Act Like You’ve Been There Before

Hilzoy nails it to Hillary and, in my opinion, the media:

I am aware that it must be hard to face the fact that you’ve lost. But it became clear that she was not going to win the nomination months ago — I would say after Wisconsin, but certainly after Texas. Moreover, this is not unprecedented. People lose the nomination every four years. Most of the time, they do not stay on until it is mathematically impossible for them to win; they leave when it has become clear that they will not win. They do not complain about disenfranchising all the states with later primaries, they do not threaten to keep their supporters home, and they certainly do not threaten “open civil war” if they don’t get nominated for Vice President. On those rare occasions when some candidate does this in the absence of some truly monumental issue, we normally think that that candidate is a narcissistic and unprincipled person who has just shown why s/he should never, ever be President.

There is absolutely no reason not to apply these same standards to Hillary Clinton. Right now, instead of floating demands in the press and comparing herself to abolitionists and suffragists, she could be telling her supporters that she lost fair and square; that while there was a lot of sexism in the campaign, there was racism as well, and that sexism does not explain why a candidate with literally every institutional advantage over her opponent lost the nomination. She could be reaching out to the voters who supported her in places where Obama has had trouble, and urging them to vote for him. She could, in a word, be doing the right thing: trying to earn that respect she seems to want.

I don’t know if narcissism is the way to put it, but Hillary has always had a noticeable moralist streak, a sense that she, and only she, was on a perpetual quest for all things good and holy. I suspect that at some level Obama isn’t merely an opponent, another Democrat as well, but a usurper of her grand quest for the ultimate good in the world (her). That’s the only way I can rectify her ability to make absurd comparisons between upholding rules so uncontroversial that every Clinton supporter on RBC voted for them last summer to people being beaten and killed in Zimbabwe.

And as Hilzoy points out, it’s not like this song and dance doesn’t work out more or less every primary season.