Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Thus Endeth the Primaries

Before I walked out my door a few minutes ago, I turned off the tube. At that time, the number of delegates Obama had clinched had brought him to within 11 of the magic number he needs to take the nomination. That was a drop from 16 less than an hour earlier. If that rate continues, he might cross the line before the ND polls close in a couple more hours. Once the ND and MT votes are tallied, I expect him to be decisively over the top. I would like to express my relief that we as a party can finally focus our energy on the real opponent: the failed (so-called) conservative policies of the last 30 years and the last seven and a half years particularly.

Unlike many that I've talked to, I had a difficult time making up my mind between the two. Both have some serious strengths and some serious weaknesses. My first choices had all been knocked off, and Hillary and Barack both seemed more establishment, more DNC, than I would have preferred. I didn't think Hillary's health care plan was perfect, but it seemed far more plausible and pragmatic than Obama's. Obama had the foresight and clarity to recognize, at the time of the fall '02 vote, where we were headed in Iraq, while I was torn and undecided until a few months later. HRC has seemingly never really resolved where she stands on the war, beyond wanting to say what people want to hear. Again, strengths and weaknesses on both sides.

Over the last few weeks particularly, Hillary's determination to fight on, and her repeated attempts to make last minute changes to the rules of the game have unnerved me; this behavior is what I associate with BushCo. This behavior is what we're trying to put behind us. The goal is not to win a political fight, but to find some way to govern this country the way it needs and deserves to be governed. As Molly Ivins (dear lord, how I miss her) pointed out repeatedly, Shrub isn't dumb. He's shrewd, cunning and very, very smart when it comes to doing the things he's interested in doing: winning political games. Unfortunately, once he wins, he has absolutely no interest in governance. John Dean has pointed out that if you put someone into office who tells you that government is the problem, you should be able to infer that that person doesn't believe that government can be useful to the citizenry. Taken together, these two insights suggest that whenever you vote for a Republican (at least in this day and age) you are voting for someone who, first, has no interest in serving We The People, and second, doesn't believe We The People can be served by wise governance.

Both Hillary and Obama believe that government can and should help its citizens. Both believe that they personally can implement wise government. Both have given evidence of the latter with compelling policy proposals, and arguments for how those proposals would be efficacious in solving the problems at which they're directed.

Why would anyone vote for a Republican?

Yesterday I wrote up a couple of posts that could be taken by some to be too critical, too insulting toward Hillary. As I tried to clarify above, there is much to be admired in Hillary, and I am supportive of many of her policy ideas. I have been uneasy with some of her recent decisions and actions, but these behaviors pale besides those of any Republican, most notably John McCain, whose off-the-cuff incorrect assertions, blunders, and miscellaneous nonsense (literally: non-sense) have been increasingly shocking and frightening to me.

The critical task now is that of bringing Democrats together in recognizing that these are the truly important issues. I have never bought into the media-blown wildfires of personality politics between the two Democratic contenders, and thus have some difficulty empathizing with the depth of commitment to either that I recognize in others. But I do recognize that depth of commitment. However, to reiterate and summarize, the central question that We The People must answer correctly, must answer wisely, for the sake of our collective future, is this: Would we rather be governed by someone who believes that knowledge and wisdom can benefit us through the process of governance, or someone who believes that governance is useless or worse, and that, therefore, knowledge and wisdom are simply irrelevant?

Many others have been saying much the same over the last couple of days. Here are a couple posts that I found very compelling

The Dean's Office

The Rude Pundit

There are lots of others out there, but these two moved me deeply and helped me see more clearly what we have at stake over the next five months. Neither will take more than a few minutes to read. Please. Go Read. People, we gots to do this, and we gots to do it right.

No comments: