For Hoosier Democrats, Endless Laps On a Racetrack
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
INDIANAPOLIS, May 6 -- Tuesday, as Indiana went to the polls to weigh in on the never-ending Democratic race, it was officially sick and tired.
"I'm sick of it," says John McCain supporter Pat McBroom, 78.
"I'm tired of it," says Hillary Clinton supporter Sister Gloria Gallagher.
"Most people would be glad if one of them would just go ahead and sit down," says Barack Obama supporter Miles Dodson, 50.
You can just see the angry political science professor shaking his finger in Indiana's face: Democracy is the chance for every voice to be heard! Except when democracy means that Iowa and a few other states decide the race before Indiana even gets to open its mouth. Does Indiana want to go back to those days? Huh? Does it?
No, Indiana doesn't want that. Indiana has just been confused.
"It's a Catch-22 here," says Mitchell Tandy, 36, a FedEx employee leaving St. Andrew Presbyterian after casting his ballot, though for whom he won't say. Part of him was overjoyed that his state finally got to weigh in on the Democratic nomination, and part of him was just wearied by The Race That Will Not End (TRTWNE). Even late Tuesday, after Obama said it appeared that Clinton had won Indiana, and Clinton took the stage and vowed to continue, the final votes had still not come in and the news organizations had still not called it, and the race went on and on.
Indiana has had two weeks of ads, two weeks of news reports. ( You think you had it bad, Pennsylvania says. Try six.) And in recent days, it got uglier, with an Obama ad referencing Clinton's "bogus gas tax gimmick" and a Clinton ad asking, menacingly, "What has happened to Barack Obama?" The folks who've had it the worst are the Clinton supporters, who know that their candidate is behind in pledged delegates. They are alternately tortured and defiant.
"Part of me says that perhaps she should give in for the good of the party," says Brenda Holstine, 64, who then casts her vote for Clinton.
Will Clinton give in? Let's ask. Here is the candidate herself, making a morning stop at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to tour the garage of Indy 500 driver and supporter Sarah Fisher.
"Oh my goodness," Clinton says, walking into the garage, and it isn't clear if she is awed by the blue race car at her feet or by the number of reporters who've squeezed into such a tiny space to witness TRTWNE. She betrays no hint of what's at stake today.
"This is the technology of the future!" she says enthusiastically, after Fisher hands her the car's steering wheel. "Now what's the top speed of this car?"