Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Southern Man...

This Lawrence O'Donnell post on HuffPo is strange and hostile. Now, I find John Edwards to be the most appealing of the three candidates for president based solely on their rhetoric, and so thus far I've felt like he'd probably get my primary vote, but I realize this has very little with how he'd actually do the job of president and would be okay with voting for any of the remaining three viable candidates.

Having said that, I feel no particular loyalty to John Edwards as a person, and have not felt the need to jump to his defense before. But this post just feels kind of out of line.

John Edwards is a loser. He has won exactly two elections in his life and lost 31. Only one of his wins and all of his losses were in presidential primaries and caucuses. He remains perfectly positioned to continue to lose with a Kucinich-like consistency. Nothing but egomania keeps Edwards in the race now.

By this logic, anyone who runs for President and does not actually become president is a loser. "What? Edwards didn't win every primary he entered? He's just like Kucinich!"

A loser like Edwards has no status or dignity to lose. Campaigning and losing is his life.

See? Am I crazy or is this just really, really extreme? I mean, say what you will about the guy and his soaring cheesy-poof working class hero routine...he has a lot more dignity than any of the yokels in the Republican race, eagerly raising their hands to proclaim their lack of belief in science and bickering about who loves waterboarding the mostest.

So, he will continue his simple-minded, losing campaign and deny Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton the one-on-one contest they deserve.

And here we come to the crux of the issue. O'Donnell wants Barack and Hillary to get to face one another individually because...well, because they deserve it. No, I'm not sure why either. I mean, HilRod won a primary and B.O. snagged a Caucus win, but that seems a bit arbitrary. "Well, you're in because of New Hampshire and you're in because of Iowa. Everyone else, screw off!" I've been to Iowa, and I'm not sure I'm ready to turn over the keys to the nation to any state that's economy is still barn-based. Where I come from...not a lot of barns. Not sure the barnfolk have my best interests at heart.

Actually, as O'Donnell reveals in a bit, there's a reason beyond the whims of Granite Staters that Hillary and Barack deserve to have a run-off for the nomination, and why that's more important than Democrats across the country, you know, getting to decide whom they'd like to nominate.

If John Edwards stays in the race, he might, in the end, become nothing other than the Southern white man who stood in the way of the black man. And for that, he would deserve a lifetime of liberal condemnation.


Believe me, folks, it's not that I wouldn't like to see a black guy become president. I'd really like to vote for a black guy or a white woman. Or a black woman. Or a transgendered Native American. As long as they're not a warmongering asshole or ranting about kicking out the immeygants and conforming the Constitution to the Bible, I'm good with it. I think it sends exactly the right message, both here at home and abroad, and that it would represent a genuine shift from the Bush years, the kind of major step that would confirm in all our minds that we're putting this bullshit behind us.

But you don't vote for someone just because of their race, as O'Donnell seems to suggest. He goes way further than that! Not only should you vote for Barack Obama because he's black (blackness apparently outweighing femaleness in the Presidential Desirability-o-Meter), but it would be a crime to liberalism to even consider standing between him and the presidency. O'Donnell at no point praises anything about Barack Obama. Just his color. I guess it's better than refusing to consider him for president based on his color...but it's not better enough.

Maybe Edwards is already not a factor in the campaign because Edwards voters would split evenly between Senators Obama and Clinton if Edwards dropped out. But we'll never know unless Edwards does the right thing and gets out of the way of the only two candidates who have a chance to get the nomination.

So here, O'Donnell basically concedes that he's not even sure Edwards dropping out would make any kind of real difference at all. But he should drop out on the slight chance that it might negatively impact history, or whatever. This is total Dick Cheney logic: always act based on the absolute worst case scenario, things that theoretically could, but almost assuredly will not, occur.

The white male monopoly on the Democratic nomination has finally come to an end. Someone has to tell John Edwards.

Look, I sympathize with this sort of thinking, even though I think O'Donnell comes off really poorly in this mini-column. But to vote for someone because of what their gender or their color represents is just as bad as voting for them because you'd like to get a beer with them. It has nothing to do with anything that matters.

I prefer John Edwards because I strongly agree with the central message of his campaign. Hillary says: "I have the experience in Washington to get things done whereas these guys are amateurs." Barack says: "I am able to bridge divides and bring people together in order to get things done, whereas these two are divisive figures." John says: "The problem isn't experience or partisanship, but large greedy corporations and wealthy individuals who stand in the way of rational, fair solutions. And these two have already been bought by these interests." That last one sounds about right to me.

As a way to choose a president, it's superficial, but that's about all we have to go on. They've all cast votes with which I disagree. They've all said and done stuff that makes me not want to vote for them at all. I really hate Edwards hedging on something as simple and obvious as gay marriage, find all the dewey-eyed "son of a mill worker" crap to be embarrassing and laughed out loud tonight when he said his greatest weakness is caring about the suffering of others too much! So knock him because of that. But not for having the temerity to run against a woman and a black person. It's called a fucking primary...That's what politicians do. Run against one another in them.

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