Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Technical Difficulties

Apologies to my hordes of disappointed readers for the lacuna. My Intertubes were blocked on Tuesday -- or, to put it in less technical terms, our ISP had an all-day, city-wide outage. I had the chance to post from elsewhere in the evening but I said to heck with it. Yesterday, the problem was in the wetware. I think I was just so depressed and disgusted by the completely idiotic and repulsive coverage of politics on TV that my neural circuits were sputtering fecklessly. The link is to Glenn Greenwald, writing coherently.

Anyhow, both the ISP and I have rebooted, so before I do a public health post later today, let me just put in my two cents on the presidential campaign. Nothing terribly original, just the same open letter to Hillary Clinton I know you would write as well.

Dear Senator Clinton: You have already made history as the first woman to run a truly credible campaign for the presidency. You have staked out substantive positions on many issues, and your campaign has simultaneously transcended gender and championed gender equality. Good for you. The next woman to run for president will find the way smoothed by your precedent. Chris Matthews has been chastened (to some extent) and it won't be a novelty, it will just be a presidential campaign.

Alas, it appears that your campaign will not be successful. I don't think that's because you are a woman -- although your relationship with the former president Clinton was undoubtedly a mixed blessing. My mother and aunt actually lost respect for you because you didn't dump the rat. Personally I feel that was your own decision to make and says nothing about your suitability for office -- you obviously knew what you were getting into when you married him -- but it does seem to affect the attitude of some women of a certain generation. Anyhow, the bottom line is that you simply lost to a more compelling candidate. Nothing to be ashamed of, the guy has a lot going for him.

Now, you certainly owe it to your supporters to stay in it until March 4. However, in the past weeks your campaign has threatened to undo all the good you have achieved up until now. You absolutely must put a stop to tactics that portray the Democratic Party as fundamentally undemocratic; that insult and disparage Democratic voters; and that set out to damage the reputation and electability of the likely Democratic nominee for president. You must stop promulgating arguments for your candidacy based on presumptively writing off large segments of the country before November, or on assuming that voters are incompetent to make their own judgments. You must not use race to divide the electorate and you must not try to tell people that they don't understand what is in their own best interest. It's not about you, okay? Don't knock over the chess board in a fit of loser's pique.

If you can entirely repudiate these disgraceful tactics and spend the next few weeks talking about your positive ideas for the country and the reasons why people should vote for Democrats, you will bring credit to yourself and restore your place in the esteem of the party and the nation. When it is clear that the primary voters have spoken, if you are not their choice, you will consolidate your positive place in history by withdrawing, not just with grace, but with real enthusiasm for the historic transformation which lies ahead for the United States in November, and for your opportunity to contribute to it by doing everything in your power to help make it happen. If you cannot do that, you will earn our scorn.

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