Sunday, June 17, 2007

Four More Years

Today I will go on record to say that, barring a terrorist attack of some significance or a spectacular flame-out on the part of one or more of the Republican candidates, the American people can expect to have four more years of GOP governance after the 2008 election (although to be sure, given the divided nature of the electorate, any GOP margin of victory will be anorexically slender.) Nevertheless, my sense is that, while hardly perfect - or even close in the case of Ron Paul - the Republican Party presents a slate of candidates that generally comes across as more credible in the dual roles of President and Commander-in-Chief. For their part, Democrats have shown themselves to be too beholden to their internal constituents (i.e.: the anti-war Left, George Soros, etc.) to field candidates who can win Democrat primaries and a general election.

Despite a crew of candidates that includes six former or current Senators, a Representative and an incumbent governor, the so-called "money primary" has already winnowed down the crop to Hillary Clinton, Barrack Obama and John Edwards. As for Mr. Edwards, he has already shown himself to be, as the New York Times Magazine recently put it, "
[trying] so hard to establish his affinity for the common man that it makes you wince."
The Times went on to point out the disconnect between Edwards' populist "Two Americas" rhetoric and the realities of his personal situation.

Whenever you wrap yourself in the mantle of morality and conviction, however, even the smallest hypocrisy can leave an indelible stain. Edwards is, after all, a very wealthy man, given to some of the excesses that wealth allows. While Edwards was denouncing inequality across the land, he was also building, near Chapel Hill, the largest home in the county, a 28,000-square-foot mansion with its own indoor basketball and squash courts. He also made news recently for receiving a $400 haircut in a Los Angeles hotel room. The decision that most complicates Edwards' political message, though, is his affiliation with Fortress Investments, the hedge fund where he worked in 2006. Strictly speaking, hedge funds aren't especially nefarious enterprises in American life, but as a symbolic matter, they represent exactly the kind of exclusionary wealth that has led, more than anything else, to the gross inequality that Edwards deplores. (More than symbolically, Fortress has invested in exactly the kind of subprime-mortgage dealers that Edwards has repeatedly castigated for preying on the poor.) If Edwards isn't keen on shouting about how, in [former labor Secretary Robert] Reich's words, "the very rich have all the money," it may be because he's hardly the guy to be making the case.
In the case of Barack Obama, his voting record notwithstanding, the Senator certainly comes across as someone who is above partisanship, particularly in his speechifying and writings. To his credit, he has been able to successfully parlay his well-crafted image as a uniter - along with his relative inexperience as a Washington insider - into a representation of someone who would unite Americans across party lines to work against the dreaded "special interests"; his ability to create such an impression is a significant part of his appeal. But it is this very absence of resume and accomplishment that also serves as an Achilles' Heel for Obama. To be sure, his very candidacy is violative of the "twice as good" rule that African American strivers have observed for decades. (For that reason alone, one would more reasonably imagine Colin or Condi as a presidential candidate.) Simply put, Sen. Obama is little more than a cipher, a tabula rasa upon which his supporters can project their wishes and/or fantasies.

And what of Hillary Clinton? (Out of fairness to her, we will ignore the fact that, attitudinally, she reminds nearly every man of an ex-girlfriend or wife.) Beyond her exaggerated self-importance and obvious lack of sincerity, her most salient deficit is the diametric opposite of Sen. Obama's. Where Obama's resume is not the thing, her "resume" is all that she has. Far from being a blank slate, Ms. Clinton's background is well-known, and everyone in her camp seems to acknowledge that it serves as an impediment. As if to confirm its status as a house organ for the Clintons, Newsweek sought to portray America's negative perception of Ms. Clinton as a function of Republican smear campaigns, past and present.
Installed in Washington, Hillary morphed into a comic-book villain for her detractors—a man-eating feminist, they claimed, who allegedly threw lamps at her husband, communed psychically with Eleanor Roosevelt and lit a White House Christmas tree adorned with sex toys. The narrative of depravity—a tissue of inventions by conservatives—was often hard to follow. Was she, as they imagined her, a secret lesbian who fostered a West Wing culture of rampant homosexuality? Or was she the duplicitous adulteress who slept with former law partner Vincent Foster, ordered his death and then made it look like a suicide? Disjointed as they may have been, Hillary horror tales soon became big business on talk radio—"That's Why the First Lady Is a Tramp" was a Clinton-era hit from Don Imus. In the 1996 election, a direct-mail company sold a Hillary Haters list with close to 30,000 names to groups advocating conservative causes.
For the folks at Newsweek to pretend that Clinton did not bring some of her woes upon herself is to yield to some sort of collective amnesia. Setting aside Whitewater and Monica Lewinsky, is there no recollection of her handling of "Cattle-gate", "Hillary Care" or the White House Travel Office firings. Have they forgotten their own reporting on Craig Livingstone and the hundreds of FBI files of (mostly) Republicans that mysteriously materialized in the White House?

