Thursday, August 21, 2008

Was Hillary Right?

I am surprised to see recent polls showing McCain and Obama going into their conventions virtually tied among the voting public (NY 8/20, Fox 8/21). How can that be possible? When I see the candidates on the evening news, I see one man as the picture of Enlightenment clear thinking, rationality, sincerity, and compassion; the other a grotesque self-caricature sputtering empty slogans.

McCain yesterday vowed that he would bring the troops home from Iraq “with honor and victory,” while, he said, Obama prefers forfeiture. Does McCain think the war is an Olympic event? What is “victory?” Didn’t we achieve victory 24 hours after invading the country in 2003? What is forfeiture? Returning a sovereign country to its rightful owners? I cannot fathom how his mind works when he talks like that.

Voters polled said McCain was more prepared to be commander in chief. But why? Haven’t they read his Foreign Affairs article? ( It is frightening. Wouldn’t we rather have a pro-peace president?

Of course voters have not read McCain’s Foreign Affairs article, or much of anything else either, and that’s the problem. Obama may be too far out in front of the crowd to be a natural leader. You can’t lead from a mountaintop; only from five paces ahead. And maybe Hillary was that leader. Maybe I was wrong about her. I have a long history of being a contrary indicator.

The Demo convention will be a tragedy if the pro-Clinton forces and the roll call vote turn into an anti-Obama self-indulgence. I think “Barry” (as Maureen Dowd calls him) could overcome such a fiasco and go on to win in November because the choice is so stark that I do not believe many voters will change sides. This is rural vs urban, educated vs uneducated, and that’s not going to change. But it could hurt turnout, which Obama must have oceans of.

It may be that Hillary was right insisting that she was the “electable” candidate. Looking back at the primaries now, where she won big, she may have been right.

I still believe Obama would be a president of a higher order, like this country has not seen in two or three generations; while another self-obsessed Clinton White House would be excruciating and dangerous for America. But the first step in the recipe for making rabbit stew is 1: Catch a rabbit.

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