What's it all about, eh?

February 15, 2008 by barbara

barbara says

There’s an interesting discussion going on downstairs (comments in the last post). Cutting to the heart of it, the issue is Obama vs. Clinton and the relative merits of each choice. Experience or perceived lack thereof. Female or male. Clinton or unrelated to same. That kind of thing.

Commenter dk-nyc says:

…Legislating in Washington is a job, and like any other job, experience should be considered a good thing. Would you hire a "fresh new voice" for your lawyer, or a likeable face for your dentist? And if things are a mess in Washington, maybe, just maybe, it's because we the people insist on new faces, stars, and likeableness….And when these folks get to Washington, or into state houses, they discover, like our WH inhabitant, that, gosh, "it's hard work"....And p.s. That eight term incumbent (b-note: who just got voted out) would've been just dandy by me. Look what LBJ was able to accomplish, versus, say, JFK. Or Carter.

Well, now, wait just a little minute.

LeftyMN answered the experience meme this way:

We just had 8 years of disaster with a President who brought in a fabled group with experience. If experience is the be all and end all to get my vote, good luck.

No kidding!! And re: questionable choices, let's not be forgetting what happened when the Dems, in their infinite wisdom, ran the consummate experienced insider, Walter Mondale, against Ronnie “Jellybean” Reagan. Mondale was coupled with Geraldine Ferraro, which was the first and, until now, only attempt to launch a woman through the political ceiling. They were crushed.

Let's not be forgetting the brilliant party pick of Michael Dukakis to take on George H.W. Bush. Bush was subsequently dethroned by a then-charismatic relative outsider named William Jefferson Clinton.

America is looking for a way out of the BushCo quagmire. The sense that we all need sheep-dip to disinfect ourselves seems to be accompanied by the following memes:

  • "Young is better than old"
  • "Personable is better than starched and scripted."
  • "Relative newcomer is better than party hack."

I'm not saying I agree with all of that. But it’s what's in play here. American progressives are increasingly on the "no more same old, same old" bandwagon.

I think HC's candidacy is fraught with huge problems of perception, along with perceptions of reality. The name "Clinton" generates spine shivers, fairly or not. Her presence on the ballot may very well launch the Ventura Phenomenon nationally, i.e., people voting for the egomaniacal Nader or Bloomberg as a symbol of their fed-upness. I don't see that happening with Obama.

Yes, Obama has to show us his strategery for America. Soon. Yes, he must speak in depth about issues. He's not stupid. He’ll do that. Meanwhile, we snipe and snarl amongst ourselves while St. John attempts to herd Republicats into his fold. (Okay, it’s a weird metaphor. Deal with it.)

Remember the old Johnny Carson show, "Who(m) Do You Trust?"? Here is my variation on that theme:

  • I do not trust Republicans.
  • I do not trust the Democratic party, nationally or locally.
  • I do not trust the dinosaur hacks.
  • I do not trust super delegates. That peculiar designation is a testament to hack determination to control the endorsement process and ride roughshod over lesser beings, i.e., the rest of us.

Hmmm. Apparently I have a trust problem. Seven years of BushCo and a full year of Congressional belly-flopping does that to one.

Commenter John said this after previous post:

What we are really saying out here is, “Do your job or you will be irrelevant soon….(if) you are not a solution, you are the problem.

Americans are trying to figure out a pre-emptive approach to the solution/problem thing. How to keep apparent solutions from becoming part and parcel of the problems. We’re trying to figure out who can get elected in November and who can and will do the job once that happens.

Who, indeed?

barbara says: "Obama."

Posted in


dknyc (not verified) | February 15, 2008 - 5:36pm

Okay - so I'm a Clinton supporter. And regardless of how we parse who's experienced (since we don't like GWB, we throw him into the "experienced" pile, since he has/had "experienced inisider" cronies? Funny, I thought he came packaged as an "outside the belter") or which experienced President was successful, there seems to be a kind of simplistic assumption that "outsiders" are good, and "insiders" are bad. And as our latest exchanges demonstrate, it ain't that simple. Nothing in this race is.

I'm having the very odd experiece of being in disagreement for the first time with this blog, at least some of it. I think there's a danger in polarizing our two Democratic candidates, usually to the detriment of HC, as in, She's tainted, he's therefor pure. She's got a machine, he's got motivated fresh volunteers. She "attacks", he "reaches out" . She owes everyone, he owes no one. She's old, tired and boring, he's young, fresh and exciting. etc etc. In other words, by virtue of calling her one (bad) thing, he becomes the opposite.
Way back when I was first having kids, I remember discussions about the right number of kids to have. Someone stated that one of the pitfalls of having only two kids was that the temptation was always there to polarize them. This one's studious, that one's hillarious. This one's a wild man, that one's a gentleman. This one's artistic, that one's athletic. That last diad (sp, sorry) was my sister and me. That is until I went away to college, learned to do a head stand and joined the LaCrosse team. And in my absence, she was the star of her art class, and designed the cover for her high school year book. Taken apart, we were a more realistic mix of things.
My point is that rather than being opposites, it's clear that HC and BO are more alike than they are different, and that includes both pluses and minuses. He has a machine too, and she has volunteers. He has big bucks and lobbiest supporters, too. Fresh ideas and a demonstrated ability to reach out and win over political opponents are claims that Obama has no monopoly on.
I worry, as do most of us, that when/if Obama is the nominee, he (and we) will discover that his Republican opponents will find, legitimately or not, an awful lot of baggage in his trunk, too. As Hillary says, "been there, done that. It goes with the turf."


