Thursday, January 31st, 2008

2G2K Circus: Leaders of the New? School, Part 2

Ferentz talks McCain-Hillary vs. McCain-Obama.

McCain-Hillary would be the worst possible outcome for Dems, for some of the reasons Frank Rich laid out last weekend: they lose on ‘experience’, ‘change’, and the split of the rhetorical ‘right-wing conspiracy’. They probably lose many independent voters who sat out the 90s, angry at the various sordid scandals that were the main point and chief product of the culture wars.

McCain-Obama gets me excited, because it means we just might have the thing fought out on ideas, for once. McCain and Obama agree on some big things–not just on demeanor, posture, and honor, things any Chow Yun-Fat fan would immediately recognize. But they also cross the aisles on issues like campaign finance reform or immigration reform (which deserves several posts all to itself). It might be refreshing to see two presidential candidates try to top each other on clean politics proposals.

I think this contest could potentially raise get a lot of people excited. And it will not turn just on the war–which is what I think you mean when you say ideology?–but absolutely on generation. The lion in winter versus the boy of summer. The shadow of Vietnam versus the bright day on the horizon. It could be epic.

Let’s talk Edwards a little. I would have voted for him here next week if the policy agenda alone was the determinant. But I had a lot of doubts about his ability to lead. He seemed unfocused. And though he had very very good reasons, and never made Elizabeth’s cancer into a crutch, the distractions showed.

I think he fell into positioning himself as the outsider, but he never attained gravity. Being lazy on the stump didn’t help his outsider status. He gave the exact same speech after New Hampshire as he did in Iowa–when all eyes were on him. If you’re the outsider, you have to keep pulling up the well of emotion that drives your supporters’ passions. Instead, he seemed robotic at the worst possible moments.

But if it comes to a brokered convention, he will play an important role in shaping the platform and choosing the final candidate. And that could be good good thing.

Here are two links that Ned Sublette, who has just written the definitive work on the roots of the music of New Orleans,The World That Made New Orleans: From Spanish Silver to Congo Square, passed on about Edward’s exit:

1) “Through fourteen Republican Debates, no moderator has asked any Republican Presidential candidates a single question about rebuilding New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.”

2) He started his address about 30 minutes after stopping at an interstate underpass to talk to homeless people at an encampment of about 200 people. “One woman said to me, ‘You won’t forget us, will you?’ Well, I say to her, we will never forget you. We will fight for you, stand up for you,” he said.

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