Tuesday, February 19, 2008



A good friend of mine who is one of the most astute people I know sent me a reply to my two posts of 2/16/08, “He’s So Fine” and “Here They Come, Spinning Out of the Turn, Part II,” especially the former.

My friend made the very valid and historically true point that we never know what we get when we elect a president, at least from a policy standpoint; policies change, and Presidents often take U-turns on policy stances once in office. My friend concluded, therefore, that we should vote for the person of the highest character, and, in his opinion, that was Barack Obama in this race.

My friend’s points were, for the most part, valid, but, as you might guess, I felt compelled to reply. I hesitated to post this answer, however, because it reveals a level of cynicism regarding politics and politicians that appears extreme even for me. But then I though “Why not?” As someone once said, the more cynical I get, the harder it gets to keep up.



The only thing on which I disagree with you is your contention that Obama is a man of character. I agree, and I think it comes through loud and clear, that neither McCain nor
Clinton is a person of character (If that doesn't come through, I can't write!).
McCain is despicable; the party of family values will soon have as its standardbearer a man who left the wife who raised his kids while he was in Hanoi to marry some young chickee with lots of dough who could finance his political career. The whole
McCain/Feingold thing is McCain’s effort to exonerate himself for his role in the Keating Five affair, which I could never forget: Chuck Keating used to parade around the Drexel
conferences extolling his great virtue as a devout Catholic and, because we had
the latter in common (The adjective is “devout,” not “perfect.”), he and I talked on several occasions. What a fraud! I guess that makes McCain a whore of a fraud. And, speaking of character, I don't know how you feel about this war, but how can a man of character support continuing this misguided, tragic, protracted, bloody occupation of a country conducted for, for...who knows? How can someone of character justify, and in McCain’s case, revel in, the wanton destruction of the lives of some of our best kids, and of thousands of innocent Iraqis, in this pointless, counterproductive road to self-destruction?

Clinton? Character? Enough said.

Why do you suppose Obama has character? With any politician, I would say guilty
until proven innocent, but, in the case of a guy who plays footsie with Tony
Rezko, what innocence could be proven? That whole real estate deal in South
Shore/Kenwood stinks to high heaven, and Obama knows it. He's the one who
called it "boneheaded." It's worse than that: buying his mansion with the help of Tony Rezko (just as he would have bought the White House with the help of Tony Rezko had he, and Mr. Rezko, not been caught) displayed the arrogance of Obama's thinking he could get away with it because, after all, he is Barack Obama. The shame is that he will get away with it because the media treat him as the second coming of JFK, another pol touted as a man of character who was proven to be anything but.

So I have a hard time thinking ANY politician can be a person of character; I
even think that there must be something nefarious about my candidate Ron Paul.
After all, he is a politician; therefore, there has to be something.

So you DO know what you get when you elect a president--you get a scoundrel,
almost by definition. Why else would anyone pursue a career in politics? (Note that no one just runs for office any more; running for, winning, and leaving office after a term or two to return to private life would indeed be a mark of nobility. But people who do such things don’t exist any more. With very few exceptions, anyone running for office is a career politician or is aspiring to be a career politician.) To save mankind? To make this a better world? I am far too cynical (some might say realistic) to believe that about anybody in politics. I might support a guy for policy reasons (Ron Paul), or maybe because I like the guy and either agree, or don’t radically disagree, with him on policy (Ron Paul, Chris Lauzen, Glenn Poshard, Gale Franzen), or maybe because I know and like the guy and the office in question does not involve any real policy to speak of (various pols of various shades of character from my old neighborhood running for city, county, or minor state offices. I suppose this should be placed in the past tense; politics is not the way of life, or the blood sport, out here in my suburban paradise that it is back home.), but I will never expect a political candidate to be a person of character. If s/he were, s/he would not pursue politics. Too much lying, too much compromising, too much desperation, too much whoring. That is one of the reasons I haven't contributed money to a political candidate in years.

I agree that Obama has the highest sense of character (Huckabee could
probably challenge him on that, but he does not appear to meet the viability
test.) of the remaining viable candidates, but the bar is awfully low. It's
like selecting the most virtuous girl in the bordello.


On another note, I admire your political prognostication abilities. I was
almost certain (with the caveat that nothing is certain in politics) that
Hillary would have the Democratic nomination by now, and thought, but with far
less conviction, that Giuliani would be the GOP candidate. So my predictive
ability in politics, never as good as some have supposed, has been especially
poor this year, though Hillary could still be the nominee, as I said in "Here
they come, spinning out of the turn, Part II." It certainly looks at this
juncture, however, like Obama will be the nominee and that he will be our next
president. And that would not be such a bad thing…on a relative

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