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Tuesday, January 08, 2008


nominating the wrong candidate

bill clinton on barack obama in the aftermath of his victory in the iowa caucus.

"It is wrong that Senator Obama got to go through 15 debates trumpeting his superior judgment and how he had been against the war in every year, enumerating the years, and never got asked one time--not once, 'Well, how could you say that when you said in 2004 you didn't know how you would have voted on the resolution? You said in 2004 there was no difference between you and George Bush on the war. And you took that speech you're now running on off your Web site in 2004. And there's no difference in your voting record and Hillary's ever since.'" Mr. Clinton said at a town-hall style meeting Monday afternoon at Dartmouth College. "Give me a break. This whole thing is the biggest fairy tale I've ever seen."

i'm shocked -- and a bit horrified -- that obama has risen to the top of the democratic primary race after having trailed by double digits for months. the narrative he has successfully sold is one of change, but what i see is a complete lack of vetting or even meaningful governing experience. the man has less time in public office than 2000's george w. bush. can anyone really pretend to know anything about how he would govern from the white house? one can say a lot of things about hillary clinton, but that she would be an unknown factor is likely not one of them.

this sort of demogogic degeneracy is part and parcel to democracy, and it is one of the most dangerous and destructive features of the system. clinton knows this, or at least it is in his interest to say as much. the desire of postmodern man for constant revolution, the need to fly from the past because all things past are inherently undesirable, is a sort of sickness of desperation. and obama, i think plainly, is less a pragmatic candidate than a repository of democratic fantasies of an unimpaired candidate.

what's worse, i consider obama to be a deeply deficient candidate in a national election. how will obama run in the south? in the interior west? against not a clinton but john mccain?

clinton is a deeply vetted candidate -- experienced, knowledgable, a policy veteran with all her laundry aired by beltway machinations. so is mccain. obama, however, is virtually the opposite. and that is important, particularly with respect to laundry. obama is an illinois politician with friends like tony rezko. you can be sure that the obama-rezko file will be making a very inopportune appearance in the presidential race. and, for a candidate that has tried to position himself as the agent of ethical change, the shattering of the illusion of highminded idealism could be devastating.

i am no fan of hillary clinton, but i had trouble envisioning a way that she could lose in november to any of the republicans. i can't say that about obama, who is less substance and more of a political "it girl".


Um--Obama actually would have more years in public office than GWB. 1997 to 2008 is 11 years, 1994 to 2000 is 6 years.

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fair enough, bill -- some hyperbole on my part -- though i have great difficulty calling the illinois state senate "political experience" when it is all about staying quiet and taking orders. i really consider his political vetting to have started in 2004.

which is difficult for me to imagine, actually -- his first taste of real politics came just three and some years ago. and now he wants to be president!

part of me finds it difficult to believe that the democratic party would acquiesce to running him from such a shallow base -- they never would have 40 years ago. but things have become much more demagogic in american politics since that time.

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particularly interesting to see truman call out kennedy on inexperience -- and kennedy had been in washington for 14 years at that time, six as congressman and eight as senator.

things have changed a great deal indeed in the age of telegenics.

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