Wednesday, March 05, 2008


Three of the arguments for Obama that I’ve heard a lot of recently:

1. Stop tearing the party apart. Hillary should quit, because Obama is a lock.

2. Hillary is inconsistent. One moment she’s “proud to be on the same stage as Obama,” the next she’s saying “shame on you.”

3. The “Clinton machine” is up to the same old “dirty tricks.”


1. a. This argument is, “people are voting for us, so vote for us.” It’s got nothing to do with democracy. It’s a wise strategy for Obama to follow, arguing that your victory is inevitable. It’s got nothing to do with the freedoms we have in this country, that Senator Obama is so quick to claim as his own true love.

b. Also, from people who voted for Bush twice, or from people who haven’t previously supported the Democratic party, or from people who’ve already made clear that if their candidate doesn’t win, they’ll either not vote, or support McCain, this argument about “party unity” is simply a bald-faced lie. Party unity doesn’t mean, “I win, or I take my ball and go home.”

2. Good parents, or people raised by good parents, probably understand this point the best. It’s “we love you, but you still need a time out, and we’re going to have to talk about this.”

Saying you’re proud of Barack Obama, doesn’t provide some sort of “immunity” from challenges, about misquoting Hillary’s record, about concerns about religious doctrines at one’s house of worship, about “the first day in your adult life that I’ve been proud to be an American,” or about meetings with Canadian officials that may have been innocent or not.

It’s perfectly valid to say, “I too, think Barack Obama’s “story” is remarkable, and is a wonderful validation of America. And now, here are some issues I need to confront him with as a candidate.” In other words, “you’re special, and you deserve recognition, but you don’t get some sort of royal dispensation for everything you do or have done.”

My greater concern about this is the notion that’s been spreading, that disagreement, conflict, and battling, are signs of evil. Positive support, affirmation and consensus are powerful forces for the good in this country. That doesn’t mean that you can’t point out your candidate’s shortcomings, which the Obama campaign has also been swift and constant in doing.

3. Every time any bad news appears about the Senator Obama, his supporters are quick to assume that Hillary Clinton is somehow George W. Bush or Richard Nixon. In other words, rumors, negative gossip, the “low road,” is all about Hillary. There’s not much evidence to support that. There is however, a long record of Republican faithful trying to manipulate Democratic politics.

For instance, Nixon’s campaign feared running against popular Maine senator, Edmund Muskie. So they sabotaged his campaign, and ended up running against the target they felt more comfortable with, Senator George McGovern.

George W. Bush didn’t want to run against Howard Dean. His supporters were passionate, and his level of support continued to rise. Somehow, his frenzied speech to supporters became some sort of mad scientist rant, after a couple of days of maneuvering and manipulation.

When Jimmy Carter ran against Ronald Reagan, Reagan supporters had already negotiated the release of the hostages from Iran, as soon as Carter was defeated. Since that issue was the top issue of the day, Reagan defeated Carter.

We’ve heard repeatedly that Obama’s a far tougher challenge for John McCain than Clinton is. Which also argues, persuasively, that some of the baloney being tossed Obama's way is coming from another, Rove-ish, Viguerie-ish, Cheney-ish place.

I’m only saying this to unite the party.


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