Sunday, January 27, 2008

Calm and sensible

This post over at Balloon Juice is a very calm and sensible explanation of why Obama is a better choice in the Democratic primary. It mirrors my thinking in a lot of ways (though more eloquently).
It's actually not because there is much of a real problem with Hillary Clinton. I've said it before- my reasons for supporting Obama over Clinton are not entirely fair. They involve the fact that this election carries so much weight and I fear putting up a candidate with such high out-of-the-gate negatives. There is a significant portion of the electorate who simply will not ever vote for Hillary Clinton (yes, because they are ignorant troglodytes, but this country is home to many ignorant, voting, troglodytes). I've said it before, I'll say it again: If Clinton wins the primary, I will vote for her in the general. The most important factor for me is the Supreme Court and the lower federal courts. The next president is likely to get more than Bush's two nominees to the Supreme Court, and they are not likely to be because of retirements on the right. And the federal district courts and courts of appeal always give a president a big opportunity for a lasting impact. So regardless of who the Democratic Party nominates, I'll vote for that candidate. But for many unfair reasons, I hope it's not Clinton.
Moreover, the further we go on, some quite fair reasons not to prefer Clinton become more glaring. The move by the Clinton campaign to try to get the Florida and Michigan delegates seated is shady as hell. And for all of the people mouthing some variation on the theme of "Obama supporters should just shut up about the Clintons being too rough-it's not as if he's going to get a free pass from the Republicans in the general," ? Shut up. Seriously. Just shut up. A team practices hard so it's ready for the other team on game day, but they don't hit their own teammates with everything they have.* Reagan's eleventh commandment couldn't work for the Democrats and isn't something I'm comfortable with as a rule, tending to think sunlight really is a good disinfectant (and in a party that put up Joe Lieberman for vice president, speaking ill of Democrats-excuse me- "Democrats" is sometimes downright required). But basic "don't change the rules in the middle of the game," civility is something I expect in the primary.
The best bit from the Balloon Juice post is this:
But that’s small beans next to the constitutional mess that the Bush legacy will leave for President 44. It’s baggage, a giant bellhop-slaying pile of it, with David Addington’s initials stenciled on the side. The next president should burn it, scatter the ashes and choose judges based on how emphatically they will overturn every aspect of Addington’s totalitarian agenda. Or she could pick up the bags on her way in. It’s a lot of power. If she felt like it the next President could record the phone and email of every critic, Republican and potential Islamic terrorist without the NSA breaking a sweat. I don’t like living in a country where a spineless boy king with machiavellian advisors has that freedom and I don’t look forward to a Democrat having it either.
And that's just it. I have real problems with what the Presidency has become over the last seven years. The problem I have stems not just from the fact that it has been warped and twisted and enlarged in the hands of a malevolent clown troop, but also from the fact that this version of the presidency is simply bad for our country. The executive being as powerful and as unsupervised as is has over the last two terms is simply a bad idea-that's why it's taken such a brazen re-imagining of constitutional principles to achieve.
I have a native suspicion that Obama would be less likely than Clinton to grasp and abuse this new set of executive superpowers, but the bare-knuckled, expedience-is-king nature of the Clinton campaign over the last few weeks makes me fear her abuse of that new power more than I ever did before. Maybe Obama would abuse it the same way, but at least he's shown some restraint in the primary, so I'm left with the impression that the odds of him wielding the unitary executive as a Democratic Bush are low.

Fair? Unfair? A mix? I don' t know. But the bottom line is that the Clinton campaign makes me very nervous. Do with that what you will.

*Can you tell sports metaphors are not my strong suit?

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