The voters have made it clear that they do not care about experience this year. If they did, then the election would be between Richardson (governor, former cabinet secretary) and Romney (former governor, businessman and olympic organizer). Nor do they care about ideology, if they cared about that, the campaign would be between Fred Thompson (remember him), the closest follower of Reagan running in 2008, and Clinton, who basically (along with Bill) defined the modern Democratic party.
Instead it’s a contest of tribes.
The Republicans quickly split off into the evangelicals (with Huckabee as their champion) vs Everybody Else (featuring St John of Arizona).
The Democrats presented a more interesting conflict. They split off into the Black vote, the white working class vote, the over 35 woman vote, the progressive (aka elitist) vote, with a little “Return to Normalcy” tribe (sort of like the Druse or Mormons) sprinkled in.
The Black and Progressive tribes roped in the Return to Normalcy tribe and triumphed over the over 35 woman and white working class tribes, and annointed their chosen one. (On a side note, isn’t tribal warfare in America better than in other countries?)
McCain accurately saw the rules of the game as they are currently defined and saw a chance to pick off the dead enders in the WWC and over 35 woman tribes, and took it. I still think Obama is going to win in November, but it’s going to be much closer than it would be if he nominated, say, Romney or Ridge.
His supporters interpret his decision to go into community organizing instead of joining a law firm as evidence of his good moral character. In fact, it is nothing of the sort. For a young man aiming at a career in politics, especially a black man in an urban setting, community organizing is an investment, a way of building up contacts and other resources that will be useful at the next stage of that career.
To be fair, I should also say that considering Obama’s behavior as that of an aspiring politician weakens the argument being made by some on the right about his past association with people on the left, in particular William Ayers, an unrepentant ex-Weatherman. The Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago, which is where I grew up, is the sort of place where an ex-Weatherman can easily enough be a prominent figure. You don’t start a career in politics by going out of your way to refuse to shake the hands of people who lots of your constituents respect, or even refusing to sit with them on a board of directors or share a platform with them–not, at least, unless you are aiming at a deliberate political gesture. And making a point of how hostile you are to left wing radicals, while it might be useful for a Democrat running for President, would not be prudent for a Democrat seeking political support in Hyde Park.
I’ve often thought the Rev. Wright thing was overblown too. Is it imaginable that an up and coming politician would pick a fight with a popular minister in his district? I’ve never heard of it happening anywhere else. Local politics is simply not a principle game, and Obama is a politician.
And the Democratic convention can be summed up with “I think the stripper really likes me!”
An interesting article about Bill Ayers and the WeatherMen. I would expect to hear lots more about this as the election nears. The obvious parallel is McCain being associated with abortion clinic bombers.
Petraeus is youthful, well spoken, handsome, intelligent, successful in the war in Iraq, youthful, and youthful. Petraeus has reached the top in his profession. There is no “up” in the Army from full general and theater commander. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff? Yawn… The professional politicians would probably not like to have Petraeus on the ticket, but his presence there would make victory inevitable.
My money’s still on Meg Whitman as the veep choice.
Biden’s record on other criminal justice and civil liberties issues is just as bad. Opponents of the federalization of crime might note that the 1994 crime bill he sponsored created several new federal capital offenses. Biden also wants to expand federal penalties for hate crimes. He supports a federal smoking ban. His position on the federal drinking age is, and I quote, “absolutely do not” lower it to 18. He believes “most violent crime is related to drugs” (if he had said “drug prohibition,” he’d be closer to the truth). Biden also has an almost perfect anti-gun voting record. He said last year he favors “universal national service,” either in the Peace Corps or the military. Sounds like conscription to me. He says he’s opposed to the PATRIOT Act, but he voted for both the original bill and its re-authorization in 2005.
Foreign policy? Biden voted for the war on Iraq. Yes, he’s opposed to it now (and I like the partition plan he pushed in the primaries). But he didn’t vote correctly when it counted most. Biden also voted to send troops into Darfur. He wants to enlarge NATO. He voted in favor of the air strikes in Kosovo. He voted to strengthen the trade embargo against Cuba. His seems to be a meddling, interventionist, Clinton-esque foreign policy. His first instinct seems to be that the U.S. military’s objective include some vague notion of “doing good in the world.” Never mind the disastrous consequences that notion has reaped over the years.
I obviously disagree with Biden on a host of economic and regulatory issues, too (though he does seem to be fairly decent on free trade). But that’s to be expected. My problem with Biden is that he’s not even good on the issues the left is supposed to be good on. He’s an overly ambitious, elitist, tunnel-visioned, Potomac-fevered Beltway dinosaur, with all the trappings. He may well have been the worst possible pick among congressional Democrats when it comes to the drug war and criminal justice.