There was a time when Bill Clinton topped my list of all-time favorite Americans. His presidency brought peace and prosperity to our country. His policies put millions of people back to work.
He is still one of our greatest presidents, but he’s not a hero of mine any more. Similarly, there was also a time when Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton was one of my heroes. Sharply intelligent and graceful, she was one of the most effective First Ladies ever.
This campaign has changed all that. The Clintons are no longer idolized by me. I’m still cool with Chelsea, but Bill and Hillary have angered and disappointed me by running one of the most brutally cynical and negative campaigns in history.
Faced with a tidal wave of support for Barack Obama, the Clintons’ response has been nothing short of disgraceful. As soon as it became apparent she was losing, the Clintons took a page from the Nixon and Bush playbook and started fighting dirty.
Mrs. Clinton now takes every opportunity to paint Obama as a radical and never passes up a chance to use the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s name as a tactic to scare white people. But when Bill was caught up in a sex scandal, whom did he call upon for spiritual counseling? Rev. Wright.
The Clintons have shown a tendency to ruthlessly attack when cornered. That was a smart tactic when the opponents were truly evil, like Newt Gingrich, but despicable in this context.
Make no mistake. If Sen. Clinton were to become the Democratic nominee, I’d still vote for her. Voting for a Republican, any Republican, this year is like signing a contract to guarantee more misery, death, perpetual war and economic catastrophe.
After eight years of military rule in Washington, we need someone with a big broom and a few hundred thousand gallons of Pine-sol to clean away the stench Bush and Cheney have left behind.
But Sen. Clinton is not the right person for the job, not now. She’s crossed one too many lines, thrown one too many dirty punches and burned one too many bridges for that. Her campaign tactics have shown her to be as mean, petty and desperate as the Rush Limbaughs of the world always said she was.
She’s been placed in the position where her only option to win is to fight unfairly. Instead of offering hope, she’s trying to crush it. Instead of positive reasons to support her, she’s spending her time attacking Obama.
I expect that from Karl Rove. But I never expected it from the spouse of the man from Hope, Arkansas. The real story of this campaign, when all is said and done, is the way in which the legacy of the Clintons was irreversibly tarnished.
Aided by a one-sided, shamefully run debate last week, she may well win in Pennsylvania and continue her campaign. That will shift the burden squarely to us in Indiana.
I guess it comes down to one question: Do we want the politics of the past or of the future? Do we want what Michael Moore calls the “death train” of the John McCain Straight Talk Express, the old-time, insider politics of the Clintons, or something new?
There has never been a man like Barack Obama in American politics, not since Abraham Lincoln. No one man has offered himself for the presidency with the potential to unify, heal and restore this country as he has. He doesn’t have all the answers, but he has a good heart and a healthy supply of compassion.
A vote for McCain is a vote for four more years of Bush policies. A vote for Clinton is a vote for the return of insider politics and Nixonian dirty tricks. A vote for Obama is a signal that democracy is alive and well.
Six months ago, if you’d told me that Bill Clinton would have disappointed and angered me this way, I’d have said you’re crazy. But the fact that he was a great president doesn’t mean he hasn’t been imitating Bush during this campaign.
If, for some reason, the Indiana primary on May 6 turns out to be the tie-breaker in this presidential campaign, I don’t want it on my conscience that I voted the wrong way. We may have the opportunity to say no to the negative ads and dirty campaigns of the Clintons.
We owe it to ourselves, our future and our nation to vote for Sen. Barack Obama on May 6.