Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Hillary for President: Obama Is All Surface, Little Substance

The more my fellow Americans jump on the Barack Obama bandwagon, the greater grows my respect for Hillary Clinton and my desire to see a woman in the White House.

“Hope and change, change and hope,” I hear in endless sound loops of Obama rallies. I see the slogan posters bobbing up and down, and I feel as if I’m living in an Orwellian nightmare. What kind of change, exactly?

The more Obama talks, the more he sounds like an intellectual lightweight. Hillary, as her political fortunes sag anew in the Chesapeake primaries last night, emerges as a polished leader down in Texas. She has indeed found her voice, firing up Hispanic voters, in a hoarse voice. The political pundits, white men with their overfed bellies, are pronouncing her campaign all but dead, but this 60-year-old woman is out there facing down the naysayers -- again -- with a smile on her face.Now, that's bravery.

Damozel at The Moderate Voice writes:

“Meanwhile, those of us who have supported Hillary have done so for exactly the reasons that Obama’s fan base derides her. She is tough, a bit battered by hard experience, hardened to being disliked, a little soiled by her mistakes, persistent, politically astute, intellectually flexible, wary, wiley, and all the things that her critics take for insults but which are really the constituents of the ability to make realistic judgments and politic (as opposed to popular) decisions.“

Hillary is called hard-edged because the patriarchy makes feminine success, by definition, hard-edged. It just isn’t womanly to be that doggone accomplished. It just isn't womanly to beat the boys at their own games. Of course, she is found wanting in the womanly arts department. That, my friends, is patriarchy at work.

The criticism is being raised that it isn’t good for democracy for the presidency to be passed between two dynasties – Bush and Clinton. Oddly, the danger of dynasties didn’t come up when Son-of-a-Bush was anointed by the Supreme Court. What I remember is the conservatives gloating that Jeb Bush would be next up to bat, wishing on America a 24-year reign of narrow-minded, right wing cultural restriction and unfettered business exploitation of working people. Dynasty was just fine with everyone back then.

As for Obama’s vaunted charisma, Damozel is spot-on about that, too:

“True, Hillary doesn’t have Obama’s much-touted ‘charisma.’ I don’t care. I distrust charisma. It’s an aura, a glamour, a trick of the light, too often taken for the outward and visible sign for an inner and invisible grace. Those who compare his candidacy, apparently unconscious of the irony, with JFK’s and Reagan’s have got it exactly right.”

If charisma was all it takes to be a good president, Mick Jagger should have been elected long ago.

Bruce Miroff debunks the Kennedy mythology at The History News Network . As it turns out, Kennedy wasn't much better than Obama at getting down to particulars of policy and governance. Miroff writes:

"John F. Kennedy evoked an era of public service and participation in the most famous line from his Inaugural Address, but when asked to supply specifics to go with the soaring rhetoric, apart from the Peace Corps he was reduced to suggesting such public sacrifices as a curb upon expense accounts and an acceptance of higher postal rates. The later image of "Camelot" was unwittingly apt in capturing the royalist air of the Kennedy regime."

Senator Clinton is, after all, heir to the greatest policy-wonk presidency of contemporary times. She is better prepared on every issue than Obama, because she is a woman and she has to be. She has done the research. She has been working to extend health care to all Americans since her husband’s administration. She is still fighting.

Senator Clinton, with her clear complexion and tireless campaigning, reminds me of a warrior mother, an ancient goddess from matriarchal times, who embodies both strength and protection. What is Obama, one of the newest members of the Senate with just two years under his belt, but just another pretty new face?

He needs seasoning, and what a great word that is. He needs to experience the waxing and waning of the political seasons and the seasons of life before he is prepared to lead our nation in these perilous times. The movement of the electorate toward Obama is yet another illustration of the U.S. population’s preference for surfaces over substances: pretty words, beloved, but what lies beneath?

At 46, Obama can use eight years productively to learn the arts of governance and the wisdom of the years. If elected, his will be one of least effective presidencies ever. He may delight crowds with his so-called rock-star charisma at least for a while, but it is Hillary who has proven that she has the intelligence, the political resiliency, the wit and the guts to clean up the Bush mess.

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