Indicative

Here’s the funny thing about politics; for all the kabuki that goes on, it can be pretty straight forward.  That’s to say that for anyone who pays attention there are two realities; the actual objective reality, and the reality that is produced like a product.

Further, the reality that is produced is often indicative in one way or another of the reality that is objective.

To put it in less abstract terms, you can often tell a great deal about a politician, that politician’s campaign, and their surrogates by the nature of their attacks.

Case in point, Billy Kristol’s (and yes, I call him Billy like the comedian–one can only hope that on his deathbed he has a great laugh and admits that his entire career was one long stand up comedy routine) recent piece for the Weekly Standard starts it off, taking Obama to task for not seriously considering Hillary Clinton as running mate.

Now, there are a slew of factual errors and disingenuous remarks here that rightly need to be smacked down.  For that I’m sure you’ll find no shortage at Memeorandum.  Suffice it to say that warning bells should go off the moment Kristol comes to the defense of any Democrat.

But the thing that really strikes me as funny is that now John McCain has released an ad parroting Kristol’s points.

Now look, there are two groups of people who really thought that Obama should pick Hillary as vice president (of course there are free radicals out there who don’t fit into either, but just go with me on this).  The die hard Clinton fans and Armando.

And I’ve already made the point time and again that Armando’s a dumb ass.

For anyone else the reasons against choosing Clinton are numerous; some obvious, some not.  The obvious is that the net gain from Clinton is neither guaranteed or all that great. 

Last I checked, Obama had the support of 80% of Democrats, McCain about 87%.  That’s a seven percent deficit of base support, and one that can probably be overcome with a vigorous GOTV effort.  But the catch here with Hillary is that even selecting her as the running mate will not guarantee support from the most die hard of defectors; the PUMAs, and the No Dealers.

They’re gone for good, and they will stay gone unless Hillary Clinton becomes the nominee.  What percentage of bitter-enders this constituency can’t fully be known, but it’s a big enough factor to call into question the wisdom of selecting Clinton for party unity alone.

Outside of that, there are any other number of valid risks in having Clinton as a running mate; likelihood of energizing the conservative base, high unfavorables, and the one that no one wants to talk about; asking Americans to vote for a ticket with a black man and a white woman.

All things considered, running either alone is putting a lot of faith in an American people who have grown comfortable with white male presidents, trying to push both borders on the insane.

Of course, this just brings us back to one of the uglier undercurrents of the primaries, and one that I wish never would have seen even the dim light of a basement light bulb, let alone the light of day; which group has been wronged more?

As much as some seem to like to think about this as about redemption for America’s bigotry or misogyny, it should also be remembered that this presidential campaign is about winning and then putting America back on the right track.

Which brings another problem with an Obama/Clinton ticket; regardless of whether Obama and Clinton are actually still friends, key staffers, surrogates, and the rest of the usual suspects that would have to work closely together over the course of the next two months are definitely not on friendly terms.

In what is shaping up to be one of the most important elections of our time, the last thing you want to do is try and wage this campaign with a house not merely divided, but in open warfare with each other.  If you want solid proof on how detrimental campaign infighting could be, just take a close look at the internal feuds that ultimately sunk the Clinton campaign.  Further, you have to ask yourself this question; if Clinton couldn’t keep her own team running smoothly when it was just her team, how much worse would it get when it’s both her team and the Obama team which does run smoothly and will likely find themselves both antagonized by and antagonized the much more fractured Clinton team?

All of this merely as an exercise to point the many reasons outside of the glass ceiling that Hillary Clinton wasn’t picked, or even considered.  Among these should also be considered Hillary Clinton’s own desire not to be vetted unless she was definitely going to be the one.  In other words, Clinton made it clear it that there wasn’t going to be “serious consideration” it was going to be all or nothing.

Which brings us back to the folks attempting to stir up the pot.  The only reason they are doing it is not out some newfound advocacy for feminism, this is still the party of Rush Limaugh who calls feminists “feminazis”, it’s still the party that opposes a woman’s right to choose, and in the case of John McCain, he’s still the man who wants his wife to strip down for a bunch of bikers, calls her by the most degrading female slur imaginable, and oh yeah, opposed the right of women to sue for fair pay.

No, this new line of attack is indicative of one thing and one thing only; they have nothing else.  They can’t attack substantively because John McCain keeps finding himself on the wrong end of the substantive arguments, going so far as to adopting Obama’s plans on Afghanistan, and wait for it, he’s going to have to cave on Iraq eventually.  He can’t go after Obama for being an elitist–not knowing how many houses you own is about as elite as it gets.  From tire guages to gas tax holidays to troop withdrawls from Iraq, McCain’s got nothing, and his character assassination attempts are starting to fall limp (and just wait until the Obama campaign actually begins to play for real…).

The only thing he has left is this lame ass attempt to stir up faux controversy that is only really taken to heart by the PUMAs who were way ahead of him anyway.

It might work, I’m not going to deny that, and I take nothing for granted.  But I think the question that everyone should be asking, left, right, and middle, is that if this is John McCain’s best case for his own candidacy, if all he has to say for himself is this nonsense as opposed to going after Obama with intellectual honesty about the actual issues that face this country, is he really qualified to be president?

Sure, you may not like Obama, but at this point all McCain appears to have is a cardboard cutout platform and a bunch of flailing personal attacks; is that really who you want running the country?

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