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February 09, 2008


Dan Hays

John, you make a great case for Hillary, no doubt about it. If she becomes the nominee I won't have any hesitation in casting my vote for her.
I would disagree with you on your assessment of Obama as merely "likeable." He brings a charisma, intellect and articulation to the campaign conversation that connects with people in ways I haven't seen since Bobby and Jack Kennedy. Bill Clinton tried his best to be the new JFK, and he had some modest success at it. Obama, though, radiates the kind of charisma and speaks with the kind of voice that touches people wherever they are. I think of stories told by American missionaries and travelers who found pictures of JFK decorating the thatched huts of tropical island natives half the world away. Obama seems to have the same mojo, but not because he deliberately tries to be the new JFK. Teddy Kennedy has little to gain endorsing the upstart Obama. It would have been better for him to throw his lot in with Clinton, who has been amazingly effective in harnessing local political machinery throughout the country in advancing her campaign. And again, that's no knock on Hillary--you go, girl.
Also, Teddy has little time left on the political stage and the stories I read about him on the campaign trail lead me to believe he must be aware of it. This is, perhaps, his final knight's errand in the service of the ideals and vision represented by the Kennedy legacy. I don't want to get too lofty about Teddy here--I remember too well how his '80 presidential run weakened Carter even further for the general election. Had he behaved himself better, we might just have staved off the Reagan Revolution that has put us on a course toward the same miserable place a certain Bolshevik revolution brought another world power.
Obama lacks experience, this is true. But so does Hillary, if you think about it. The good news is that neither of them is at the point a certain governor of Texas was in 1998, when the powers that be (Hoover Institute) decided he'd be their establishment candidate--OK, more like proxy puppet for their idealological agenda. So they decided to "school-up" George W. in a big hurry so he could at least feign some semblance of competence in dealing with people on the world stage. Well, we know how utterly catastrophic this has been for the world, don't we? The polls I read suggest that most people now know this, and that either Hillary or Obama will be better than McCain, who simply promises to continue to keep playing that same broken record of tax cuts for the rich, more war in the Middle East, and less government to help renew our crumbling social infrastructure. And, forget global warming, at least until New York becomes America's New Venice.
John, I know you're flat-out convinced that Hillary is the best candidate for the nomination. That may be true. It also may be true that Obama--not the original horse I picked in the race, by the way--might be better. Seems to me the goal is to continue in this primary process and get ourselves in and out of the Democratic Convention with bitterness and rancor set aside, so the nominee stands a chance of getting enough votes that the election becomes theft-proof.
In the meantime, I'm thrilled that we have a real race between two above-average candidates. Either one is capable of leading the nation in a new, positive direction.


1) Ugh, either nominee would have a hard time going "toe-to-toe" with McCain on military issues. Once he puts on that "Veteran" bomber jacket, he makes anyone else look like a military neophyte. Versus McCain on military issues, Clinton and Obama are equally disadvantaged - they both need to learn how to salute, something McCain learned while preparing to fight in Vietnam . . .

2) If it were the economy, stupid, Romney would have developed some traction in the GOP race. But the economy won't be issue #1 (even if it should be), and both Obama and Clinton trump McCain on the economy.

3) Obama gets more of Clinton's voters than Clinton gets of Obama's voters. The poor folk who vote for Clinton are likely to vote for Obama in November. The newbies who vote now for Obama are less enthusiastic for Clinton. Also, the independents who vote for Obama now are more likely to be drawn to the "maverick" McCain than to the "establishment" Clinton (quibble all you want about his "maverick" status, that's his image).

4) Obama and McCain are both friends with Senator Kennedy. Haven't you noticed how the conservatives always question McCain's work with Kennedy on immigration? Kennedy will be a non-factor in the general election, just as he has been in the primary.

5) Again, those who support Clinton right now are likely to support Obama in the fall in huge numbers - they are core party loyalists. A higher percentage of Obama's supporters are not core party loyalists, and are more likely to go to McCain or stay home rather than support Clinton in November.

Oh, and Obama's negatives are much lower than Clinton's negatives, particularly among independents and republicans. She starts out with so many negatives that it is ridiculous to make her the nominee.

John Petty

Dan, I don't buy the charisma stuff. I already have a messiah. I don't need another one. In fact, I generally beware of any youth-based "change movements." Have you noticed that, for all the glitz, Obama rarely actually says anything? His speeches are like Chinese dinners. An hour later, you can't remember anything.

Chris, my first vote was for McGovern. I was one of the know-it-all young people who dissed the party establishment and overthrew it. They dissed us right back.

Secondly, I don't like the way Obama is encouraging the idea that his voters won't support the ticket. He and Michelle have both made statements to this effect--sounds like blackmail, to me.

Third, a certain contingent of "Obama people" are the same more-progressive-than-thou types who show up every four years to condemn the horrible, corrupt system, and then, when they don't get their way, they sulk off and you don't see them again until four years have passed and they show up--again--to give everyone the benefit of their thinking, which never changes, by the way. They're for Obama because they think he's a vehicle for their rigid anti-war position. He's not, but, quite frankly, they're not politically astute enough to know it.

Romney was a putz, and no Republican can possibly say anything about the economy because their only acceptable economic program is lower taxes. Once you've said, that's all you're going to say, or can say. Nobody looks to Republicans on the economy, except their already wealthy or wannabe wealthy supporters, and they're just fine with the way things are.

I can assure you, Kennedy--or liberalism--will not be a non-factor in the red states. They're lost. In fact, if we ever started winning them, I might become a Republican.

Final note: The party loyalists didn't turn out for McGovern. Sure, the top dogs eventually came around, sort of, but the turnout wasn't there.

Another point: Is it so much to ask that the nominee of the Democratic Party be a Democrat? Democrats are for poor people, women, and minorities. If a candidate has a message crafted for "hope" and "progress," but the people it's supposedly directed to aren't buying it, what does that say?

Repent, my two Obama friends!

R.E. Vampe

6. 50% of the electorate says that they would never vote for Hillary.

John Petty

44% to be exact--rather typical numbers for a Democrat who's been around for awhile.

R.E. Vamp

The point is that she can't win.

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