Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Bill Clinton has actually done Obama a favor hasn't he?

The Favor. Not a pretty one. Not a nice one. But an inadvertent wake-up call type of favor.

If anyone thinks the stupid clumsiness of Bill Clinton is 'hurtful' or 'not playing fair', just what laser-guided anti-personnel bombs do you think the republicans and right-wing 527s are going to do? Ugly? Yes. Wish it wasn't like that? Darn right. Naive enough to think the repugneocons are going to play fair? No frickin way.

I love Obama. I love his philosophy and soaring rhetorical inspiration. (I don't like his pandering to the homophobes and the religious right - I hate it when any candidate does that).

I hope he can accomplish what he says he wants to accomplish. Can he do it from day one? I don't know. I have serious doubts about 'operational readiness.' How long will it take him to 'learn on the job', find out that the repugs have more dirty tricks than he has even dreamt of.

And if he can't pull a victory out of the nominating process, shouldn't there be a Plan B? Contingency planning -- the lack thereof is part of what we all know with certainty to be MAJOR FAILURES on the part of the current administration:

• the willful failure to listen to those who knew Osama Bin Laden was a serious threat and that something near September 11 was about to happen
• the debacles, lack of preparation, mismanagement of the (illegal) Iraq War and occupation
• failing to capture Bin Laden and stay focused on Afghanistan which is a complete mess reverting back to Taliban control and Islamic fascism
• the horrors and mismanagement of FEMA in response to Hurricane Katrina, to name but four major examples.

I know for certain that Hillary can hit the ground running on day one. And who has more reason/motivation to have already created a systematic plan that starts on Jan 21, 2009 to undo the horrible damage of the past 7 years (really, the past 12+ because republicans were in control of the house and senate most of the time Bill was prez).

Hillary is not Bill. Bill is one weapon in her secret armament. She is much more committed to and determined to achieve REAL social justice and she will have a much deeper impact and longer lasting progressive legacy than Bill ever could have.

To consider all this does not make one a 'traitor' to the progressive cause. I'm not Anti-Obama. I'm definitely ANTI-Republican. I'm more pro-Democrat (because realistically there is no other option -- are they flawed, yes, dreadfully -- but there's the whole lesser of two evils strong at work now). And at this point -- any of the dems will do -- whoever can win, that's who i will support.

But disturbingly, most of the supporters of Obama seem to actually be not just Pro-Obama, but even more Anti-Hillary instead of Anti-Republican. The magic of sexism lives.

Hillary is not Bill. She may use some of his strategies, tactics, tools, connections, knowledge -- but she is NOT Bill. I'm pretty sure she will be her own president once in the white house -- using the good from Bill, combined with her own 'powerful intellect' (NYT endorsement) and multiple formidable strengths. That is what the republicans fear most. That's why they're anxious for Obama to win the nomination. They know he's ripe for plucking in a hardball world. And that the dems, once again are forming a shooting squad in a circle.

What bugs me most about Obama (my way or the highway) Supporters is their "I'll take my toys and go home if I can't play and win only on my terms." Fine. but that attitude of (especially white) entitlement is part of what cost Gore the election in 2000 when the purist left voted for Nader. Those purist idealists got us 8 years of hell, war, economic devastation, dismantling 60 years of hard-fought, hard-won progress. We don't even know the extent of the damage -- it's far worse than anyone can imagine.

Clinton supporters are perfectly willing to support Obama if he wins, but the reverse apparently is not true. If that's the attitude, look forward to 16 more years of Bush-Cheney-Rove if Clinton wins the nomination and the Obama-ites pack up their purist 'principles' and go home instead of participating in the most important election of the 21st century.

Real life and real politics is not pretty. There is no such thing as perfection in a flawed human system, especially one that was rooted in corruption and hypocrisy from the beginning. Idealism must be tempered with pragmatism and actually getting things done (GTD).

We can't afford to be naive. We have a mixed economy. Capitalist Patriarchy has most of the tools and is invested in retaining their power, privilege, control, influence and economic power. The USA is not going to become a socialist utopia anytime soon. Not when there is so much at stake. We all have a lot to lose (more than ever now) -- especially by being 'purists' -- also known as being dogmatic. Isn't that what Obama preaches against?

I have a longer term view that I don't hear from many of the (mainly white) youthful Obama supporters (who are so urgent, demanding, 'entitled' to everything happening NOW.) They seem to have a total Gen Y/Gen X slacker attitude more in line with customer service/consumer entitlement than strategic pragmatism combined with knowledge of both short & long-term impacts, combined with 'the vision thing' that Obama definitely has. I hope he can pull it off.

My gut tells me the repubs, the right, the corporations and the ultra-wealthy have too much at stake to do anything close to 'playing fair'.

Should Hillary learn from Obama's wisdom, knowledge and obvious strengths? Yes, absolutely. But if anyone knows the ugly tricks of the right, and has been strategically preparing for them for 10+ years, and knows how to dismantle them, it's Hillary Clinton.

Here's what I'd like to see: a Clinton-Obama ticket winning in 08, Obama would become president in 2016 -- we'd ultimately have at least 16 years of progressive democrats in charge of the White House. Okay, maybe I am still an idealist at heart.

Just my 2 cents on a work in progress.

Addendum: Richard Cohen of the Washington Post writes something quite insightful (and a bit more reality based from my perspective than all the right wing, left-wing, media pundits and talking heads at MSNBC, Faux News, CNN, etc, all the right-wing radio hosts, chattering stenographers, I mean 'reporters' and especially the oh-so concerned-about-racism-now republicans):

If the Clintons beat Obama on the merits, then [he] has lost. If they beat him on account of race, then the rest of us have lost as well.

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