I think I pissed off Lambert and the Corrente crowd over the Ramengate post. I’m pretty sure I made my new pal Shystee uncomfortable. For that I apologize – it’s just that all the stuff about Obama supporters being the ‘creative class’ and ‘Obama fan boys’ and ‘elitists’ who don’t care about poor people started getting under my skin. Plus Lambert’s whole re-enactment of the Four Yorkshiremen sketch was funny to me. And the latte-sipping insults were very much an outing into wingnut territory.
I also want to thank Leah and Shystee for sticking up for S,N! over at Corrente. I tried to register to comment over there, but it didn’t take.
I do support Obama, as I’ve said before. Just not very zealously — I would very-very-with-a-grin-on-my-face-happy-happy-fun-time pull the lever for Clinton if she gets the nomination. As I’ve also said before. I literally made my choice for Obama on the morning of the California primary. Not because I’m an out-of-touch idiot who didn’t do his homework, although I am often that. Rather, it was because I liked both of them enough against the Rethugs in the general election that I couldn’t pick between them. Also, I had a good friend who I knew was voting for Hillary, so I figured I’d toss my vote Barack’s way to even things out.
Amazingly, my opinion back then hasn’t really changed much. I like Obama’s chances against McCain a little better, but I think both could clean the floor with him. I would be happy to have either as president.
This blog, unlike Corrente, has not been particularly fervent in its partisanship for either candidate, although my guess is the majority of the regular posters support Obama. I actually don’t know who Clif or Jillian or Travis endorses. Seb supports the Oktoberfest Party for all I know. HTML Mencken could be writing in Gore Vidal. Sadly, No! Research Labs is for a straight falsifiability ticket, barring the unlikely appearance on the national scene of a strong anti-kerning crusader. The point being, primary stumping is not precisely our preferred wicket in these parts, though comment threads do tilt very strongly, almost exclusively to Obama.
We have two very strong candidates to end the nightmare of the Bush years. And that makes me happy. At the same time, I have no illusions that either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton is a particularly progressive candidate. I’m not such a naif that I think most of the policies I would prefer under either of them wouldn’t get watered down and centrist-ized to the point where I would grumble and moan and start attacking them from the left. I have no doubt, for instance, that either Obama or Clinton would find some way to drag us into a new war. It’s what American presidents do and it ain’t gonna change. Their main advantage over McCain is that he would drag us into two wars.
As HTML Mencken says, ‘both candidates are corporate whores.’ That’s just the facts. On the other hand, I’m getting too old and tired, and I’ve been around the election block enough times, to really put a whole lot of energy into trumpeting that depressing reality to the high heavens anymore. We’re getting a centrist who tacks to the right as our presidential nominee. It’s just the way this country works. The progressive, game-changing stuff will trickle up to the political class from the grassroots, not the other way around. I no longer think that’s as terrible a thing as I used to, because the stuff worth doing gets means-tested at the local level, in the neighborhoods and towns and cities, weeding out the crap and bringing the cream to the national theater. It could be worse. We could live under the Burmese junta.
The other point worth noting is that the Dems may give us a centrist waffler, but the GOP will give us an insane person with one hand on the lever to the bomb bay doors and the other jamming the maxed-out credit card of our national debt into Corporate America slots that give worse odds than an arcade claw machine and charge a thousand-point vig.
There are areas where I think Clinton and Obama have advantages over the other. I like Hillary’s health care plan. I like Barack’s pledge of $10 billion a year for five years to bring the health care information systems and records in line with existing standards. I like Hillary’s plans to expand National Science Foundation funding and grants. I like Barack’s commitment to network neutrality and ideas for transparent government. I like Hillary’s toughness and practical nature. I like Barack’s charisma and ability to bring new voters into the process. I like Clinton’s experience and I like Obama’s freshness.
It’s like an old politician once asked me, ‘Why do I have to pick between the Israelis and the Palestinians? I like them both. I want them both to have peace.’
I want peace, or a relative facsimile thereof, for our country. I want a competent technocrat as president who will appoint Roe-supporting justices, fill the bureaucracy with competent people who never had Bob Jones University as their first, second, third or 10,000th college choice, who will not shit on the Constitution too runnily or gather Straussians in underground star chambers to trade the latest torture porn hot off the presses. Obama and Clinton are our sole shots at that.
Have Obama and his supporters fucked up and been nasty and divisive and shitty at times? Yeah. So has she and so have hers. Both deserve to be raked over the coals when they sling Rovian mud at each other or blatantly and unconstructively break the 11th commandment or fling race and gender cards around or talk about obliterating Iran or invading Pakistan.
But here’s what I don’t get and maybe Lambert et. al. can help me out. On the one hand, you guys notice every wart on Obama’s face, which, again, is perfectly fine. And yet you are stunningly blind to any on Hillary’s. And really, they’re not hard to miss.
It’s like you project the entire long history of progressive discontent with centrist, party hack Democrats onto Barack Obama, again, fine, but then you turn around and somehow project Dennis Kucinich onto your own candidate. Who is Hillary Clinton. I repeat, Hillary-fucking-Clinton. Who is a real person, with a real legislative record, not some doll you can put overalls on and call Working Class Hero Hills! Now with Gas Tax Holiday Grip!
So I have to ask: why are you doing this? And really, I want to know, because it looks very much like Obama is going to be the nominee and I hope you all come home to support him. Or to turn things out and attempt to be a little more gracious, what do Obama and his supporters need to do today to get you into this car?
UPDATE: I’m glad I got most of the above stuff off my chest. But I also think my apology to Lambert and Corrente will be read as more than a little back-handed, and they’d be right. It’s hard to completely unsnark oneself. But I really do want to mend fences and I want to be clearer about this, so I’ll just ask: What is it about Barack Obama that is such a deal-breaker for so many of you? I honestly want to know, because I just don’t get it.
Clif adds: For the record, I am for the candidate that has the best chance of beating St. Bar-BQ. At times the polls have given that edge to Hillary; at times, to Obama. One thing, however, is certain: I will be voting for the Democratic nominee in the November elections. I have, it seems, posted more things here ridiculing attacks on Obama than on Clinton, but that is only because Obama seems to have the wingnut-o-sphere so exercised that every time you turn around somebody is saying something preposterous about Obama. It’s hard not to take a hit on that “comedy crack” pipe as somebody said over at Corrente.