Saturday, March 22, 2008

Political Paradox

I suppose I should have something to say about the presidential race. I don’t know that I do. I think I have an idea of how it will fall out, but even if I’m wrong, I can only be half-wrong. Barring an unforeseen catastrophe, John McCain will be running against either Barak Obama or Hillary Clinton. At first, and before anyone knew that come-back, um… kid McCain would cement the Republican nomination, it appeared as though Clinton was destined to be the Democrats’ choice. Then, after a stunning 11 state sweep in the primaries, Obama stung the Clinton team and sent it into overdrive. Now it is looking like it will come down to the super-delegates - which means it’s anybody’s guess.

The current controversy regarding Obama and his long-time association with Reverend Jeremiah Wright should have been predicted by the Obama campaign and certainly by Obama himself. The fact that it seems to have caught his team by surprise is the real news. We all have skeletons. That they weren’t better prepared is, in my view, far more disturbing. This is the big league and it is not about just the candidate, but the team he or she has assembled. On this one, team Obama has dropped the ball. Whether the Clinton team is the recipient of a fortuitous break or this was a cleverly designed offensive play is not important right now… Obama has lost valuable yardage, especially with the super-delegates.

Even if the Clinton campaign didn’t drag this little mess to the spotlight, McCain’s would have. This is how the game is played… the stakes don’t get any higher and the tactics have always risen to the occasion. Indeed, overzealous candidates have been known to stretch the envelope well beyond what is legal to win the ultimate prize. Does anyone remember Watergate? Although this campaign has not been subject to such egregious techniques yet (as far as we know), if Clinton or McCain thought it could be done with impunity, I don’t think ethical concerns would stand in the way. And Obama should have the experience to know at least this.

The transparency and openness of his candidacy is admirable; it is a breath of fresh air in an arena that is still ripe with stale cigar smoke. It might, however, prove to be naïve. If he doesn’t at least vigorously and preemptively defend himself, the Clinton juggernaut will steamroll him. And McCain’s army is at least as well prepared. If Obama is unable to get out from under this and soon, I am afraid he will not be able to go back to his message. It is a message that is more than simply change, but rather a paradigmatic change. But the paradox is unavoidable… he will have to engage in conventional politics to deliver. Let us hope that if successful, he will not be too sullied by the game that his style of change is no longer possible.

Obama is a visionary and he has an uphill journey. He has traveled farther down that road than anyone in else in recent history. The institution stifles visionaries; it stifles anything that goes against the status quo. McCain talks about “straight talk,” but Oboma talks straight. One gets the idea that what you see is what you get. Yes, I know of the inconsistencies that he has walked into of late - conservative talk radio calls them lies - perhaps, but not unlike the damage control of many other politicians from both sides of the aisle. Obama has been walking a fine line between business as usual and what has really ignited so many of us - being sick and tired of the same old song and dance.

We have a choice between the old guard and something different. Young people are coming out in droves like never before. Pundits and polls are being proven wrong over and over again. Could it be that we have finally reached critical mass? Is it time that the government of the people and by the people is once again for the people? Can we reclaim ownership of what is rightfully ours or will we allow the spin-meisters to once again tell us what is best for us? Obama can do this, but it will take a little bit of guile - guile that I hope he forgets as soon as he occupies 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. It is time to take our nation back and Obama could be the leader of a new era.

But he has to learn how to fight.


Theo said...

understood and mostly agreed.

it is my real concern that the choice of either Obama or Clinton is something that 'America' isn't really ready to embrace. Old paradigms die hard, and lenghty deaths.

Michele sent me and says HI.

carmilevy said...

I'm holding my breath that we are on the cusp of a sea change in American politics. My innate cynicism says otherwise, but one can always hope that the fresh breeze we're seeing is real and sustainable.

Canada's watching this with great interest. So goes the U.S. then so goes our nation.

OldLady Of The Hills said...

Well, maybe he needs to learn how to fight, but as far as I am concerned, he is fighting and in everything he says and does is consistant with the man we have come to know. If he fights them like THEY fight---He is lost. THAT'S the really important thing, I believe....And frankly, I do not invision him behaving in any other way than what he has...And frankly, I pray he does NOT learn to fight them on their terms...Because then, he would not be the man he has consistantly shown himself to be, and that would truly be a terrible terrible loss---to himself and to his family and to the whole country--Especially to all of us to whom he has given so much hope!

Obama is who he is, and that is just great, by me.

Sara said...

I like Obama the way he is - I don't want him to learn how to fight like the others do - because they fight dirty! And, I am so sick of Dirty politics in this country. I only hope that people see how true to his beliefs he is - and that he would bring a different type of politics to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Personally, I think Mccain would be more of the same...and we've already had Clinton in office...I don't want her again!

kenju said...


Anonymous said...

I'm rooting for him! Good post, Mr. A.

Anonymous said...

I wonder would win if voting was compulsary to ALL.
Dropping in a little easter egg - via Michele.

~Easy said...

Well said.

Ellen said...

Chances are that I will go and write in my protest vote like I did at the primaries.

I'm not happy with either of the candidates that are left fighting out the Democratic nomination, and in no way would I vote for a Republican who promotes an indefinite future for the war in Iraq.

I am anxious to see how the recent controversy spins out, but am aware that there will only be more, especially when we get to the actual level of voting for the next President in November. I can bet there are skeletons waiting in reserve when it comes down to the actual two that are left.

awareness said...

This is so well written Mike. Bravo!

Like Carmi, I'm holding my breath hoping this is the turning point to the apathy that was suffocating political interest. Now I'm wondering if the apathy was disguising something that resembled disgust and aversion?? People turned their backs, but maybe they turned them because they were so turned off emotionally. THIS may be a good thing for Obama. Maybe the public want a HUGE change from what they have had to endure with G.W.....

Obama is a true inspirational leader. Maybe his timing is right. Maybe the voter is ready to make it happen.

Janet said...

Hear, hear! I love the Obama is stirring people up and that people are READY to be stirred up.

Hi, Michele sent me :-)