I call it HillaBamaDramaRama. It's the traveling circus that is the 2008 Democratic nomination contest between Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. It's been mired by charges of racism and dirty politics, and it's turning into a major point of contention among normally congenial friends. The simple fact is, this race is splitting the party in half with the sort of vehemence not seen in Democratic politics since the 1960's.
I see it it my own relationships. There was a time when verbal sparring with my good pal Brian, a staunch conservative, was the extent of my political boxing matches. These days, I find myself increasingly engaged in Democrat-on-Democrat warfare. It's incredible, but I've not experienced this sort of passion and anger since 2004's Bush/Kerry main event. At first I thought little of it. Saw it as the standard-fare early primary season squabbling--jockeying for our preferred candidates' positions-- among the liberal intelligentsia. We're the ones who watch Hardball year-round and read the NY Times' op-ed page every day. We're junkies, and we think everyone cares about and follows politics as much as we do. But then we're brought down to Earth when we see people on Jay Leno who cannot name the vice president. Yet we're the geeks who know who Howard Wolfson, Bob Shrum, Ralph Reed and John McLaughlin are, and we love to mix it up and debate the landscape. But the debating has gotten intense, and it's pitting close friends who normally share ideology against each other as if we were crossing party lines. It's actually quite a fascinating phenomenon. As such, the party couldn't be any less unified. For the most part, those who like and support Hillary are not impressed by Obama and just aren't feeling the love. And those who back Obama seem to, well, hate Clinton. And I'm not exaggerating.
The intensity is so strong that many Democrats in both camps say they'll either vote for the GOP's John McCain or sit out the election entirely if the other candidate wins the nomination. And there you have the ultimate phenomenon: the steamy intensity of HillaBamaDramaRama has resulted in a new reality show: Democrats Gone Wild. They dislike each others' candidate so much that they'd rather go Red than support the other one. Whether it's rooted in sexism, racism, fear of the unknown or fearing the known, it's getting ugly and could likely cause Democrats the election if they don't start getting their act together.
Another phenomenon of HillaBamaDramaRama is the blurring of ideological lines between Clinton and McCain. The intensity of this primary battle has caused normally intelligent, practical people to utter things like, "There's no difference between McCain and Hillary...so I'm just gonna protest her behavior and vote for him." Huh? Wha? Does Hillary want to prolong the war? Bomb Iran? Overturn Roe v Wade? Outlaw gay marriage? Protect the gun manufacturers? Make permanent the Bush tax cuts? Appoint conservative judges to the Supreme Court? How could anyone--any sane, rational Democrat--truly compare these two polar opposites? The only answer? HillaBamaDramaRama.... Democrats Gone Wild
On another note, we could use your help at The The Adrienne Shelly Foundation. We are a tax-exempt, non-profit organization dedicated in my wife's honor to help carry out her spirit and passion, with the goal of assisting women filmmakers. Adrienne was brutally killed in NYC on November 1, 2006. Through the Foundation, her commitment to filmmaking lives on. We've established scholarships, grants, finishing funds and living stipends at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts/Kanbar Institute of Film; Columbia University; American Film Institute; Women in Film; the Independent Feature Project; the Nantucket Film Festival; and the Sundance Institute. Your generous contribution will go a long way towards helping us achieve this very important mission. Thank you.