Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Obama and Hillary

I had a friend at a job in the late 90s who couldn't stand Hillary because she had two L's in her name. Since my friend's name was Hilary and she was of English descent, I could see the point, I suppose. But her jocularity is the same game that our "pundits" practice in handicapping ... double entendre intended ... electoral contests. Anything inessential is beaten to death; anything real is ridiculed. (I managed to hold my breath for a moment this evening and watch a little of the now sad Anderson Cooper ... who in gawd's green kingdom gave a job to that dribbling idiot Gloria Borger, "senior political analyst" ... they ought to change senior to sophomoric.)

The loathing of Hillary got pretty bloody thick. The truth is that this was like a basketball game where they traded baskets until the whistle blew. Obama won by a couple of free throws, but he did win. Winning is what it is about, and he pulled it out. More's the pity that the self-absorbed leaders in Michigan and Florida did not think their way out of the hole they dug in January because the result might have been different. But that does not matter now.

I came to like Obama over the campaign even as my admiration for Clinton did not abate. I thought she played dirty every now and then, and the experience and tough hide argument got pretty thin. But a contest is a contest. And this was a good one.

Hillary made me nervous because she is such a lightning rod for right wing loathing ... and for the loathing of the liberal toadies in the press who do their budding. (I have pretty much given up on Keith Olbermann as well because the man cannot hide his irrational distaste for Clinton. It seems as if he trots it out as a kind of defense against the right-wingers who loathe him ... "see, I can dish it out to liberals, too.")

Obama made me nervous because of the vacuousness of the hope message. It was a winner among young voters, and that makes me think less of them ... not a difficult task, frankly. But it propelled him through the primaries, and now he has a chance to be a genuine paradigm-shifter. He also made me nervous because of the low-bore homophobia of his refusing to be photographed with Mayor Newsom. I can see the rationale given the ludicrous attacks that the right mounts, but I want somebody with more guts than that. My friend June can't get over the fact that he stayed for so long in a church with a frothing racist as pastor and then pretended he had never noticed. I figure that it is a pretty poor right-wing slur if that is all they can get on him, the more so given that right wing preachers are considerably more outlandish than foolish rev Wright.

But now, we cannot hold these ultimately small lacunae against him.

I hope that he picks Hillary for vice ... but he would have to make a public statement that Bill is to can it and keep back. Their first job would be to stump the country together and build a national Democratic movement to take the government. They have to make clear the danger of a continued Republican presidency. And they have to make the idiocy of the press irrelevant by the clarity and courage of their vision. They have to think like insurgents, and they have to lose the Terry McAuliffe types who think like pundits ... they look at yesterday's conventional wisdom and try it again.

What last worked for Democrats was a man from Hope, curiously enough. And he threw conventional wisdom out of the window. Obama needs to do that again. Hillary needs to support him in that. And Bill needs to shut up.

So I'm for Obama. Obama in 2008!

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