New Wine in Old Bottles… or vice versa

I’ve been away from the battle zone for a couple months. It was time to relax, to rethink, to reconnoiter. (The grammarians among you may leave the main line of discussion now, and focus your energies on the “re” prefix, with its implication of iteration: I might revise (and there’s another “re” to consider) my thinking, but can I revise my laxing and my connoitering?)Also, and this is more to the point, there were too damn many people out there (out here?) faking and fumbling analyses of the byzantine rituals we apply to the selection of political leaders.

Most specifically of all, I had not worked out my own feelings on the matter, not in finality. Two partial truths had been established.

1. There was and would be no Republican candidate for whom I could vote.

For a few anxious weeks, I worried that Rudi the G might develop a following and turn into an actual candidate. Then his self-adulating cuteness wore off — New Yorkers wearied of it years ago, but it took some while, apparently, for the rest of the country to catch on — and when he announced that he was putting all his eggs in the Florida basket, I knew it was a sham. He never expected to get the nomination, and was only going through the motions. (Though self-publishing is an everyman deal today, I grew up in a time when only a wealthy man could afford to publish a volume of his own wretched poetry, and pay to have it reviewed. It was called — still is, come to that — vanity press. For Giuliani, think vanity campaign.)

2. There was and would be no viable Democratic candidate whom I could unreservedly endorse.

“Viable” is the key there. I could endorse Kucinich, and in fact did, but he was never a “viable” candidate; he could never win the nomination, but he might force awareness of, consideration of, and action on the major specific problems around which the other candidates were cautiously dancing. Most immediate of those problems, and most obvious, is Iraq. Others include the several recurrent — chronic — domestic social problems, including health care, education, transportation, workers’ rights, and legal representation. (We pay lip service to universal education. How can we not regard legal aid and health care the same way?) And there are the constant universal problems, such as climate change, resource allocation, globalization, and regional warfare, all of which have been created by or exacerbated by violence-imposed unequal distribution of wealth.

Now, things have changed. Or I have changed; the effect is the same. I can endorse Obama — not yet unreservedly, but still, endorse him I will. Either Obama or Clinton will be the Democratic nominee, and barring the sort of self-inflicted wounds to which Democrats are congenitally prone, one of them will be the next President.

I’d like to support Hillary. That is, I wish I were able to be optimistic about the chances for a woman to become President. And I am, but that optimism does not apply to her. She is a Clinton, and whether she is like him or he like her does not matter. Clinton (Bill), for all his folksy brilliance, seems to have no sense of personal honor or political courage. He peddled gall as guts, and double-talk as candor. It worked, because times were good and people were happy and Republicans were in disarray, apparently unable to focus on the legislative and executive branches simultaneously. Because I hear some of the same irrelevant mushiness from her, and because he stands beside or behind her, it’s a double dose. I simply do not trust him/her/them.

McCain will be the Republican nominee, and it hardly matters who he picks as his running mate. The GOP moguls are letting him run, as if it were his due as a loyal soldier (I’m speaking here metaphorically, of his dogged (cf: “dog”) service to the neo-con Bush curia) when in fact it’s their final knife in his back. They expect to lose; they want a Democrat to flail away at the economy and the Middle East for four years, so they can return in triumph to the White House and control of all things useful and profitable; they have a handful of (by their lights) bright stars waiting in the wings for 2012 — watch to see who gives the smarmiest speech at the convention — not limited to Romney and Jeb Bush.

I’ll come back, later, to the positive side, to my reasons for endorsing Obama.


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