I’ve avoided the story of Marines handing out coins with Christian evangelical verse on them, largely out of hoping it’ll blow over, but a significant new development has taken place. Now a prominent leader of the famed “Sunni Awakening” has taken umbrage, stating in no uncertain terms that America could suffer a major backlash if this kind of behavior isn’t quashed, and for good.
“This event did not happen by chance, but it was planned and done intentionally,” [Sheik Abdul-Rahman al-Zubaie, an influential tribal leader in Fallujah] said. “The Sunni population cannot accept and endure such a thing. I might not be able to control people’s reactions if such incidents keep happening.”
We need the Sunni on our side. Before Petraeus breathed new life into talking with our most ardent terrorist enemies – the Sunni militias – and wouldn’t back down from political pressure, the majority of our casualties were being dealt by them. This map of casualties, by province, shows that it was in largely Sunni areas that we suffered worst.
Petraeus’ persistence in talking with the illegal, non-state actors that were responsible for the main part of our losses was revolutionary. It flies in the face of McCain’s babble about “preconditions”; the only precondition in this case was that they were killing more Americans than anyone else and promising to do it until we left. It goes far further than anything Obama’s said, as it wasn’t even talking to another government leader, but to the people who define the term “terrorist.” And it has done wonders for our cause in this war.
The possibility of them turning against us is chilling. With their prodigious influence turned against our enemies, we’ve been able to corner al-Qaeda and isolate the Shia militias, playing them against one another. It isn’t the Surge that’s holding Iraq together. The increased troop presence has allowed us to be effective as an offensive force against al-Q and the Shia. The Sunni were the ones who allowed us to go on the offensive in the first place. This is still the case.
Fortunately, the Sunni want to be on our side. Promise of funding and political power is still real and sweet for them. This incident with the coins – and the other recent controversy of a Marine sniper using the Koran for target practice – are real causes for vexation, but the US military still has plenty of opportunity to correct this kind of behavior.
They have apologized, and they’ve punished. What the Marine did was, of course, against the regulations. What needs to be done now is for commanders to send a clear message to the troops that these kinds of shenanigans are not just illegal, but inexcusably dangerous.
With the command we now have in place – one that has never flinched from what has to be done, no matter how politically unpopular – I am certain that message will be sent.
I almost entitled this post, “Collective Punishment Hits Gaza,” but decided that wouldn’t be news. The matter involved is the cancellation of Fulbright Grants, a clear instrument of furthering the integration of foreign students into American culture and academia, to Palestinian students in Gaza, so it certainly constitutes collective punishment. But Israeli senior officials were surprised to learn of this, putting the blame on the American State Department that handles the dispensing of the grants.
They said they did, in fact, consider study abroad to be a humanitarian necessity and that when cases were appealed to them, they would facilitate them.
They suggested that American officials never brought the Fulbright cases to their attention.
Neglect seems at fault. But this is just another example of how publicly stated US policy runs counter to the actual policy.
While professing to support the advancement of moderate elements in the Arab world, the US instead has adopted a hardline “siege state” more in line with conservative attitudes in America and Israel. After goading Israel and the Palestinian Authority into holding free elections in the Palestinian territories in 2006, the US has been all too happy to just lock the uncooperative Palestinians in the desert and starve them out.
This is the very model for heightening tensions and crushing the hope for progress, as many Israelis are well aware.
“We correctly complain that the Palestinian Authority is not building civil society, but when we don’t help build civil society this plays into the hands of Hamas,” said Natan Sharansky, a former government official.
Hamas’ hands overflow these days. Their popularity was born of a dysfunctional environment that had Israel starving the Palestinian people of any opportunity save grassroots institutions like Hamas. As it now stands, Israel and the West deliver no promise of prosperity, only persecution.
At least 487 people, nearly all Palestinians and the majority of them Gaza militants, have been killed since Israeli-Palestinian peace talks restarted in November at a US-sponsored conference, according to an AFP count.
