize that the attorney in the individual case cited in the column, while court-appointed, was assigned by the Conflict Criminal Defender’s office and not the Public Defender.

Finally, Duran notes that 96 percent to 97 percent of the department’s cases plead out, not 100 percent as I stated. The column, Duran said, “left the impression we are not willing to litigate. That’s not the case. We’re always ready, willing and able to push our clients’ case.”

I regret the errors and any misunderstanding the column may have created. My sincere apologies to the county’s public defenders and the staff that ably supports them in extremely adverse conditions.