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Saturday, February 23, 2008
Mama, It Was Too Late

Watching Hillary Clinton go bonkers on television because of some mailer the Obama campaign sent out finally brought it home to me: she's lost.

She's lost the campaign, lost her dignity, lost her self-respect. And I suspect she has lost her marbles along the way.

Like the worst of the talk-radio shills, she is desperately shouting at the top of her lungs, trying to gin up some phony sense of outrage that will resonate with the voters. But sit back for a moment and think about the enormity of what she's done.

She shouts about the outrage of attacking a fellow Democrat on health care, then turns around and accuses Obama of "Karl Rove tactics". This after her husband's ham-fisted race-baiting in South Carolina.

She yells, "Shame on you, Barack Obama", with the shrill self-righteousness of an offended schoolmarm. "Shame on you"? Is that going to be her strategy against Republican attacks in a general election?

In that case, why not just draft Michael Dukakis to run again?

This is the death rattle of an exhausted and intellectually bankrupt candidate. And it's sad to see this happen to a woman whom I had liked, respected and defended more times over the years than I can count.

If this is the final nail in her electoral coffin, it's an ugly way to go. If by some miracle her fortunes improve after this shameful performance, well, shame on you, Mrs. Clinton. It's an ugly way, either way.

Friday, February 22, 2008
Ooh, Didn't See This Coming
Over at K-Lo's House of Crazy, Victor Davis Hanson is busy pulling the wool over his own eyes:

I think what we are watching in the Democratic primary is historic. First, there has not been a candidate nominated for President more liberal than Barack Obama since George McGovern — not Carter, Mondale, Dukakis, Clinton, Gore, or Kerry. This is unapologetic liberalism in the classic European-socialist sense, and for the first time in many years we will see its envisioned agendas without Clintonian trimming or apologetics — the flip side of the purist Goldwater in 1964. Obama will put the best face on this ultra-liberalism and the voters can freely decide. A real cut-and-dry choice.
Except Republicans painted all of those previous Democratic candidates -- Carter, Mondale, Dukakis, Clinton, Gore and Kerry -- as The Most Liberal Since McGovern. In fact, those candidates were routinely painted as far more liberal than McGovern, not to mention more liberal than Castro, Marx and Lenin. It is a symptom of the Republican's intellectual exhaustion that not only is this the sole electoral strategy they can imagine, but that seizing upon this old chestnut is heralded as some sort of fantastic epiphany.

Monday, February 04, 2008
Michael Chabon Calls Out The Phobocracy
Michael Chabon is one of my favorite authors, and he argues for Obama with a wit and eloquence that I could never manage:

The point of Obama's candidacy is that the damaged state of American democracy is not the fault of George W. Bush and his minions, the corporate-controlled media, the insurance industry, the oil industry, lobbyists, terrorists, illegal immigrants or Satan. The point is that this mess is our fault. We let in the serpents and liars, we exchanged shining ideals for a handful of nails and some two-by-fours, and we did it by resorting to the simplest, deepest-seated and readiest method we possess as human beings for trying to make sense of the world: through our fear. America has become a phobocracy.

Since I started talking and writing about Obama I have come to see that this ruling fear, and nothing else, lies at the back of every objection or reservation people raise or harbor regarding the man and his candidacy....Fear and those who fatten on it spread vile lies about Obama's religion, his past drug use, his views on Israel and the Jews. Fear makes us see the world purely in terms of enemies and perils, and leads us to seek out the promise of leadership, however spurious it proves to be, among those who speak the language of that doomed and demeaning, that inhuman view of the world.

But the most pitiable fear of all is the fear of disappointment, of having our hearts broken and our hopes dashed by this radiant, humane politician who seems not just with his words but with every step he takes, simply by the fact of his running at all, to promise so much for our country, for our future and for the eventual state of our national soul. I say "pitiable" because this fear of disappointment, which I hear underlying so many of the doubts that people express to me, is ultimately a fear of finding out the truth about ourselves and the extent of the mess that we have gotten ourselves into.

I have been thnking along these lines, even writing along these lines, for years. Yet Chabon has, in a few hundred words, made the case I never could. He is to writers what Michael Jordan is to basketball players or Van Gogh is to painters. Or what Barack Obama is to politicians, for that matter. You can only shake your head, wishing you were that good. Or half as good.

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