Michael Tomasky is a liberal Democrat, a talented writer and reporter, and a long-time commentator from the progressive viewpoint. He does not generally come across as a snarling and angry voice of the male left. Indeed, he often provides real insight to the political process and the evolution of what passes for liberalism in this country. Yet even this erudite voice of the liberal Guardian website could not hold it back. In attacking Senator Hillary Clinton's speech last night after the last primaries of this long primary season, Tomasky let loose.
Once again, it's all about Hillary Clinton, who delivered the most abrasive, self-absorbed, selfish, delusional, emasculating and extortionate political speech I've heard in a long time. And I've left out some adjectives, just to be polite.
I'll dwell on "emasculating," because it's so revealing - and so as not to pick on Tomasky alone, let me suggest it's emblematic of the media's nearly formal campaign to drub Senator Clinton from the race. I'm sure Tomasky didn't literally mean that Clinton's speech held the power to "deprive of masculine vigor or spirit" or "render effeminate" or "vitiate by unmanly softness" the rather stirring campaign of his own favored Barack Obama. He didn't really mean that Hillary's speech could actually "geld" or "castrate" or rob Obama of his "virile or procreative power."
But Tomasky was suggesting that Hillary Clinton still holds some power that can weaken Barack Obama; he chose a gender-packed adverb with a restless rustle across his keyboard in do so, and thereby echoed the historic sex-tinged media mugging of Senator Clinton during this long season. The day that Senator Obama made history by becoming the de facto nominee of a great party (they brought the tablets down from Mount St. Russert, so it's official), an African-American nominee just 44 years after the Voting Rights Act, his supposed acolytes in the media - and much of the liberal blogosphere - allowed their Hillary obsession to cloud their judgment and still their better voices.
And they blamed Clinton for that as well! "Once again, it's all about Hillary Clinton," wrote Tomasky and myriad other pens scratched a similar theme, as if those very pens were somehow controlled by the infamous Clintonian Mind Meld. "She's Still Here!" crowed the headline over right-wing New York Times sex columnist Maureen Dowd's latest Hillary-basher, which also carried the charge that the greatest female politician in American history was seeking to "emasculate" her male foe, a fellow Senator. Should Obama stoop to choosing Mrs. Clinton and her 18 millions votes and swing state mojo as his vice president, Dowd suggested he'd look as "hen-pecked" as poor old Walter Mondale did when he tabbed Gerry Ferraro.
Oh, the hand-wring was spectacular - and it was telling. How much of the Obama media magic springs from an obsession with Bill and Hillary Clinton? On his biggest night, it was wall-to-wall Hillary. And don't blame her. As big-time Obama backer Al Giordano wrote on The Field last night, her speech was unexceptional: "I think that Senator Clinton’s speech was fine." No candidate edged by a nose at the wire after 18 months of slogging around a muddy track for the world's biggest political prize would simply drop an ad hoc concession on her donors and followers and friends.
I'd caution the anti-Clinton obsessives to take a real look at Barack Obama, to assess their public voices, to move on from an unhealthy hatred that must undoubtedly impact in negative fashion on their own lives. Hillary Clinton will be just fine. Of course, she'll do the right thing by the Democratic Party - the real question is, will you?
Funny thing is, I was going to write about Obama and what lays ahead, and perhaps begin to talk about why I'll support him in the fall. But that'll have to wait. All that Clinton hatred got in the way - yet again.
UPDATE: And on the blogs? It's what Liss says.
UPDATE II: What a shocker: Clinton confers with congressional allies and will suspend and endorse during a party unity event she will host on Friday. Such an embarrassing 24 hours for the Clinton haters. Campbell Brown just humiliated Jeffrey Toobin over his now-infamous "deranged narcissism" remark of last night. How emasculating.