Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Catch 22

Here's a political Catch 22. The Democratic Party has two main contenders for the nomination, Obama and Clinton. I'm an Edwards supporter and I hope he does well in the south, but for right now Obama and Clinton are the big two.

At the Iowa Caucus last week, Obama did very well. But that's not good news for Democrats, because Obama is all about emotions and feelings and not about real practical solutions. This is the point to Kathleen Parkers recent article on him.
Destined for the historical audio files, Obama's speech was grandiose prose and inspiring rhetoric. But what does it mean? It means nothing, but it sounded so good, who wants to cause trouble? We're feelin' good for the first time in a while and that's what matters.

Obama isn't just the inevitable dream candidate. He is the self-object of Oprah Nation, love child of the therapeutic generation. What he brings to the table no one quite knows. But what he delivers to the couch is human Prozac.

He may or may not be the right man to fill the Oval Office, but Americans will feel too good to notice.
So if we vote for Obama we are touchy feely dopes voting for style over substance.

Of course we could vote for Clinton, and yesterday New Hampshire did. But wait - they've got us there. Look at the key words that describe Clinton on the right (and in the mainstream media) - she's cold, she's calculating. She had an emotional moment on Monday, and reporters were heard to speculate on how long she spent practicing (from Glenn Greenwald). And if we vote for her, we are the same, I predict. Selecting cold, calculating Clinton in a cold, calculating assessment of who will win. Choosing electability over heart, practicality over principals. Or so I predict the stories will go (I could be wrong, but I don't think I am).

Bear in mind that this catch 22 is largely fictitious. There's not that much difference on the issues between Obama and Clinton. And many people genuinely support Clinton with both their heads and their hearts. But there it is, if we select Obama (or I suspect, Edwards) we are head in the clouds dolts, following our hearts right over a cliff. If we select Clinton we are grasping opportunists, casting aside our hearts to win at all costs.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

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