I briefly considered driving down to DC to check out the protests at the DNC meeting, but thought better of it. But Eve Fairbanks was there:
“Howard Dean may hope that the “healing will begin today,” but two blocks away from the northwest Washington Marriott where the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee is meeting right now to try to figure out Florida and Michigan, the Hillary protesters are occupying an utterly alternate (and healing-free) universe: a universe in which one of the big lawn rally’s speakers yells that the Democratic Party no longer is in the business of “promoting equality and fairness for all”; in which a Hillary supporter with two poodles shouts, “Howard Dean is a leftist freak!”; in which a man exhibits a sign that reads “At least slaves were counted as 3/5ths a Citizen” and shows Dean whipping handcuffed people; and in which Larry Sinclair, the Minnesota man who took to YouTube to allege that Barack Obama had oral sex with him in the back of a limousine in 1999, is one of the belles of the ball.
“They almost made me cry this morning when they told me to get out of there,” the blond Sinclair–who’s looking roly-poly and giddy in a blue-and-white striped shirt with a pack of Marlboros protruding from the breast pocket–says, referring to several nervous protest organizers who tried to evict him when he first showed up at the rally site early this morning carrying a box of “Obama’s DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS: Murder, Drugs, Gay Sex” fliers. Since then, though, he goes on, “I have been totally surprised by the reception I have received!”
He’s not kidding. Clusters of people in Hillary shirts ask to take their photo with him, one woman covered in Clinton buttons introduces him to Greta Van Susteren, and he estimates he has handed out 500 fliers. “You could improve your credibility if you downplayed the gay sex and focused on the drugs,” sagely advises one Hillary supporter with auburn hair and elegant makeup. But in this universe, Sinclair’s credibility doesn’t seem to be suffering too much. In fact, he’s treated nearly as well as he might be at a meeting of the Vast Right-wing Conspiracy. In the thirty minutes I stand with him, only one woman expresses disgust at his fliers and his willingness to chattily discourse on whether Obama is “good in bed.” (…)
It’s easy to sink into despair here. Standing and watching all these Democrats chat up Sinclair–who’s retained Montgomery Blair Sibley as his lawyer and says the Republican National Committee has also been in touch with him–makes me want to fall to my knees, rend my garments, and start insanely screaming, “Wake up! Wake up! You’ll hate a President John McCain!” But the rhetoric from the top has imparted its poison below, and the bitterest criticisms of Obama gain traction as they circulate through the virulently-pro-Hillary echo chamber. “Would you rather have a president who had an affair [Bill Clinton] or one who was a murderer [Obama]?” Jeannie, the Greensboro Democrat, asks a fellow in a floppy Tilley hat and Hillary buttons. “That’s a good point,” he replies.”
It was ugly when some Republicans seemed to seriously believe that the Clintons murdered Vince Foster and hung crack pipes from their Christmas trees. This is ugly in exactly the same way. And if I saw a story in which Obama supporters were acting like this, I’d say that was ugly too. Politics is worth being passionate about, but it’s not worth losing your mind over.
Still, there’s hope:
“Following instructions from Obama HQ, almost no Obama supporters have shown up to protest, amplifying the impression of the alternate Hillary universe. But around the edges, a few small signs of the other universe peek through, the one in which Barack Obama leads and most Democrats don’t suspect him of multiple felonies. Inside the Marriott’s gift shop, the sales clerk tells me that Democratic bumper stickers have been selling like crazy today. “Mostly Hillary?” I ask.
“Actually, mostly Obama,” she giggles.”
(Preemptive note: I am not saying that Clinton supporters in general have lost their minds; just that the particular Clinton supporters Fairbanks describes seem to have.)