Monday, February 04, 2008

The Wrong Candidate, and the Right One

Here's an excellent article called "The Wrong Experience," by Newsweek's Fareed Zakaria, that I think nicely articulates many of the reasons Obama is the right candidate and Hillary, the wrong one. Money quote:

"This is the problem with Hillary Clinton. She is highly intelligent, has real experience and is an attractive candidate. But she is terrified to act on her beliefs. In fact, she seems so conditioned by what she sees as political constraints that one can barely tell where her beliefs begin and where those constraints end."

Based on crossover voting behavior by Republicans and on Obama's appeal to independents, and on how badly fractured the Republicans are over a McCain candidacy, Obama is obviously the stronger candidate in the general election. In fact, the only force that could unite Republicans around their candidate would be the prospect of a Clinton co-presidency. Under these circumstances, if the Democrats nominate Hillary, it will be difficult to avoid the conclusion that the Democrats don't really want the presidency, or the responsibility that comes with the position. This would be understandable, albeit lamentable... after all, I can't think of anything the Democratic congress has achieved in the year its been in power.

Democrats should understand that a vote for Hillary in the primary is a vote for McCain in the general. That's not necessarily a bad thing (anyone who can tip an already unbalanced entertainer like Ann Coulter into actual hysteria at the prospect of his presidency can't be that bad). But it's not as good as a vote for Obama in the primary and in the general.


Anonymous said...

I like Fareed, he is very forward thinking. He did a talk at CWRU and got the chance to meet him and discuss global economies and the good vs. bad in globalization where different cultures are concerned. He is brilliant and reasonable.

As for the Clinton machine, can't help feeling they think they deserve the office and not sure which one of them would really be running things. Bill seems awfully quiet this week!

We need fresh life breathed into our highest office. Like Obama, don't know if he is ready for this term but would like to see him run in the future.

For now, not totally decided on any of the choices for 2008 and need to do more research. Like many things about McCain.

What if he and Obama ran on a combined ticket? They could probably get a lot of things done.

I know it would never happen, but I wish that we could vote for individuals not parties (I do, but large groups do not). As long as everyone does vote they are making a difference.

JD Rhoades said...

There are a lot of reasons not to support Clinton, most of them admirably summed up in the first paragraph of the Zakaria quote.

But we need to stop thinking about "OMG we can't nominate Clinton because it will get the Republicans all stirred up!" They're going to paint ANY Democratic candidate as the Anti-Christ. These are people who waved purple band-aids at a decorated war veteran because they didn't think he was wounded enough.

In short, screw what they think. Let's nominate Obama because he's the better candidate, not because we're afraid of making the Republicans mad.

ZenPupDog said...

Let's sum this up - For good or ill Obama can inspire us to do the right thing. Hillary can't. Imagine how riling the GOP luddites with an Obama/Clinton ticket will pan out.

I don't like the Religious Conservatives McCain has pandered to.

I've decided that I'm voting Obama.

KSR said...

Barry wrote:
"after all, I can't think of anything the Democratic congress has achieved in the year its been in power."

Whereas the Democratic controled congress has not done as much as they could (thanks to cowed Democrats fearing to appear "weak on terror" and to a record amount of filibusters by Republicans. Think about this: the same party who wanted to initiatate the "nuclear option" to eliminate the filibuster have used it more in 1 calendar year than any 2 year congress in history), let me remind those who may have forgotten, they campaigned on 6 items in 2006 (the so called "Six for 06") and sent 5 to W. He signed four.

1) 1st minimum wage increase in a decade
2) implementation of the 9/11 commission recommendations
3) college cost reduction
4) 1st fuel-efficicieny standards increase in a genearation

5) Stem cell - vetoed (twice)

Other Democratic accomplishments:
- increased support for veterans
- ethics reform
- tighter gun control regulations
- lobbying reform
- increased money for credentialed math and science teachers
- tax relief for homeowners in foreclosure
- reclamation projects for the Gulf coast (ignored by Bush)

The list goes on. The problem is that they ALSO campaigned on ending Iraq, closing Gitmo, ending wiretapping, etc. Clearly, they have been less than successful in changing the course. But in a larger context, we're talking about these issues now. Before, it was all just a fait accompli that Bush can have his way.

I have no doubt that one year from now, when there are 60+ Democrats in the Senate and many more in the House, these issues will be knocked off likes ducks in a row.


ssas said...

I also do not claim a party, so we've got that in common. :)

Obama does not inspire me. And the Kennedy endorsement sickens me. It's terribly sad, what happened to President Kennedy, but that did not erase his personal life. Not that I expect my president to be my moral compass to much degree, but Obama's acceptance of their endorsement and "the Kennedy throne," as it were, leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Talk about useless nostalgia.

I also feel the Clintons are being realistic about the power one spouse has over another in work-related decisions. My husband certainly does not make serious decisions in his job (he's C.T.O) without using me as a sounding board. I KNOW I've affected his decisions. Every presidency is a co-presidency, if the marriage is solid enough. It's an inconvenient thing to admit, because it puts the spouse on stage, and I dearly wish Obama would take that leap. I truly wonder how Obama's wife will operate as a consultant to him.

And now the press is raising a ruckus because they don't have access to him.

I don't think he's a bad man, and if it comes to it, I'll vote for him over anyone the Republicans offer up. But these are some of the reasons why I feel he's cut from ordinary political cloth. But then, like my mom said the other night, the Presidency is a crappy job. it doesn't even particulary pay well. :) Makes it tough to get good people to run and win.

Anonymous said...

The current president ran his campaigns like a mummy - saying very little passionate things, just rhetoric to appeal to mushminds. It worked! Maybe Hillary is seeing that as a tactic. Not sure I agree with it, but maybe. SHe has the impossible job as a candidate - be too strong and tough she is a bitch. Be too sensitive and she is a pushover and open for criticism as not being "tough enough" to declare war. Obama can run successfully as an outsider. He is doing that so far. Maybe it will be enough to gain the White House ala Jimmy Carter back in the day. But I don't konw - McCain may appeal to enough middle-class fencesitters that might feel he is maverick enough to take on the Republican "faithful" and not conduct business as usual.

Anonymous said...

Ken makes some points I wanted to, only better. :)

I believe the problem with the Dems this first year was they tried to do too much. They wanted to fix everything immediately, and thus, some things suffered.

But imagine if they hadn't gained control....

Ada [The Duchess] said...

I could not agree more with this post. Obama is the right candidate because he is consistent, and he will follow through. He speaks about what matters and he never wavers. Hillary is terrified of action. She's all words. I am sick of the same old pretty words and same old nothing changing. It's time for change. Obama is inspiring things in people. Younger people my age who never cared to vote before voted. It's the OBAMA YOUTH who are voting. More democrats voted then has been seen in a long time. Republicans had a poor showing on their end. Voting for Hillary is voting MCCain. And I refuse to be a part of that.

Oblivious to oblivion said...

I think the one thing that bothers me the most is Sen. Obama's patent refusal - thus far on the campaign trail - to confront the world as it is and to not only name but to challenge and defeat those who pledge to do this nation irreparable harm. For all of the backslapping Sen. Obama is enjoying for having always opposed the battle in Iraq, whether in Springfield OR Washington, there has been no cogent plan from his camp on how he would deal with the threat of terrorism should he sit behind the same desk as John F. Kennedy , to whom he is so often compared. It is my humble opinion, shared by more than a few, that his "plan" to withdraw troops from Iraq as soon as possible is grossly negligent and would result in serious American casualties.