Compared to 487 people, each of them with family and friends thrust closer to an abyss of vengeful nihilism by their death, eight students losing study grants may seem irrelevant. But these are both parts of a single message to the Palestinians: That they cannot look to Israel and the West for hope, but they can count on them for death.
This campaign season’s GOP PAC has drifted into view, and let me tell you, they’re no Swift Boats.
The “Vets for Freedom” have launched two attack ads Obama’s way, both of which are thoroughly pathetic.
Even the name of their organization is ambiguous and emotive. Their putative predecessor in ’04, the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, at least were working for their stated cause: Truth. Vets for Freedom’s mission statement is to cram elected offices with candidates – preferably veterans themselves – who “support victory.”
So why the “VFF” are not the “VFV,” “Veterans for Victory,” is beyond me, as is the notion that anybody would take their stated mission – to oppose the growing threat of “anti-victory” politicians – seriously. Yet VFF is not just absurd – it is tragic, for these people truly are veterans, and veterans who are seemingly compelled to conceal their political agenda beneath a veneer of genuine patriotism. As their ads indicate, they do not conceal it well. They don’t even execute it well.
The latest ad – second of two – has this as its basis:
Obama has been to Iraq, but not since the Surge. Ergo, he is not qualified for the Presidency. Even the Incredible Hulk would be hard pressed to make this leap of logic – and that’s speaking to Hulk’s intellect as much as to his physique. Oh, and just to prove they’re bi-partisan, the VFF is makes sure to take a jab at Obama’s promise to talk with our enemies.
After all, nothing says “ready to tackle the toughest problems” like giving someone the silent treatment.
What, no picture of him in a tank with an oversized helmet on? This is the most facile argument we’ve yet heard in this season, and it’s not like Hillary’s been asleep at the mike. It’s like saying that a person can’t be President on the basis of no economic qualifications because they haven’t stood on the floor at Wall Street lately.
VFF’s first ad turns the pathetic into the tragic. In it, we have one Sgt. Garrett Anderson slamming Obama for refusing to help him and other veterans returning home from Iraq with disabilities. Describing the VA as “Obama’s organization,” the ad talks of how Obama is happy to meet with “our enemies,” but not veterans in need or Petraeus.
This is disgustingly disingenuous on a number of levels. First, the Big Picture: Obama and the rest of Congress inherited a VA that was literally crying for help. At every turn, from pay increases to VA benefit funding, the Bush White House has fought the Democrat-controlled Congress, and Senator Obama in particular, in their efforts to rehabilitate the VA. Their efforts – not the Republican Congress, which for five disgusting years slashed benefits and let services like those at Walter Reed literally degenerate to hellish conditions.
After all that, Bush and McCain fail to support Sen. Jim Webb’s GI Bill expansion – presumably because McCain had co-sponsored an alternative, GOP expansion to the GI Bill, but still – and squabble over a few billion dollars in extra pay for the troops when that much is being spent in Iraq weekly. And who does VFF, and Sgt. Anderson, attack? Obama.
The further facts are even more galling, despairing, stomach-turning. I remember Anderson; he was in an article I read about returning veterans who, in 2005, could not manage to receive adequate treatment for his traumatic brain injury and PTSD. By his own admission, he wrote his state Senators for help – Sen. Obama, the junior, and Sen. Durbin, the senior.
Garrett receives about $2,900 a month, $1,000 more than his first award. The VA now acknowledges the traumatic brain injury but still denies his claim for PTSD.
Garrett’s chief complaint at the time he was relying on Durbin to wrest the funds loose to recuperate was, in his own words, “It upsets me that the VA system operates in a way that it takes people with power and who you know and what you know to get what you want.”
Know who also was a co-sponsor? Barack Obama. Know who wasn’t? John McCain.
Sgt. Anderson’s case was tragic to begin with. It seems further tragic to me that he has devoted himself to harming those that helped him, and helping those whose political policies brought him harm.
Durbin spoke to Anderson’s ad. He called it bullshit on many levels, and denounced the VFF:
Sgt. Anderson gave a response, which I am not going to link to, in the interest of denying VFF all the traffic I can:
I am very disappointed that Senator Durbin provided credit to Senator Obama, stating that they both worked very hard on my claim, when in fact, Senator Obama was never involved in resolving my claim with the VA.
