Monday, February 25, 2008


Obama has it.

A party that presided over a war in which our troops did not get the body armor they needed, or were sending troops over who were untrained because of poor planning, or are not fulfilling the veterans' benefits that these troops need when they come home, or are undermining our Constitution with warrantless wiretaps that are unnecessary?

"That is a debate I am very happy to have. We'll see what the American people think is the true definition of patriotism."

Among other reasons, this is why Obama would make a far superior nominee than Hillary Clinton.

I agree with Ezra that "this will be an ugly election."

But with Obama as the nominee there will be one important difference from past elections. The difference is, as I see it, that Obama really would be a very different president. To get a stronger sense of that, I highly recommend reading over Samatha Power's interview with Democracy Now. This difference would particularly be true regarding foreign policy, where the president's policy control is greatest. At least with Clinton, Republicans would have campaigned with some assurance that, while hating her desperately, at the end of the day, her policies would not be that significantly different from McCain's or any other Republican's. This won't be true with Obama. The smear campaign against him will at least have some fear-driven, rational basis of the challenge Obama represents for their various sacred ideological cows (i.e. Cuba) and their control over the national political discourse.

And I have no doubt that Obama's crowds genuinely scare Republican pundits like Kristol. Again, with Hillary as the nominee, this would not have been a concern on the Republican side. But the idea that Obama may actually be able to command a mass popular following is not what conservatives want to have to face. Expect a lot of concern trolling about the "threat" posed by high participation, turnout, populism, and all the rest of it.

This will be very bitter, but it will be bitter for the right reasons.

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