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Obamamania January 8, 2008

Posted by chuckwh in Al Gore, Barack Obama, Hillary, Hillary Clinton, Iraq War, News and politics, Obama.
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Barack Obama’s apparent impending sweep of the Democratic primaries speaks loudly about the American mood. Even in a time of unprecedented prosperity under Al Gore, Democratic voters are shunning his would-be successor, Vice President Hillary Clinton.

It may be that Americans simply don’t like the idea of dynasties. If Clinton would be elected, not only would it be the second Clinton in office, but it would extend the Clinton/Gore dynasty to, potentially, nearly a quarter century. Americans are understandably squeamish about such things.

Ironically, this kind of feeling could have been exacerbated by some of the fears generated by progressives who have repeatedly pointed out that a cadre of Republicans such as Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, and Dick Cheney, pushed hard for an invasion of Iraq and have since written that had George W. Bush won the election, they would have launched preemptive strikes against Sadaam.

A Newsweek journalist even raised the hairs of many Americans by posting a fictional blog called The Bush Years which painted a nightmarish, almost science fiction-like alternative future that had America sending ground troops into Iraq and spending hundreds of billions of dollars funding a long-term quagmire. Most economists scoffed at the premise: that the war is largely funded via long-term debts to China. In the blog, the American dollar becomes nearly worthless, and America is reviled throughout most of the world.

These are events that, had they happened, would have been blamed at least partly on dynastic politics.

In real life, of course, Sadaam, has long since disappeared from the scene, having been stricken down by his own people. The Middle East is thriving even as the U.S. is throwing off the chains of its oil dependency. The American economy, fueled in no small part to a host of emerging technologies spurred on by the Gore Administration’s industrial policies, is humming along like a well oiled machine.

Still, voters appear to be on the brink of rejecting Hillary and embracing Obama.

There are two things that Gore has not accomplished that might help explain this phenomenon. One, he has not healed the divisiveness between Republicans and Democrats that has existed since the Clinton years. In fact, under Gore, it may be worse, as the Republican Party has become marginalized because of the domination in that party of evangelicals and the far right. Eventually, though, the GOP will return to a more moderate focus, and the pendulum in Congress will swing back. It always does.

Obama, though, isn’t waiting. He’s already reaching out to Republicans and leveraging his long-term mantra of unity by pointing out that we don’t live in red states or blue states, but in the United States. This message is resonating.

The other thing Gore hasn’t accomplished is in regards to lobbyists. They still have way too much control, and Obama has promised to do something about that. These are two powerful messages. Combine that with Americans’ inherent distaste for dynasties, and you have a rout in the making.

Hillary’s mistake may have been to simply assume she was the appointed successor to the throne. The Bush Years did a nice job of pointing out how dangerous a dynasty can be, even if it did seem a little far-fetched in its apocalyptic tone. And the American people don’t need much help anyway in rejecting the concept of the throne. They’ve been doing it for 232 years.

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Wishing They’d Play Nice November 21, 2007

Posted by chuckwh in Barack Obama, Barak Obama, Hillary, Hillary Clinton, Obama.
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Today I find myself hoping that Hillary and Obama start to play a little nicer with each other. The reason is based on pure strategy. If Hillary wins the nomination, it seems to me that a Hillary/Obama ticket could very possibly lead to 16 years of non-Republican governance.

If you want to see the full effects of what can happen when a country changes its political pendulum check out the video here:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/mlasalle/detail?blogid=38&entry_id=22097

When Ronald Reagan was elected, it signaled a massive political tsunami that has had America reeling for more than a quarter century.

Imagine an American president doing what Richard Nixon, a Republican, did, and imposing wage and price controls. The right wing would probably scramble to Texas and declare it a sovereign state, just to get away from the horrors of federal economic controls.

If progressives want to return to liberalism, it will require more than the obvious necessity of capturing hearts and minds. It will require that Democrats (sadly, the closest thing we have to liberalism) don’t shoot themselves in the foot when it is so clear that the government is theirs for the taking for a very long time.

If Obama wins, I’m sure Hillary won’t be the Vice Presidential candidate, but if Hillary wins, Obama seems like a perfect fit. Right now, the attacks are really fairly soft. Candidates have taken bigger shots at each other and found themselves as running mates. But I hope both sides keep a close eye on their gun happy artillery men.