Monday, January 28, 2008

Oy I'm becoming a political blogger

Ted Kennedy is such a powerful, entrenched senator that he risks little by endorsing Obama. What's surprising is that he's handing out an endorsement at all. It seems Bill Clinton pushed Ted to it. Bill's original role in the campaign was as a money-raiser & all around rah-rah guy. That was back when the Clinton campaign believed Obama would've been pushed aside by now, marginized not specifically for inexperience or race, but through lack of votes & money, giving Hillary a clear run through Super Tuesday when she'd wrap it up. As the partisan Bill Clinton re-emerged, writing his own script, he pissed off Ted, who never thought much of Bill's centrism anyway. The Clintons have no one to blame but themselves. Will it make any difference? We'll see.

Our memory of John F. Kennedy is colored by an alternative timeline where he doesn't get murdered. In that timeline, he stomps Goldwater, wins a clear mandate, then accomplishes everything Lyndon Johnson does except ratchet up the Vietnam War. I don't buy it. JFK didn't have LBJ's giant ambition of completing The New Deal with the Great Society. He was every bit the anticommunist Lyndon was. & he didn't have Johnson's bullying, arm-twisting political muscle or insight into the white reactionary mind (which Johnson knew could often be bought off). I remember JFK mostly as a classy president who talked a good game but had the fighting style more of a counterpuncher. I was a kid, not deeply interested or informed. Kennedy was only 4 years younger than Nixon, so the '60 election was a passing of the torch no matter who won it. That generation kept the White House until Bill Clinton, 32 years. The "lost generation" is that of Ted Kennedy & John McCain, born during the Great Depression, coming of age in the 1950's, just before Elvis. I've never trusted the non-swingin' middlebrow music of that bunch; Johnny Ray, Patti Page, Eddie Fisher, Guy Mitchell, enjoyable only if you listen to it from the margins of the era's jazz, rhythm & blues, & country-western.

We have a primary here next week, & not a winner-takes-all. Conceivably, Hillary could "win" but pick up a disappointing number of delegates. The Hispanic vote counts for something in Jersey; they're the largest voting demographic in my city, anchor the city's middle class, they trust Sen. Bob Menendez, a Clinton supporter, & I think they'll go overwhelmingly for Hillary. My vote goes to John Edwards. I reject the either/or calculations of a two person race at this time. I have to vote on that basis every November when the regular Dem party stacks the ballot with "it's my turn" players & hardly any of them know when it's time to leave the game & go sit on the bench.

I'll skip tonight's State of the Union address. I detest Bush & his speaking style. Can't tell the difference between nuance & clumsiness in his voice. Takes only five minutes to read the transcript.


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"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." Thomas Jefferson

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