The problem here, as I see it, isn't really Obama, as it isn't really Bush, they are just symptoms.
America and Americans give the impression at this moment of wandering through history aided only by a white cane.
On one hand the people reelect someone who was already clearly incompetent in 2004 and now they are about to elect someone without any practical experience of government.
Not just that, but a lot of things don't make sense.
Look at the reaction of the Chinese people (not just their government) to the earthquake and then look at the reaction of the American people (not just their government) to Katrina.
50 years ago, I think Americans would have responded like the Chinese. The Chinese reaction seems to me the normal reaction of a great people to a terrible tragedy, the American reaction seems to me both autistic and decadent and America didn't get to the position it occupies by being either autistic or decadent... and it certainly won't/isn't keeping that position by being autistic and decadent.
So, the problem in my view is not Obama, the problem is not the leaders.
In a Democracy, even a flawed one like America's, the leaders are only symptoms, the problem is in the society and that is where the work has to be done.
I think the country has been somehow hollowed out.
First I'm struck by your cynicism, If there were ever a year to have some hope it's this year. We've had more young people be involved than ever before on both sides of the isle. Even Ron Paul has been huge in his groundswell of support. This is also the most educated young electorate we've ever had. Certainly you have to have a little confidence America is at least starting to head in the right direction.
Secondly I would like to know how you square Clinton's vote for the war? If you are not a Clinton supporter who do you support?
To which I replied:
First the secondly:
Secondly I would like to know how you square Clinton's vote for the war? If you are not a Clinton supporter who do you support?And firstly the secondly of the secondly. I am not a "Hillary supporter", although I like the idea of a woman president (of any color).
I think that by far the best candidate this year would have been Al Gore: experience, vision, right on the war, great international prestige based on action, not "charisma"... It still might happen in a hung convention, but the Democrats are the Democrats...
And secondly the secondly of the firstly:
Certainly you have to have a little confidence America is at least starting to head in the right direction.Really, do I have to?
Four years ago, in perfect good faith, the American people reelected a war criminal who had proved to be totally incompetent... even as a war criminal. Now they are ready to elect president a community organizer under the patronage of Dick Daley, with no experience relevant to managing the affairs of a superpower... pure Frank Capra, "Mr Smith Goes to Washington". Really do I have to have confidence?
And thirdly the secondly or perhaps the thirdly of the secondly.
Who do you support?Actually I support myself, eating my bread in the sweat of my brow.
As to the presidency.
I see different scenarios:
- Obama wins and reality and the interest groups and his desire for a second term cause him to fudge. I don't think he has anything near Jimmy Carter's integrity or anything like Bill Clinton's sex drive, so he will be much duller than people think. The kids will be heartbroken.
- McCain wins and this means the end of Goldwater/Reagan Republicanism. (see Peggy Noonan's lament). This would truly transform American politics. Interesting idea: to survive, the Republicans commit ideological hara-kiri.
In this case, as Obama has done practically nothing, I am left with what he says.
In the case of McCain, he has a very long record, some of it is quite attractive and some less. It does give you the feeling that there won't be many nasty surprises and there might even be some pleasant ones.
But, since I would have to vote absentee from Illinois, and the Land of Lincoln, will surely adorn itself with leis and hula skirts to vote massively for its favorite son, voting even for Ralph Nader would be a waste of time, so I probably will sit this one out. DS