It's easy to see why Hillary hates Obama. Indeed, it's easy to see why the lefty blogosphere seems to hold him with such contempt. There is a fearlessness about Barack Obama, an unwillingness to fellate the Establishment, whether it be the party base or the Queen Beez who are meeting in Chicago this weekend, that reminds progressives of the last Democratic President. Clinton, remember, was from the conservative wing of the party, and signed a bill that all but ended welfare, and supported a free trade agreement that was a valentine to the wealthy, and maintained a balanced budget. His health care plan, which was one of his few liberal maneuvers in office, failed spectacularly.
And yet progressives loved him every step of the way, while conservative Democrats never trusted him, never had his back, and always acted the role of a Fifth Column. We knew that when the chips were down, Clinton was on our side, precisely because he would fight hard for the battles that really counted to liberals, even if the battles were mainly defensive in nature over his last six years in office. Far from alienating the base, his "Sista Soldja" moments solidified our support, because it showed that he respected us enough not to mince words.
More importantly, he had the right enemies. Conservatives hated him, as did that contingent of lefties, usually found on the pages of The Nation or at meetings of the Green Party, whose power comes from their ability to sabotage progressive causes in the interest of ideological purity. When Clinton lied under oath, it was progressives that stood by him, turning what would ordinarily have been an offense that justified his removal from office into a rallying cry. We knew that Clinton told the truth about the things that really matter, even if he risked losing our votes in the process.
I have a feeling that Sen. Obama can inspire the same loyalty.