The Dartmouth Observer

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Tuesday, April 01, 2008
I just ran into the poignant post from Buck Naked Politics. I wanted to share some of it.

Do you wonder, as I do, how people got the idea that this relative newcomer to national politics has the credentials, experience, and other requisites for cleaning up after George W. Bush? Saying so is a sure recipe, as I've found, for getting called a fool, a moron, an idiot, amoral, brain-washed, a Hillary shill, a tool of the Clinton establishment, and a tool.

If I raise questions (because the questions are definitely are out there), I'm accused of 'stirring the mud' (as if you could stir mud if it the mud wasn't there in the first place) or of 'innuendo.' Obama supporters seem to think that it's unfair to bring up allegations that are out there if I can't personally prove they are true. Of course, my point isn't that they are true, but that they are out there. So far the media's given him the same sort of pass they used to give to George Bush. What happens when the honeymoon ends?

Meanwhile, not one supporter has risen to the challenge of telling me---if I'm stuck with Obama, I really need to know---what superior or equivalent credentials or experience they can cite to indicate that he is currently better qualified than Hillary to be the Chief Executive of the United States.

Most of them try to lecture me about Hillary---me!---arguing, with a sublime disregard for logic, common sense, or the facts, that her qualifications and experience aren't any greater than Obama's, or not enough greater to matter, in light of his 'charisma' and his (their faith in him ensures) pure, untarnished record.

Most say they don't care about credentials or think his credentials are sufficient. They like Obama; and that's all that matters. I like him too, or till recently I did, but they... they 'LIKE him like him', as the kids say. And if you say you don't, they're all up in your face, demanding that you step outside so they can administer a moral drubbing.

Moreover, they don't think his voting record in Illinois shows anything important about him, such as an alleged unwillingness to take a clear position on hard issues that might render him less, you know, 'electable.' (No, don't tell me your rationalizations again---I've heard them all, and remain skeptical.)

Yeah, Hillary's made mistakes. But that's because she's made hard choices.

I understand why Obama's supporters love Obama. It's the same reason Republicans used to love George W. Bush. He represents, or seems to represent, our image of what a perfect Democrat should be. They're sick of being on the defensive and of defending the Clintons. Why not vote for the candidate they really like?

Meanwhile, those of us who have supported Hillary have done so for exactly the reasons that Obama's fan base derides her. She is tough, a bit battered by hard experience, hardened to being disliked, a little soiled by her mistakes, persistent, politically astute, intellectually flexible, wary, wiley, and all the things that her critics take for insults but which are really the constituents of the ability to make realistic judgments and politic (as opposed to popular) decisions. As Obama himself put it, she's 'likable enough,' but the charm that we hear about isn't generally on display when she's campaigning, partly---of course---because any sign of her femininity draws her a whole different set of rebukes 'n ridicule.

I believe she'd make the tough calls that these dangerous times require and that she'll already recognize the 'damned if you do, damned if you don't' component of 44's job. It's going to be a long, hard slog picking up after Bush. Not much glamour or glory in it and therefore, not a job for a glamorous and glorious candidate, I'd argue. Our next candidate needs to be a determined, stoical, and experienced one who is inured to being blamed. In any case, the US presidency isn't the election for president of the senior class. It shouldn't be merely a popularity contest. Is Obama up to the job? Yes, his supporters say. They 'know' this because he has inspired them to believe it. Maybe they're right. But I remain skeptical. Of course, there is a bright side: his ascendancy is apparently pleasing to the Hillary-fearing right-wing pundits. (Obviously, it's because they too are under Obama's spell and want him to be president, am I right?) It's nice, I guess, that he has the ability to make even the right wing do the right-wing happy dance. And he made a thrill run up Chris Matthews leg (good for Tweety; I'm so pleased he's found another politiican to love). So anyway: Obama. Is he as wonderful as he seems? Perhaps. Forgive me if I don't take it on faith. For one thing, I am entirely offended that he has sat by while his campaign and his supporters use every tried and true right-wing tactic to undermine and deride Hillary----and, by extension, her supporters.

Now I'm told he's apparently "on track to make his case" that the party should 'coalesce' around his candidacy.

So now what, my fellow Dems? What are you going to do now? Because it's not just me. Hillary supporters across the country are beginning to express their outrage at the way that Hillary's been treated---not just in the media (we've come to expect this) but by other Democrats.

But then the fence on which we fence-sitters were still sitting---"after all, we've got two great candidates," we said to ourselves--- got blasted out from under us by the shocking tone of the attacks on Hillary and on those of us who supported her by the anti-Hillary contingent of our very own party.

Many Democrats will be waiting to see how the Obama camp goes about mending their fences, assuming the fences can be mended. "McCain isn't that bad, except for the war thing," mused one of my friends---previously very well-disposed toward Obama, as I and my co-bloggers used to be. "Maybe it would be better to let the Republicans clean up Bush's mess."

I realize that the 'conventional wisdom' is that we'll turn out to vote for Obama anyway. He and his campaign advisors certainly seem to assume that they'll have the support of the whole party no matter what they or their 'surrogates' do or say.

Oh, really? Here's what Ms. Obama said when she was asked on Good Morning America if she'd vote for Hillary if Hillary got the nomination.

ROBERTS: So what if Senator Clinton defeats [Obama], becoming the first woman nominee. Could you see yourself working to support the first woman nomination?

OBAMA: I'd have to think about that. I'd have to think about that, her policies, her approach, her tone. (The Huffington Post)

Good idea. I'll have to think equally hard if Obama gets the nomination. Shall I vote for McCain? Nah. But I can stay home. Or I can write in 'Hillary Clinton' or 'John Edwards.' After all, I've been pretty turned off by the 'tone' and 'approach' of the Obama campaign.