home North America, Politics The Clintons are graceless. Is it finally good night?

The Clintons are graceless. Is it finally good night?

I sat mesmerized as I watched Caroline and Ted Kennedy symbolically pass the torch of Camelot and all it represents to the loyal opposition, Barak Obama, the other day. I started out as a good Republican would, by looking for ways to blow holes in all of this. Here’s a guy, Obama, trying to get us to look forward by embracing 1962, I thought. Didn’t Reagan do a good job of deconstructing that?

And there was the Ambien-addled third generation scion, Patches, sitting behind the new standard bearer who was assuming what would rightfully had been his, if Patches wasn’t such an inveterate screw up to begin with.

But I couldn’t start blowing holes. I thought back to 1980 working a campaign in Pennsylvania where I would bump into Kennedy staffers. I recalled them telling me the reason why the networks insisted on each having two camera crews following Senator Kennedy around was to be able to have several angles covered in the event of an assassination attempt. How does one seek to serve a country when their life might be on the line? You can’t help but empathize with that.

And, for all of his faults, our Senator has been an active surrogate father in the lives of his many nieces and nephews, those whose fathers’ call to service ended in tragedy. How much was Caroline’s preemptive endorsement a factor in Ted’s decision to get off the fence and enter the fray? Caroline lost her dad at 6.

I lost my dad at 8, and I didn’t have a Zapruder film to haunt me about it. For her to say this man reminds her most of her father must have a profound meaning to her

So there was all that treacly drama of a political movement brutally dashed through assassinations. There was the fatherless child of the movement founder standing beside the aging surrogate, now hunched over and stiff from a bad back ravaged further still by a less than healthy lifestyle, to be kind. He essentially admitted his time had passed with considerable grace and dignity.

And then came Obama. Man-oh-man can that guy give a speech. It was totally devoid of substance, which is OK. Obama understands our national hunger for a new approach to politics. The Rove/Carville strategy has been to divide and conquer. Depress voter turnout by turning off the middle and hope your tin foil clad zealots rule the day. We as a nation are sick of this, and Obama knows how to push that button. I would dearly love to see more bipartisan cooperation. At the very least, let’s get past the bickering.

The speeches had thinly veiled shots at the Bickersons, i.e. Bill and Hillary, which did not go unanswered for very long. Minutes after the speeches had ended Andrea Mitchell broke in to state the Clinton campaign had just issued a press release announcing increased investments in their Rapid Response Teams in all the states holding primaries on Super Tuesday. Clinton/Carville made the term famous in 1992 when they would inundate media outlets with counter charges to Bush utterances claiming they had to do it to not be “Willie Hortoned” by the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy. Defense against perceived unfair attacks enables the Clinton operation to justify virtually any tactic. General Sherman had more scruples.

Conspiracy has morphed through the Main Stream Media (MSM) and spread all the way over to Teddy Kennedy, A/K/A the Liberal Lion. When your opposition covers virtually every hue of the political spectrum it would appear that personal introspection might be in order.

But there is no introspection for the Clinton Camp. The answer to what likely will be looked back upon as an historic moment in democratic party history with a passing of the torch and a call for a more civil political discourse was answered by a thinly veiled warning that the Clinton camp had gone on high alert to go on the political attack. They’re ready to be Slim Pickens riding the bomb in Dr. Strangelove. In short they re-enforced that which Kennedy and Obama dramatically sought to repudiate to great applause from the audience.

It’s a bunker mentality reminiscent of Berlin in April of 1945, and the Clintons are not cast in the role of the liberators.

An old adage about “going out with a bang” says “Do not go gracefully into the good night.” The Clinton co-presidents have proven again their gracelessness, and it’s up to democratic primary voters to put their lights out. It will make the Republican Party challenge all that much more difficult against an exceptionally gifted speaker such as Barak Obama, and that’s fine by this Republican.

The country will be far better served by candidates daring one another to reach for greatness rather than daring one another to stoop ever lower.

Mr. Woollacott is founder of Renaissance Group International, Inc, an Ashby, Masschusetts-based market research and consulting firm focused on the High Technology community. He is a political junkie who got his start working on a Republican presidential campaign in 1980. Becoming smitten with a liberal democrat forced Mr. Woollacott to the political sidelines, where he has occupied himself with creating and raising four children while also dabbling in local politics.

4 thoughts on “The Clintons are graceless. Is it finally good night?

  1. Your point is well taken that an Obama versus McCain campaign would be more elevated than a Hillary versus anyone campaign, but Hillary may still win the Democratic nomination. After a quick and not very careful look on other blogs at what were presented as the latest poll results, she leads by 20% among registered Democrats in California. But all these poll numbers can change, of course.

    I want to discuss two other issues not mentioned in your post:

    First, the almost certain Democratic victory in November 2008 against any Republican nominee. The Republican nominee necessarily will be judged on the White House record of the past eight years, whether the Republicans like it or not, and that alone throws the election to the Democrats. I’m a Republican and support McCain. But, if McCain is nominated, in addition to the problem of George Bush’s record, McCain’s age and uncertain physical health may decide against him in an election against either Hillary or Obama. If Romney is the GOP nominee and runs against Obama, he would probably draw in the Republican base and also whichever white Democrats decide not to vote for Obama. But again, the Republican record of the past eight years would probably throw the election to Obama. If it is Romney versus Hillary, Hillary wins (as I see it).

    Second, if Obama is nominated, his success in November will probably result from nearly all voters’ revulsion for George W. Bush (and hence the GOP), because Obama’s exact strength outside the black community is uncertain. It’s understood that he draws progressive upper middle class whites and white college students, but it’s simply unclear exactly what his support is among whites otherwise. Some bloggers think that the reason for Obama’s success among white voters in Iowa is due to the open-caucus process there, whereas where Democratic voters vote in secret primaries, Hillary tends to win among white Democratic voters. I don’t know what Obama’s support is among Latinos and other people of color.

    But, at any rate, the Democrats will win in November 2008, whether I happen to vote their way or not. George Bush has killed the GOP.

  2. Correction to the above post, 1st paragraph, 2nd sentence: The main clause starting with “she leads” should read “I SEE THAT she leads …”.

  3. I do not disagree with your contention that the Republicans will be dealing to an inside straight to win in 2008. Hillary is the easier candidate to win against, but I am sick of pyhrric victories leaving the country evermore jaded about their politicians. As low as Bush’s approval ratings go, he still stays less reviled than congress.

    We get Hillary and it’s going to be 1992 and 1996 all over again. Rapid Response to attack the accuser the way a defense attorney goes after claimant. Hillary’s negative rating the other day was listed at 47%. Anything over 30% is generally deemed anathema to campaign operatives, because the sale becomes a two step process. First you have to overcome the negative, **then** you have to create the positive impetus to vote yes. It’s a tough, tough sell.

    So even if we, the republicans win, I think we the people lose with a brutal and nasty campaign.

    Who knows about Obama. I *love* his style, but know little about his record other than he has been out on point against the Iraq War. Poll data shows the nation conflict there in that they do not like the war but do not believe in a pull out of sorts. We saw this played out with the game of political chicken the dems and reps played with funding the troops which, it seems, Bush won.

    So the nation is uneasy about that point, but not ready to leave in a hurry. That McCain supported prosecuting the war, but disagreed with the tactics just might resonate, particularly if the surge continues to be perceived as working.

    Obama is nicely wrapped in the shroud of JFK at the moment, at it’s not a bad parallel. To this end, it would seem perfectly fair to recall JFK’s early foreign policy mistakes with the Bay of Pigs emboldening the USSR to push us to the Cuban Missile Crisis.

    So it could come down to Idealism versus Realism. The younger generation standing on the lawn seeking to reach for the stares, while the ornery old man stands on his porch yelling at them to get off his lawn.

    It’ll be interesting to see how Obama handles policy matters. I watched him intently months ago on Meet the Press on Tim Russert and he did not look ready for Prime Time, but the guy looks to be a quick learner. Let’s see what Hillary does to him in the debate. After having been able to get him tied to politics as usual based on exit polls showing the folks think he has gone negative as much as they have, she is ready to start feigning the high road, dismissing his critiques of her by saying she wants to stick to the issues.

    It’s the first race we’ve had where neither side had a presumptive nominee (i.e. a sitting president or VP) since 1952.

    It’s been a fascinating ride so far this election cycle, and I do not see it abating anytime soon…

  4. Pingback: American Politics — Geography, Telecast

Comments are closed.