Friday, February 22, 2008

Democratic debate: Change you can xerox


Obama: “The problem we have is that Washington has become a place where good ideas go to die.” Yes, but on the other hand, it’s a place where crappy ideas go to live.

Hillary wants a “trade time-out.”


As with her vote for the Iraq war authorization, Hillary says she was totally snookered when she voted for the border fence: “I think when both of us voted for this, we were voting for the possibility that where it was appropriate and made sense, it would be considered. But as with so much, the Bush administration has gone off the deep end”. What she wants now: “smart fencing.”

Obama responded well to the line Clinton has recently been directing at his supporters, “Let’s get real.” “The implication,” he said, “is that the people who’ve been voting for me or involved in my campaign are somehow delusional.” Actually, the implication is that they’re naive, don’t know how things are done in the real world, and are easily distracted by shiny objects. Which, admittedly, a lot of them are. The thing is, the people she’s insulting are not just Obama supporters, they are American citizens who exercised their constitutional rights in the manner they saw fit. That’s the basis of representative democracy, so politicians are kind of expected to pretend to have a bit more respect it.

It’s also not good as a form of persuasion. She’s not going to win over people who are leaning towards Obama by telling them “Let’s get real” with all the disdain of a parent addressing a son who has just informed them he wants to major in dance.


Obama does pretend to respect the voters. He pretends the crap out of it. Indeed, he pretends that he is leading some sort of movement, through the power of his pretty, pretty oratory, which will “inspire the American people to get involved in their government and ... inspire them to go beyond the racial divisions and the religious divisions and the regional divisions that have plagued our politics for so long”. He never says anything about how the American people will get involved in their government after they vote for him in November. In the words of Stephen Colbert in the first episode of The Colbert Report, “Your voice will be heard, in the form of my voice.”

Pointy pointy

Clinton pushed the charge of plagiarism, a charge so thin that it will convince many people that he must be practically perfect because there is nothing more substantial that she can say against him: “Well, I think that if your candidacy is going to be about words, then they should be your own words. That’s, I think, a very simple proposition. And, you know, lifting whole passages from someone else’s speeches is not change you can believe in, it’s change you can Xerox.” You can see that her candidacy isn’t going to be about words, because the phrase “change you can Xerox” doesn’t actually mean anything.

Asked if her claim that “One of us is ready to be commander in chief” implied in a, you know, subtle way, that Obama isn’t, she refused to repeat it in front of him. “Well, I believe that I am ready and I am prepared. And I will leave that to the voters to decide.” Will you? We have your permission? How fucking gracious.

How is she ready and prepared? “What I mean is that, you know, for more than 15 years, I’ve been honored to represent our country in more than 80 countries”. In the same way that Laura Bush just represented the US in five African countries?

As you can tell, it’s been too many debates for me, and I am just sick of the both of them. I am tired with the little bits of debate theatrics, as when Barack pretends to be jotting something down when Hillary is speaking. Once, she turned her head a little bit towards him at a moment when he was looking at her; he jerked his head away abruptly as if he’d been caught with his hand in the cookie jar, and started writing. What do you think he writes? He’s left-handed, by the way. I seem to remember that an unusual number of presidents have been left-handed.

He also has this aristocratic looking-down-his-nose thing. Just saying.

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