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Monday, December 10, 2007

Conversations About Presidential Politics I’ve Had Recently

posted by on December 10 at 8:40 AM

The guy I lift weights with has been an Obama guy since the beginning but ever since Gore failed to do what my imagination had in mind I’ve been a Hillary guy. “Hillary—I just feel like—I dunno—she wants it too badly,” the guy I lift weights with said a couple weeks ago, and I said, “But don’t you want someone who wants it?” And he would say, “She just so establishment, she’s by the book, she’s too aggressive, she’s annoying.” And I would say, “Don’t you want someone who’s aggressive and annoying and who know knows the book inside and out—isn’t that the person you want leading your team, your country?” Yesterday, we were lifting weights and scratching our heads over whether it was going to be Clinton or Obama, over what the Oprah Effect was going to be, over who would be more beatable in a general election. We were doing the bench press. He was struggling with some weight and I said, “If you can do five of these Obama wins in Iowa and New Hampshire.”

The two guys who run an arts organization in the wilderness are Edwards guys, they said a couple weeks ago over dinner—but, failing Edwards, they’re Obama guys, and the fourth person at the table, a Stranger colleague who doesn’t write about politics, said he was an Obama guy too, citing race as the fundamental unaddressed issue of inequality in America, more fundamental and unaddressed than gender inequality.

The English novelist I saw at a party over the weekend said, when I asked him who was going to win the Democratic nomination, “Who do I want to win?” I said, “No, who is it going to be?” and he said, “Well, that’s a very different question,” and after a pause: “Obama.” And then I asked him who he wanted it to be and he said: “Obama.” This is someone who was rightly and diametrically opposed to the Iraq War from the very beginning. Then he mentioned Maureen Dowd, and he allowed that Maureen Dowd is/can be annoying, but that she had a great line in the paper the other day, something to the effect that we usually look for father figures in presidents but with Obama this is reversed: it is more like he’s seen as an intensely gifted child whom we are rooting for and hoping doesn’t fuck up. Said novelist acknowledged that Obama is terrible in the debates—actually, in any situation where he isn’t the only person onstage—and it was pointed out that George W. Bush had been terrible in debates too. Then we talked about the fact that Giuliani’s foreign policy adviors include Norman Podhoretz, who wants to go nuclear on Iran, and the way that everyone who isn’t Clinton or Obama seems to be auditioning for Vice President, and the Wolfowitz-like simplicity/fatuousness of Biden’s ideas about partioning Iraq.

Also at this party was another writer of books, a woman, who writes books about historical figures of the Middle East, who brought up, the moment we started talking, Erica C. Barnett’s piece “about whether having a vagina means voting for Hillary—that’s exactly the way to put it,” she said. And then she said she likes Hillary and lamented how people talk about her. “Especially other women. The nastiest things I hear said are said by women.”

My little brother—20 years old, lives in California—is a Clinton guy. I asked him why and he said, “Because she’s a Democrat.” I said Obama’s a Democrat too, and he said, “Because I feel like Hillary has some of her husband in her. I think Bill Clinton’s the best president we ever had.” While this statement is certifiably insane—Lincoln’s grim face floats up over these words as I type them—I did beam with pride at someone biologically related to me earnestly pronouncing Clinton the best president we ever had. (Everyone else in my family—literally: both parents, my stepmother, my other two brothers, all three grandparents, all four uncles, both aunts, all the countless cousins—is a vigorous waver of the Bush flag.) Then my brother changed the subject to invite me to a rave in downtown Los Angeles over New Year’s, which I declined.

A friend who lives in New York and was in town on business last night and said that he’s a Clinton guy every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, and an Obama guy on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays. This seemed like the most articulate distillation of my current position. I forgot to ask what he is on Sundays.

RSS icon Comments



- Gore was never going to run again
- Gore should never run again
- Maureen Dowd has had no say in anything since 1982, when she brought that party-crashing bullshit mixtape to a party. Nobody every told her that Pink Floyd sucks.
- Hillary is going to be our next President
- We've never had a good President

Thank you.

Posted by Mr. Poe | December 10, 2007 8:51 AM

*ever. Fuck.

Posted by Mr. Poe | December 10, 2007 8:52 AM

"Because I feel like Hillary has some of her husband in her."

Doesn't this run contrary to recent rumors?

Posted by laterite | December 10, 2007 9:13 AM

Met a few of my relatives today, die-hard Republicans all. They hate Hillary, but also hate Rudy. And they said they'd vote for Obama.

Just though I'd add that to the pile of anecdata.

