February 24th, 2008

Apollo 4 on column of fire

The Woman From Hopelessness

Useful Frank Rich today, I think: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/24/opinion/24rich.html

Today Hillary is likening Obama to George W. Bush, suggesting that as people thought they would get ‘compassion’ from Bush but didn’t, so Obama may be lying about his intentions. This argument is plainly fallacious, since it demands that we not take into account Bush’s and Obama’s life and political histories. Obama’s campaign has responded by quoting from Clinton’s communications director to the effect that likening a Democrat to George W. Bush isn’t a good idea.

It is amazing how Obama is reenacting the Bill Clinton of 1992 and Hillary Clinton is reenacting the role of George H. W. Bush: Obama comes (like The Man from Hope in 1992) with ‘hope’, and Hillary Clinton responds in the manner of Poppy Bush, who called Bill Clinton and Al Gore ‘those two bozos’ and so made himself appear petty and childish.

(BTW Wednesday will be Chelsea Clinton’s birthday. She’ll be 28. That really makes one wonder what David Shuster thought weird about a nearly 28 years old woman campaigning for superdelegates for her mother. His choice of words is less striking to me than the suggestion there was something odd about such ordinary events.)
Apollo 4 on column of fire

Obama on the word ‘liberal’

You may notice Obama saying lots of good things are ‘not liberal’. My suggestion is that you treat this ‘not’ as equivalent to the ‘non’ in ‘non-euclidean geometry’. Heh, that makes things clear, right? :) But here’s how it works: what Obama is saying is that these good things aren’t restricted to people who are considered ‘liberals’. ‘Liberals’ may support those good things, but Obama is willing to share those good things with people who are not called (by themselves, the media, politicians, etc.) ‘liberals’.

Now, some complain that Obama is ‘negatively branding’ the word ‘liberal’, but these people are reasoning within a corrupt, exploitive tradition of turning words into happy button pushers and unhappy button pushers. They want to make ‘liberal’ a word that pushes happy buttons instead of unhappy buttons. What Obama is doing in this case, on the other hand, is immunizing people against that kind of exploitation. He is trying to make people feel ‘nothing’ when the ‘Republican’ reactionaries abuse the word ‘liberal’.

If Obama also would forego his own button-pushing abuses, then I would be very pleased, indeed.