One progressive’s take on the current presidential race

Posted: July 17, 2008 in Commentary, Politics

The Progressive Review
Sam Smith

It is against the journalist’s code of ethics to say so, but the presidential campaign has become incredibly dull. Over the past few weeks, the candidates have become becalmed, drifting in the electoral ocean, sails flapping lazily, awaiting for nature and history to cause something to happen.

Actually it has. We’re on the verge of war with Iran and the banking system is collapsing, but neither candidate has much to say on these topics. Instead the hope huckster lectures the NAACP on how to raise their children and his opponent struggles to find some justification for his existence since he was a prisoner of war.

Part of this is just the shift from primaries to general election, the former being a sort of personnel interview while the latter usually demanding some attention to actual issues. Neither candidate, however, is inclined to take on the challenge. They see their role, after all, as being life’s great commercial break.

The increasingly timid Barack Obama is still ahead in the polls and electoral vote count, and may benefit even further by the heightened turnout of several constituencies. But given the incompetence of his opponent and the disaster of his presumptive predecessor, he should be doing far better. Among his problems, he clearly prefers the pulpit and op ed page to the street corner and the union hall. Further, his rapid decline from patron saint of change to faint patron of the status quo does not bode well if he does get elected.

Obama not only offers little hope of restoring the Constitution, he is not even the anti-war candidate he pretends to be; he just wants to switch its primary locale from Iraq to Afghanistan. His hubristic, pompous approach to matters political is already becoming tiresome. Democrats, after all, are meant to put their views into legislation; it is traditionally the conservatives who prefer endless cliches. And, though he speaks of change, Obama has yet to come up with any really good examples of it and, though he is considered eloquent, his enthusiasts rarely offer a quotation in support of this contention.

Obama has already alienated some of his own constituency for his indefensible position on telecom immunity and electronic spying. But trouble is arising elsewhere as well, witness this from John Bresnahan of Politico:

“After a brief bout of Obamamania, some Capitol Hill Democrats have begun to complain privately that Barack Obama’s presidential campaign is insular, uncooperative and inattentive to their hopes for a broad Democratic victory in November.

“‘They think they know what’s right and everyone else is wrong on everything,’ groused one senior Senate Democratic aide. ‘They are kind of insufferable at this point.’. . .

“One Democratic aide, speaking on the condition of anonymity, compared the Obama campaign unfavorably to President Bush’s administration.

“‘At least Bush waited until he was in the White House before they started ignoring everybody,’ the aide said.” (Read the rest here. Visit The Progressive Review here.)

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