Friday, June 06, 2008

The Fallout from the Primary

I don’t know where to start.

I saw the Hillary Speech and the Barack Speech. Hillary made certain that the whole world knew where she stood and what she stood for. And she made it clear she wasn’t going gently into the night. Barack, after acknowledging his family, made certain that the whole world knew it was about “us”, as Americans and what we can be and do as Americans. Two very different candidates whose speeches reflected very different outlooks.

The Washington Post ran an article in its On Faith section that described Hillary’s fascination with Queen Esther, who was canny, alluring and ruthless. We remember that she saved the Jewish people from a massacre, but how many remember the retribution she exacted from the man who would have led that massacre? The Chicago Tribune ran an article about Barack’s campaign, and Icarus as a metaphor for what he is living now. Icarus ignored the warnings of his father and flew too close to the sun, which melted the wax on his wings and causing him to fall to his death. Barack may still be Icarus, and who knows if the wax is still melting, or if he has learned to fly more carefully. What if Queen Esther becomes Icarus’ running mate?

This is a historic year. A white woman and a black man ran for their party’s nomination for President. Only one could win and either one would be a historic choice. It seems we have our answer, and she is not the one. As a woman of the same generation, I can’t say I am sorry about that. Senator Clinton never struck me as being interested in anything aside from winning the nomination. Having a fire in the belly is a good thing, after all this is not a race for sissies. But to change course the way chameleons change color is not my idea of leadership. Her sorry performance regarding Michigan and Florida, after agreeing to the original terms, which she kicked to the curb when she realized she couldn’t win, is not evocative of a leader willing/able to make hard choices and live with the consequences. I can’t say I feel sorry for her.

Barack carries his own baggage. He is either naïve or every bit the chameleon that Hillary is. He was ignorant of Reverend Wright’s more extreme views, unaware of Rezko’s connections, and lost in a fog regarding questionable campaign contributions. This raises valid questions about his ability to assess the character of those he associates with. Will he know when he is being played? I talked to one party who is absolutely certain, based on personal experience, that Barack is as corrupt in his own way as any other politician in the pockets of the Illinois Machine. Is that the chameleon at work?

Can he beat McCain? That’s a good question. This could prove to be a very tight race. We know that there are white folks who will never vote for a person of color. They are obvious defectors to McCain, or they may choose to sit out the election. There are Hillary supporters who may never vote for Barack. Perhaps Hillary will convince them otherwise. In any case, I don’t believe it is a given that Barack will win the White House. He will have to convince the voters he has the better plan, the better options…hell let’s say it….the better sound bites!

I am not convinced that McCain is the one, but I also don’t agree with the distortions that have been laid at his feet. In his own way he can be as clumsy, or chameleon-like, as Barack. If he stoops to conquer, playing on fear and division, he will lose whatever respect I still hold for him, plus any opportunity to get my vote.

With all the hoopla about the presumptive nominees for both parties the conventions seem superfluous. However, these are the events that publicly unveil party platforms, policies, and direction. I suppose they still serve a purpose, although the days of a captive TV audience, hanging on every word coming from the podium, are pretty much over. Regardless, the games begin and let’s see where they lead us! Hillary is supposedly conceding tomorrow.


Neil_in_Chicago said...

"Maverick" McCain voted Bush's 95% of the time in 2007 . . . and can reverse his stand in ten minutes. Google "real McCain".
His mouth must be triangular to talk out of three sides of it.
(Yes, I have some real doubts about Obama, but McCain's actual record doesn't leave much room for doubt.)

The North Coast said...

Agree. I'll take the candidate about whom I have doubts, over the candidate you can't possibly doubt will maintain the disastrous policies of the past 8 years.

And what candidate could you not have serious doubts about? And what candidate is totally, completely free of corruption?

I had initially supported Clinton as being the more mature and seasoned candidate, but her pandering on fiscal issues (promoting the mortgage bailout), her race-baiting in the KY and WV races, and her complete cluelessness on energy issues have made me grateful she lost to Obama, who at least displays honesty on occasion, and who seems at least somewhat cognizant that we are no way no how going to be able to keep our 200-million-auto fleet running on gasoline or any combo of "alternatives" going forward.