January 29, 2008

Circus of Midgets: Hope, Change, and the New Old NOW


OOOOooooo, Cat fight in Kennedyland! Neo-Neocon to Kennedy: "Watch out for those women scorned, Ted." She quotes from a "statement" put out by the petulant women of New York NOW:

"Women have just experienced the ultimate betrayal. Senator Kennedy's endorsement of Hillary Clinton's opponent in the Democratic presidential primary campaign has really hit women hard. Women have forgiven Kennedy, stuck up for him, stood by him, hushed the fact that he was late in his support of Title IX, the ERA, the Family Leave and Medical Act to name a few....

"And now the greatest betrayal! We are repaid with his abandonment! He's picked the new guy over us. He's joined the list of progressive white men who can't or won't handle the prospect of a woman president who is Hillary Clinton (they will of course say they support a woman president, just not "this" one). "

Well, they got that right -- "just not 'this' one."

As this endless, now annual, parade of pretenders for the Presidency grinds and grinds on, one thing becomes perfectly clear. It is a circus of midgets.

In a year when you have to be kind-of-crazy to support any of the offerings from the Democrat Party, and almost all of the offerings from the Republicans, you have to be an out-and-out bull goose loony to be humping and pumping for Hillary. The fervid ranks of fans for this long-ago sold-out political hackjob continue to rage and rail for Hill, but nobody who has a heartbeat and a brainwave is buying it any longer.

That's why Obama keeps rising. He doesn't say much, but he says it with conviction, vision and such Kennedyesque "vigga" that its hard not to be inspired. After a few speeches it is like listening to Donna Summer do "Love to Love You, Baby."

Not much to the lyrics but you do want to get it on. In the land of the mumblemouthed, the orator is king. It's political voguing and Obama strikes his poses to perfection.

Hillary's like the weird ex-spouse who wants back into your world 8 years after the crackup; her phobias only exacerbated by age. You don't wish her ill, but you don't want to ever let her have another hour of power over your life. A Clinton? Been there. Done that. Have the t-shirt.

At least Obama's fresh. At least he's good looking. At least he pulls at the heart strings. At least he looks and sounds and dresses like a leader even if where he will lead is not at all clear. For Obama the road ahead leads to the sunny highlands, leads to, as Matthew Arnold wrote, a

"world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new."

That's the promise and in politics, as in Dr. Johnson's estimate of advertising, 'promise, LARGE promise" is the soul of it.

The common criticism of Obama is that he "doesn't really say anything concrete;" that he has "no clear policies." True enough, but the only honest answer to that is....

" So WHAT?"

That's right. The good old American answer we have not heard nearly enough of in the last few decades....

"So WHAT?"

The professional pols and pundits and policy wonks in government have been mired so deep in their Washington daisy chain that they've forgotten one of the rock-bottom truths of American and all other politics; the people do not want POLICIES, the people want PROMISES! Promise, LARGE PROMISE, is the soul of politics. Always has been ("Delenda est Carthago!"), always will be ("Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country.").

Obama knows this and plays to this. To become specific in policy would only serve to break the spell. As long as the "Hope" he speaks of can be kept, like the peak of an LSD experience, sort of "liquid" he wins. Obama sings a Siren's song and if it had lyrics it might be those of The Velvet Underground's 60s hymn:
I'll be your mirror
Reflect what you are, in case you don't know
I'll be the wind, the rain and the sunset
The light on your door to show that you're home

Obama's whole schtick has got a magic 60s vibe to it. Everybody who hears him humm it can hitch their own personal hopes to this political Peter Pan and fly up, past the first star to the right, and straight on until it is a new morning in America's Neverland. Policy it is not. Political genius it is.

In contrast to this ever more luminous figure, we have the ever darkening and desiccated figure of a woman who seems to exude a petulance and a not so subtle odor similar to what aristocracy gave off when it believed in the divine right of kings. Clinton seems to feel that she must be president because, well, she deserves it and it is her turn,dammit! So hand it over! Stand and deliver!

Watching her lately one is put in mind of The Red Queen in Through the Looking Glass, and even more in mind of "The Red Queen's Race" in that novel:

"Well, in our country," said Alice, still panting a little, "you'd generally get to somewhere else — if you run very fast for a long time, as we've been doing."

"A slow sort of country!" said the Queen. "Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!"

Let's face it. Besides a lot of yabble about "the children," what does this woman really have going for her other than being married to a man who was a tainted president and who wants to be co-president again?

