Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Response to Paul Krugman's "Lessons of 1992"

Paul Krugman wrote a piece in the New York Times called Lessons of 1992, in which he writes,

"First, those who don’t want to nominate Hillary Clinton because they don’t want to return to the nastiness of the 1990s — a sizable group, at least in the punditocracy — are deluding themselves. Any Democrat who makes it to the White House can expect the same treatment: an unending procession of wild charges and fake scandals, dutifully given credence by major media organizations that somehow can’t bring themselves to declare the accusations unequivocally false (at least not on Page 1)."
Here is my response to him:
Dear Mr. Krugman:

I often agree with your columns, but not this time.  I'm afraid your fundamental premise is false.  To paraphrase that famous line,

Bill Clinton is no Barack Obama,

not even Bill Clinton at his most idealistic.  I respect Bill and Hillary, but in the same way one respects a pit bull.  It is nice to have them on your side.  But since the beginning it has always been about them.  Yes, the Republicans went gunning for them, but they invited some of the attacks by their modus operandi.

I know this sounds naive and idealistic, but every once in a great while, something idealistic is true.  I think Barack Obama is sincere when he says that it is more about us than him, that he wants to forge a new politics that involves We the People.  The Clintons never were that way, not even in pretense.

If somehow I am being duped, and Obama is the greatest actor the world has ever seen, then I say that the character he portrays would make a transcendent president.  Most attacks on that kind of presidency would backfire, as the Clinton machine is finding out now in this campaign.

If you give people real hope, they won't trade it in easily for petty criticisms.

So, in summary, the year you were looking for was not 1992, it was 1960.

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