Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Clinton Grows Delusional, Non-Historical On Obama

Sen. Hillary Clinton has sunk to a new low of being delusional on the subject of her Democratic opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, by comparing him on foreign policy to President George W. Bush. After all, it was Clinton, not Obama, who supported Mr. Bush on the Iraq war.

But Mrs. Clinton is also ignoring history when she claims that (1) non-partisanship doesn't work and that one has to be confrontational, as she and husband Bill have been, not to mention, Mr. Bush, and that (2) splendid oratory, such as exhibited by Obama, doesn't really count in politics.

No wonder, Clinton's political fortunes are sinking so fast. As NBC commentator Tim Russert suggested last night, she desperately needs to find a coherent message, rather than wildly moving from subject to subject, day by day, as she seeks to find something that will work against Obama.

The fact is that several recent U.S. presidents, not to mention British and French statesmen, have been highly successful reaching across the partisan aisle to find crucial support in the other political party. Lyndon B. Johnson sought the invaluable support of Sen. Everett Dirksen of Illinois on civil rights legislation. Dwight D. Eisenhower frequently sought the support of Johnson on legislation, and Harry S. Truman won the support of Sen. Arthur H. Vandenberg of Michigan for the Marshall Plan, NATO, and other foreign policy moves in the Cold War. In 1940-41, Franklin D. Roosevelt won the backing of the Republican 1940 presidential candidate, Wendell Wilkie, for his moves toward support of Great Britain in World War II.

In France, when he returned to power in 1958, Gen. Charles de Gaulle included everyone in his cabinet from Pierre Mendes-France on the left to Antoine Pinay on the right. And during World War II, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill entered into a grand coalition with British Labor and Liberal party leaders to pursue the war with the Nazis, using Clement Attlee and Lord Dalton in key posts.

It is typical of the frequently whining Hillary Clinton that she claims a leader must be polarizing and divisive to govern. History does not agree, however, and the extreme partisanship of the Clintons and Bushes has put American government on the road to ruin, not to success.

It is the supreme realization of this truth by millions of American voters in 2008 that has fueied both the Obama and John McCain candidacies. Both men have repeatedly expressed their willingness to form governments that will seek to unite people of varying political persuasions behind their administrations. This is especially true of Obama, but McCain too has already obtained the support of independent Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman. Both candidates would reach out in the fall campaigns for backers in the other political party, and there can be little doubt that both would include members of the other party in their cabinet.

In short, either Obama or McCain would return to the benefits of a nonpartisan approach to unite the country. This is one of the most profoundly encouraging things about both their candidacies. It is only Hillary Clinton, among the three major candidates left standing, who would mire herself in the divisions of recent years.

As for oratory, why should we accept the turgid, wonkish language of Clinton as our political standard, when we have the sublime eloquence of a Barack Obama, and the willingness to speak out on all issues of a John McCain.

The fact is that oratory does count. Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill helped win their wars with oratory. John F. Kennedy greatly enhanced his presidency with oratory. Charles de Gaulle was a great writer as well as supreme orator. And other political and military figures -- Harry Truman, Douglas MacArthur and even Dwight Eisenhower -- greatly improved their records through their oratorical skills.

You may say Eisenhower was not particularly eloquent. But what about his "Don't join the bookburners" speech denouncing Sen. Joseph McCarthy at Dartmouth College? Or his farewell speech to the nation after two terms in office, warning of the dangers of the military-industrial complex?

No, Barack Obama's oratory does count. It has already inspired this and other nations, while the lack of it has shown up Clinton to be a political mediocrity. Even in ancient times, the oratory of Demosthenes and Cicero changed the course of empires.

We do need now less nonsense in this campaign, and, if Obama wins next Tuesday in Texas and Ohio, or maybe just in Texas, we will obtain it, because there is every likelihood Clinton will resign herself to defeat and get out of the race.

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The inept Russ Stanton, new editor of the L.A. Times, has mandated that published lists of personnel put the newspaper's Web site employees first, and the print paper's personnel second. This foolishly ignores the fact that 93% of Los Angeles Times revenue comes from the print edition.

With new reports that Times revenue overall continues to sink, perhaps both Stanton and publisher David Hiller will be gone by the end of the year. New Tribune owner Sam Zell could give the Times new life and a better reputation by elevating Jack Klunder as publisher, and perhaps a distinguished outsider, such as former Annenberg school dean and Voice of America director Geoffrey Cowan as editor. Both are Los Angelenos and this too would be a welcome step forward.

I notice this morning that Zell appeared at a Tribune-owned paper, the News Press, in Newport News, Va., and declared that, unlike so many, he sees a "great future" for newspapers. The best way to insure this in Los Angeles would be to change the top personnel, as I've suggested.

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your canned claim that Sen. Clinton uses "turgid wonkish" language seems to be a projection stemming from self-criticism of your own clunky prose and faulty comparisons of corporate newsies to dead heads of state. You're obviously not a gentleman or much of a scholar. It's also plain why the LAT gave you the boot for verbal abuse. Words always seem to fail you.

2/27/2008 10:27 AM  

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