If Obama wins, I think most McCain supporters will accept the verdict, and do what they can to make sure their country presses ahead, restores fiscal sanity, and remains strong in a dangerous world—and thus would wish a President Obama, as our shared commander-in-chief, all the best. Once I wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed supporting Bill Clinton’s foreign policy, despite not voting for him, and was duly impressed with his welfare reform and the surplus that emerged during his presidency.
I know I would do all I could to make sure Obama’s America remains preeminent and that he is successful in running the country. I surely do not think Obama would be as experienced as McCain, and his past disturbs me in no small way; but I think he would be surrounded by a few former Clintonite centrists. Conditions on the ground, both in Iraq, and on Wall Street, would mean that his range of options would be far more limited than his utopian campaign rhetoric suggests—and that the republic would survive fine. He may wish to spend a trillion dollars on more entitlements; but his trillion has already been pledged to make up bad debt, and even he will think twice of raising taxes too high in times of uncertainty.
But is the reverse true?
Given the hysteria, I worry that there is a large group of Obama supporters, who, should he lose, will become unhinged. We see that already with the vitriol against Bush voiced daily on the Huffington Post, the Daily Kos, and MSNBC, which led in naturally to the Palin hysteria and the insurgency tactics against McCain.
We suffer still from the sorry legacy of 1960s guerrilla theater, in which a San Francisco now ponders naming a sewage plant after George Bush, or a Sarah Bernhardt talks of her friends raping Sarah Palin. Again, there was some of this on the right in the 1950s and 1960s, but figures like William F. Buckley took on the John Birch Society, the neo-Confederate/Lost Causers, and the Klan, and they were pruned away from the fringes of the conservative movement.
In contrast, a Michael Moore, Cindy Sheehan, Daily Kos, Air America, Huffington Post, and Moveon.org that all have engaged in smears and slanders have not been marginalized by the Democratic Party or the liberal mainstream. And that is why on any given day one can read the truly outrageous on these blogs, or see a NY Times discounted ad by Moveon.org about “General Betray Us”; or hear that Atlantic Magazine has a problem with a nut photographer, in pornographic fashion, photo-shopping outtakes from her McCain cover shoots, or the son of a Democratic legislator hacking Palin’s email.
The problem is that the ’60s notion of utopian ends justifying crude means is still deeply embedded with the activist wing of the Democratic Party—a boil that has never been lanced. The Nation Magazine may be the flip-side of Rush Limbaugh. Fine. Both advance strongly-held views within certain acceptable parameters. And for every cruel Borking there was also a Clinton-hatred of the 1990s that went way overboard. But again, something has now changed in this campaign cycle, and there is nothing now on the right to quite match the Wild-West crudity of what we’ve seen from the hard left in this election.
Joe Biden’s Great Depression
Most once shared the following feelings about Biden: he will say anything; we will forgive him for anything; he remains a likable Joe, despite streaks of meanness and pomposity.
But such exemption has limits, and, by general consensus, he has now sadly crossed them.
In only a day he all but said that McCain took a $50,000 bribe. He claimed that the AIG bailout was bad, then flipped. He yelled out that we don’t need to burn coal (half our electricity is produced by coal, a fuel, for now, essential to power plug-in electric cars to come); he (or his campaign) suddenly retracted/nullified his apology about the dirty McCain immigration/Limbaugh ad. And then he blurted out that FDR went on television as president in 1929 to address the nation after the stock market crash (after prefacing that remark with pompous statements that leaders must know what they’re talking about). His description of being forced down in Afghanistan by weather sounded as melodramatic as Hillary’s Balkans’ moment.
Same old, same old…
More of the same: Palin was “good looking” and “Lt. Governor” of Alaska. Hillary, he confessed, was the better VP pick than himself.