Tuesday, March 04, 2008

what is change?

So here I am. . .in Texas. . .on the eve of another big day in this election cycle. And here’s what I think:

I think Clinton wins here tomorrow.

Call it the effectiveness of the “3 AM” add. Call it the nuttiness of this state, where you can vote in both a primary and a caucus (yes, you read that right--two opportunities to have your voice heard if you want to spend your night that way). Or call it the racial game coming home to roost in the southwest. Anyway you cut it, I believe that Clinton’s “square area” supremacy over Obama (who will take the primaries in Houston and Dallas, as well as the caucuses in those two places--but that’s probably it in this remarkably vast state) will bring her a very very small victory tomorrow. But small is big enough for her purposes.

I have no idea how Ohio will shake out. But a Clinton victory in either of those two big states tomorrow will keep her going in the race for the nomination; a Clinton victory in both would really turn this thing upside-down. And it’s beee-youthful to watch!

All because she had the “audacity” to make a 3 AM phone call an issue. I find it REMARKABLE that her team--supposedly the best that influence can find--took THIS LONG to center in on that theme. But as is the case with most brilliant ideas, it looks obvious only in retrospect. Of course, if Clinton actually had any serious military people in her inner circle (if she actually "knew the military", as her ad purports), this ad would have been out weeks ago. You see, military leaders understand that dreaded 3 AM phone call in a way that only parents of teenagers can comprehend. It will be effective, however, with a wide range of voters, because everybody knows that a phone ringing at 3 AM doesn't mean good news.

You know, if I was an Obama advisor, I’d be “this” close to airing an ad that said this: “it’s 3 am. The phone is ringing. Answer this question: do you know where your husband is?” As horribly wrong as that would be, it would be at least as effective as whatever Obama has countered with.

Anyhoo. . .let’s get to the point of this post. You know, I find it amazing how localized mainstream liberal’s views are. Riddle me this: how is it that the President that spread Democracy to regions where it was a completely foreign concept 8 years ago is bedeviled as the “same old Washington business”?

President Bush is quite possibly the most proven change agent in Washington since. . .well, since I don’t know when. Of course, since it’s change that the Democrat’s don’t want to support, then it’s easy to forget about it, to discount it, or even to demean it. But the words of a man with absolutely no record of having the capacity to implement whatever his agenda of the week is--well, that’s “change we can believe in”.

I think, to some degree, that the emptiness of the words is starting to drag on Obama. It was always an article of faith of mine that the electorate would never elect such a newbie to the biggest office in the world, and I still stand by that. I also believed that the Dems would give Hillary her chance in a general election--but for the better part of the last month I started having my doubts. However, of late, I think the tide is turning her way. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that she’s actually that much more substantive of a candidate than Obama--it’s just that she does have SOME record to point to, whereas Obama has. . .a good speaking style.

But I do regret that McCain won’t get a chance to pound on Obama in the general. Whereas Obama’s “I’ve been right on Iraq since day one” plays well to the left and the way left, I was very much looking forward to McCain taking that line in a debate and throwing it down Obama’s throat. Something like “Senator, I don’t hold you responsible for a vote you didn’t have a chance to cast in 2002, but there’s no way that you can say today that a vote against the surge was the right vote in 2007. A vote against the surge meant a vote against change--a change in tactics, a change in troop strength, a change that the American military men could believe in. In short, a vote against the surge was the wrong vote then, and it is still the wrong vote today, and in my opinion it shows your total inability to be the Commander in Chief of this great military.”

NOTHING would have solidified McCain’s support with the base so thoroughly, so completely, and so instantly.

And while it still may come to pass--this opportunity of opportunities to crush the politics of vacuity in a time of national peril--I think after tomorrow night we will be dealing with a whole different race on the Democratic side.

It couldn’t have happened to a more phony man, either.


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