I would say that Durbin would be a better judge of who was involved in the process of talking to the VA and pushing forward legislation than Sgt. Anderson.
The fact is that the main of VFF’s complaint against Obama is that he won’t meet with them or with Petraeus. Given that Obama has met with Petraeus, that means that their chief complaint is that he won’t meet with them.
Of course, John McCain has met with them, even though he publicly denounces independent PACs.
Soon, surely, the Vets for Freedom will be making more waves. I certainly hope they will pass. I most definitely hope they are not too intimately associated with Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, an organization that actually had a cause – Vets for Freedom deserve none of the associations of power and import such a comparison would make.
They are, plain and simple, a political voice of a forfeit military agenda, with such paragons of objectivity and military genius as Joe Lieberman, Lindsay Graham and William Kristol in prominent positions. They are most definitely tragic. And in the end, they’re all the more tragic for being so terribly wrong.
There’s no news that’s new these days. So, I give you a new edition of old news: The Clintons have gone completely bonkers.
Yesterday was swamped with stories of Bill and Hillary claiming to be the victims of a vast conspiracy involving the media – a “cover-up,” as Bill put it. What’s being covered up? To hear them tell it, Hillary’s awesome success with the electorate is. The evidence of this success? Polls and analysis! From where? Not the media!
In fact, these polls and analyses don’t exist. Why? The cover-up! And so, the sole source for these polls and analyses would be the Clintons themselves.
This Wonderland argument was capped by Hillary’s announcement that not only is she leading in metrics, she is leading in all of them:
“…based on every analysis, of every bit of research and every poll that has been taken and every state that a Democrat has to win, I am the stronger candidate against John McCain in the fall,” she said.
The shocking fact is that nowhere near “every” analysis favors Clinton. Most, in fact, according to Real Clear Politics, favor Obama. And this is not shocking because it means Clinton is lying.
It is shocking because there is no sane answer to why they should lie. They have either lost their sanity – a possibility, but unlikely – or their senses. In the latter case, here’s why:
This contest is over. In a week’s time, Obama will have secured that “magic number” of delegates. This leaves Clinton with a choice – bow out gracefully and hope you can mend fences with the nominee and the party behind him that rightfully calls for your apologies, or fight on to the convention.
If Clinton remains in the race and brings suit against the DNC to force them to take the Florida and Michigan delegates, the bridges she is burning now will blow fire all over the Party. Her Senate seat will be as good as sunk. If she simply clutches her long-shot hope of Obama hitting a landmine or a lone gunman between now and Denver, she will only earn acrimony.
One way or the other, the solution is to try and extinguish those bridges she set afire with everything from Muslim Manchurian candidate lies to attacks on patriotism to charges of Obama putting the nation at risk. Instead, she and Bill are setting dynamite on the burning bridge:
How? They’re lying to their supporters. They’re making it look like Obama – however inevitable – is being lied into his position of prominence and that they, the Clintons, are the lone and noble truthtellers. They have a week of political life left in this primary, and they’re expending it by making their own (former) allies look like traitors, liars, fools.
If the Democratic Party has any sense of self-preservation, they should do more than cut the Clintons’ mike, in money and political machine support, come June 3. They should do more than just counter or laugh off every comment Billary blathers out.
They should stop beating that dead Jabberwocky, and bury the Clintons’ madness where it can no longer soil the already muddled political scene.
Three similarities were noted, each drawing a definite contrast between their military acumen and the bellicose fumblings blathering from opposition like McCain and the White House:
Foremost, Obama and Petraeus agree that the chief threat to America, both in terms of our ability to project military power to influence our ends and of threats to the nation, lurks in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border regions. It should be elementary that polishing off al-Qaeda and the Taliban, who’ve demonstrated themselves to be willing and effective dangers to the US, is the priority. Obama and Petraeus get that.
