intramural skirmishes…

…can be good practice, or you could injure a teammate. In a recent email exchange with the Port Awesome crew I found myself playing a Devil’s Advocate role to the Obamamania. The truth is that I will be very happy to pull the lever for either Clinton or Obama in November but that I prefer technocrat Hillary to populist Obama. Their positions are virtually identical but their approaches are very different. I think I pushed too hard on the Devil’s behalf, or I wasn’t being entirely honest with myself as to my objectivity. Either way, I ended up apologizing more than once.

Of course, this exact argument is playing itself out across the country and has already resulted in at least one stabbing. Passions are high. That’s because people are sensing what is at stake, and that is the direction this country is going to go next. Memories of the last eight years and a glance around at the current state of affairs is all one needs to understand why people feel so fervently about what direction we take.

This presidential election is making me feel my age. It’s not that age is the only relevant factor in the Clinton/Obama divide, but it seems to me that I stand on the edge of it. For me, Clinton is the devil I know and as such much easier to deal with. As I think about this position it strikes me as cowardly and cynical.

I’m watching the Cleveland debate. Obama deftly accepted Clinton at her word when she said that she had not known anything about the email to the Drudge Report of Obama in native garb and set aside the whole issue with an economy of words. His crack about ‘whining’ still doesn’t offset her points on health care, but I still thought it was a good shot. I like what he has to say about future trade agreements, but I really like what she has to say about renegotiating NAFTA. Apparently he does, too. Hooray for investing in infrastructure and science. Hooray for presidential candidates saying ‘science’ without a sneer. Hillary is sexxxxxy when she talks about solar panels and green collar job training. Tim Russert is a twit. Williams brings up the comparison of Obama’s experience to Bush. Obama handles it, but Hillary scores several solid blows. Obama falters on his response but comes back clarifying what he said about Pakistan last summer and pointing out how he basically described the recent successful action in Pakistan against Al Qaeda. Good for Hillary calling out Russert’s ridiculous hypotheticals. Your fantasies are not reality, Tim Russert! Russert, undeterred, asks Obama if he would reserve the right to reinvade Iraq after withdrawing. Obama responds, Hillary is cut off for a halftime commercial break.

Mmmmm. Yep. I still like ’em both. They’re both incredibly smart and their differences are miniscule. The best thing about these debates is that whichever candidate comes out of this process will be honed razor sharp and absolutely ready to take on John McCain. That is, unless they stab each other. Ooo, we’re back.

They open with a tape of Hillary poking fun at Obamania. Obama responds beautifully. Hillary comes back lacking his earnestness but matching his passion. It’s Obama’s turn to be cut off as tape rolls featuring him attacking her. He does very well expanding upon the attack and honing it to strike directly at her strength, the health care plan.

And now it’s time to watch ‘The Office’. I still like them both. Either of them have my vote in November. I’m sorry, I can’t equate either of them with Bush. Democrats, come together: for once we have a real choice.    

4 Responses to “intramural skirmishes…”

  1. Good Sir Winston,

    I found myself equally torn up until our own primary, and then the slight leaning turned full tilt to Obama. I like Hilary Clinton, I respect her drive and intelligence immensely, and if her fortunes reverse and she ends up with the nomination I’ll gladly vote for her. But I’ve thrown my support behind Obama, because American political culture has changed me in the last seven years.

    If I were still interested in revenge against those who called us traitors and attempted to peer into our bedrooms and deathbeds, I’d have a Hilary ’08 sign in my window right now. I have to admit, I haven’t forgotten being pissed on by the Right. But…in my own mind I’ve also come to realize that American political discourse needs desperately to be elevated–I want to vote for a candidate who brings a more positive energy to the process, and who, instead of the 50%+1 riule that’s dominated our politics, actually can biuld a broad coalition of supporters (note the moderate Republicans on TV practically gushing about Obama). While much of it isn’t her fault, Hilary Clinton can’t do that. Obama can get votes she can’t.

    Excelsior.

  2. vote lisa 2008 Says:

    if you don’t want to be pictured in the press in ‘native garb’ then don’t wear native garb, then act surprised when people dig it up and use it against you because politics is dirty. better get used to that if you win the nomination quite simple and this really , for me typifies his inexperience.

    you didn’t mention it tony, but i do believe super delegates are there because of their political experience and standing in the party. they’re not simply endorsers – theres no point in an endorsement, it just adds a tier of nodding platitude. super delegates are there to follow their own hearts and heads – if that means Obama all well and good, but it shouldn’t just be a nod at the electorate.

    oh and you’d vote for Hillary because she’s ‘sexxxxxxy when she talks about solar panels’? good grief, thank you feminism for this opportunity, it’s just as well your penis doesn’t have a vote ( I know, it was tongue in (your own) cheek…)

  3. votelisa-
    You’re right about superdelegates-they form a bulwark against populist surges that threaten the cohesion of the party. Some feel that they are inherently anti-democratic, but I don’t think that’s true. The truth is that no matter how much we may love them, ‘the People’ easily become ‘a Mob’. Mass movements of people are far more emotionally driven than by reason, and that is why the superdelegate system makes sense to me. It’s the same reason we have a Senate. However, it looks like Obama’s popularity is going to overwhelm the superdelegates.
    It worries me that the people I encounter that are most excited about Obama have no living memory of the early Clinton years or Carter, for that matter.
    Prof-
    I know what you’re saying and it makes sense to me, but I don’t care about ‘revenge’ at this point either. The fact that Obama and Clinton are the two viable candidates to succeed Bush is revenge enough against the right. I am very concerned about what happens after the next President assumes office. That’s when things are going to get very interesting.

  4. Winston,

    I have a very unromantic perspective on Obama–yes, his speeches are stirring and lovely and full of warm fuzzy things, and am completely aware that much of his appeal to voters is emotional as opposed to intellectual (something Democrats haven’t had in a very, very long time). That being said, he’s also really, really smart (as is Hilary, of course).

    What draws me intellectually to Obama and repels me slightly from Clinton is the massive power built up by the Bush administration and how they’ve addressed it–Obama has spoken several times of the need to pull back from that, while I haven’t heard Hilary mention it once; I fear she’ll keep that same power structure in place, and simply use it for different (and, admittedly, probably better) ends. Nonetheless, it is dangerous. The “Unitary Executive” theory of governance needs to go away, and soon, or we’ll all be in even bigger trouble than we already are.

    That being said, I have graver concerns about a McCain presidency than either of the other two, and if fortunes reverse and the superdelegates nominate Hilary Clinton over the people’s wishes, I for one won’t be so pissed off that I forget what’s at stake, and she’ll still get my enthusiastic vote.

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