Political Thoughts

I still intend to not write about politics at all, except on those occasions when I do.  Perhaps just a once-a-month vent on what’s happening.  I guess I write these things for my own archive as much as anything, to remember the peculiar world of the race for the White House, circa December 2007.

First, I’ve come to the realization that while I respect Hillary Clinton and think she would be a good President, I’m leaning towards Obama.  His lack of experience doesn’t scare me much, and I just like the change he represents.  I’d be happy with either candidate because I think either will win the Presidency and help the country there, but I think Obama’s my preference.  Plus, I’d really love to watch the GOP mount a campaign where they legitimately try to make the argument that because Obama allegedly attended a madrassa when he was 8 or something means he is unfit to be President.  I can’t think of a more illuminating national discussion to expose the horrible impacts of fear and paranoia on the psyche of some of the more security-minded parts of our electorate.

I have to say, though, that I’m a little stunned at how polarized the general Democratic electorate seems to be between Obama’s and Hillary’s supporters.  The vitriol and paranoia on both sides is alarming to me.  Hopefully everybody can reconcile once we get through the primary season, but I’m concerned that some of the factionalization that we saw with the Nader and Dean campaigns will be dwarfed by what lies ahead for progressives.

Of course things could be worse.  I could be a Republican!  What a joke that field is.  Personally, I don’t see how any of them can garner enough of a consensus to win the GOP nomination, much less more than 45% of a general election.  Of the announced candidates, I’m still of the belief that McCain is the only one who can really cobble together enough of a coalition to win the nomination.  But, there seem to be a lot of people who think he had burned too many bridges with the party faithful over the years.  But I bet a lot of people come around to him once they realize what dogs Romney, Rudy and Huckabee are.  McCain might have sold himself out a number of times, but he’s not a flip-flopping liberal Mormon, a crooked northeast liberal, or an egomaniac nut-case who doesn’t believe in dinosaurs.

I’m starting to see speculation the real GOP candidate may not even be in the race yet.  Names like Jeb Bush (no), Dick Cheney (No!), and Newt Gingrich (hmm…) are being bandied about.  Gingrich is worth watching.  He has conservative credentials, he’s a bright guy, and his hands are clean of the fiascos of the last eight years.   He’s not nuts, he’s not crooked, he’s not a religious nutcase, and he’s only got one divorce on his record.  I think.  But whoever gets the nomination, I figure Huckabee’s got the VP bid locked up for the GOP.  He’ll deliver the anti-dinosaur crowd.

Yes, proud times for the GOP.  Reap what you sow, mofos.

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8 Responses to Political Thoughts

  1. Steve says:

    I think that you are right, in general: I’m comfortable with all the dem candidates. Personally, I like Dodd, but he isn’t going to win. Second choice for me would be Edwards, mostly because I know the work he has done here in NC, and I like it. But all the candidates are decent. Not so with the GOP, and that gives hope. I mean, they are really a motley crew, and I am not invoking bad heavy metal there.

  2. Jeff H says:

    Considering that /:-=( supposedly made it to the White House in part because of the “rather have a beer with” factor, a Clinton campaign scares me. I don’t know that cracking open a cold one with Obama would be that entertaining, but he definitely finishes after Hillary in the “really rather not be stuck in an elevator with” contest.

    Reference:
    Emoticons During Wartime, by Tom McNichol
    http://www.newyorker.com/talk/2007/12/10/071210ta_talk_mcnichol

  3. pipelineblog says:

    Sure, but who would you rather do a couple lines with?

  4. pipelineblog says:

    Oh…and excellent New Yorker piece. Two Sammy Davis jokes in my household within mere minutes of each other!