Secondly, both favor a strengthening of diplomatic engagement with Iran. While not as pretty a picture for average Americans inculcated with the pabulum of “Good v. Evil” struggles as a WANTED poster with bin Ladin on it, extensive talks with Iran are necessary. We bought the mess that is and always was Iraq – a feisty, factious lodgment against Iranian ambitions, directly on Tehran’s porch. We have to work things out with our neighbors, so long as we don’t have a military presence that can not just deter Iran, but credibly effect regime change.
We don’t have that presence, nor can we gain it without extensive sacrifice by the American people and systemic shifts in our way of life. That means, like it or not, we need to make nice.
The last point is that Odeirno and Obama both see a permanent military presence in Iraq to be disadvantageous. By extension and by reading his writings on counterinsurgency, we find Petraeus agrees with his lieutenant.
Again, this may drop jaws among those that feel that threats must be met with threats in kind. But in the case of Iraq – as with all military ventures – one needs to examine the returns on investment of forces: If we stay hard and heavy in Iraq, we occupy one of the most volatile, resentful populations on some tough terrain. Our presence draws the presence of enemies. If, however, we post troops in local zones capable of projecting power in Iraq if things go south, we retain a formidable power in the region while not standing on the hornet’s nest.
Yet for all Bergmann and Goldberg’s proof of strategic synergy, there is one possible break in the attitudes of Obama and Petraeus: What to do with the troops now?
Both sides beat the drum of their respective superiors. Obama sounds the hue and cry of the American population – a war-weary and confused people who would just as soon walk away from the murderous muddle of Iraq’s sands, cutting their losses. Petraeus has to sound off about how, though there’s no end in sight, there can be hope if we are committed to Iraq.
I will clue you in on a secret, dear reader: Both men are committed to Iraq. Obama does not want to be the second President to preside over helicopters fleeing an embattled embassy. Petraeus doesn’t want an endless string of America’s sons and daughters – his troops – in the sand. Neither wants a disaster.
So it remains to be seen if Obama, when elected, comes to agree with Petraeus – and myself. When he says he will listen to his generals, the crucial point could be that he will recognize that massive troop presence has to continue until the three possible threats to Iraqi sovereignty as it now stands are declawed: The Sunni militias, Sadr’s Shia militias, and al-Qaeda.
That, however, is a matter of how to handle limited resources to manage a disaster neither can speak candidly in public on. More important is that both men agree on what the vision for our overall resources is when facing our foremost contemporary threats.
Dissheveled men stood on decrepit street corners, but though they were handing out copies of the Koran to oncoming soldiers rather than wearing sandwich boards, the message is the same in Sadr City – “The End Is Nigh.” In this case, the end referred to is the end phase of the Sadr City siege – the part where Maliki decides to light the tinderbox fuse and hope the powder’s gone wet with age.
The Iraqi soldiers and police passed burned-out shops and buildings pockmarked with bullet holes, signs of years of clashes. But many stores were open, and some residents came out to greet them. Some Mahdi Army fighters passed out copies of the Quran to the soldiers as a sign of good will.
Now the militias seem to have accepted their situation. However, Maliki’s show of force today was just that – a show. His inauguration of the siege’s new phase was little more than a joyride through Indian country. That Muqtada decided not to shoot up his “Sunday stroll en force” shows only that he is, as before, waiting for Maliki to up the ante.
This is a good sign for Americans and Iraqis in many ways. Muqtada knows he’s short on chips these days, and so he’s not taking big risks or bluffing loudly like usual. With him being reactive rather than proactive, this is an opportunity for Iraq’s governing body to make big gains the Mahdi Army would have otherwise denied them.
Here’s the bad news: All Maliki really wants is to eliminate his chief rival for the title of Iran’s BFF. He wants to disarm the militias; nothing more – not restore sanitation services to the Sadrites, not look for moderates among their local political fold, and certainly not distance himself from Iran.
Muqtada knows it, and so he – bitter fellow that he is – is going to cling to his guns and his religion. Without his arms, his image is neutered politically and he loses his means of doing a violent end run on the government if he doesn’t like them. Without religious support, he’s adrift without any allies outside his insular nationalist party.
