THE HILLARY FEEDING FRENZY….The online feeding frenzy against Hillary Clinton is driving me crazy. And that’s despite the fact that I support Obama and, all things considered, think Hillary should probably withdraw from the race.

More on that later — maybe — but for now I just want to make one comment: the current attempts to tar Hillary as a racist have gone way, way over the top. They’re revolting. Back before the South Carolina primary, the Clinton campaign and its surrogates really did seem to be making a few too many racially charged comments for it to be just a coincidence (though even then some of the accusations were bogus), but after South Carolina it pretty much stopped. I can’t say whether it stopped for reasons of politics or reasons of principle, but it stopped.

But the accusations of racism haven’t. They’ve just gotten more ridiculous. Last week a commenter at Daily Kos claimed that the Clinton campaign had concocted an ad that deliberately darkened Obama’s face (to make him scarier) and changed the image’s aspect ratio (to make his nose broader). They hadn’t. After a 60 Minutes appearance, Hillary got slammed for supposedly implying the Obama might be a Muslim. As Eric Boehlert points out, this is patently absurd. Then, a couple of days ago, a legion of bloggers started locking onto the inane meme that talk of Obama as Hillary’s VP was like asking him to “ride in the back of the bus.” Finally, today, Orlando Patterson, in an apparent attempt to make parody obsolete, writes that when he saw Hillary’s “3 am” ad, “I couldn’t help but think of D. W. Griffith’s ‘Birth of a Nation,’ the racist movie epic that helped revive the Ku Klux Klan, with its portrayal of black men lurking in the bushes around white society.” Hell, even I fell for the racism meme a couple of weeks ago, getting suckered into passing along a Drudge slander about Hillary’s campaign supposedly circulating a photo of Obama in “Muslim” garb.

Paul Krugman is right: a large part of the progressive movement seems to have lost its sanity. Hillary’s comments about John McCain being commander-in-chief material were indefensible, and there’s no question that she’s running a very hardnosed campaign. At this point it looks an awful lot like it’s only going to get worse, and it’s going to get worse even though she has virtually no chance of winning. I wish she’d withdraw gracefully. But that said, she’s not the devil and the fever swamp should be left back in the swamp where it belongs. Can we please bring some sanity back to the blogosphere?

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