Friday, February 20, 2009

Dead at last?

There was a wonderful moment in the television masterpiece, 'I, Claudius,' when, having announced the death of the emperor Tiberius twice, only to have him resuscitate, the young Caligula mashed a pillow over the old man's face, and then emerged from his bedchamber to declare: 'Caesar is definitely dead.'

It now appears that Hillary Clinton will not be the nominee of her party for president. I say 'appears' since I have learned that one can never confidently count the Clintons out. Their unscrupulousness, tenacity in pursuit of power, and willingness to do anything to obtain it seem to be limitless. But mathematics is a beautiful thing, as I often tell my little boy, and the math seems to be against her. Nonetheless, I recall the number of times we were solemnly assured that Richard Nixon was finished, only to see him rise from the graveyard of politics to haunt the landscape once again. And so, while 'all occasions do inform against her,' I shall not be content until Mrs. Clinton has formally quit the race. That, one may hope, is only a matter of weeks away.

That said, we must now turn our attention to Barack Obama, and the political creature he has revealed himself to be. When I am asked whether I would consider voting for him for president my reply is simple: Too young, too inexperienced, too far to the left. All three have been established during the primary campaign. His disdain for the average American has now been adequately declared: He regards them as a separate species, unworthy of his respect, as they clutch at their firearms and scriptures in their xenophobic dudgeon. His rapport with the corrupt Chicago political machine is well documented, his affinity for radicals and his and his wife's inclination to identify with the voices of hatred and intolerance are front page news. His socialist instincts are now a matter of record. And so I shall not vote for him, nor, I think, should anyone who frets for the future of the nation, and fears those fanatics who would murder us and our children in the name of all that is holy. For Obama has made it clear that he does not regard such people as the menace they truly are, but as equal talking partners in a global debate about comity and harmony, and the age-old canards of the appeaser that we would rather be liked than be secure, and that any peace is preferable to any war. The truth is that it is far better that those who hate us should fear us than that we should engage in the delusion that they may be induced to befriend us; and that it is better to die in dignified resistance than to live in submission. Obama is simply the wrong man with the wrong ideology and the wrong portfolio at the wrong time.

Which leaves us with John McCain. In him I see an essentially honorable and brave man who, for reasons which puzzle me, has decided to court a mythological center of the electorate, abandoning the conservative principles which, time has shown, are essential for any Republican to succeed. His statement yesterday that he would 'work with anyone in order to get things done' betrays, to my mind, a naivety indecorous in a man of his age, for he apparently has not absorbed the lesson drilled into every Republican advocate of bi-partisanship in recent decades; namely, that a willingness on the part of conservatives to work with liberals is taken by those liberals as a sign of weakness. Thus, McCain is positioning himself as a practitioner of appeasement vis-a-vis the left, while at the same time he condemns such an approach on Obama's part with regard to America's foreign enemies.

And so I find myself with a choice between a candidate who embraces appeasement with foreign enemies and an unrealistic world view, versus one who embraces appeasement with domestic opponents and an unrealistic political view. Between a candidate with too little practical experience versus one with, perhaps, too much; the former lacking the opportunity to learn therefrom, and the latter having evidently failed to do so. And between a candidate far too imbued with left-wing ideology, versus one who has abandoned its antidote in pursuit of a mythical independent electorate, which consists, by definition, of people too politically uncertain, ambivalent or uninformed to take a stand in either direction. Yet, given that fact, how is one to determine the grounds on which to appeal to such voters, if they, themselves, cannot decide on what ground they stand?

If John McCain loses the election, he will have no one to blame but himself, since, I do not believe, Barack Obama can win it on his own credentials or ideas.