Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Yes He Can: Andrew Sullivan on Obama

Yes He Can.

...But the show must go on, because the Clintons' egos demand it, and because as long as Obama has not crossed the magic line definitively, the destiny of the Clintons to run America for sixteen years must always be pursued. Ask Sid Blumenthal why. It's also vital for the Clintons psychologically to undermine Obama's appeal. He represents a systematic rebuke of their style of politics, their tactics and their worldview. If they can manage to damage him enough, even if he wins the nomination, their own sense of their own historical importance will be assuaged. Maybe they can damage him enough to ensure that McCain beats him in the fall. That would, at some level, satisfy them. To be beaten in a Democratic primary is bad enough; but if their opponent goes on to win the presidency, it would be unbearable for them, close to an indictment. That is what is fueling them: the terror of an Obama presidency and history re-written with Clinton as a minor footnote in the minor 1990s.

Obama supporters should not be dismayed.

Obama has a tougher, nastier opponent in the Clintons than he does in McCain. If he wins this by a long, grueling struggle, he will be more immune to the lazy, stupid criticism that he is some kind of flash in the pan, he has more opportunity to prove that there is a great deal of substance behind the oratory, he has more of a chance to meet and talk with the electorate he will need to win in the fall.

I think the argument for Obama is easily strong enough to withstand the egos of the Clintons. The more people see that her case is almost entirely a fear-based one and his is almost entirely a positive one, the more he will win the moral victory as well as the delegate count. In the cold light of day, the bruising news that the Clintons are not yet dead seems less onerous.

Know hope.


Ed G. said...

I no longer fear the attacks of HRC -- with the delegate math already settled, it's good training for the general.

what i do fear, however, is the non-stop negativity coming out of the obama camp. someone wrote today, if you take away the hope and the unity and the promise of a new brand of politics, all you're left with is a one-term senator running for president.

We need to stay on message!

julieunplugged said...

I read David Brooks' article earlier today and while I agree with him in the essentials, I don't agree with him on the particulars. I agree that Obama should not go low (his calling out the worker over the "monster" term is a great example that he will not go to name-calling). But I disagree with the idea that calling for public accountability for a candidate is "negative politics." To me accountability, checking out your opponent's credentials and asking tough questions is entirely different than innuendo ("as far as I know" he's a Christian), lies (leaking a fradulent representation of the NAFTA deal with Canada), insisting on one's superior qualification in foreign affairs, when essentially she's had no more than Obama AND supported the war, and allowing for race to be a factor in the campaign. Hillary has done all these things.

Obama has asked for the release of tax records and white house papers. He's called her foreign relations experience into question. These are relevant to the campaign. I have yet to see him smear her, name-call or resort to innuendo about her character (though he could!).

So Brooks, to me, does what I think many conservatives who write well do... they plant a seed of doubt that your candidate is what you think he is... yet in this instance he does it without any support. Where is Obama going negative? What is he doing that is "business as usual"? Apologizing for a staffer's name-calling. That's about all I see. And that's exactly what I expect to see from Obama and team.