But let’s talk about that John F. Kennedy comparison, shall we? JFK never backed down from the Soviet Union - he was a realist. Nobody could ever accuse him of being soft on the prime enemy of the United States at that time. Regardless of how he comported himself in the Cuban invasion and the missile crisis, the security of the United States and the thwarting of its main nemesis were paramount in President Kennedy's mind. How Sen. Obama would deal with a day that might make September 11 look like a stroll through Central Park is anyone's guess. His statements regarding an invasion of Pakistan and the very alarming trends within his campaign on his attitude toward Israel are na├»ve at best, sinister at worst. Would not a candidate with a similar attitude toward the Soviets and our chief allies in the late 1950s and early 1960s been endlessly mocked and criticized by John F. Kennedy? Will President Obama truly bear any burden to defeat our enemies?

Without a doubt, Sen. Obama is charismatic and that quality may indeed remind people of President Kennedy. President Kennedy liked to throw the football around; Sen. Obama enjoys shooting hoops once in awhile. Sen. Obama is a poised speaker when he discusses his vague hopes for change and unity, and if we were looking for a soothsayer-in-chief he would and should win in a landslide. And give credit for Sen. Kennedy taking to heart Father Joe's sage advice - that it is not what you really are that counts, it is rather what people think you are that counts in life (which would also seem to be a page right out of the Clinton’s playbook as well). A lot of people think John F. Kennedy was the greatest president of the twentieth century. A lot of people think Sen. Obama is the next John Kennedy, the ultimate manifestation of the alleged Kennedy/Democratic Party commitment to civil rights and super-agent of change. The recent endorsement extravaganza now attempts to underscore that image tenfold.

I doubt, seriously, that had John Kennedy lived a normal lifespan, he would have turned hard left like his brother and be backing Sen. Obama as enthusiastically as the rest of the clan. Given his noted antipathy for politicians espousing the silly slogans and the sort of policies that his little brother and Sen. Obama are advocating and have advocated, his admiration of deep intelligence and fiscal responsibility, the guess here is that were he able, the 35th president would smile his ironic muckraker's smile and back some one like Mitt Romney.

Now, let’s put aside the JFK comparisons and look at the elephant in the room which we all seem to want to ignore: race. Sadly (for Obama) it all comes down to the race. As much as Obama, and all his supporters, would like to believe that race is no longer an issue for us voters, it absolutely is an issue, and may even be the source of his charismatic power. Let's play a pretend to see how it works. Pretend that Barack Obama is white. Imagine a white, mostly inexperienced junior senator from Illinois with the exact same ideas and speeches.

Does it have the same effect? Imagine a lanky white candidate with the exact same rhetoric and the exact same calls for "change." Is the image as powerful? Does he seem as attractive to you? Is he backed by Oprah? Do you think he’s the next JFK? Or is he ignored like Ron Paul? Are you even listening?

Barack Obama is able to compensate for his lack of experience by being black. And to me this is a shame, because I think there were a handful of highly qualified Democrats with better ideas and a whole lot more experience who were out-dazzled by Obama's race.

Whatever - The Democrat race is so close to call that Obama and Billary will be beating each other up right up to the bitter end...

Anonymous said...

As I read your blog and the responses, it confirms my position for change. It saddens me to see our country which offers so many promises of hope, dreams, and prosperity sold out for self gain.

I know in reality, Obama’s task going in to the White House would be one of great difficulties, but at lest America would have the opportunity to regain Her dignity and self respect.

I love my country, and to watch it continuously being pimped out like a two dollar whore leaves me in great disparity. It is so heartbreaking to watch a Country who is known for its human compassion annihilated for barrels of oil.

We really must be careful as to who we elect to take our country to the next level. If you have been really monitoring the Bush Administration over the last eight years—you would see a very congenial Bill and Hillary on his left.

It’s time to take off the blinders and fight for our Country! It is time to regain and restore the integrity of our Country. It is time to stand up, and in one voice reclaim our position. It is time for a change…. Not a Hillary change and Not a McCain change but an American change!!

Ms. E