Alas, all of this malfeasance and more has escaped the recollection of Newsweek's editors - and perhaps that of the American people. But what is to be said of Hillary's conduct in her most recent incarnation? Indeed, what can be inferred about Ms. Clinton from her
decision-making and truthfulness vis-a-vis the run-up to the Iraq War? I will again yield to the NYT Magazine and its assessment.

For all the scrutiny of Clinton's vote [to authorize the Bush administration's war against Iraq], an important moment has been lost. It came several hours earlier, on Oct. 10, 2002, the same day Clinton spoke about why she would support the Iraq-war authorization. In her remarks on the Senate floor, she stressed the need for diplomacy with Iraq on the part of the Bush administration and insisted she wasn’t voting for "any new doctrine of pre-emption, or for unilateralism." Yet just a few hours after her speech, Clinton voted against an amendment to the war resolution that would have required the diplomatic emphasis that Clinton had gone on record as supporting — and that she now says she had favored all along.

The long-overlooked vote was on an amendment introduced by Carl Levin and several other Senate Democrats who hoped to rein in President Bush by requiring a two-step process before Congress would actually authorize the use of force. Senators knew full well the wide latitude that they were handing to Bush, which is why some tried to put the brakes on the march to war. The amendment called, first, for the U.N. to pass a new resolution explicitly approving the use of force against Iraq. It also required the president to return to Congress if his U.N. efforts failed and, in Senator Levin's words, "urge us to authorize a going-it-alone, unilateral resolution." That resolution would allow the president to wage war as a last option.

Clinton has never publicly explained her vote against the Levin amendment or said why she stayed on the sidelines as 11 other senators debated it for 95 minutes that day. In the end, she joined the significant majority of 75 senators who voted against Levin's proposal. (A similar measure in the House also lost, though it gained the backing of 155 members.) The 75 senators were largely those who voted later that night in favor of the war authorization. Only four senators — Feinstein, Rockefeller, Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa and Senator Herb Kohl of Wisconsin — voted yes on Levin's resolution and then voted yes on Bush's war authorization. If Clinton had done that, she subsequently could have far more persuasively argued, perhaps, that she had supported a multilateral diplomatic approach.

Whatever one might think of the Levin amendment, it is duplicitous for Sen. Clinton to make pretenses that she favored attempts to avoid war by diplomatic means, particularly after the security situation in Baghdad took a sharp turn for the worse in 2005. This manner of double-mindedness is part and parcel for Ms. Clinton, and is an echo of kerfuffles past.

Given the various unsuitabilities of the Democrat "Big Three," the only other scenario that could potentially derail a GOP presidential win in 2008 would be Al Gore riding to the rescue (no doubt in a hybrid SUV.) Unfortunately for the "Goreniacs", recent polling out of Iowa suggests that he would be a distant fourth behind the triune slate of Democrat front-runners.

So again, in the humble opinion of this lowly scribbler, the GOP can expect a narrow victory against the Democratic presidential nominee in 2008. (The probability of such being the case is only increased by the fact that some of the more exciting Republican candidates have yet to announce.) Our collective concerns about internal and external security - to include that of America's southern border, along with our lingering suspicions of Democrat efforts to nationalize health care, will coalesce to provide just enough energy to animate the GOP base in support of their eventual nominee.


nemov said...

I happen to agree with this assessment, although it's difficult to forecast this far out. The next President will have to be perceived as a Washington outsider. Right now the likely Democrat nominees are all Senators in the most disliked Congress in decades.

This is what is dooming McCain's campaign, and creating the groundswell for Thompson. Whoever adopts the role of "outsider" and communicates a clear vision on forign policy (something Bush is just can't do) will win the election.

Anonymous said...

You've been nicely brainwashed by the mainstream media (which is controlled by corporate, pro-war interests). Congratulations on your wonderful brainwashing!

Now to un-do your brainwashing... do some research on the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and their plans for One World Government.

Then do some research on the plan for the North American Union and the Amero (slated for 2010).

Then do some research on which 2008 candidates are members of the CFR. I'll give you a hint -- almost ALL of them. Except for Ron Paul.

If you vote for a CFR member, you are voting for world communism controlled by international corporations. You are not an American if you vote for that. You are a traitor if you knowingly vote for a CFR member.

I am not exaggerating in the slightest. Now please educate yourself and do the proper research.