So, if Maliki pushes Muqtada, Muqtada may as well go all in. Unless promised some cushy desk job where he might lick his wounds while Maliki’s Dawah party rules unopposed among Shia, his best bet is to stop Maliki from taking his guns and religion. He is, to draw another parallel with the ’08 Democratic Primary, best served by a Tonya Harding Offensive – rip into a fellow Shia as hard as possible until the country realizes Maliki’s too damaged, politically and in real monetary and military terms.
Then, he hopes, a miracle will come in the form of people like Ayatollah al-Sistani, the grayest beard among the Shia graybeards, who will try to broker a power-sharing agreement between Muq and Mal.
But one way or another, the fuse is lit. Maliki’s guns are in Muqtada’s streets, and it’s just a matter of time before he begins knocking on doors to try to take Muqtada’s men and materiel away from him. If Muqtada calls his bluff, Sadr City is going to explode.
If not, we’re looking at the first major Iraqi strategic victory.
John McCain weighed in on the President’s comments about how talking with our enemies – except when he does it – leads to things like World War II.
“Yes, there have been appeasers in the past … I believe that it’s not an accident that our hostages came home from Iran when President Reagan was president of the United States. He didn’t sit down in a negotiation with the religious extremists in Iran, he made it very clear that those hostages were coming home.”
Asked if he thought that former President Jimmy Carter, who struggled with the hostage crisis, was an appeaser, Mr. McCain replied: “I don’t know if he was an appeaser or not, but he terribly mishandled the Iranian hostage crisis.’
Actually, Senator, you need to wake up and smell the history.
Because you couldn’t be talking about the Algiers Accords – you know, the Algiers Accords that resulted from Carter finally caving in, and talking and negotiating with Iran to secure the hostages release.
You might remember they concluded a day before Reagan took office, leading to the hostages being released on the date of the inauguration.
Not on his allegiance to the corporations he foisted on the lawless and ravaged Iraq. Not on his intellectually bankrupt advisors. Not on the legitimization of domestic spying without inter-branch oversight and of torture.
“Some seem to believe we should negotiate with terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along,” said Bush, in what White House aides privately acknowledged was a reference to calls by Obama … to sit down for talks with leaders like Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
“We have heard this foolish delusion before … As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American Senator declared: ‘Lord, if only I could have talked to Hitler, all of this might have been avoided.’ We have an obligation to call this what it is — the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history.”
I have no idea what histories he has been reading, but apparently he hasn’t been reading them right.
As Obama pointed out in his response to the comments, diplomatic engagement with enemies who called for our obliteration was the keystone of Presidents Kennedy, Nixon and Reagan’s strategies to win the Cold War. The nails in Communism’s coffin were not won by the kind of six-shooter braggadocio Bush spouts off – they are named ‘Cuban Missile Crisis negotiations,’ ‘opening up talks with Beijing and Moscow,’ and ‘Glasnost/Perestroika.’
Some measure of consolation can be taken in the President’s disastrous disapproval ratings. But disapproving of his performance doesn’t immediately suggest disapproving of his message, his values or his competence. And to the extent that this message could have any resonance with the public, voicing it verges on criminal irresponsibility.
Even if one imputes noble motives to Bush, one has to recognize his words as fear-mongering for an invalidated and hateful cause. In short, its not only stupid, as history proves; it’s using people’s fears to defend stupidity.
The disturbing thing is that, as I note, even people who disapprove of him might find truth in what he said, because it stirs their basic fears and aggressions. It inspires the lowest common denominator in people – the distrust of the neighbor and the malice that comes from that distrust – something we all share and that our “better angels,” notably faiths like Christianity, define goodness as being able to rise above.
We can take little solace that those primal fears will be consistently overcome. But I hope that when a terrified, confused public weighs those fears against the worth of Bush’s words, they remember the most important lesson of his Presidency:
That if any President’s beliefs and strategies were discredited by history, it was those of George W. Bush.
