Where Have I been?

It’s not often for a week to go by where I write as little as I have this week.  Usually, the stuff of politics is an addiction for me, one that even when I want to put it down, I find I can’t, sneaking quick breaks to “check my email” that usually involve a rapid dash spin through my typical sources to keep abreast of what’s going on.

Yet this week, in the heart of the primaries no less, I seem to have found the magical cure for my addiction, a find that has not only allowed me to remain mostly silent through the week, but to do so in an almost blissful state.

It began with illness.  Food poisoning to be specific, at least I think it was food poisoning.  Suffice it to say that I’m glad I have a bath tub next to my toilet that no one uses; it came in rather handy on several occasions.

Going through hot and cold flashes, aching all over, and dashing off to the restroom every ten minutes pretty much put me out of commission early this week.  I had at one point in time attempted to keep up with my writing, but once I assumed my typical position stretched out across the couch with laptop in hand, I found that I simply didn’t have the energy to type, let alone actually contribute anything of substance.

So I gave up, and figured I would get back into it once I was feeling better.  But a strange thing happened; once I had begun to feel better, every headline that I read in politics only seemed to make me feel ill again.

Over this week, I think I came about as close as I ever could come to being thoroughly sick of horse race politics.

It is, of course, the Democratic primary that has me so distraught.  There are the obvious factors of course.  I am backing one candidate, and that candidate, despite anything and everything, is still poised to be the loser in this contest.  I hate the growing animosity I feel with one of my party’s most respected figures, and I hate more reading from conservatives the jubilant “I told you so” pieces where they all seem so relieved that at least a third to a half of the Democratic party is finally seeing in the Clintons what they have seen all along.

I find myself getting ill at the irrationality of the party, but, and perhaps I hate this the most, I am sickened with the knowledge that comes with following the campaigns so closely that I know which side actually started the descent into mud slinging, when, and the fact that Hillary Clinton continues to get away with it.

It’s not fair.  This is my guy who has been the victim through this.  No, Senator Obama’s hands are not squeaky clean in all of this, but damn it, they’re a damn site cleaner than Hillary’s, but that seemingly simple fact doesn’t seem to sink in.  That media conspiracy against the Clintons just doesn’t seem to be worth the ink.

In truth, I’m just a bad loser, and when my team is losing, it grows increasingly difficult to watch.

I’m not an Obama supporter because he’s black just like I’m not a Hillary opponent because she’s a woman.  I have been with Obama from the start because, from the start, he was the one guy that said all the things I wanted a politician to say, who illustrated a world view that I believe is best suited to the America of today.  The push against negative politics I always thought smart, but it was the post-partisanship that I found so intriguing, a philosophy that well encapsulated much of my own view of politics as they are and as they should be.

Simply put, I don’t believe any longer in the partisan war of ideas.  It’s a cat’s game, no one wins.  You can ride your moments, and have temporary groundswells of approval that might allow for some progress in one direction or another, but under the guise of partisan warfare, such victories are fated to only be temporary where the backlash is guaranteed.

And those are the good days.

What must always be remembered, even among those who call themselves liberals and progressives is that this is a pluralistic society.  That does not mean that liberals are right.  Nor does it mean they are wrong.  It simply means that they have ideas on how things should be, and that their opinions should be considered, same goes with conservatives, centrists, moderates, and to a degree radicals.

But that’s not what partisan warfare is all about.  Even a group of intellectually like-minded folks who pride themselves of tolerance and pluralism seem to forget that these ideals also encompass conservatism, neoconservatism, neoliberalism, etc.  Does that mean I agree with all these dotrines of intellectual faith?  Hardly.  It means that I recognize that they are out there, and like them or not, they deserve a seat at the table when we all sit down to discuss how to solve our country’s problems, and to where we should chart our nation’s course for the future.

The old way just doesn’t seem to work.  The old way, us versus them, doesn’t get us anyway, it just turns us upon each other, and it takes instead the best ideas from all of those willing to undergo the patriotic act of participating in self governance, it demonizes each other and makes a mockery out of the ideals we could strive for.