  5. Mike Berre says:

    Inexperience? That doesn’t hold water. Brendan Nyhan has been tracking this meme on his blog. Obama has more experience that Hillary at this point and his time prior to elected office is a frash change for a candidate.

    http://www.brendan-nyhan.com/blog/2007/10/bill-clinton-ca.html:

    Bill Clinton calls Obama inexperienced

    The latest phony salvo in the Hillary camp’s claims about experience comes from Bill, who described Obama as less experienced than he was in 1992:

    Former President Bill Clinton said he was far more experienced when he made his successful 1992 White House run than Senator Barack Obama is today.

    “There is a difference,” Clinton said in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital With Al Hunt” that will air this weekend. “I was the senior governor in America. I had been head of any number of national organizations that were related to the major issue of the day, which is how to restore America’s economic strength.”

    But as I’ve pointed out many times, Obama and Hillary are equally inexperienced. Clinton’s criticism applies just as forcefully to her.

    Here’s former Clinton Secretary of Labor Robert Reich making a similar point:

    [I]t strikes me as unfair to claim that Obama lacks relevant experience for the presidency. When he ran in 1992, Bill Clinton had been the governor of a small, rural southern state; as such, he had only limited experience with national issues and no foreign policy experience to speak of. Incidentally, at this point in the 2008 presidential election, Hillary Clinton has served as an elected official in the U.S. Senate for not quite eight years, and before that a First Lady in the White House. Obama has so far held elective office for almost twelve years, at both levels of government – first as an Illinois state senator and then as a U.S. Senator. Before that he was a community organizer among Chicago’s poor, and then a civil rights lawyer – two experiences that in my view are critically relevant to anyone seeking to become president of all Americans.

  6. Great post, Mike. I agree, Obama’s experience isn’t any more or less of a factor for him than it is for anybody else in this race, other than all that experience dealing coke in madrassas while he was in kindergarten.

    Since he’s likely to be running against a governor or a mayor, I’m sure we’ll hear a lot about how they were the “chief executive” of some particular entity, and why that’s singularly different than being a senator or representative. But does the voting public really buy that? I see no evidence looking at past races.

  7. kelly says:

    I think being a political outsider could be a huge win. Just experienced enough to get it, not so entrenched to lose on Kerry like grounds. he has smarts, magnetic charisma, and a midwestern sensibility that allows him to talk straight and sound sincere. And while I could come up with the profile of a better dem candidate than whats currently in the field, isn’t it sweet that our two best choices are a woman and a black man? I wasn’t so sure that would happen in my lifetime. One of them is going to be president….. personally I’d rather see Obama.

    I know there are a lot of Edwards fans out there…. and he has his merits. But I think that guy would make a sweet VP…. I’m glad he’s not our top contender.

    I think Hillary has sold out she wants to get elected so bad. I’m going to rant a lot here. But the nut of it for Hillary, is that she polarizing cause no one wants on the elevator with her. Well if you are going to get heat and be disliked so strongly by a bunch of A-holes; why the f’ wouldnt you at least take a stant for some real reform. Her margin of victory isnt going to be solidified by pandering to the middle; they already have a hard time figuring out what the hell they want to do. Standing for nothing, and taking this much heat just makes her a sitting duck.

    Too much advice from the centrist polsters. And WTF is up with all the dems stupid medical reform (particularly hers); its much more like a hand-out to medical insurance companies than it is protective of an under-served, uninsured portion of the electorate….. I just don’t get it. You might as well not mention it at all.

    Hillary’s medical reforms. It was the only significant contribution she had to any national discussion prior to her Senatorial tenure, which has largely been unnotable. Always talking, always in the middle, always boring….. sorry for the ramble. But while she’s been labeled a lot of ugly words for her prior stances…. its the only memorable thing she done other than stand there and take it. She should do herself a favor and take a stand…. if the right or center starts getting rabid put them in their place. Shes smart and a tough cookie, don’t get her pandering centrist ways.

  8. pipelineblog says:

    Kelly, I agree completely on Hillary’s choices. Too many safe choices; she’s smart enough to be able to go a different way if that’s really what she wanted to do. Sometimes being the presumptive favorite is too much of a burden; she has everything to lose, so she risks nothing.

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