Posted by tsm | December 10, 2007 9:23 AM
Posted by david in wedgwood | December 10, 2007 9:26 AM

I like both Clinton and Obama. I prefer Barack, but I'd be relatively happy with Hillary too. I do think Barack's got a better chance of winning.

Posted by Fnarf | December 10, 2007 9:35 AM

Sheep! Ba-aaaaa...

Posted by Hal | December 10, 2007 9:53 AM

Obama is a moron when it comes to healthcare and foreign policy. He would make a good VP at best. Christ I hope he doesn't go head to head with Rudy or Huckabee. Dude would LOSE.

Posted by Original Monique | December 10, 2007 10:07 AM

i'm also starting to think obama doesn't have the proper chops for the job. damn, i really liked edwards, but it's clear he doesn't have a chance. and i stand by my prediction that clinton is going to pull a reverse-bush (as in: be more liberal once in office than she presents herself now) if elected, so i don't despair about her winning.

Posted by ellarosa | December 10, 2007 10:20 AM

don't trust Clinton - she would be as secretive, if not more, than Bush and I'm tired of the legacy candidate. It's time to move to the future and to stop fighting the meme of past hatreds. Obama is for the future and reminds me of Lincoln.
We need to say goodbye to the boomer generation and move on.

Posted by Michael | December 10, 2007 10:27 AM

I keep waiting to be impressed with Obama. I want to like the guy. I want to have a great black President. But his performances in the debates have been fuckin' *terrible*. And I can't find any policy reason to choose him over Hilary (I don't count the war- he wasn't in the Senate in '02, and their policies going forward are identical.)

So I am forced to agree with the "an intensely gifted child whom we are rooting for and hoping doesn’t fuck up" comment. To that I would add a paraphrase of "Swingers"- Obama is the rated PG candidate, and Clinton is the rated R candidate. Be the rated R candidate, baby!

Posted by Big Sven | December 10, 2007 10:34 AM

Sooooo, please answer me this: Why's yous got Lincoln on such a pedestal?

Posted by Hal | December 10, 2007 10:37 AM

I think Obama's first four years of presidency would be solely to secure his second term. I could be kidding myself, but I think Hillary is more likely to make significant changes for this country sooner. And I do agree she will become more liberal once she gets into office.

Posted by jhell | December 10, 2007 10:50 AM

I find myself despising Hillary and Obama about equally. I sort of like Edwards, but seem to find myself preferring Bill Richardson. Probably because I haven't been as overexposed to him.

Posted by J. Lasser | December 10, 2007 11:18 AM

Of course, support on Tuesdays is all that counts.

I gave up supporting Obama over three incidents. He has ambition and charisma and that's it.

He is plainly not driven by policy (as is Clinton) or justice (as is Edwards). He's just a charismatic, young, ambitious guy. Kind of like Bush -- just smarter (and black and progressive).

But, it strikes me, fundamentally like Bush.

We really don't need another Bush.

Posted by Jonathan | December 10, 2007 11:52 AM

Oh the incidents were:

His support for ex-gay McClurkin; campaigning on "fixing" social security; and the Obama Campaign's attacks on Paul Krugman for daring to point out that Obama's healthcare plan is the worst of the main democratic contenders.

Yeah. We always attack people who speak truth to power. It inspires audacions hope.

Posted by Jonathan | December 10, 2007 11:55 AM

the dem nomination will be in the can by the time we have anything to say about it.

i really wish cascadia could secede. fuck em.

Posted by max solomon | December 10, 2007 12:37 PM

@6 is right. Most of us are pretty happy with all the Dems this time. It's only the Repugs that don't like any of their choices.

Sen Clinton will make a great US Supreme Court Justice during the Obama/Dodd presidency (although I think an Obama/Richardson presidency will be more fun).

Posted by Will in Seattle | December 10, 2007 2:04 PM

Wonder what it'd be like having a president who actually needs the salary and could use the lifelong pension after his/her term?

I will be in So. Cal over the holidays, Christopher. Where's that rave, again? (Actually, I'm old enough to remember when Rave was a hair product).

Posted by Bauhaus | December 10, 2007 3:01 PM

I am pretty convinced that if his wife weren't running, Bill Clinton would support his old comrade Bill Richardson in a heartbeat. The man's been in Congress, been on a cabinet, traveled to countries like North Korea and Iraq to secure prisoner releases (he looked Saddam Hussein in the eye - before he was dead - and made demands) and now, running New Mexico, has a reasonable immigration stance and has fought to secure health care for the residents of his own state. So why is he so far down the list of likely candidates? When I look at Obama, I see Richardson lite. If only Bill would start campaigning...

Posted by magdaddy | December 10, 2007 8:08 PM

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