Friday, February 1, 2008

Hubris and Gravitas

I didn’t actually watch the California debate between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. I am pretty tired of the format, especially in this primary season. I know that my interest will certainly be revived when the Democratic nominee (is that a feminine noun-form?) takes on John McCain in the Presidential debates. I anticipate that either Hillary or Barack will be able to handle that old geezer pretty well – and that’s not agism speaking. I agree with Justin Raimondo that there is more than a touch of dementia about the man, and he is by no means “pleasantly demented.” That’s pitiful, I know, and not cause for rejoicing. When Alzheimer’s first made the news a decade or 2 ago, I made my last joke about it. It was about a new play I was writing entitled “I Remember Momma – but Momma Doesn’t Remember Me.” It is still true, however, that “there’s no fool like an old fool.”

Women really have a raw deal in this country – and the world. And the vicious attacks on Hillary (not to mention Nancy Pelosi) are misogynist. It seems that Hillary has introduced the first name to Presidential politics, where once we had JFK and LBJ, or a first name and an epithet a la Tricky Dick, or just an epithet, as in Dumbo (you know which Republican resident that refers to).

As I was saying, I didn’t actually watch the Democratic debate last night, but I couldn’t help reading about it on the BBC and Guardian websites --I’m an Anglophile when it comes to my morning news. In the clear light of day, I was actually pleased to see that the two indulged in a great deal of cordial civility. When Clinton said (that’s Hillary I mean – not the whispered promptings of Bill) that the differences between the two of them “paled in comparison” with their differences with the Republican Party, there was Unity raising its lovely head again! After the deceitful rancor instilled by Bill in South Carolina, such remarks are very welcome. Plus, Obama opined that he and Hillary were friends before the primary began and will remain so afterwards (funny how the word “race” when it comes to Presidential politics has now taken on a new, more ambiguous tone).

At this point, I’m again thinking that a Clinton-Obama or vice-president versa ticket, would be, well, just the ticket. Last night we had an African American man and a white woman engaged in a one-on-one debate for the Democratic presidential nomination. That’s a first, and a white woman and an African American man on the same ticket would be too.

So maybe John McCain might be able to snow the (seemingly ever gullible) voters with false claims to moderation in domestic policy, wrapped in the star-spangled folds of commander-in-chief militarism and POW/MIA nostalgia. But if he gets in, it will be bombs away and grunts and civilians being slaughtered on the ground. It should be remembered that this scion of Navy admirals ruthlessly bombed the Vietnamese and was shot down. He still defends the kind of lethal force inflicted from on high that the innocent must pay for on the ground with their lives. There is a Greek word for such an ego-driven quest for power – hubris.
I was also quite pleased to see that both Clinton and Obama claimed the Roman mantle of gravitas last night – a term I myself used not so long ago in my PA blog on Al Gore and the quest for the Presidency.

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