This is part of the reason why I continue to be so hopeful that this time next year, we will call the head of our state President Obama.  The other part was the complexity with which he viewed the world, the interconnected web that weaves together foreign and domestic policy, how our actions in one area have a ripple effect throughout everything else we do.  This different approach would allow us to look at the challenges facing us from different angles, and instead of turning them into political footballs, actually solving them and moving on to bigger and better things.

It is this interconnectivity perspective that would allow us to shift the focal points of key debates in this country.  Immigration, for instance, might shift from being pro or anti, and move into perhaps looking at what we could do to make Mexico’s government work for Mexicans so that the people who flood this country looking for a better way of life might find that better life in their home country.  Abortion could possibly stop being a finger pointing hot button issue, and instead focus on the causal factors like crime, sexual education, and the economy.

Post partisanship would grab the best from all ideologies, and Obama’s worldview would allow us to apply these tools in such a manner that the issues of today would not be roadblocks, but instead manageable problems.  These sentiments were what drew me to the Obama campaign from the start, and keep me there until it’s over.

Which may, unfortunately, be soon.

Tomorrow is the South Carolina primary.  If Obama does not win tomorrow, that truly would be a shock that would shake the very foundations of the political punditry class, and should be seen as a near impossible event.  He will win tomorrow, and that will not be enough.

Before Super Tuesday comes Florida, where Hillary is more than likely to win, which might give her a lead in delegates, and will give her a severe momentum advantage.  I don’t expect Obama to survive Tsunami Tuesday (though, I think if he does, Hillary’s shot at the nomination diminishes rapidly) and there the hope dies.

Should Hillary win the nomination, I don’t expect her to win.  Especially against John McCain who seems to look stronger and stronger as the days go by.  The single simple fact that a vast swath of Democrats seem to underestimate is how strongly Republicans dislike her.  You put a weak Republican up against her, and the party will still come out en masse if for no other reason than to vote against Mrs. Clinton.  She will raise more money for the GOP than any political rockstar with an R at the end of their name, and she will energize the base better than any code words or ad buys ever could.

Couple that with a Republican who gets a huge portion of his support from independents and centrist/moderate Democrats, and that translates not mere for another Republican White House, but a landslide.

And I do wonder what will happen to so many Obama Democrats who are going to come out of this primary feeling like their candidate was smeared into oblivion.  I can’t hardly imagine they would take one for the team, suck it up, and vote for the team that did all the smearing.

Thus, this is the narration of the rest of the year in political politics.  McCain will win the GOP nomination, Hillary will come out the victor in the Democratic race, and in the end, the Clintons will lose the White House.

And did I mention I’m a bad loser?

It is the weight of this all too probable narrative that has made staying away from politics easy this week.

So where do we go from here?  Nowhere.  You buckle down, you take the bullet, and, if the fight is the right fight, and you think it is worth it, you fight.  I’ve spent a good deal of time shilling for the Democratic party, and I’ve no intention of leaving it any time soon, but by that same token, I’m of the mind that for some time now it has been overdue for a change.

I still hold out hope that Obama will somehow manage to win the nomination and provide that change, but if not, then my fight will be clear.  I see Hillary Clinton now as iconic of much that is wrong with the party along with Senator Harry Reid and Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  It is this arm of the party, capitulating for political leverage that will never come, surrendering principles, instead of compromising with principle in tact, that I wish to see ejected and overtaken.

I believe that will be the new fight in the Democratic party, and if it is, I’ll be right there on the front lines.

2 Responses to “Where Have I been?”

  1. Karen Halls says:

    I found your site on google blog search and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. Just added your RSS feed to my feed reader. Look forward to reading more from you.

    Karen Halls

  2. disgusted in chicago says:

    This is one of the best pieces I’ve read in quite some time and precisely mirrors my feelings. As somebody from Chicago who’s seen what Obama has done for the city and state here, I may even be more disgusted by the Clintons than the average Obama supporter. If you’d have asked me a few months ago, I would have said I was staunchly behind Obama although i would vote for Hillary in a general election, but not now. Like Hillary on the war in Iraq, I was for her before I was against her.

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