Sense from Seattle

Common sense thoughts on life and current affairs by a Seattle area sexagenarian, drawing on personal experience, years of learning as a counselor to thousands of families and an innate passion for informed knowledge, to uniquely express sensible, thoughtful, honest and independent views.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Fleeting Audacity of Inevitability

I admit I have never been drawn to Hillary Clinton. So when it appeared inevitable that she would be the Democratic Presidential nominee, I tried to talk myself into liking her. I knew she was very intelligent and had lots of experience, and I generally agreed with her ideology and policy positions, but I just did not feel comfortable with her. She seemed more calculating than genuine. When Bill was caught in the Monica mess, a lawyer friend of mine predicted Hillary would divorce him after his Presidential term expired. I did not agree with that prediction, but I do wonder how her career would be different if she had dumped him. Did she stay with Bill in spite of all his marital wanderings mostly because she loved him, or was it more for what he could do for her ambitions?

The plan of the Democrats was to have their candidate chosen on Super Tuesday in early February, confirming what the polls were showing, that Hillary Clinton was the inevitable choice. But here at Sense a year ago, our poll predicted unanimously [all three of us agreeing] that a black would be elected President before a woman. Let us remember from American history that black men got the right to vote more than fifty years before white women. White men, who have always held the reins of American power, in many ways identify more with black men than they do with white women. Black men were lynched for alleged crimes against white women not so much to protect the women as to protect the property rights of the white men.

Barack Obama has sent the audacious Clinton inevitability into free fall. Bill Clinton accelerated the fall with his campaign antics on behalf of his wife. Better amateur psychologists than me might be able to detect an element of intention on the part of the ex-President, based on some need to be one up on his wife, so that she will continue to feel she needs him. Imagine if Hillary had won, and then at the end of her Presidency she divorced Bill.

The Obama appeal starts from the overwhelming desire for change from Bush. His charisma, intelligence, oratorical skills and personal history all add to his appeal. His mixed ethnicity is the marble frosting. But he has made his campaign work by doing just what Hillary says she would do as President but has failed to do in her campaign. He has been following a well thought out plan, efficiently executed, disciplined and maintained. Through a glut of twenty debates, Barack has performed with acumen, which increased as the number of participants dwindled, culminating in his excellent showing on the last two against Hillary alone.

Hillary still gets sympathy from older white women who are upset to see yet another up and coming young man usurp what should have gone to the experienced woman with seniority. Hillary was supposed to be the admirable pioneering woman who would break through the ultimate glass ceiling. But as one young female black commentator said, it is hard to think of a white multi millionairess U.S. Senator whose husband was President for eight years, as an admirable underdog. And now that Hillary has in fact become the underdog, she has not only failed to gain any "root for the under dog" votes, but some of her long time supporters are turning away from her.

Next Tuesday, the Texas and Ohio primaries could be the final blow to Hillary. She had been hoping to win them big, but now is realistically hoping just to win both by even small margins, or maybe to win one, or maybe to come close in both. Barack has been winning the super delegate PR war as well as the battle over whether to count the boycotted Florida and Michigan results. The Clinton people have started talking about Pennsylvania in April as a firewall, but unless Hillary surprises everyone with strong victories in Texas and Ohio, the only wall that matters will be the one with the writing on it, "Barack Obama is the candidate of the Democrats".


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I did not respond to this because it annoyed me so much. But since you haven't posted anything for a while, I'll make a couple of comments:
1. Do you not feel comfortable with Hillary because she is cuckoled? Or do you not feel comfortable with her because she made a rational assessment of her life and career and decided she would do better by standing by her man? I would like to put Bill's puerile indiscretions outside of rational political discourse, but that appears not to be possible. Who cares if Hillary stayed with Bill because she loves him? That question makes me gag and is appropriate only for soap opera viewers. What is important for Hillary and what is important to the citizens of this country is how she handled a crisis in her life. That reflects on how she would handle national and international crises. I think she did very well.
2. Because we all agreed that a black man would be chosen before a white woman does not imply that that is the correct moral choice. It merely reflects the perceived male bias of the American electorate by the three peole who responded. Personally I identify with the women suffragests who were outraged that former male slaves got the right to vote long before women of all color who helped create this country did.
3. To suggest that Bill Clinton would deliberately undermine his wife's campaign is silly. Of course he wants her to succeed. The battle you suggest will come later after she is elected. Will she or Bill rule? I bet on her ruling.
4. The wishful thinking about change without substance is pathetic. The elections of John Kenney and Ronald Reagan come to mind. The former was neutral and the latter harmful to the US. Let's give professionals the job that they are trained for. Obama is not trained and Clinton is. It is simple as that.
John from Phoenix

9:41 PM  
Blogger Tom Blake said...

1. Hillary married Bill for love and for the power she expected him to make available to them through politics. She knew he had a wayward libido, but she calculated that into her decision to marry him. Apparently she miscalculated the extent of his wandering urge, but when it threatened to derail the power train, she vigorously joined in the war against the derailers, which included personal attacks on the various women with whom he dallied. Staying in the marriage through his various affairs was her business, but purposely misleading the voters, when Bill was running for President, about the extent of his problem and the possibility it would come up again was unfair to the electorate. I share the view of the majority of voters, that Hillary is calculating and not quite trustworthy. How one handles the foolish sexual affair of a spouse pales by comparison with how one would handle an international crisis. Rather than giving Hillary credit for handling Monicagate, I fault her for fooling us (and herself) into ignoring the warning signs.

2. American voters seem more prejudiced against African Americans than against women. At the highest elected level next to the Presidency, the US Senate, there are several women, but Barack Obama is only the third African American Senator since Reconstruction. The Presidency may be different in the eyes of some Americans, because of the Commander-in-Chief role. Having some women rise in the military and serve on the Joint Chiefs of Staff would help overcome that. African Americans and women were both denied the vote until the US Constitution was amended, first for African American male voters following the Civil War, and then finally for all women in 1920. Both amendments came in their time, after long struggles to obtain them. Victims of unfair discrimination succeed best when they unite, even if it means recognizing that the time to end one form of discrimination may come before another. We may soon elect an African American President, and in time we will elect a woman.

3. Bill and Hillary are a team, and electing her brings him along. That is bothersome to many voters, like me, who do not want Bill back in the White House, even if he is just the spouse and she is the one with the final say.

4. I am not sure how one trains to be a professional President of the United States. We do not have such a program. We also do not seem to agree on who were our best Presidents, at least among the more recent ones. Presidents seem to spend much of their time in office reacting to developments, sometimes rather unexpected, sometimes perhaps partially fabricated. The agenda proclaimed on the stump often morphs into a more ideologically driven wielding of power and then settles in to become a combination of practical politics and siege mentality. There is no other job in the country that comes even close in preparing one for the Presidency. Sometimes, like now, voters want a change, and they look for a candidate who appears more trustworthy and less likely to morph into a power hungry ideologue, one who will be guided by practicality and cooperation, rather than by obstinacy and defensiveness. That is the longing into which Barack Obama has tapped.

2:29 PM  

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