Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Quotes From Around Yon Blogosphere

Since 2004, I have predicted that Hillary Clinton would be the nominee. But, given the consistently amazing performance of Obama, his superior organizational and fund-raising skills, his inspiration of young people, and the flat and completely uninspiring performance by Hillary, it looks to me like it will be Obama as the Democratic nominee.

Conservatives seem to hate John McCain for teaming up with Teddy Kennedy to write an immigration reform bill even though they don't seem to mind that President Bush teamed up with Teddy Kennedy to write the No Child Left Behind bill, or the fact that Bush supported the McCain-Kennedy immigration bill. This is only one of several reasons why I can't profess to really understand the conservative mind.


Now that the Obama wave has turned tidal, the Clinton campaign may have to roll out its ultimate weapon.

For the sake of the Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton, who has lived through the worst attacks that the "vast right- wing conspiracy" can launch, is obliged to help toughen Barack Obama's ability to withstand what they will throw at him if he wins the nomination.

As a survivor of Whitewater, Travelgate and the impeachment, isn't it her solemn duty to inoculate Obama against the Republican smears and swiftboating that will surely belabor him after Labor Day?

How will he explain his dealings with the slumlord Rezko, facing trial in federal court for corruption? What will he say when they bring up his admitted drug use? How will he respond to questions about his patriotism?

In the one area of experience in which she clearly surpasses him--being attacked by Republicans--Hillary Clinton is duty-bound to make sure Barack Obama can survive to win the White House for the Democrats. Surely she should help him rehearse his responses.


So here's a crazy theory that occurred to me the other day, and that gets more plausible the more I think about it: [Bill] Clinton's comments were calculated, but they may have been more sinister than even the activist I met knows. Clinton - perhaps subconsciously - was sabotaging his wife's campaign.


According to many pundits, McCain won the Republican Party's "anti-Bush" wing, made up of moderates and independents. But this is largely a media-driven narrative imposed on a somewhat different reality. There is, in fact, a much broader anti-Bush sentiment in the party. The "right wing" of the GOP is suffering from a deep buyer's remorse of its own.


Please do not tell me that your candidate can't say certain things about vital issues - certain things that must be said - because of certain biological facts about them that would not have applied to any of their other competitors for the nomination. We don't need candidates who need to prove they're butch or don't care about jobs and low-income people. If your candidate can't find a creative way to discuss important issues in an intelligent way because your candidate is making being black or female into a handicap in doing the job, then perhaps your candidate shouldn't have entered the race for the nomination to the presidency of the United States.


The swift, steep decline in Republican fortunes over the past few years has induced a state of vertigo in the party’s body politic. Its elected officials, eminences grises, and rank-and-file members are all disoriented by the rapid plunge in the party’s standing with the American people—just at the moment when they have to present the best possible case that their presidential candidate, and everyone who appears with him on the Republican ballot, are the proper stewards of the country’s future.

Obama impresses me not simply because of his early criticism of the Iraq war at a time when this was politically risky. He impresses me because he genuinely seems to understand the reasons why Iraq turned into a fiasco, the reasons why the Bush administration's foreign policy more broadly went so disastrously awry. He really seems to understand why America's indefinite commitments in Iraq are counterproductive and debilitating, while thinking carefully about how to disengage. Where Clinton essentially proposes to tinker at the edges, to do the same basic things more professionally, Obama offers a genuinely different approach to the core problems of world politics. The early exchange over dialogues with our strategic rivals like Iran really captured it: Clinton's approach was politically safe but strategically wrong, while Obama courageously fleshed out a politically risky but strategically much savvier stance.

Ron Paul is a potent force because his ideas have deep appeal. We all know, for example, that there is something horribly wrong with the way the federal government spends our money, and that whatever it is that is wrong gets wronger by the congressional session, under presidents of either party. I think we all understand, too, that the fault here is not, or not only, the stupidity or venality of our elected officials, but the dynamics of modern democracy. A system under which our representative could say "no" to us—indeed, would have no choice but to do so—would be one in which government expansion bumped up against iron (actually, in Paul's scheme, gold) fiscal constraints. A fiscal system revised along Paulian lines offers at least the possibility of that. Nothing else does.


The hardest part of being a General Political Practitioner is telling the family the bad news. Dr. DWSUWF diagnosed a dangerous tumor in the Republican Party in the fall of 2006. He did not catch it as early as he would have liked, but it was still treatable. Dr. DWSUWF biopsied several right wing sites, with disquieting results. The cancer of the right wing vocal minority compromised the GOP’s immunity against stupidity and triggered tissue rejection of a rational and electable conservative candidate like Chuck Hagel. In January of 2007, Dr. DWSUWF prescribed an aggressive treatment plan injecting comments throughout the political blogosphere. Unfortunately this meager treatment had no observable effect on the malignancy. The doctor did not give up. He offered the treatment again . . . By June, Dr. DWSUWF was desperate to find a cure, even embracing alternative radical treatments like Ron Paul rEVOLution.

Alas, it was to no avail. The patient refused all treatment. It is time to face the truth. The GOP is terminal. The cancer of the vocal minority of the rabid right has paralyzed and enfeebled the GOP body and infected the GOP brain. The party is incapable of articulating a coherent reason for its own existence outside of opposing Hillary Clinton. All we can do is watch and understand the process as it unfolds.


Cartoon by Pat Oliphant/Universal Press Syndicate

No comments: