Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Good for Nothing

The one thing Barack Obama looked good for was dispatching the Clintons. According to the polls and the pundits, he was about to do that in the New Hampshire primary. But the polls and pundits were wrong for a change; Obama turned out to be a dud. I was hoping for another third place finish for Hillary. Instead, she won on points. All in all, it was a good day for the Empire – with the most, war friendly, imperialist friendly candidates, Clinton and McCain, winning. Way to go New Hampshire!

How did it happen? Could Hillary really have bounced back because she teared up? Can we really never underestimate the stupidity of the American people (including the tiny fraction of them who vote in Democratic primaries in small states with inordinate political influence)? Perhaps some political scientist should propose an Iron Law of American Elections: boy crybabies (Ed Muskie, George Romney) who tear up are set back, while girl crybabies move forward. I’d like to know what the ladies libbers – Ellen Chessler and Ann Lewis are two prominent Clinton spokeswomen who come to mind – make of that. I’d also like to know why they think that sharing a bed with Bill constitutes foreign policy experience or, for that matter, just how it makes Hillary’s career a role model for young women. If that’s too hard for them, then let them explain away Hillary’s actual role in government in the 1990s: how she permanently marginalized the very idea of single-payer, not for profit, health insurance, or how, by pandering to drug and insurance companies, she set the cause of universal health care coverage back a generation. Or let them explain her role in arguing, along with her friend, the blood thirsty Mad Maddy Albright, for the bombing of Belgrade. For that matter, let them explain her shameful role as a Senator aiding and abetting Cheney and Bush. She may finally have turned against the Iraq War, but her collaboration with Cheney and Bush continues – in her votes to “support the troops” (i.e. fund the war) and to facilitate the next one, for example by supporting the Kyl-Lieberman amendment, which deems parts of Iran’s military a “terrorist” organization. Conventional wisdom notwithstanding, the problem with Hillary is not that she is a soulless, sheet of ice. It’s her politics, stupid. Crying can’t change that. It can change (feeble) minds, but it can’t change the facts.

[In light of this turn of events, I suppose I must concede that my (unheeded) plan to launch Monica Lewinsky Democratic Clubs in every town and hamlet would have backfired. It would have been fun though, and educational.]

In any case, there is a silver lining in yesterday’s events; two of them, in fact. For one thing, maybe, for the next few days, we’ll hear less vacuous talk about “transcending” party alignments, and forging a post-Jane Fonda/John Wayne politics. What a load of crap that was. Between Iowa and New Hampshire, the pundits outdid themselves making a virtue of cluelessness. The affliction crosses generational lines, but it’s especially virulent among the young. With Obama coming in second, cluelessness won’t disappear, but maybe praise for it will.

More important, had the Obama steam roller rolled on, the way the pundits claimed it would, knocking Hillary out, the only hope for anything better than Obama’s indeterminate mushy middle politics, would be if he made some colossal gaffe, crying perhaps, while someone better – it would have to be John Edwards – was there to pick up the pieces. Only a gaffe would work. Reflection is useless and so are attempts at persuasion that rely on arguments. Arguments cannot move the kinds of people who voted for Hillary because they felt sorry for her, or because she let her “soul” show through. So let Obama and Clinton fight each other to exhaustion; let Hillary bleed more. Let her go down and take Obama with her! The Clintons and the entourage they would restore to power will never be brought to justice – although they are responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people through sanctions and bombs. Hillary will never be held accountable for her role in aiding and abetting Cheney’s and Bush’s war crimes, crimes against the peace, and crimes against humanity. But if Hillary, with Bill in tow, can be denied the place she thinks is rightfully hers, if the Clintons and the Clintonites can be reduced to tears -- and not just crocodile tears either -- maybe then a little justice will be served.

Of course, justice is backwards looking; today’s voters look forward – to “change.” If that’s what they want, then they should be first in line for the coming Clinton-Obama slugfest. For if there’s to be any chance at all that, starting next year, the political system will come down even just a few compass points closer to a better direction, those two must annihilate each other leaving the prize to the last man standing -- John Edwards, the one electable candidate not 100% in corporate America’s pocket.

1 comment:

dl004d said...

It seems more likely to me that the polls were just wrong. I doubt 20% of voters switched their votes based on seeing that clip of her crying. Polling success rates (when people actually pick up the phone) decline in the days before an election since all the unwanted "robo-calling" blitzes each household and makes people hang up more than usual.