Sunday, May 04, 2008

Great article, but

I highly recommend James Wolcott's latest Vanity Fair article :
In January 2009, the former president would pack his saddlebags and head back to his Texas ranch, secure in the knowledge of having wrecked pretty much everything there was to wreck (Iraq, the dollar, the national debt, America’s prestige abroad, the rebuilding of New Orleans, the Endangered Species Act). The president’s impromptu tap dance at the White House as he killed time waiting for a tardy Senator John McCain to arrive for his official endorsement as the Republican nominee was the perfect vaudeville symbol for the breezy, wanton disconnect of this administration from the consequences of its actions, the unsinkable cheer of its sunshine superman. Despite his dapper moves, Bush’s dragging approval numbers were proof that his old white magic had lost its spell, that his was not an aura in which it was healthy to bask. He shrivelled everything he touched.
A born-again populist, Edwards functioned as a lubricant, a slick lining separating—and dampening the friction between—two competing iconographic surge forces (the first black presidential nominee versus the first female nominee) and drawing enough support on Daily Kos and other liberal-Dem Web sites to diffuse the animosity, competitive zeal, and gender-generational differences between the two camps. Once Edwards dropped out of the race, however, the buffer zone was removed, direct contact replaced triangulation, and the Obama and Hillary supporters faced off like the Jets and the Sharks. The rancor was disproportionate in intensity and extravagant in invective, a fervor worthy of ancestral foes. Months-old grievances seethed and erupted as if they had been bubbling for centuries in a lake of bad blood.

But parts of it could have been written by Maureen Dowd (if she were a better writer):
On the most egoistic plane, it seemed like a clash of entitlements, the messianics versus the menopausals. The Obama-ites exuded the confidence of those who feel that they embody the future and are the seed bearers of energies and new modalities too long smothered under the thick haunches of the tired, old, entrenched way of doing things. The Hillarions felt a different imperative knocking at the gate of history, the long-overdue prospect of the first woman taking the presidential oath of office. For them, Hillary’s time had come, she had paid her dues, she had been thoroughly vetted, she had survived hairdos that would have sunk lesser mortals
(The majority of Huffpo’s high-profile contributors were so over the rainbow about Obama that it was as if they had found rapture in the poppy fields and were rolling around on their backs like ladybugs.)

If Dowd were a much better writer, I should have said:
Hillary and Bill Clinton have taken turns polishing McCain’s hood while Joe Lieberman pals around with Big John as if they were touring in La Cage aux Folles, two old queens taking in the sunset. As Bob Somerby at the Daily Howler blog decried, “The RNC [Republican National Committee] (and the rest of the conservative world) would never have tolerated the sanctification of some Big Major Democrat of McCain’s type. But liberals and Dems have stared into space as McCain has been endlessly vested with sainthood.” Democrats have pulled their punches for so long that they know only how to hit themselves in the face, earning the reputation for masochism that gives Dick Cheney a good chuckle each night at bedtime as he’s being packed in ice.

Also recommended: Lance Mannion's A couple of old Democrats sitting around talking
As much as they like and care about their candidates, to Uncle Bill and Pop Mannion Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are tools. I don't mean that in a snide or dismissive or insulting way. Because of the way the country is set up, we need a certain type of people to go to work every day on our behalf and get things done. Pop Mannion and Uncle Bill want certain things to get done. Their argument is over which one has the better chance of getting into the position of getting those things done and which one seems more likely to be able to get those things done. But it's the things that need to be done that are what's important. Not the person doing them.

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