Thursday, March 06, 2008

A brief explication

"Why do you dislike Clinton so much?" you ask. "After all, her positions aren't all that different from Obama's, and you seem to tolerate HIM." That's a valid question, imaginary interlocutor. Let me try to answer it. Leave aside the fact that she would endorses McCain over Obama. Leave aside the fact that she's making ads for him. Sure, it's quite apparent that she would rather destroy the entire party than see Obama win, but hey! This would be enough to earn my animosity anyway, but it's more than just dirty politics.

Actually, all that is important, because it shows how utterly unprincipled she and her advisers--people who would be in her cabinet if she won the presidency-- are. Remember this?

"Superdelegates are not second-class delegates," says Joel Ferguson, who will be a superdelegate if Michigan is seated. "The real second-class delegates are the delegates that are picked in red-state caucuses that are never going to vote Democratic."

Hear that, red-staters? Don't vote for Hillary. She doesn't want your support. Who cares what you think? And that's really what it comes down to. Look, I know damn well that Barack Obama is not the messiah. He's not going to magically fix everything. And he's well to the right of me politically. But I do believe, naively or not, that he has a chance to fundamentally change the political dynamics of this country. He isn't just writing off red states, that's for sure. If Clinton were to win in the general--a big fucking if--it would be more of this same old tired, strategic, 50%+1. She would have no coattail effect; she sure as hell wouldn't help red states turn that little bit more purple--why should she, when her campaign explicitly rejects their support? She doesn't care about the rest of the party; all Clinton cares about is Clinton. Should she be elected, nothing will change. The country will remain as bitterly polarized as ever in the exact same way, and there won't be a thing in the world to stop another W getting elected in four or eight years.

I expect to be disappointed by Barack Obama. I'm not that naive. I'm fully prepared for him to do things that piss me off. But I do believe that it won't just be politics as usual; that we really will experience some of that over-evoked quality known as "change." Maybe I'm wrong; maybe it'll all turn out to have been a grand illusion, and it'll end up being the same old thing. But I know that will be the case with Clinton, so it's not much of a choice.

And you know, I say I'll never vote for her now, but if it comes down to it (heaven forfend), yeah, I may chicken out. I know damn well that, in spite of everything, she wouldn't be as bad as McCain. But I'll tell you this: I have never been faced with the prospect of voting for someone I viscerally loathe as much as I do Clinton. I've never voted for anyone I viscerally loathed, period. If I end up voting for her, win or lose, I know that I'll end up feeling really, really bad about my vote. I know fulfilling one's civic responsibility isn't always fun, but is it really supposed to nauseate you? Is that what we've come down to? Regardless of what I'd do, I'd have a hard time condemning anyone who just decided to sit the election out. 'Cause this whole thing is just bullshit.


Anonymous Anonymous pontificated to the effect that...

"how utterly unprincipled...her advisers--people who would be in her cabinet if she won the presidency-- are."

This observation cuts to the heart of the matter, and it's actually the reason why I don't want to vote for Obama. He's being advised by a number of warmongers, including Brzezinski. That Cold War derelict basically has the same philosophy as the neoconservatives, except instead of killing Muslims, he wants to use Muslims to kill other people he doesn't like, by arming Islamic militants in Russia, China and the Balkans.

The Bush administration has shown how much influence the "court intellectuals" have. Bush's 2000 campaign now actually seems fairly moderate in comparison to what he actually did -- he even promised not to engage in "nation-building." But, from the very beginning, he was being advised by neoconservative ideologues who started pushing for war the second they got their foot in the door of the presidency.

- SK

12:35 AM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. pontificated to the effect that...

Well look, I'm not going to try to defend Brzezinski--and I would certainly appreciate it if someone would ask Obama point-blank about his choices of advisors--but it's not a deal-breaker for me. He HAS been against the war from the beginning--yes, less consistently/more hedgingly than any of us would like, but it's not nothing. I don't expect Obama to start attacking random countries, but as I've tried to emphasize, I fully expect him to do SOME Very Bad Things To Be Named Later in office. I just think that the chances of him being able to change our political landscape are enough to make him worth supporting. And I do get the impression that, unlike Clinton, he has actual principles; that he won't do literally anything polls/advisors tell him to. I could be wrong, but apparently I'm not cynical enough to take it as a given. Whoddathunkit?

12:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous pontificated to the effect that...

Well, I'm just thinking aloud here, not issuing party decrees. However, I think that Obama's anti-war reputation rests primarily on the strength of his one speech in 2002. But if you actually look at the text of that speech, it's basically a pro-war speech -- Obama criticizes the Iraq war for being "rash" and "dumb," but he mostly bemoans it because it has decreased American "credibility" and made it more difficult to wage other wars, presumably the ones required in order to "change" and "lead" the world as Obama wants to do.

- SK

1:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous pontificated to the effect that...

Also, one more thing. I don't think there's such a simple distinction between "principle" and "opportunism" in the sense that "principle good, opportunism bad." The neoconservatives are "principled" in some way. And, furthermore, an "opportunist" might start a war to improve his poll numbers, but at the same time, if a war is unpopular, he may also move to end it for the same reason. But a "principled" man who believes the war is morally justified will never end it, no matter what.

For what it's worth, I agree with you that Obama is probably not an opportunist. But I suspect that his "principles" require him to "change the world" by force, and that he chose Brzezinski just as a reflection of his own belief. That's what worries me.

1:25 PM  

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