Tonight, a special comment from Keith Olbermann had me transfixed. Its subject, Bush and his feelings about Iraq. I present it here:
It is unforgiving and furious. No doubt this will offend some.
Yet whether one’s attitudes lean toward a reinforcement of our presence or a redeployment from that maelstrom to the other Bush war – Afghanistan – or home, this much seems certain: America grapples with disasters abroad, and bravely so. Perhaps we do the nature of the situation a disservice by being so polite about it. Perhaps, like is the case on the front lines we are indelibly engaged on, ‘unforgiving and furious’ is what is called for.
As we continue to make the acquaintance of the Illinois Senator who is increasingly the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party, it’d do well to look back at his accomplishments.
To make this fun, let’s keep up the Jimmy Carter comparison. In the last post, I noted how Carter was more a technocrat, policy-wonkish micromanager from an almost-inapplicable southern state. I compared this to Obama, who’s spent his time beating the bipartisan drum in Washington – a global, unity mindset as opposed to a Georgian, Democratic ideologue perspective.
But is Obama truly bipartisan? What has he really done in Washington?
Here’s a list of his accomplishments, reposted in part from an earlier entry on my blog – bipartisan efforts are in bold:
* Written two books
* Quit smoking
* Become the first African American to lead the Harvard Law Review
* Be elected to the Illinois State Senate in 1996
* Gained bipartisan support for legislation reforming ethics and health care laws, sponsored a law enhancing tax credits for low-income workers, negotiated welfare reform, and promoted increased subsidies for childcare, and led the passage of legislation mandating videotaping of homicide interrogations, and a law to monitor racial profiling by requiring police to record the race of drivers they stopped.
* Worked as a community organizer during most of the 80s and 90s.
Mr. Herrera announced his support in line with what he views as one of the most pressing needs in America today – new leadership that transcends racial and gender polarization — all ideals that Obama personifies.
“He doesn’t attack Republicans, he doesn’t attack whites and he never seems to draw these dividing lines that Bill Clinton [does]…”
These are not intellectual lightweights. Having men like them as mentors does not do him a disservice.
This is in contrast to Carter’s and Bush II’s wonkish advisors – though Carter did have some good foreign advisors, most notably his NSC. Bush didn’t even have that – he had campaign hires and out of touch proteges of his Dad’s generation. Rumsfeld was a gadget-geek joke around RAND when Bush was running in 2000. Pulling opinions from the upper crust of an intellectually bankrupt gang like the Neo-Cons doesn’t make one any smarter.
For that, you need graybeards like Biden and Lugar, Warner and Hamilton, and that, Obama has. He also has, as I noted with his worldly and open-minded – not physics and peanut-farming based – educational background, the wisdom and resolve to know what’s right.
The next President can’t be a Carter or a Bush – someone brushed off from a southern state’s governorship, filled with party pap and given a bunch of partisan-picked policy wonks to give him answers.
He has to go across the aisle for ideas, as Obama has done. He’s got to not only work for unity, but cultivate it with rhetoric and friendships, as Obama has done.
He has to know how to get things done as a leader. And looking back on his campaign organization, his short but significant term in the Senate, his amazing bi-partisan support and his integrity, one has to try pretty hard to not see that quality in him.
I’ve been hearing a lot of hand-wringing from Obama critics and supporters alike that the “outsider” candidate will be just another Jimmy Carter. A firm look at the factors shows good reasons to both accept and dismiss this notion.
Superficially, there are enough similarities in the candidates’ images to pair them together. Carter was seen as someone untainted by the sordid dealings of Washington, as Obama is. Both recognized the crucial role ‘momentum’ plays in securing victory, and used triumphs in early contests to launch ahead of their rivals. Both ran on a ticket of change and embraced a foreign policy of communication. Both rock the court in basketball.
The challenges both face are also disturbingly similar: Slowing economies, shifting and complicated security threats abroad, and a demoralized and debilitated military.
So if their veneers are the same, and the burdens to bear considerable, will things not turn out the same?
