Friday, January 11, 2008

Coming down to earth

Last Tuesday's primary in NH demonstrated that Barack Obama is possibly only a human being after all. On top of this, it turns out that Hillary Clinton is not an automaton, as some people seem to have suspected. It looks as if we're going to have to choose our candidate from a field of mere mortals. I find all this very discouraging, because frankly, humans don't have a great track record when it comes to grappling with the problems of the world lately. I was hoping for something better.

New Hampshire also provided a platform where some of our favorite pundits could prove that they are really talking out of their posteriors most of the time. We knew that, but it's kind of fun when they really can't puff up and brazen it out. The polls are another matter. The Democratic race in New Hampshire did represent a crushing defeat for the lot of them, but is just giving up the answer? Well, maybe.

I don't think that any camp has acquitted themselves very well in all this, except maybe Bill Richardson, who got the hell out of Dodge. Bill Clinton sure seems to have been disingenuous, at best, about what exactly Senator Obama said and what he meant regarding the war in Iraq.

On the other hand, Jesse Jackson Jr's statement about Senator Clinton's moment of near emotion was a study in true idiocy. Of course, he wasn't the only idiot. He was one of so very many. If there's one thing in the world that most men don't understand it's a woman's tears or close encounters with said tears. They should never, ever, talk about them. They don't understand what brings them on, what stops them, or the fact that the Senator's facial expression said, "OMG, I might cry. I can't cry now. I won't cry now." And she didn't. Most women know what those facial muscles were doing. We've all been there and if Hillary was that good an actress she would have no "likability" issues to deal with at all.

While we're at it, I was extremely irritated by Jackson referring to "Mrs. Clinton" in his statement. It's "Senator" Clinton, is it not? Same goes for Elizabeth Edwards, whom I otherwise adore, but she used "Mrs. Clinton" over and over in a NH speech that was carried on C-Span. It's disrespectful and, at least for me, it's a turn-off. I have no problem with "Hillary". Bill is just "Bill" to many. Using a first name might be condescending, it might be friendly, it might be overly familiar, but it isn't denying a person a title to which she is entitled.

It looks like things are going to be getting pretty ugly all around from here on out. And it doesn't look like it's going to be fun for us or even a very good idea for anyone invovled.

Sunday, January 6, 2008


It's been a remarkable few days, eh? Obama's explosion is THE political story. Everything else is all filler. Little fixes for the political junkies until the ship comes in on Tuesday. He's Elvis and the Beatles, JFK and some RFK thrown in. I know he's not big on dwelling on the past, but if present trends continue someday in the future, he himself will become a frame of reference by which phenomena are measured.

There's just one thing that should have him worried now. When asked if Obama would win the Democratic nomination, the Matthews Meter returned a 12-0 verdict that indeed, he would. Could that manyTV pundits be right? If so, that would be another development of historic proportions. Some of these were the same people who predicted Gephardt if not Lieberman in 2004 if memory serves. Senator Clinton can take some comfort there, but the road ahead of her is starting to look rocky and steep.

All in all, I think that Obamamania is a good thing. People need something - someone - to get excited about. Everyone who is firmly in one camp or another is excited by his or her candidate of choice, but Obama seems to have an IT factor that's bigger than that. I'm one of those Democrats who could be happy with almost any of our original candidates in the role of president. I'm pretty confident that any of them could do a very fine job. Nonetheless, I have to admit that it's a lot of fun watching this thing happen.

By the way, have you noticed that when a Democratic candidate has charisma it doesn't interfere with having brains as well. Doesn't seem to be as true on the other side, by and large.