Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Start Spreading the Boos

I'm a little ashamed to be a New Yorker today, since Hillary Clinton won every county in the state. Luckily, Midwesterners and many other sensible Americans turned out for Obama. The primaries this Saturday and next Tuesday loom large. I think the longer this goes, the better chance Obama has, but it's obvious that Clinton's supporters are digging in. Many are saying that it takes more than talk to lead, as if that's all Obama has to offer. But talk is part of it, and good lord, Clinton bored me to tears again last night. Her constantly changing mannerisms -- last night's pointing to people in the crowd before her speech -- are the hallmark of an insecure shape-shifter. I always think back to that New Hampshire speech, in which she, a 60-year-old woman, said she had finally found her voice. Meaning, she had found the voice that certain voters wanted her to have. How stirring.

It's the people who are to blame, though, as usual. Of voters who said "experience" was their most important issue, 91% voted for Clinton, meaning that a vast majority are buying into Clinton's nonsensical argument that she's significantly more experienced than Obama. The one benefit to a Clinton nomination would be watching her try to peddle her experience argument against John McCain.

But that's getting ahead of ourselves. This is far from over.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, that whole finding the voice thing. The whole gag would have come off much better if, after having said it, she suddenly was like, and it's this! And started talking like Alvin the chipmunk.

11:22 AM  
Blogger Henry said...

Thanks to proportional allotment of delegates though, I think Obama will still get a piece of New York and California.
Should be interesting to see how it turns out in the next few months.

12:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a more than a little ashamed to be a Chicagoan today. While I'm encouraged by the turnout for Hillary in much more important states, it would have been nice if a bigger share of my Cook County, not to mention the state of Illinois, could have voted a little more pragmatically. Then again, I can't really find the outcome shocking. It's not exactly like I could have expected much more from my central time zone bretheren, what with their well-publicized penchant for naivete and suceptibility to the wiles of transparent demagoguery.

I, too, have shed tears listening to Hillary Clinton speak, but these tears come out of admiration, out of hope, out of sheer relief brought about by the possibility--strong possibility--to be able to once again respect and admire a leader, hell, just to have a leader again. I've shed tears not because I'm so blase I can't admit that she's moving.

And, come on, John, you've worked in book publishing. You should know better than anyone that in order to win over a more often than not unsophisticated majority one must try different approaches to reach them, compromising not because one stands for nothing, but because one knows that to stand firm often means to stand alone. And if you don't think your precious Obama has adopted a public persona, if you really believe he's not a professional politician, well, you might as well pack up and move to the Midwest. Rent's a lot cheaper.

2:27 PM  
Blogger JMW said...

Anonymous Chicagoan, I think you for reading. Yours is a fine city, and I've thought about living there more than once. Rent's cheaper, pretension's lower, and it's a good sports town. If you shed tears watching Hillary, we're just made of different stuff. I'm not going to focus on that. What I do find illogical is this talk that Hillary is the "pragmatic" one. Pragmatic, in politics, presumably means "getting things done." Given that politics involves working with other people, if you think Hillary Clinton is more likely to get things done than Barack Obama, we just have to agree to disagree.

As for you thinking I disbelieve that Obama is a "professional politician," far from it. Very far from it. I just think he's a superior one to Hillary. His public persona is "work with me for what's best. I take you seriously." Hillary's is "get out of my way, I know what is best." I don't break out my former debate-nerd self much on the blog, but I wasn't bad at it, and let me tell you -- Obama's approach is the kind that wins converts. Hillary's is the type that turns people off. I think the fact that a Clinton is having trouble fending off a young senator within her own party is proof enough of that.

9:11 PM  
Blogger JMW said...

Thank you for reading, think you for reading, whatever.

9:13 PM  
Anonymous pf said...

Reading this post, and a few back on the same topic (with their attendant comments), I wondered whether it's a deep cynicism that makes people suspicious of Obama's appeal to character. Maybe political discourse has become so abysmally devoid of meaning that people don't know how to respond to it, or, they think they shouldn't respond. Obama's appeal to character first of all shows that he has character himself and believes in its value, and secondly, it shows faith in the character of others ("red" and "blue" alike). It seems to me that if Clinton appears to be the "pragmatic" choice, and if people aren't repelled by her obvious machinations, it's because they've come to expect politicians to be performers, the more transparent the better. (Maybe, paradoxically, the more obviously false they are, the more realistic or even "honest" they seem. I know, that's pretty "meta.") But all the talk about "getting things done" in Washington seems to assume that things can get done only in the same way they've been done over the past 20 years of Bush-Clinton-Bush sandwich -- which, again, seems awfully cynical.

Also, I think a commenter suggested that supporting Obama is trendy (or maybe the word was fashionable) -- but as someone who is normally overwhelmingly apathetic about politics and the outside world in general, I think I can say with some objectivity that Obama's appeal is far deeper, for example, than the partisanship of Blue vs. Red. In fact, the appeal to substance over image strikes me as its defining characteristic.

Hell, I might actually vote this election.

10:48 AM  

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