Thursday, April 17, 2008

Explaining a Silence

A reader asked (kindly, I thought) why I haven't been posting much about politics lately. There's not one particular reason. But here are four thoughts:

1. I've been excited about Obama -- as you can tell -- but there's a reason why, in an average cycle, I don't pay as much attention. This process is insane. The entire last year of Bush's presidency will have been overshadowed by maniacal coverage of the primaries. Even McCain, who has wrapped up his party's nomination, seems to get more attention than Bush these days. I can be geeky about elections, but come on. I think very few people in this country care as much about actual politics as they do about this sport of figuring out who's next in line. It's fun for a while, and then it's pathological. And the talking heads on TV haven't expressed a genuinely new thought in, oh, two months. When you're on 24 hours a day, that's a long time.

2. The Clintons. Hillary was a star entering this campaign, and in America (where Reagan and Schwarzenegger have been elected) that means a lot. Obama might have been a rising talent in the eyes of some wonks, but Hillary was a star. Then, in almost every measurable way that a star can be beat, she got beat. Watching what she's done in the face of that defeat has been, for lack of a better word, disgusting, though not (at all) surprising. It culminated (one hopes) in last night's debate, when she reveled in the role of 21st-century McCarthy. This has nothing to do with my support for Obama, believe me. When I try to think of someone against whom I would vote for Hillary Clinton, my mind reels, comes to rest, and remains blank. Andrew Sullivan recently wrote, "for the Clintons, anything is possible in the pursuit of power." That says it all.

3. The parties. Some of my liberal friends scoff when they hear that I've voted for a third party in a presidential election -- I've never apologized for it before, and I certainly won't now. How any clear-thinking Democrat can watch Hillary Clinton and make some kind of meaningful distinction between her and the enemies of hers she's always frothing about, I have no idea. I believe I'm paraphrasing myself here (forgive me), but the Clintons represent the professional-wrestling side of politics as much as anyone on either side of the aisle right now. I would find them comical, except they're real.

4. As some kind of combination of the three points above: There's nothing left to say right now. I can't figure out how anyone could change their mind at this point. Every issue (substantive or not) has been beaten to a pulp. If you can wring any more juice from them, you're a better citizen than I. I'm sure as more primaries are held, I'll find something to post. And I'll certainly perk up when it's down to two. But for now, merciful God, I just want it to stop.

I'll say in conclusion that I find it remarkable that Obama doesn't directly attack Clinton more. As in the clip below, he attacks her for attacking him, but he never really addresses the 9,000 skeletons in her closet. The fact that she's spun him as the easier candidate for the Republicans to assault in a general election remains the most mind-boggling aspect of this year to me. She is Hillary Clinton. I feel certain that given the choice to run against her or the exhumed corpse of Karl Marx, the Republicans would choose her.

5 Comments:

Blogger Henry said...

I have to say I feel the same way. At this point, election fatigue has set in for me in a big way. It doesn't help that in the intervening weeks between primaries - where there has been absolutely nothing to say of relevance - has been a perfect example of everything I hate about politics.

Even when Obama wins the nomination, which he eventually will, I'm getting more worried that Hillary's muckraking might deliver the nomination to McCain. This would, of course, validate her claim that Obama can't win a general election and allow her to come back stronger in 2012, without her chief rival.

I was wondering how we Democrats were going to blow a sure thing...

12:19 AM  
Blogger JMW said...

Yeah, I wish Obama was an independent candidate, because the Democrats are really too ridiculous for words. But I can't see her coming back strong in 2012. She's seriously destroying her credibility with an incredibly large number of people who she would need to vote for her. If those people, in 2012, feel that she cost Obama the election to McCain, they'll be even less likely to vote for her.

11:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your anger and vitriol towards Hillary and "The Clintons" is so overwhelming, it makes one wonder if you have been detrimentally affected by any of the policies during Bill Clinton's Presidency or Hillary Clinton as a New York Senator. Your attitude seems to be that you would rather almost anyone else in the White House, even if it is not a democrat. In an effort to be more open-minded, you shouldn't allow your hatred towards the Clintons to blind you to some of the real issues facing Obama and how they might jeopardize his chances in the general election. I, for one, have become convinced that Obama is just plain unelectable.

10:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are certainly some domestic issues and relationships that have not been sufficiently addressed on this blog. Since it is also alleged that Obama is lacking in international experience, maybe he could join former President Jimmy Carter in meetings with the leaders of Hamas this week?

7:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was interested in watching that clip, but not for the reasons you posted it. Is he giving a political speech or is he at some revival meeting? I hate to say this, but all that whooping and hollering may be exciting to young voters, but it ain't gonna play as well in a general election against John McCain. I would have never said this a month ago, but now I think McCain has set himself up pretty well against Obama or Clinton. The Democrats, once again, can snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. At least, that is what I'm counting on as a McCain supporter.

-Dezmond

7:41 PM  

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