Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Obama wins, Clinton is irrelevant... Dick Morris is half-right and I sort of don't like it...

Not so long ago, I wrote "Clinton loses... The end...", which explained the many reasons why perseverating on any potential Hillary Clinton victory strategy was a complete waste of energy. The title said it all. She's toast. Obama is the nominee.

The gargantuan outpouring of stupidity involving Jeremiah Wright didn't change the Clinton campaign's terminal prognosis. The Obama "race speech" didn't resurrect her crazed quest for POTUS.

Scoreboard. Obama's got this one clinched. John vs. Barack in the fall. My earlier assessment stands.

I should be happy. After all, I'm backing Obama. Plus, Hillary Clinton causes soul cancer, which is a very bad thing. I'm not happy, though. I'm actually feeling a little queasy.

My discomfort stems from the sudden realization that Dick Morris agrees with me. He also recognizes the inevitability of an Obama nomination. It isn't surprising that Morris would come out against Hillary (he has developed a hatred of her that far exceeds my own).

It is odd, however, to find myseef in agreement with Dick Morris. This is not a comfortable place. I don't like it here.

Fortunately, Morris is only half-right. He's fairly on the mark when it comes to the "Hillary can't win" thing, but his analysis of Obama's speech yesterday is the kind of silliness to which we're all a little more accustomed. It isn't as feeble as Shelby Steele's goofy perspective on the whole thing (nicely skewered here), but it's weak.

That makes me feel a little better.

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1 comment:

  1. All of 'em, John. I don't think I've seen one conservative columnists, other than Andrew Sullivan, who appears to be voting for Barack, at this point, give it a positive review.

    But I have to say that most of the reviews I've read have been bullshit and I think have more to do with:

    1) Jeremiah Wright and the double standard they sense on this issue of racism that they have been guilted on for years, now, and feel like Wright is getting a pass where a white man or a conservative would get the shit pummeled out of them. Probably fair, to some extent. But I think if they had listened better they would have heard Barack addressing that fact better than any major thinking person I've ever heard address it in public. Dealing with all the feelings underneath is something that most speakers/thinkers on this issue have missed in a very serious way in most stuff I've seen and read, including Mr. Steele, who does a nice job of talking about the same when the feelings are either positive ones or are about rectifying them, but not about accepting and embracing ugly feelings rather than lecturing them out of existence. Obama addressed this concern better than his critics have, by my lights, at this point, of the people I've read. And so much of this criticism I think is unfair. And John McWhorter positive take on the speech is encouraging, in this respect. He is among many very smart black intellectuals who have been drifting right, in the last 10-20 years, or so, largely because of the issue of being black and earning one's way through life on merits. And it actually makes sense since Barack is the strongest black candidate, on merits, for the Presidency I think perhaps ever. And his inclusive message is stronger than most of his critics outlook, also on its merits. And those are good things going for Barack.

    2) Barack's economic outlook. I have to say that I am much more free market oriented than Barack, and I'm quite disappointed with his populist rhetoric, including on issues relating to African Americans and poverty and economic questions. Having said that, I've been a liberal most of my life, my professional work is in poverty, inner city education, and other similar areas. So I share Barack's larger goals, even as I think free market principles are more promising as a path to the promised land. A lot of conservatives hear the standard liberal corporations-are-the-root-of-all-evil-and-have-fucked-the-black-man talk and have much less patience with it. I have to agree that I don't think it's good for black people to think in this ways, nor do I think it's true and agree that it is generally unfair, and it is likely to alienate conservatives and independents the more Barack sounds more standard liberal activist boilerplate on both the economy and Iraq. He is welcome to do it. He may think he has to do it in a tight primary election. But it is not what has brung him this far, so he might reconsider it. I also don't think it's good for either black people or poor people or America, and I do the work, so I've more than paid my dues, at this point, with having genuine commitment to these peoples' interests. I just really, genuinely, don't think it's good for people to get too lost in the bullshit on this matter and much more productive for black folks and all people to stay focussed on what they can do to contribute to the economy to build wealth for themselves and share it with others rather than crying conspiracy because others are doing it and you are not. I did find myself cringing a little at the outsourcing portion of the speech. Having said that, I think Barack is preferable to Hillary on this matter. I just think he ought to reconsider his rhetoric on the merits of that question, and on the merits of what it accomplishes or doesn't for the black community, and on the politics of it, knowing that he is likely facing a general election where he will need to build as broad of coalition of independents and Republicans, as well, if he is going to win, especially given his opponent who will be very good at doing the same (ironically, for reasons for which I find him less attractive).

    3) Republicans are getting really pissed about the war the more that Democrats pressure and talk about a pullout. It's really rallying not just the Republican base, right now, it is rallying a lot of Republicans that have been pretty fractured, up till now. It's a mistake. I sincerely doubt the Democratic party and liberal activists will listen to me on this question. But they can't say I didn't warn them. Pressure really is counterproductive, and right now pressure around the war it's rallying conservatives against Barack in a really serious way, right now. It's disappointing to me, because I would really like to hear and participate in an honest, humble, open-ended, open-minded, open-hearted debate and discussion around the most important issue we face, right now, in America. But that will mean these candidates rising above their bases and the distracting clatter of partisan sniping. If any two candidates were going to do that for the respective parties, it would be these candidates, I think. But I must say that I'm a little disappointed with how it's starting out, on the whole, thusfar. I expect better out of these guys. And I expect better out of conservatives who are rushing to win this election rather than letting it serve to educate the public and engage everyone in a serious, open-ended debate and honest, humble discussion about what to do next.

    I think what would be most appropriate would be if Barack Obama and John McCain got together, perhaps in private, but maybe on some internet webcam or in a intimately conducted televised discussion, where the first line is something along the lines of, "The truth is, I'm really not sure. What do you think?"

    That would be more honest, I think. And it would be refreshing as hell to have a politician be that honest and sort this thing out like grown ups rather than like wind-up dolls.

    A boy can hope.

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