By Mark Simpson

Claiming the moral high ground is, in my view, the lowest form of politics. No doubt this means that, like the voters of Pennsylvania, I don’t read The New York Times enough.

We’re really missing out. Yesterday’s haughty editorial in the wake of Senator Clinton’s convincing victory in that key state, despite having the Democratic grandees and the media on her back, and despite being outspent by Obama nearly 3-1, was headlined: ‘The low road to victory’. Congratulations on your win, Hillary!

The editorial, which managed the impressive feat of sounding both screeching and condescending at the same time, accused her campaign of being:

‘…even meaner, more vacuous, more desperate, and more filled with pandering than the mean, vacuous, desperate, pander-filled contests that preceded it.’

Wow. You make it sound much more fun than it actually was.

‘Voters are getting tired of it; it is demeaning the political process; and it does not work.’

Because the NYT says so? Or because it produces big wins for Hillary? But you have to admire a newspaper that can actually print the sentence ‘demeaning the political process’ without it being the punch-line to a joke. Of course, just about the only thing that can ‘demean the political process’ is airy-fairy, hypocritical posturing in place of a good, honest – and, let’s face it, thoroughly entertaining – punch-up.

Limo liberals gazing out at the world through their smoked-glass rear windows while cruising along the moral high road might not know this, but blue collar workers who happen to be the electoral backbone of the Democratic Party appear to. Hillary certainly knows it, which is why she repeatedly compared herself to Rocky – a ‘low’ reference which no doubt also caused the NYT to wrinkle its patrician nose. Either way, the NYT has had enough of this vulgarity:

‘It is past time for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to acknowledge that the negativity, for which she is mostly responsible, does nothing but harm to her, her opponent, her party and the 2008 election.’

And how would you like her to make that acknowledgement? By throwing in the towel? Committing suicide? Writing a mea culpa letter to the NYT? All three? If only Hillary would get out of the way, stop fighting and dragging everything down into the mud of hick states like Pennsylvania, we could get on with the business of reading the NYT:

‘After seven years of George W. Bush’s failed with-us-or-against-us presidency, all American voters deserve to hear a nuanced debate.’

Yes! America is crying out for nuance! From sea to shining sea, from Pennsylvania to California, they shout: give me nuance! Not jobs, peace, security, housing, or a Democratic candidate for the White House that can actually win, or even a serious set-to proper fight, as if any of this stuff really mattered – but civilised, sensible, op-ed nuance. (Not that there’s much nuance in this particular example, though.)

In point of fact, it’s past time that the Democratic Party and the NYT thanked Hillary for fighting dirty.

By fighting dirty – that’s to say, openly attacking her opponent instead of relying on email newsletters, memos, partisan journalism and the poisonous hysteria of fans as Obama has done until now – Hillary has begun to awaken the Democratic Party to the unpalatable truth it’s been avoiding for so long: that the Dali Obama has little or no life outside the Democratic Party and its sensitivities. He is the perfect candidate for defeating her, but the perfect one for the Republicans to destroy. She’s given them a small, relatively restrained taste of what the GOP will do with him – and where they will shove his halo. It’s past time for the NYT and the grandees of the Democratic Party to get down on their expensively tailored knees and thank her for doing so before it was too late.

Limo liberals will never thank her, of course. For many of them Obama was never really meant to win anything more than the Democratic Candidacy. Winning the Presidency itself would be far too vulgar, too ‘low’. He was meant to bring them something much more valuable than a change of Government, especially for those who already have everything. He was meant to make them feel good about themselves. Come polling day, he was supposed, like all Messiahs, to die. The Senator for Illinois is a human sacrifice designed to prove the moral superiority of liberals to the ‘Repugs’, as they like to call them – and in fact to politics itself.

The very reason Hillary is hated and scorned by the limo liberals is because she didn’t leave it to the Republicans to destroy their idol. She forced him to show his hand – and feet of clay – and splutter predictable lies, as he did in the last TV debate. ‘John McCain should go on holiday, Hillary is doing his work for him’ protested recovering Republican millionairess Arianna Huffington recently on her Obama-worshipping Hillary-loathing website.

No, Arianna darling, Hillary is doing the work that liberal journalists should be doing but aren’t because they’ve gone on permanent vacation in ObamaLand: she’s pulled back the curtain and showed the Wizard of Chicago to be… shock! horror! a politician. And a very inexperienced, untested one at that, who, even without Pastor Wright et al bumping around in his very crowded closet, will be crucified by the Republicans. Unceremoniously. There will be nothing morally satisfying or redeeming about it at all: it will just be messy, sickening and brutal. The NYT really will have something to be indignant about then – but it will be far too late.

But perhaps Hillary’s greatest crime, and her ‘lowest’ trick, is not being more electable than Obama and refusing to keep quiet about that, but asking who does the Democratic Party really belong to? Arianna Huffington, the New York Times and the former President of the Harvard Law Review, alias Mr Obama – or ‘bitter’ Scranton, Pennsylvania?

Shame on her. How low can you go?

© Mark Simpson 2008