Hillary Clinton didn't even wait around for the official results in South Carolina. She knew she was getting trounced, but rather than suffer the indignity of giving one of those Fred Thompson speeches before an audience of supporters that had nothing to cheer about, she beat feet for Tennessee.
I can't really blame her. It is far better to have an upbeat speech in a place where you haven't had your head handed to you, than a downer in a place where you have, knowing full well which one the media will play over, and over and over.
Returning to what would appear to be my favorite subject, but really isn't, I don't think the polls had her getting blasted into oblivion in South Carolina. Losing yes, but by a 30-point margin, I don't think so. Or maybe they did, but the news media just didn't let the rest of us, the people who buy the papers and tune in to the news shows, in on it.
There was plenty of in-depth analysis of Hillary's loss on the Sunday talk shows, mainly centering on the enormity of the black vote for Barack and how many black people didn't vote for Mrs. Clinton.
Lest we forget, this particular vote wasn't supposed to be about race. It was supposed to be about choosing between three major Democratic contenders, one of whom, the guy who won in a state where more than 50 percent of the Democratic voters are black, also just happens to be black.
To his credit, Barack Obama did his best not to go into this from a racial standpoint, while Billary did everything they could to make sure the vote was racially driven. Barack does not see his candidacy as a racial issue and every American should be proud of him for his conduct and his message.
Unfortunately, the voters in South Carolina do see it that way and that is the rub. Because out in the rest of America, black voters don't carry the same weight as they do in South Carolina - they don't have the numbers.
Which means black voters in South Carolina fell right into the Clintons' trap and now in every other state this will be a racial contest. Not that black voters should be counted out in future primaries. The black vote is still a significant demographic in the Democratic Party, as evidenced by Hillary making sure everyone knew that she would attend Sunday church services in a black church in Tennessee today.
I don't know which is more hypocritical, that she is going to church, or that she is going to a black church.
Does anyone else remember Hillary and Bill and Chelsea going to church every Sunday for the eight years they occupied the White House? Jimmy Carter yes, the Clintons, no.
Maybe they did. Maybe they really are devout Christians, not on the level of evangelicals, but still, solid, upright, God-fearing Christian Americans. Maybe it's just me, and I wasn't paying attention.
Or, maybe she has decided that now it's a good thing to be seen in church and is just engaged in political posturing and hypocrisy.
It also is bemusing that she is going to a "black" church, which apparently is the only kind of racially oriented church that is allowed to exist in America. I realize that other ethnic societies tend to group together for a generation or two until assimilation takes place. But while their churches, and especially the names of their churches, may reflect their ethic heritage, I don't recall that other people aren't allowed there, or welcome there.
This extends to Barack too, who has made a point of letting people know he isn't a Muslim, but, as has been extensively discussed on the Internet, tends not to talk about his membership in a "black" church that discourages, if not outright bans, attendance by whites.
I was raised in the Methodist Church, attending from the time I was a toddler until I left home to join the Marines. The first, the Center Brunswick Methodist Church, still stands in the community of the same name. My uncle Bob, who started attending that church when he was in his mid-teens, still goes there and has been a member for nearly 90 years, which should tell you something about my uncle Bob.
The second, the Pawling Avenue Methodist Church, in Troy, New York, had a sign outside telling passersby its name and denomination. It also had one other sign, over the main entrance door. It said WELCOME.
Not welcome, white guys only, or Methodists only, or Protestants only, or even Christians only. It just said Welcome, and as I remember it, everyone who wanted to attend there was welcome. Interesting.
On the political front, it may or may not matter that Hillary went to a black church in Tennessee today. It probably matters a lot more that Juan Williams, a regular commentator on Fox News Sunday noted that the Clintons were passing out "walking around money" to black leaders in South Carolina. Isn't that vote buying? It also probably matters that many of South Carolina's black leaders didn't jump on the Barack bandwagon even as the rank and file did.
Watch for that to have a bigger impact further down the primary trail than it did yesterday.
(By the way, Juan Williams was right when he predicted, before the South Carolina Republican primary, that Fred Thompson would leave the Republican race. I looked at all the evidence that said he didn't have to, but Juan obviously knew the man, and the inside workings of Thompson's campaign far better than I did. Chalk that one up for Juan.)
Mrs. Clinton is now focused on states that will be voting in the next couple of weeks, and probably will do much better elsewhere. Meanwhile, the Republicans, especially Mitt Romney and John McCain, with Mike Huckabee running as a spoiler on McCain's side, are fighting down to the wire in the Florida primary.
I think Romney will take Florida, which is just a hunch, but it is my hunch, and then we'll be done with these "boutique" primaries and we can get down to real primaries, with full slates of delegates, decided only by Republicans. Then we'll see which candidate the rank and file Republicans like, rather than which one the Beltway insiders and media like - if there is anyone left.
A Day That Lives in Ignominy
One last note. Today is the 35th anniversary of the signing of the Paris Peace Accords, a capitulation of American values in Vietnam that ultimately led to the slaughter of more than 3 million residents of Southeast Asia, specifically in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.
The Paris Peace Accords stand as the most significant betrayal of Democracy, the American populace, the South Vietnamese, and the other allies who stood with us in that effort to contain the spread of communism since Neville Chamberlain betrayed Europe and brought about the Second World War.
Two years after the Peace Accords were signed, the communists in North Vietnam again invaded the south, and the American government stood by idly, watching impassively as the screaming populace that had believed we would never abandon them, was left to a horrible fate. They were thrown into concentration camps, murdered by death squads, starvation and forced labor, and ultimately, a million refugees known as The Boat People, tried by any means available to flee the horrors of communist rule.
Virtually simultaneously Laos and Cambodia fell to murderous communist forces. Mass extermination ultimately left millions dead and millions displaced.
The saddest aspect of the end of South Vietnam was that the American military, which had forced the communists to the brink of surrender, before politicians intervened, was blamed for the debacle that resulted two years after the Peace Accords were signed. The South Vietnamese military also had defeated the communists, after the north invaded over Easter of 1972 and lost the biggest battle of the war to the South Vietnamese ground forces backed by American air power.
Yet, less than a year later, conspirators, collaborators and spineless, mewling, fawning, acquiescent, weak-kneed bureaucrats and politicians in Washington, D.C., and Paris, France handed to the communists what their armies had been unable to take by force in over 15 years of war. Less than two years later the lie of the Paris Accords was made all too obvious to the world, and the slaughter was on.
Ignominy means disgrace. I noticed that the media didn't do much in the way of covering this date.
Sunday, January 27, 2008