We hear a lot of carping about "35 years of experience" but to be honest about it those 35 years were mostly her having the experience of being Bill Clinton's wife. Not a lot to it really. Indeed, if you add it all up it becomes pretty clear that Hillary has done a lot less for the country in 35 years than Laura Bush has done in eight. What Hillary has done over the past 35 years is a lot of stuff for.... for Hillary.

Still, millions of self-hypnotized Americans like the NOW harridans blathering above seem to feel that it must be "Hillary or nothing!" Why?

Strip it all away and it is because Hillary is.... a woman. That's it. That's the BIG qualification and, as we see, anybody that kicks against this estrogen based claim to the throne just proves that "America isn't ready to elect a woman!"

I submit that this is utterly wrong. I submit that how wrong is being demonstrated by tens of millions of Americans every day. The fact is that America is more than ready to elect a woman president. This is indisputable. The proof of it is staring Hillary and her supporters right in the face at every moment in this campaign.

That proof is the successful candidacy of Barack Obama.

It can no longer be said in any meaningful way that Barack Obama cannot be elected president. He clearly can be.

What that means is this. If America is ready to elect an African-American president, any reluctance it had about electing a woman president went by the boards long, long ago.

Just not this woman.

But don't get your Hope up. The lines from the Arnold poem quoted above was only a part of the stanza. The full stanza reads:

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

When were done fooling around with "Change" vs. "Hope," the world will be waiting for us. It will have its own agenda for change. And it will be armed.

Posted by Vanderleun at January 29, 2008 8:05 PM
Bookmark and Share



"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

How appropriate to cite Matthew Arnold's great lament over "The Sea of Faith" and "It's melancholy, long-withdrawing roar" as it retreats "to the breath / Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear / And naked shingles of the world."

But I'm a Tennyson fan, myself:

Come, my friends,
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down;
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Though much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are:
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Don't lose hope, Gerard.

Posted by: Francis W. Porretto at January 30, 2008 2:04 PM

More Tennyson, from a hundred and seventy-three years ago, to show that great artists are prophets, and to show humanity's greatest hope (in fact, in the long term, its only one):

Men, my brothers, men the workers, ever reaping something new:
That which they have done but earnest of the things that they shall do:

For I dipt into the future, far as human eye could see,
Saw the Vision of the world, and all the wonder that would be;

Saw the heavens fill with commerce, argosies of magic sails,
Pilots of the purple twilight, dropping down with costly bales;

Well, it's waiting for us. Treasure beyond imagination and beyond count, only a hundred miles away. Unfortunately, straight up.

Posted by: Fletcher Christian at January 30, 2008 6:56 PM

Obama and the NOI. Yikes!

Posted by: Brett_McS at January 31, 2008 3:16 AM

Women of America feel let down by TK? Just remind them - Chappaquiddik and Mary-Jo! Now there was a gal who had cause to feel let down.


Posted by: Frank Pulley at January 31, 2008 5:48 PM

Another take on the current competition between pygmies when giants are needed:

Oh, where are you coming from, soldier, fine soldier,
In your dandy new uniform, all spick and span,
With your helmeted head and the gun on your shoulder,
Where are you coming from, gallant young man?

I come from the war that was yesterday's trouble,
I come with the bullet still blunt in my breast;
Though long was the battle and bitter the struggle,
Yet I fought with the bravest, I fought with the best.

Oh, where are you coming from, soldier, tall, soldier,
With ray-gun and sun-bomb and everything new,
And a face that might well have been carved from a boulder,
Where are you coming from, now tell me true!

My harness is novel, my uniform other
Than any gay uniform people have seen,
Yet I am your future and I am your brother
And I am the battle that has not yet been.

Oh, where are you coming from, soldier, gaunt soldier,
With weapons beyond any reach of my mind,
With weapons so deadly the world must grow older
And die in its tracks, if it does not turn kind?

Stand out of my way and be silent before me!
For none shall come after me, foeman or friend,
Since the seed of your seed called me out to employ me,
And that was the longest, and that was the end.

This was written in the 1940s, before physicists knew sin. The worst is yet to come - and still the (pig)mies [sic.] argue about trivialities, with their snouts firmly jammed into the trough.

The 20th century was one of horrors. The 21st could be the last.

Posted by: Fletcher Christian at February 6, 2008 6:34 PM