I am definitely in the camp that sees the treatment of Hillary as grotesque. Some of the attacks on Hillary Clinton have been nothing more than anti-woman hate crimes. Some of the anti-Clinton sentiment has been caused by fear of women gaining equality. As Robin Morgan wrote, "This is sociopathic woman-hating. If it were about Jews, we would recognize it instantly as anti-Semitic propaganda; if about race, as KKK poison. Hell, PETA would go ballistic if such vomitous spew were directed at animals. Where is our sense of outrage—as citizens, voters, Americans?"
Some of the attacks on Hillary are not rooted in sexism. Things she said have been horribly twisted and horrible claims made about her: that she is evil, racist, power-grubbing. The character attacks are so ubiquitous that some people believe them implicitly. This demonization is just inexplicable to me, but it seems to be inherent in US politics, where there seems to be a need to hate the person you don't support.
The culprits behind the misogynistic attacks and demonization are the mainstream media, new media, Obama supporters and - doubtless - Republican operatives, working in the shadows.
But my disgust at the course of this campaign goes beyond the attacks on Hillary. I am also angry with Barack Obama for his treatment of Bill Clinton. Obama has repeatedly attacked Bill Clinton's record as president, popularizing the notion that Clinton achieved nothing worthwhile and was either a right-wing lap dog or just uncaring and incompetent. I recently saw a town hall meeting in which Obama was asked a rude question about Bill Clinton. Obama laughed derisively, sharing a little sneer and letting the audience join in with a laugh at the former president's expense before answering more diplomatically. It was ugly.
It has been a central strategy of the Obama campaign to undermine the record of Bill Clinton. I can see why he did it: to tear down Hillary he felt he had to tear down the record of her husband. It was unfair, it was nasty, and it was bad for the party, but it was good politics.
Krugman concludes that "it’s up to Mr. Obama to deliver the unity he has always promised — starting with his own party." Krugman suggests this might be done by offering Hillary the vice presidential spot. But I think Obama has to go beyond that. He has to heal the bitterness felt by supporters of Bill Clinton. That is necessary to unite the Democratic party.