Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Savor the Moments

When it comes to conveying inside tips, The New York Times is usually reliable. This was the case when it helped prepare the country for the war in Iraq, and it is probably the case now with the Obama campaign. This is why I am now inclined to believe that I was wrong, that contrary to the principle established by Keith Olbermann and his band of pundits, that anyone already slated to speak in Denver is out, Obama is likely to pick one of the three reported “front runners”: Joe Biden, Tim Kaine or, worst of all, Evan Bayh. The choice of any one of them would be of a piece with Obama’s recent (post-primary) turn even farther to the right, his abject pandering to Hillary diehards, and his overt expressions of debased, suburbanite religiosity.

One has to marvel at the genius of our institutions. Not only do they offer little space for candidates to betray their constituencies’ hopes – since those hopes hardly have a chance to be articulated in our duopolistic party system – but they encourage such betrayals as there can be to take place before, not after, victorious candidates take charge. In this respect, the victories “anti-war” Democrats scored in 2006 were an exception, as was LBJ’s 1964 landslide victory over Barry Goldwater.

Where Obama is concerned, the betrayals are already well underway. However, for the next day or two, before the VP choice is announced, we still have a moment to savor because we still have a slender reed to which to cling. After all, maybe The Times is wrong: maybe Obama will fool everyone and look left.

There’s another such moment in the offing too – in the afterglow of the speech Obama will deliver when he accepts the Democratic nomination. It will be a truly “historic” moment, as we’ll be reminded countless times, delivered on the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s iconic “I have a dream” speech. Obama will likely be up to the task: if nothing else, his oratorical skills are indeed “inspiring.” It’s just his (Clintonite) politics that leave everything to be desired. Most likely, his VP’s politics will too. But, for the next day or two, the dream goes on – as it will briefly again the weekend after next.

No comments: