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February 19, 2008



"The case for Obama is the case for McCain."

Well yes. The primary contrast is with Clinton, not McCain, though if the GOP had been fool enough to nominate one of the other traditional candidates, the contrast would have been large indeed.

A critical thing that Obama offers (I think) even more than McCain is a narrative in which it's not good guys vs bad guys, it's one side of the argument vs another. Heck, one of the most constant criticisms I hear from liberal Dems is that he 1) grants too much legitimacy to GOP arguments and 2) naively refuses to regard all Republicans as honorless, ruthless plutocrats who will do anything to win. The last seven years have been more chock full of sickening moral grandstanding than I've seen in my life (not that it's all that long of one) and I can't blame the GOP any more than the Dems.

McCain would, of course, be an improvement as well, and certainly there's enough class warfare in Obama's speeches to weaken his claim to the center. They will both be able to fight for the center, something that doesn't really seem to have happened since 1992. Certainly Clinton would not have. She would have won (if she did) my motivating her base and suppressing her opponent's.

Nathan Smith

"The last seven years have been more chock full of sickening moral grandstanding than I've seen in my life"

Hmm. Not sure what is meant by this. Was President Bush's Second Inaugural "sickening moral grandstanding?" I'd call it visionary. If I'd criticize it for anything it would be that it may have been a little quixotic. In the Kossack-BDS wing of the Democratic party, which I admit I don't expose myself to too much of, I don't think the word "moral" would apply in any way to much of what was said. The habitual tone is one of sneering contempt and angry bitterness. *I* might have engaged in a bit of moral grandstanding...

I think, though, that there's something to be said for moral grandstanding, because at least it requires you to think about right and wrong and try to apply them to the world, even if you might do it in a self-serving way and be guilty of some hypocrisy. One alternative is to live by a higher morality and let one's example speak for you, teaching only when asked-- but I'm not sure we can hope for that in politics. Another alternative is to ignore right and wrong altogether. That was where we were trending, I think, in the 1990s, until Bush, thanks Heaven, shook us out of it.


Yes, my use of "moral grandstanding" isn't self-explanatory or particularly well-chosen. I just meant the tendency to treat the disagreements of one's opponents as if they could only owe to basest malevolence, stupidity, or cowardice.

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