Sunday, January 28, 2007

DKos Diary and Raising Kaine Diary - 1/28/07 Visualize Wesley Clark

There is a brilliant essay recommended this morning on DKos: "Sweeping Jim Webb Under the Rug." The essay and the comments bring out what I have been feeling all week: That we crossed a river in this country on Tuesday night with Jim Webb’s rebuttal of the President’s State of the Union. Jim Webb is Pathfinder to a new political country. The author, TocqueDeville, claims that only candidates appealing to Wall St. are allowed to survive. I would like to add that this is a conditioning that most Americans themselves are "programmed into" - a subtlety that they are acclimated to and not fully aware of, but likewise, this is only a skin (and an inauthentic one) which can and will fall away quickly and from which a new self can (and will) awaken. What Jim brings forth is something which is underneath - something which is there already; something which has always been there, but something the Dems left behind 25 years ago.

I personally find Senators Clinton and Obama "brand marketed" to the "suburban" Democrats the author talks about to be appalling, with front-leading Democrats pitching a universal health care system to the denizens of Manhattan’s penthouse dwellers, billionaires and Nantucket dilettantes. Harvard’s John Kenneth Galbriath warned Democrats about becoming the Party of the Very Rich in his 1992 book, “The Culture of Contentment” but he was ignored (and even despised) by the new group which had come to power in the Democratic Party at that time and still sends forth its candidate to the Presidential Election today. (There is nothing new to this either: Back in South Boston we used to call the Democrats Galbraith criticizes, “Lace Curtain.”) But when the "new realization" begins to hatch, these “market brand” Democrats so comfy to Wall St. will pass quickly. The season has changed.

Already, things are changing quickly. Mainstream press has begun to look at Democratic front-runner Senator Clinton and find her leadership abilities to be less than sterling. Today, Frank Rich of the NYTs calls her mission “unaccomplished.” He writes: “Mrs. Clinton has always been a follower of public opinion on the war, not a leader.” The small fish follow the big fish. Her candidacy will begin to fade now. Likewise, Senator Obama, who draws almost exclusively white crowds and is pitched as well to the same audience of “upper working class” suburban whites as a Great White Hope. There is nothing wrong with Obama. He has been used and abused by the info-entertainment industry. His only flaw is that he allows himself to be.

We need someone new now to suit the new times ahead. We need Wesley Clark. Clark needs to enter in on this in the ’08 Presidential race. Jim Webb is Pathfinder on a trail which leads to Wesley Clark. They are on the same page of economic populism which Webb spoke of on Tuesday night. Last week Clark was speaking Union to a church-basement crowd in Montgomery, AL; a crowd as far from Wall St. as one could imagine. I would like to see Senators Clinton, Dodd, Biden and Obama address these NASCAR Moms on the same topic.

There is a clear division now in the Democratic Party. Webb and Wes are the opening Democratic Paradigm.

I was standing four feet away from Wes Clark when he signed the book in Concord, NH, to enter the primary and volunteered for him throughout the primary. Jim Webb is prelude to Wesley Clark. Virginia has just crossed the psychological river sooner than the rest of us. Here in the mountains of northern New Hampshire we are lucky to have the occasional voice of Haviland Smith, a retired CIA station chief, giving his opinion in our local paper. Like Wes and Jim Webb, Smith opposed the invasion from the start. He says this week in The Valley News: "Those Democratic members of Congress who fell for the Bush rationalization for the Iraq invasion and voted to enable it are, quite frankly, morally and politically compromised on this issue. Except for those few who have repudiated their own votes, they have lost their standing and credibility."

I would take it a step further and say that although it is good that they repudiated their vote, they showed failure of leadership at the critical moment and should not be considered for higher public office. Indeed, they should resign, as the phrase, “I take full responsibility,” which Senator Clinton used this week about her poor leadership on Iraq at the critical juncture, once implied voluntary retirement. Now it means nothing. Now it means: Let’s talk about something else. If they were hockey or football coaches they would be fired. (And their wives would not be allowed to coach their team after that, either. Visualize that, with the Chicago Bears or the Broad Street Bullies.) We should show them the same love and respect and send them home.

The Democrats are still in a state of denial RE the leadership failure we have been experiencing in this country over the last 25 years, particularly since Democrats lost the House and Senate and the will of the country in the mid-90s, giving an easy ride to the most egregious group of radicals ever to disgrace the Oval Office & its sacred space. Some Dems today want to go back to the '90s, some to the '60s, some to the '50s.

But there is no going back. There is only the trail ahead. When we fully face the Iraq crisis, the economic crisis and the leadership crisis we will press on with Jim Webb and Wesley Clark.

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