Sunday, April 6, 2008

A Respectful Campaign

Posted by Teresa at 9:12 AM
Andrew Sullivan and Christopher Hitchens appeared yesterday on the
Tim Russert Show. It was interesting to see them analyze this campaign
so far. There was one particular exchange that made made me hopeful about
this election. Partial election:
Hitchens: I think an Obama-McCain election would be a wonderful
thing to watch.

Russert: Why?

Hitchens: Because they are both very intelligent. Both quite
principled. Both could change their positions on Iraq because
they would accept responsibility.

Russert: So do you think Iraq would be a big issue in this campaign?

Hitchens: Of course it will. Yes, as it should it be.

Sullivan: I couldn't' agree more with him. To be honest this whole
election has been draining, amazing and fun. But I couldn't be more
amazed that we might end up with McCain and Obama. I think the
American people, both parties, would have selected (if that does end
up the case) two who could finally...

The problem with Iraq is this country is so divided and partisan
about it and yet our interests, it is so important to make the right
call at this point. We need people to diffuse and detoxify the atmosphere.
To talk pragmatically about how to get the least worst option and
how to rescue the best we can of this. And bring the country in and
together around that. I think if McCain really does want to say, "We
really are going to commit," then I want to hear him commit. I want
to hear troop levels. I want to hear a candid talk with the American
people, buy in again to the war or not.

I think we actually have a chance with the two of them to have an
honest debate about that. I actually think they are not as far apart
as some people say because, frankly, even those people who want
to get out realize it is going to be a very difficult and complicated
business. And even those who want to stay in, essentially, they don't
want to stay in forever. We might get, finally, what I was worried
about in a Clinton-Giuliani race there would be so much polarization
with this we might get a pragmatic debate about what the hell to
do.
Here's the video:



I agree thoroughly with Hitchens and Sullivan on this. I think both McCain
and Obama are not partisans and that is exactly what we need right now.
From the three candidates left in this campaign, I probably disagree more with
Sen. Obama on more issues. Also, Sen. Obama actually doesn't really have a
long record of working across bipartisan lines
compared to Sen. McCain and
as Ignatius points out even Sen. Clinton. However, he has made working
across party lines a major theme in his campaign. Therefore, if he wins the
election the American people can at least try to hold him to his campaign
promises if elected.

I just can't see Sen. Clinton bringing people together. To be frank, I don't think
it's all her fault. She and her husband have a history and there's nothing she can
do about that. For some reason in this election people wanted a clean slate and
not someone with a history (or experience, as Mrs. Clinton would call it). There
was something that Sen. Obama said during one of the debates that didn't get as
much media attention but I think that was the point where he starting winning
the debate about change. In the October debate in Philadelphia when talking
about why Republicans don't like her he said:
It is the fight that we've been through since the '90s. And part of the job
of the next president is to break the gridlock and to get Democrats and
independents and Republicans to start working together to solve these big
problems like health care or climate change or energy.
I believe the moment where he gained extreme ground on her is when he starting
making the argument that she's divisive and won't be able to get things done. So if
he wins the nomination, which all signs point to like he will, that's the moment where
he beat her.

I don't think anyone could have predicted five or six months ago that Sen. Obama
and Sen. McCain would be the likely nominees, most would not have said not likely.
Sen. Clinton had the name recognition and was Mrs. Inevitable and on the Republican
side Rudy Giuliani was polling very well. However, I'm glad the American public chose
the way they did. Perhaps, right now at this time we need a story of someone making
it when the all the polls, money, and media chatter said differently.

So, I'm excited about our prospects for November. I'm hopeful. All signs point to a
respectful campaign.

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