Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Mr. Obama's campaign often seems to teeter on becoming a cult of personality--a feeling that the candidate and those around him do nothing to dispel. In an interview with ABC's "Good Morning America," on Monday, Mr. Obama's wife, Michelle, was asked if she would work to support Mrs. Clinton if she won. "I'd have to think about that," she replied.Three points.
Mrs. Obama quickly got back on her talking points, stressing party unity. But her unguarded answer was similar to what we heard from Obama supporters in e-mail messages that we received after endorsing Mrs. Clinton. Many of those readers said they would not bother to vote if Mr. Obama lost the nomination. That is not the way democracy is supposed to work.
First: The Obama "cult of personality"? Are you kidding? Is this The New York Times or Rush Limbaugh? I have literally no idea what The Times is referring to here--and I've been watching this race very closely.
Are many Obama supporters passionate? Clearly. (Though not nearly as passionate as were Howard Dean's core supporters.) But painting that enthusiasm as cult-like is sloppy, histrionic and irresponsible.
Second: It's especially sloppy given the meager evidence The Times produces: That the paper got a few nasty e-mails (?!?) and that Michelle Obama said that she might not work to support Hillary Clinton as nominee. How this kind of off-hand comment proves anything is utterly beyond me.
Third: Regarding the assertion, "That is not the way democracy is supposed to work." If Sen. Clinton is the nominee, I will tell any Obama supporter that it would be a serious, dangerous mistake not to support her. But sitting out the election would not be, as The Times posits, an affront to democracy.
People should vote their consciences. The idea that doing so might be undemocratic is madness.
The Times should know better.