Friday, February 15, 2008

Quotes From Around Yon Blogosphere

There's a more earthbound Clinton version of messianism—the arrogance of power. Some in her circle speak of Obama with an open contempt that only reveals their shallowness. There are a lot of reasons to like Obama and his message. And, at the moment, it doesn’t seem as if his campaign will need to prepare its mass following for disappointment: Obama’s long, slow burn is now exploding into a prairie fire. But I'd feel better if he stopped offering himself as the personal embodiment of hope. After all, if hope is defeated, what you get is despair.

The old-guard feminist establishment has also rushed out of cold storage to embrace Hillary Clinton via tremulous manifestoes of gal power that have startlingly exposed the sentimental slackness of thought that made Gloria Steinem and company wear out their welcome in the first place. Hillary's gonads must be sending out sci-fi rays that paralyze the paleo-feminist mind -- because her career, attached to her husband's flapping coattails, has sure been heavy on striking pious attitudes but ultra-light on concrete achievements.


Obama obviously has the talent to move people, and at some point he's going to have to decide whether he's willing to use that talent to start persuading the American public of the value of liberal policies, not merely the value of coming together and "making change." The latter might get him elected, but it won't get him elected with a tailwind of public opinion actively in favor of implementing a liberal agenda.


There will be no political obituary for Hillary. She has a career and a future in the Senate if she chooses. But she has never seemed to me to be a "settler." Her every move in the Senate these last 8 years has been a calculation on how it will affect her run for the president. To simply be a senator for the sake of serving the country? I just don’t know.

The Clinton’s will not fade into the background – Bill will see to that. But their influence will be severely weakened. They will probably remain personally popular – as long as they can raise gobs of money for their friends. But the heady days of being on top and riding the tiger are almost certainly over.

Today, I took a step across the bridge separating online political interest from the real world, and agreed to consider being a precinct captain for the Obama campaign. . . .

Obama has many good ideas, but not all of them are. He thinks out of the box, though, and I like that. He’s not afraid to consider alternative ideas because they came from “the other side”… and I like that too. Above all else, he offers us a chance to anticipate the future with at least some sense of excitement. I love that.

And taken altogether, that works for me.


After thinking it over, I've come to the conclusion there's no way we can get out of Iraq.

Take, for example, Hillary Clinton's plan. She's for withdrawing rapidly but keeping a residual force in place to fight terrorists, protect the Kurds, fend off Iran and give the Iraq military a hand.

That's quite a lot, admittedly, but as New York Times correspondent Michael Gordon pointed out the other day, it doesn't go very far toward protecting the Iraqi people from insurgent violence, a key element in counter-insurgency strategy.

To protect the people, Hillary said, would involve us in a civil war. Her words: "This is an Iraqi problem, we cannot save the Iraqis from themselves."

Perhaps not, but are we really prepared to stand safe in our Iraq bases while the civilian population outside is slaughtered en masse in a war that's essentially of our creation? It's bad enough we avert our eyes from far-away Darfur; have we really the stomach to ignore a genocide occurring in plain sight?

That doesn't sound like any America I'm familiar with.


Could we possibly have a nominee who hasn't won any of the significant states -- outside of Illinois? That raises some serious questions about Sen. Obama.

What's going on is that we've finally got a Democratic candidate who understands exactly how the Republicans did it. . . . the GOP didn't come to power by talking about plans and policies; they did it by using strongly emotional appeals that grabbed people by the gut and didn't let them go. Theirs was never a movement based on reason. It was, from the very beginning, a movement of hearts and souls. And it was that deep, emotionally sustaining commitment that drew people in so deeply that they were willing to give 25 years of their lives to bringing about the New World Order their leaders promised them. We may hate what they've accomplished -- but we're never going to be able to do better until we can inspire that same kind of passion for change.


To make one more point on the Clinton campaign's promise to try and re-seat the Michigan and Florida delegations, its getting a bit annoying to watch them discover brand new principles as soon as they become politically useful.


Alexander Osipovich of the Moscow Times has detected commonality in the campaigns of Dem Presidential hopeful Barack Obama and--are you ready for this?-- President of the Tatarstan region in Russia.

"They seem like an unlikely couple. One is a rising star of the U.S. Democratic Party, and the other is a former Soviet official who has ruled his republic of Russia since 1991. But U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama and Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiyev have something in common. In an apparent coincidence that has Tatar media outlets abuzz, the Obama slogan 'Yes, We Can!' has the same meaning as Shaimiyev's favorite catchphrase, which in Tatar is "Bez Buldyrabyz!"


Meanwhile, in the "Where Are They Now?" department, Rudy Giuliani is back on the speaking circuit. The '07 GOP frontrunner, whose disastrous candidacy deserves to be studied in political science classes, has been welcomed back to the Washington Speakers Bureau, and here's my favorite line in the official announcement:

"Giuliani galvanized the electorate by focusing much-needed attention on such issues as security, domestic and international terrorism and securing a future that's prosperous and beneficial for all Americans."

I never realized that losing repeatedly to Ron Paul was synonymous with galvanizing the electorate.

Cartoon by Glenn McCoy/Universal Press Syndicate

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