Tuesday, April 15, 2008

New York Times Should Shift To Obama From Hillary

Written from M.S. Prinsendam, Approaching Durban, So. Africa--

It would potentially make a lot of difference, and it would reflect an attempt to be honest after recent campaign developments, for the New York Times to switch its endorsement for the Democratic presidential nomination from Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama.

The Clintons' campaign to restore themselves to the presidency has become such a "disgrace," to use the word of a CNN political analyst, Jeff Toomer, that integrity requires newspapers that started out backing Hillary to revise their opinions. The same is true of many politicians.

With the New York Times, one of its columnists after another, has pointed up the deep divisiveness of the Clinton campaign. It's high time that Andrew Rosenthal, editorial pages editor of the paper, falls in line with their honorable position.

The latest examples are columns by Roger Cohen and Maureen Dowd. Cohen remarks, "I'm troubled by Hillary Clinton's recent innuendo-dripping remark that her Christian faith "is the faith of my parents and my grandparents." Dowd notes that Bill Clinton took $800,000 in speaking fees from backers of a Columbia trade agreement that Hillary says she opposes (a sin comparable to consultant Mark Penn's work for the trade agreement, which got him demoted, but not fired, as he should have been).

Cohen's observation is particularly noteworthy: "We live in the Age of Interaction, Fluidity and connectedness define the world, forging hybrid identificaties, not fixed in formaldehyde. Clinton, on an Obama-is-aloof kick, is touting the line that she's a pro-gun churchgoer. That may play in west Pennsylvania, but won't heal the world's or America's post-Bush wounds.

"'I used to support Hillary, but now I look at her eyes and see someone always wired, always calculating, whereas in Berry I see some widom,' said Kisjanto."

The more one looks at the sleazy, racist and religiously-biased Clinton campaign, the more backing this Richard Nixon retread appears to be a unrespectable position. Indeed, she may be the worst presidential candidate since Aaron Burr, or, at least, Strom Thurmond.

Also, on CNN, I see one of its political commentators saying that if Clinton wins the nomination, most Obama backers will support her. This is not true of me. If Clinton wins the nomination, I will endorse the more honest, honorable and better educated (by experience) John McCain for president.

We are coming to the crunch time of this long struggle for the Democratic nomination. There is only one of the candidates who would be a respectable choice: He is Barack Obama.

--

My long African cruise has now rounded the Cape of Good Hope and is sailing toward other South African ports on the Indian ocean. The big game part of the trip is about to commence in earnest, although we have already seen 20 baboons on the cape. Tomorrow, I'm taking a tour to the Zulu Kingdom of Lesotho.

South Africa is a truly beautiful country. I hope it prospers, but believe it will do better if the South African regime intervenes to ensure democratic rule in neighboring Zimbabwe.

For the most part, this has been a calm voyage through the 10,500 miles already sailed from Fort Lauderdale. We've had "rough" seas only a few days, defined as waves up to 12 feet, and the ship is well stabilized. Many, but not all, the land excursions have been well done, if expensive. On occasions, such as in Togo, we have had superb guides, who have made a big difference. The food on the ship has been a little spotty (the Holland America line chefs are not always proficient at preparing ethnic foods) but there has really been little to complain about. The accommodations, the room stewards, other members of the crew, have been nothing but friendly. Going on such a long cruise is not cheap, but this has been, all in all, well worth the value.

There are many things to do on the ship that I skip -- the bingo, the gambling, the dance lessons, bridge, some of the entertainment, etc. But the long days at sea are pleasantly spent. I've been using the binoculars my daughter and son-in-law gave me, and wearing some of the clothes they and my son, bought. I'm sleeping better than at home. I'm fortunate in table mates. All in all, I'd take a long cruise again. This one, at 73 days, may not be long enough.

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