Commentary Magazine


Waiting For Returns

While we peruse the obtuse (and in all likelihood inaccurate) exit polls, there are a couple of bits of news. First, the Obama camp feels compelled to respond to the flap about Michelle Obama’s “never proud of America before” comments. What do they do? When in a bind, always accuse the media and your opponents of “misconstruing what she said to score political points.” That tactic, it seems, is rather trite political gamesmanship.

As for the contention that she and her husband are “positive,” I see little evidence of this in their view of an America populated by tiresome politicians and corrupt lobbyists and captive to a fear-mongering foreign policy. As Abe observed, if you can sniff them out, Obama’s political views are not that appealing. Pointing that out, of course, will merely draw the accusation that you are practicing the politics of “division,” but it seems that politics in its best sense is practiced by drawing distinctions and making informed choices.

Second, perhaps a signal of grim things to come, Hillary Clinton releases extracts of her speech tonight making the case that:

One of us is ready to be commander in chief in a dangerous world . . . One of us has a plan to provide health care for every single American – no one left out . . . Finally, one of us has faced serious Republican opposition in the past. And one of us is ready to do it again.

It is remarkable how much of her experience is by association (I think the “serious Republican opposition” was not Rick Lazio). Obama supporters might point out that if he borrowed a line or two for a speech, he is at least running on his own record. I suspect that the heart of her argument is the concluding snippet: “It’s about picking a president who relies not just on words – but on work, hard work, to get America back to work. Someone who’s not just in the speeches business – but will get America back in the solutions business.” It is not a bad argument, but it may come too late and from a messenger too flawed.

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