January 9, 2008


Obama vs. McCain Would Be Clean Contest of Idealists (Mort Kondracke, 1/08/08, Real Clear Politics)

The victories of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) in Iowa represent the triumph of freshness, hope, honesty and optimism over calculation, plasticity, the past and anger.

There's every reason to think that the same impulses will prevail in New Hampshire, producing another victory for Obama and one for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who - if we're lucky - could end up their respective party nominees.

Obama vs. McCain could produce an epic battle of new vs. old, liberal vs. conservative, dove vs. hawk. But it could be a clean battle between principled contestants, either of whom could unite the country when it's over.

You hear a fair amount of this sort of twaddle when folks discuss Senator Obama, but all you have to ask yourself is: assuming two nominees run a friendly and non-partisan race would Democrats unite with a Republican president to extend the mission in Iraq and privatize Social Security or would Republicans unite with a Democratic president to nationalize health care, raise taxes, and make abortion more accessible?

This notion that ideas don't matter, personalities do, is asinine. Let us accept the idea, held by many partisans, that George W. Bush is the most partisan Republican and Ted Kennedy the most partisan Democrat in America. Yet they worked together to pass NCLB with vouchers and a prescription bill with HSAs. What has Barack Obama ever passed into law?

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 9, 2008 12:00 AM

"principled contestants"? What principles? While he was in Illinois legislature, Obama voted present whenever he was to vote on controversial issues. Bill Clinton's way to preserve his "viability". He has as much principles and ambitions as Bill.

Posted by: ic at January 9, 2008 4:16 AM

agree, there is no chance for unity, thats just silly, but, with those two candidates there could possibly be a real examination of the issues, without the phony and disgusting twaddle we'll hear if say Hilary and Romney were respective candidates. And perhaps, with examination there is the possibility for finding common ground. Barak doesn't have a record other than straight up liberal, but that's because he is new, that's his advantage. We don't neccessarily know if he is innovative or not, but he's not definitely a straight-line liberal, either.

Posted by: neil at January 9, 2008 6:29 AM

On what votes has he deviated from Ted Kennedy in the Senate?

Posted by: oj at January 9, 2008 7:36 AM

It's always amusing when the citizens of the most conservative, conformist and cohesive nation on Earth start talking about our deep divisions and how we'll never find common ground.

Posted by: Ibid at January 9, 2008 9:01 AM

The Obama's are similar to the Clinton's in that smart ambitious women are running the show while their men are out front charming the marks. We'll no doubt hear more about Mrs. O if Mr. O gets close to the nomination.

Posted by: erp at January 9, 2008 9:27 AM

barak is a hard core liberal, more than likely. all I'm sayin is that if he should get the nomination is it not entirely possible that the race will be about the issues, giving everyone a chance to truly examine them? and barak is young and completely inexperienced, so he is malleable. he'd listen. just saying, if we get stuck with him, he's not evil, like hilary. she'll just muck everything up, much like her husband, with one controversy after another.

Posted by: neil at January 9, 2008 10:49 AM

Exactly. Obama can't offer different ideas or he'd lose. He has to run on the status quo. Richard Nixon will be remembered by history as the last liberal president.

Posted by: oj at January 9, 2008 4:47 PM