Anonymous (not verified) | February 15, 2008 - 9:18pm

Thanks for the above. Reading it makes me think I might be able to continue reading/checking in on this very interesting blog.


leftymn (not verified) | February 16, 2008 - 10:17am

Of course the GOP is going to find something to attack Obama on, that goes without saying. But one does not have to "find" anything on Clinton, we will get the ravish once again the experience of the fake and not so fake scandals of the Clinton 90's and the reunification of the GOP.Right now we have Rush Limbaugh and the wingnut 25% railing against McCain while Huckabee still gets 40% of GOP voters in primaries when McCain is in a position where he cannot lose! ergo, with Clinton as the nominee, you re-unite these warring factions and re-energize them. Obama presents a whole new dichotomy to fight against, and I am not sure beyond ginning up racism(which didnt work so well for George Allen in Virginia and will not work in these "purple" states that are turning blue and will tip the difference) what McCain will be able to attack harshly on. McCain admits he knows little of the economy, and he will only offer less government and lower taxes, that is all they have on the shelf. If Iraq is the issue then McCain will have to defend his 100 years in Iraq comment and his sabre rattling about Iran, who will be more able to argue against this? A candidate who has steadfastly been against the Iraq war, or one who voted to authorize Bush to do anything he wanted, and also voted against the Levin Amendment?

I base much of my support of Obama less on his differences with Clinton, because as you say in almost everything he differs little from her. Detractors say he is all talk and no experience or substance. I believe historically that words and the ability to communicate and inspire matter. True era changing leaders had that ability, Lincoln, FDR, JFK, Reagan(unfortunately) all had it and they made historical change happen when the electorate wanted it but could not define it by itself.


susan | February 16, 2008 - 1:14pm

Amen to all that, Lefty. Though I like DK-NYC's interaction on this blog, so keep it coming DK.
Meanwhile, I am slipping out of town for a week to visit grandchildren, so will be even more silent that usual. (Sorry Barb.)
But, for all of us Obama supporters, the finish line is still far off. Clinton now polls 8 pts. ahead in Texas, I don't know about Ohio and Wisconsin, but they're close too. And I'm sensing a bit of a sympathy backlash, some of which DK touches on in her/his comment.

So, if you can, phoning from home is one way to help. The names and numbers come up on your computer screen, you call and chat. I've been surprised at how many people don't mind these calls. They haven't made up their minds, and some rather like to chat about it.
So, go to My Barack Obama and get started. Yep, one vote at a time. But I read somewhere that for every person we bring over to Obama, 7 more voters will be influenced by that person talking to friends, co-workers and family members. Okay, maybe 5. Or 3. Or 1. All good.
Happy calls.
Soo i. am.


dknyc (not verified) | February 17, 2008 - 1:18am

In response to LeftyMn - all that's well and good, and it certainly is the arguement in favor of "him".
My objections have not been to any of what you said regarding your opinion as to why Obama's the better candidate, but rather to what I and others consider unfair characterizations of "her" and "the Clintons".
What started me off vis a vis this blog was the report that "Obama voted for the Constitution and Hillary ate tamales in Texas". A bit of an imagistic slam (he is exhalted, supporting the Constitution, she's trivialized, schlupping down tamales. Okay, that's how you feel about them, I guess it's fair to portray 'em how you feel. But I'd just read in the NYTimes that neither one of them had hauled their fannies back to Washington to vote! That's a fact. I mind only a little when I read, well, unflattering stuff about the candidate of my choice on subjective matters....(she looks tired, she's ruthless, whatever) because subjectivity is hard to prove one way or the other. (I find Barack uninspiring, pandering, and frankly, a little tired and peaked looking himself lately.)
But when opinions or feelings spill over into misrepresentation of fact, especially by thoughtful, reasonable and rightminded people like Barb, .......that hurt, and I had to respond.
It also exemplifies one of the pitfalls of blogging, i.e, that there are no gate keepers on the factual truth. And since blogs are read mainly by those who already agree with them (except for the occasional mouth foaming crazy who makes no sense anyway) the readership is only too happy to go along with whatever is being represented as fact, "the truth".
I never ever checked the facts on anything being said here or anywhere else to the detriment of GWB. I can't imagine that I ever will. I already think he's a horror, so whatever you want to say about him, true or not, I figure he deserves. And I'm not jproud of that by the way, just how it is with me, and I suspect most of us.
None of this is new; serious journalists of all stripes have worried ever since the earliest days of the internet about the easy access and acceptance of misinformation. Just sayin it again, cause I felt it the other day, close and personal.
"So we beat on, boats against the current.......etc etc"
. Anyone wanna tell me where that quote's from?

Bon voyage to you Susan. I've found the same to be true of the calls I'm making for Hillary. People are interested, and glad to discuss. Ahhhh, polarities!