The reason why, is because their qualifications are very different – qualitatively, they are different.
One sees the difference first in their education. Carter was no fool, but he was a physicist, and his time in the Navy was spent in a science-oriented field: Nuclear submarines. Obama, by contrast, is a political scientist with a specialty in international relations. Of the two men, Obama is clearly better equipped to handle the realm of foreign affairs – the area that, despite his critical role in nuclear disarmament (SALT), the development of crucial Rapid Deployment Forces and the amazing Camp David Accords that brought peace between Israel and Egypt, many people consider Carter’s chief failing.
Next, their careers diverge. Carter ran as an “outsider” to Washington, and truly was. His experience was limited to Georgia’s State Senate and Governorship; good training for an executive role, but an isolated experience, almost inapplicable to national politics.
Obama is an outsider only to Washington’s corruption. During his brief time in the Senate, he has served on Senate Committes of exceptional importance to a President: Foreign Relations, Homeland Security and Veterans’ Affairs, among others. He also made certain to surround himself with the best among high-level advisors from the private sector, public service and strategic think tanks.
Carter was criticized for coming to Washington with bumpkin solutions, leading to actions like his slashing of the CIA and his mishandling of energy policy. Obama has already cut his teeth in these fields, and has wisemen from both sides of the aisle working with him.
This disparity in the quality of their ideas is evident among the demographics they commanded. A look at the demographics that supported Carter’s candidacy showed that the better educated and wealthier they were, the less they liked his message. Conversely, the better educated and wealthier Democrats are nowadays, the more they like Obama.
And at the heart of their candidacies, and perhaps their personalities, we find a rift. Carter summed up his attitude well in a remembered line from his inaugural address:
“We have learned that more is not necessarily better, that even our great nation has its recognized limits, and that we can neither answer all questions nor solve all problems”
In essence, his slogan was, “No, we can’t.” No, we can’t control the world like we tried to in Vietnam. No, we can’t stop OPEC from reaming us. No, we can’t just spend ourselves out of a sluggish economy.
But yes, we can, Obama replies to the challenges of today, because while conventional solutions may not work, there can be unconventional solutions that, united, we can bring about. So yes, we can handle our security demands responsibly. Yes, we can revitalize the middle class and prevent our country from falling into a pit of debt. And yes, we can use our energy policy to reposition ourselves as the military-economic leader of the globe.
That is the core of their difference – even beyond experience, openness to intelligent advisors and real awareness of the country’s challenges. Carter was, wet-eyed evangelical that he was and is, the candidate of humility.
In her typically inept way, Hillary illuminated us to her new strategy to sway the superdelegates in an interview with USA Today. It can be summed up in two words: Vote White.
This video highlights the core of her message:
There we have it – despite what actual voting trends show, namely that Obama benefits from overwhelming Democratic turnout compared to the GOP, and that he’s gaining more ground in demographics traditionally less favorable to him, Hillary is the white candidate who white people like.
It goes without saying that the Democratic Party best silence her, and silence her now. Her strident and uncouth statements strike a sore spot in the American psyche, one that the Democratic Party has striven hard to heal and relies on holding together. Whereas before, the tact of the Party seemed to have been to let her run out of steam somewhere in early June, it is becoming increasingly clear that its body politic might be critically injured by then.
Life imitates art, and with Hillary laying her factious plans bare, I offer to you, my readership, and to whatever superdelegates might be watching, a sample of what Hillary’s campaign will be like the next few weeks:
Do not click here. Like Hillary, it’s an aggravating, repetitive, empty-headed sequence of racial divisions – between “uneducated whites” and, as Hill-advisor Paul Begala called them, “eggheads and African-Americans” – that goes on forever until someone forces it to stop.
Do not click it. Instead write your local superdelegate to urge them to shut that annoying nonsense down for good by shutting down Hillary.
The zeitgeist has as good as crowned Obama as inevitable, but the Clintons are fighting hard. Before we hear what possible metric, justification or accusation they might cast to prove their advantage, I offer this recap of their former flailings, courtesy of Keith Olbermann: