Fun with Hil­lary and Obama, if not Osama

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - Tony Blank­ley

Our long na­tional night­mare is nearly over. With Barack say­ing he might run, with Hil­lary re­ported to “be mak­ing phone calls to New York­ers,” with Evan Bayh and Sam Brown­back get­ting less coy by the day and with Tom Vil­sack ac­tu­ally an­nounc­ing his can­di­dacy (the cor­rect pro­nun­ci­a­tion of his name “that’s vill-sack, not vile sack”), the 2008 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign is about to start. The night­mare of not hav­ing a na­tional cam­paign to talk about — now into its hideous 29th day — is al­most over.

And what a re­lief. The cy­cle of elec­tion pe­riod fol­lowed by gov­ern­ing pe­riod fol­lowed by elec­tion pe­riod was get­ting se­ri­ously out of pro­por­tion. Elec­tion cy­cles may be vul­gar, dem­a­gogic, hyp­o­crit­i­cal, mud-sling­ing ex­er­cises in mis­lead­ing the Amer­i­can peo­ple and cor­rupt­ing the demo­cratic process — but they are es­sen­tially harm­less. Those gov­ern­ing pe­ri­ods, how­ever, are down right dan­ger­ous.

I think all Amer­i­cans can agree that a month of it this time was quite enough. Even with Congress hav­ing been largely out of town and the pres­i­dent hav­ing been largely abroad, this last month has been a per­ilous pe- riod of bad pol­icy for­mu­la­tion and ill-con­sid­ered con­gres­sional lead­er­ship se­lec­tions.

Far bet­ter that we spend the next 25 months se­lect­ing the next scape­goat to be sac­ri­ficed on be­half of our re­fusal to ad­mit to our gen­uine na­tional prob­lems. And, de­fy­ing rea­son and com­mon sense, once again our best and bright­est are el­bow­ing each other fu­ri­ously to be se­lected for the sac­ri­fi­cial honor.

Ac­tu­ally, in logic and gram­mar, all the can­di­dates can­not be our best and bright­est. All but one could only be con­sid­ered our bet­ter and brighter. And, as one looks down the list, not many of even those seem to be avail­able. But, there is a na­tional me­dia con­sen­sus — con­curred in by the can­di­date him­self — that the best and bright­est is walk­ing among us even now and may soon au­da­ciously con­de­scend to throw his over­sized hat into the ring.

Barack Obama is be­fore us. All rise. And re­mem­ber, his name spelled back­ward is Kcarab Amabo — which sounds bet­ter than my name back­ward — Ynot Yelk­nalb (to which I might re­spond “I sure am yelk­nalb”).

Af­ter two gru­el­ing years leg­is­lat­ing in the Se­nate, this man, whose sea­soned judg­ment the world will be re­ly­ing on for its very sur­vival, as­sesses that this is the op­ti­mum mo­ment for him to lead the world. Ev­ery­thing he has done and thought in the last sev­eral months has pre­pared him for this mo­ment. He is now at the peak of his ex­pe­ri­ence and sagac­ity.

Ap­par­ently his strat­egy for vic­tory is to rely on his un­doubted open-faced good looks and his high nat­u­ral intelligence. Men have cer­tainly been elected with less (e.g. War­ren Hard­ing). They have also been elected with more (e.g. about 35 of the other 42 pres­i­dents).

Pre­sum­ably he be­lieves that his life is an open book (if a short one). For his sake, I hope it is. But even if he has lived a blame­less life (as I pre­sume he has), in the com­ing months his op­po­nents will be busy scrib­bling in their own ad­den­dums. One op­po­nent in par­tic­u­lar is sur­rounded by a team of op­er­a­tives who, over long and suc­cess­ful ca­reers, have mas­tered the art of draw­ing mus­taches on their op­po­nents.

If Hil­lary Mil­hous Clin­ton be­gins to be­lieve that Barack Obama is a threat to her in­her­i­tance of the White House, it will not be long be­fore his own mother will not rec­og­nize the pub­lic im­age that Hil­lary’s op­er­a­tives will have drawn of him. He could ask Paula Jones (and all the other in­no­cent women “her hus­band” at­tempted to se­duce and aban­don) or Ken Starr (one of the na­tion’s most ad­mired jurists be­fore he was as­signed to in­ves­ti­gate “her hus­band”).

Or con­sider my old boss Newt Gin­grich — Bill Clin­ton’s pri­mary po­lit­i­cal op­po­nent in the 1990s. Mr. Clin­ton’s IRS very pub­licly opened an in­ves­ti­ga­tion of Newt for tax fraud. They kept it open for years, and then, a few weeks af­ter he re­tired, the IRS qui­etly an­nounced the in­ves­ti­ga­tion was com­plete and he was in­no­cent. But not be­fore Democrats spent years us­ing that phony in­ves­ti­ga­tion as a ba­sis for call­ing Newt a tax cheat. That’s the way the Clin­tons play the game. They call it the pol­icy of per­sonal de­struc­tion. For Mr. Obama’s sake, I hope he is ready for the game he is so anx­ious to get into.

At the other end of the field, the left-wing ac­tivist base is al­ready ques­tion­ing his lack of con­vic­tions. In the Huff­in­g­ton Post last week, Na­tion Mag­a­zine’s David Sirota wrote an ar­ti­cle ti­tled “The Ridicu­lous­ness and Dan­ger that is Obama ‘08”: “[. . .] he doesn’t ac­tu­ally seem to as­pire to any­thing out­side of the Wash­ing­ton power struc­ture [. . .] and doesn’t seem to be in­ter­ested in chal­leng­ing the sta­tus quo in any fun­da­men­tal way [. . .] Obama is a can­di­date who has kept his record de­lib­er­ately thin, who has risked al­most noth­ing for the big­ger move­ment, and [. . .] has gone out of his way to re­in­force dis­hon­est stereo­types about the left [. . .]” And those were some of the kin­der state­ments that can be found on the aroused left.

But I’ll say this for Sen. Barack Obama: If, over the next 25 months, the young pal­adin can fend off Hil­lary’s bad boys, Ari­anna’s crazy boys and the GOP’s back-room boys, he may in fact be ready for the big game against Osama bin Laden’s mur­der­ous boys.

Tony Blank­ley is edi­to­rial page ed­i­tor of The Wash­ing­ton Times. He can be reached via e-mail at tblank­ley@wash­ing­ton­

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