Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Fundamental Difference Between Obama and Clinton

Obama's candidacy is fundamentally different from Clinton's because it has vision; she merely has tactics. That's why he's able to give a speech like that in response to the Wright flap, and she's unable to come clean about Iraq. Speaking to the American people honestly is part of that vision, irrespective of whether it ultimately was the most sound tactical move. (Many have argued that throwing Reverend Wright under the bus would have been smarter politically).

The other reason Clinton can't come clean on the war is that it's not the "yes" vote that's dirty, but the motivation. Remember, she didn't even read the intelligence report. And it's not because she was too busy - what could possibly be a higher priority than that? It was because the content of the intelligence report would only be relevant for someone trying to get the vote *right*. She was trying to seem tough on national security. So how can she repudiate the vote? She'd have to admit that she should have read the report and address why she didn't.

So we have a clear choice - pick a candidate who will do his best to get things right, or pick one who will be playing the political game. Sometimes the two overlap, and even Clinton will take action resembling public service. But the vote on the Iraq war was an instance in which they diverged with particularly tragic consequences. There will be other such instances.

Obama should rout McCain - a weak candidate who's not even particularly liked by his own party and who's running to continue the policies of the worst and least popular president in American history. It would be much easier if Clinton put aside her petty ambitions in the interest of the democratic party, but someone's going to have to convince her why that's a smart tactic.

No comments: