Thursday, January 24, 2008

Young Lawyers

In late middle-age, tough, smart, competent, attractive, experienced in every way that counts, Hillary Clinton is poised to be the democratic nominee for President of the United States. She would be the first female President, if elected. That’s a big deal. She has been vetted by the most viciously partisan constant investigation of every aspect of her life, both public and private. She has been embarrassed on the biggest public stage in the world by her husband’s betrayal of her. And despite the fact that she did just what Christian women are urged to do from every corner of the land, and she stood by her man, the right-wing is still going after her in the same old way. She’s a woman who knows how to do what’s hard to do when it’s the right thing. And to tell you the truth, most people didn’t give a damn that Bill was a normal man whose dick seems to have a mind of it’s own. She forgave Bill, and so have most of us. Why can’t you right-wing white guys get over it? I’d posit, that as long as we elect men to be our Presidents, we’ll have plenty more extra-marital fornication to deal with in the future. We always did—but prior to Bill nobody had the bad-taste or hypocrisy to make anything of it.

No other First Lady in recent history has been so hostilely scrutinized. No other First Lady had her nerve, wit, and quick intelligence, all backed up by a first class education, and the right sort of experience as a hard working lawyer. And she pissed-off a lot of republicans with her self-confidence and her feminism and her smart mouth. Remember Newt, Ken Starr? She had the nerve to try to tackle the embarrassing problem of health care in America. And the republicans, along with the insurance and pharmaceutical industries, became apoplectic. Now, after having served quite successfully (and to my way of thinking, way too conservatively) she’s got the chops to run and win. Unfortunately, she’s running against another great democratic candidate, a smart, elegant, eloquent, handsome African-American man with good credentials. Who has stayed above the fray and seems unsullied by his career so far in the national political arena. And he offers us such beautiful words, so dashingly delivered we shiver and long to embrace his idealism, and, yes, the beauty of his delivery takes your breath away. It’s a little like falling in love. And that’s become the conventional wisdom if the pundits are to be believed. They say, “Democrats fall in love; republicans fall in line.” It’s a telling saying about the nature of the souls of each party, and the people therein. Or if you don’t believe in the soul of a party, how about the heart? And this year we democrats have an embarrassment of riches. I’d be happy with any of the three. Toss a coin. Really. Just don’t give the presidency back to the republicans, or we just might be in Iraq for a hundred years.

I heard Tucker Carlson say this week that Rudy would make a great President of Pakistan. Chris Matthews said John McCain claims not to understand economics, and we are in a steep downturn, and have been for quite awhile. Do we want him at the helm right now? At least he’d stop the torturing that makes us look so bad in the eyes of the rest of the civilized world. In fact, isn’t that one of the very things that makes a nation “civilized”— that it doesn’t engage in torturing? Rudy’s all for torturing. I’m not sure how Huckabee stands on torture, but he want’s to amend the constitution to reflect Christian biblical beliefs. I’m not Christian. My religious background is not grounded in the bible, old or new testament. So I’m not particularly excited about making this country a Christian theocracy. And when I watched one of the early republican debates, most of the candidates raised their hands when asked if they didn’t believe in evolution. If this is true, that these grown men don’t believe in evolution, the educational situation has been appalling for a long damn time. No wonder we’ve lost our edge when it comes to science and technology.

The thing that scares me most in watching the democrats right now is the sniping that Obama and Clinton are engaging in . And at the moment this sniping is a result of some unfortunate and slightly inflammatory words delivered by Senator Obama in praise of Ronald Reagan. It’s parsing and nit-picking and will be gone over with a fine-toothed comb, but it sounded to me like Senator Obama was giving Reagan credit for something I don’t think he deserved credit for. Great ideas, vision, some damn thing. Let’s leave it to the republicans to deify Reagan. It also sounded pretty disrespectful to Bill Clinton. It was, at the very least, dismissive. Then when Bill and Hillary objected to Obama’s comments, the tone got pretty snippy. And so, in the last democratic debate, Senator Clinton and Senator Obama started a pissing contest about who did worse things when they were each young lawyers. She represented Walmart. He represented a slumlord. I don’t know which is worse. They’re both pretty awful to me. But I’ll bet when you’re starting out as a young lawyer you have to hold your nose and take the work that comes your way. All in all, John Edwards is probably the candidate who has it all. He has a powerful message of Populist change, a health care plan, a plan to get us out of Iraq as fast as possible. I like him most for his concern for the poor and disadvantaged. But he’s just one more smart, good-looking white man, and running against two spectacularly good candidates who represent change just by virtue that they are not white men. This puts him at a big disadvantage.

This I do know. Hillary has already been gang-raped by the republican’s slime machine again and again and she’s still going strong. She might even have learned how to sling a little of it right back at ya. But Barack has not yet had that experience. He seems to be shaken by the meanness of the campaign so far. You ain’t seen nothin yet. He seems to think he can dance the light fantastic, high above the fray. And that won’t happen in the general election. They will drag him down and use every childish indiscretion, and despite the fact that he wrote a book and disclosed his youthful drug use, believe me, the republicans will make much of Obama’s past drug use once the real race to the White House has begun. It shouldn’t hurt him too much, since we all know W was a drunk and a cocaine user, but W had a daddy who’d been President and access to his momma’s money, and all those Skull and Bones connections, and he had Karl Rove (one of the nastiest men ever to run the country, never having served in any elected office.) I know, I know, Barak has his own brain. But those lying, cheating, criminal, well-connected S O B’s with their popular big-mouths Bill O’ and Rush would stop at nothing to find some imagined scandal that just might knee-cap the handsome young thing. And I have hoped too often, believed that young people would give a shit, and work to get out the vote amongst their peers—it hasn’t happened since the early sixties. I’m pretty sure Hillary is tough enough to take it. And like I said before, she’s ready. She has been there, she has done that. And I’m starting to get a kick out of watching the news on MSNBC so I can hear Chris Matthews worry about the "castration" factor. He just makes female viewers wince every time he says the word "shrill" in reference to Hillary’s voice, "cackle" when she’s seen laughing. He’s got a lot of nerve talking about anybody’s voice and laugh. She applauds her audience back. This drives him crazy. Chris advises her to appear softer, to seem more human, more feminine. But the second she shows her sweeter, softer side, he’s all over her for looking weak. All this does is make Mr. Matthews look insecure of his masculinity, all this does is make him look misogynistic. All this does is make us wish he’d move to Fox and let us have someone smart and half-way neutral take his place. Let’s have Rachel Maddow in his place. Rachel Maddow followed by Keith Olbermann on the air and a democrat in the White House. Now that’s a future I can look forward to.