31 January, 2008

Obama and Clinton

  • Obama's rich gay money men.
  • How former Daschle and Kerry staffers are flocking to the Obama campaign.
  • Obama vs. Clinton as a contest between realism and romanticism:
    If you find yourself drawn to the Clinton candidacy, you likely believe that politics is politics, that partisanship isn’t transmutable, that Republicans are for the most part irredeemable. You suspect that talk of transcendence amounts to humming “Kumbaya” past the graveyard. You believe that progress comes only with a fight, and that Clinton is better equipped than Obama (or maybe anyone) to succeed in the poisonous, fractious environment that Washington is now and ever shall be. You ponder the image of Bill as First Laddie and find yourself smiling, not sighing or shrieking.

    If you find yourself swept up in Obamamania, on the other hand, you regard this assessment as sad, defeatist, as a kind of capitulation. You’re perfectly aware that politics is often a dirty business. But you believe it could be a bit cleaner, a bit nobler, a bit more sustaining. You think that paradigm shifts can happen, that the system can be rebooted. Most of all, an attraction to Obama indicates you are, on some level, a romantic. You never had your JFK, your MLK, and you desperately crave one: What you want is to fall in love.

    A vote for Clinton, in other words, is a wager rooted in hard-eyed realism. Her upside may be limited, but so is her downside, because although the ceiling on her putative presidency might be low, the floor beneath it is fairly high. A vote for Obama, as the Big Dog said, is indeed a role of the dice. The risks of his hypothetical presidency are higher, but the potential payoff is greater: He could be the next Jack Kennedy—or the next Jimmy Carter. The gamble here entails both the thrill and the terror of letting yourself dream again.

    Hillary is the candidate of decreasing returns. The more work you do, the less it helps. Obama is the candidate of increasing returns. One push and you've opened up a whole new world of possibilities.


Elliot said...

Not that related to the matter at hand, but I just have to comment on the Carter diss. I have nothing against JFK, but Carter was a much more effective president than Kennedy. They each had their one big fuck up (Kennedy's Bay of Pigs and Carter's hostage crisis), but Kennedy never actually got anything done. Except start the Vietnam war.

Eremita said...

This is exactly what I was trying to say about our generation and our ability to, in these words, "fall in love." Right now it looks like our generation and a big part of the country are willing to give it a try, to be inspired by a change-soaked presidential campaign, to stick with a dreamer because being inspired is important. But if in the end "realism" or Republicans win the day, it will be another 20 or 30 years until a dreamer candidate can run again.