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Sunday, July 8, 2007

Barack Joins Hillary...

Cheny/Bush

...in my Pantheon of the Contemptible.

Candide's Notebook has posted his article in Foreign Affairs, Renewing American Leadership, along with an excellent deconstruction by Pierre Tristam, The Audacity of Fraud (the title says it all, and thanks once again to Nicole for alerting us to it).

First, let me say that the title of Obama's piece - Renewing American Leadership - is a troubling choice. After four years of foot-stomping display of American Exceptionalism (if you draw the bright line at the Iraqupation), yes, a mere shadow of what could be called "American Leadership" remains - just enough to torment the memories of the True Believers. Obama seems tormented as well, and it behooves us to inspect his thinking here.

True "American leadership," as it existed at all in fact, has always been a reflection of our stated values and of just how successful we were in living up to those values. Only the most craven and power-entwined ever held our might in awe. Which loss is of most concern to the other "top" candidate for the Democratic ticket? [Emphases are mine]:
As Roosevelt built the most formidable military the world had ever seen, his Four Freedoms gave purpose to our struggle against fascism. Truman championed a bold new architecture to respond to the Soviet threat -- one that paired military strength with the Marshall Plan and helped secure the peace and well-being of nations around the world. As colonialism crumbled and the Soviet Union achieved effective nuclear parity, Kennedy modernized our military doctrine, strengthened our conventional forces, and created the Peace Corps and the Alliance for Progress. They used our strengths to show people everywhere America at its best.
Uh oh.
This century's threats are at least as dangerous as and in some ways more complex than those we have confronted in the past. They come from weapons that can kill on a mass scale and from global terrorists who respond to alienation or perceived injustice with murderous nihilism. They come from rogue states allied to terrorists and from rising powers that could challenge both America and the international foundation of liberal democracy. They come from weak states that cannot control their territory or provide for their people. And they come from a warming planet that will spur new diseases, spawn more devastating natural disasters, and catalyze deadly conflicts.
Oh, BOO!
The American moment is not over, but it must be seized anew. To see American power in terminal decline is to ignore America's great promise and historic purpose in the world. If elected president, I will start renewing that promise and purpose the day I take office.
What are you proposing there, Barack, a surge? In any case, any discussion of "America's great promise and historic purpose in the world," at this point in our history, is an abominable dog-whistle the Exceptionalists. It shouldn't need be mentioned, but whatever "exceptionalism" the U.S. has ever had the temerity to claim with any justification whatsoever lies in its (at least doctrinal) fealty to the people as the true stewards of their government and its actions. It is this noble humility (a flower yet to fully bloom) which must be regained, and American "might" has no place in that equation - it never has. Oh, there are many of us who have been seduced into entwining the two - sixty-odd years of fife-and-drum triumphalism can do that to a population.

But this message has no business being "catapulted" by any self-described agent of change. Which is what we need right now. Opposing "compassionate conservatism" with this sort of faux liberalism is no opposition at all, and the corporate war-profiteers would be right in rooting for this candidate.

This young triangulator is needing, at the least, an intervention. That would be losing the nomination. Perhaps it will mature him. So, into the dust-bin with Hillary you should go.

Read Tristam's piece - he has more of a stomach for the details than I do.


As I've said before, there's very little danger in supporting a principled long-shot like Dennis Kucinich in the primaries. However it washes out, there will be a (nominal) opposition candidate in '08 to support. (Note to Al Gore: If you're really not running, you should tell us sooner rather than later, and perhaps you could use some of that huge political coinage you've managed to amass and get Dennis more into the limelight. Endorse him, hit the stump. The consequences could be enormous.)

3 comments:

  1. Bartenders Are People TooJuly 10, 2007 at 10:44 PM

    Honest to God Mike, this is the shit that drives me crazy when I have conversations about you. Continue to look for perfection, continue to be disappointed, and continue to miss the entire ever loving purpose of the experiment that is the United States. Is Barack, or Hillary, or Denis for that matter, the 'perfect' candidate? No, they are not, they are human, they are falible, they have weaknesses and strengths. They all have, Washington, Lincoln, Kennedy, they all had weaknesses and they all had strengths. The Kuc (pronounced like the first syllable of cucumber, in honor of his long standing vegatarianism), as I like to refer to him, has his own issues, not the least of which is that he's a pussy.
    Am I trying to say that we need another war monger, that we need another idiot out to pave the streets of Haliburton-ville with gold? Of course not, but I'd like a guy who doesn't make Tony Blair look like Ah-nold in his Commando/Predator days. The Kuc makes Hillary look like Vince McMahon.
    And yes, there is something to that. To quote Tyler Durdin, "Skinny guys fight to the death" and he was talking about Lincoln. This country, this country's psyche, we need a tough guy (or woman, just somebody who can kick my ass) to lead us. We're a proud country, we're a country that was indeed founded on war, by war. We told the Brits to shove it up their crumpet hole and then we told each other that amongst all those idiots we were fighting with, there was bound to be a leader or two.
    Since then, almost immediately, we became the envy of the world. When we struggled we said, 'Fuck it, we'll find a way." and when we succeeded we said, "Good, what's next." That's actually a good thing damn it, it's the reason the MVP of the All Star game is Japanese, it's the reason the best cars are made in Germany but sell for the most here. People want to be...if not 'us' than 'with us.' We're the cool kids at the party, and sorry, the cool kid at the party always looked a helluva lot more like Bill and Barack than the Kuc and Ron Paul (who I'm almost positive is your little Libertarian man crush).
    All I'm asking is get real. Is Barack the perfect choice, no, but he's a damn good one, and if you keep spouting off, and GOD FORBID Gore did start supporting the Kuc than you might just have found a way for the Right Wing jackasses to keep the White House.
    That is the real fear here. Suddenly, unexcusably, the Dems might just find a way to lose again...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Gosh, I've been schooled.

    Okay, not.

    Not to be unkind, James (as we are apparently invoking "Christian names" here), but stick to ESPN. Seriously.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Bartenders Are People TooJuly 12, 2007 at 10:13 PM

    Now that's just mean (sorry about the name thing, not used to this sort of semi-anonymous posting) but as much as I would like the 'perfect' candidate (whatever each individual's may be) I would much rather have the 'better' candidate.

    ReplyDelete

I welcome all reactions and points of view, so comments here are not moderated. Cheerfully "colorful" language is great. I'll even tolerate some ad hominem directed against me... each other, not so much. Racist or excessively abusive comments (or spam) will be deleted at my discretion.