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Bill Clinton & the Problem of Democratic Unity

As Bill Clinton prepares to address the delegates of the party he led to two consecutive electoral victories, he’ll be addressing a caucus not entirely unified behind the man who bested his wife for the Democratic nomination.  Part of the reason Democrats have has such difficulty coming together is the shadow he still casts over the party.

At their last such gathering, the party chairman was Terry McAuliffe, a Clinton loyalist whom the former president succeeded in installing as he was leaving office.  Most presidents exited the stage gracefully, ceding control of their party to the next generation of leadership. This one determined to hang on.

I think part of the hatred of his wife stems from the frustration of party activists that their family is trying to take over the DNC.   They resent him in part from steering their party away from its leftist moorings, the moorings they taken such pains to establish in the 1970s and 1980s.

It’s not just the Clintons’ continued presence in their party which causes these divisions.  It’s also the tension which the Clinton ascendancy represents, between his pragmatism and their left-wing ideology.  Clinton knew that ideology couldn’t win elections.  But, some of the left would rather be “right” in their view than win.  Or maybe they’re so deluded that they believe they can only win by moving left.

But, the reality is that Republicans win when they stick to their conservative principles.  And Democrats who lose when they affirm their left-wing ones.


Dwelling on Race, Gender & Sexual Orientation

For as long as people have been criticizing Hillary Clinton, we’ve been hearing her supporters retort that the only reason we dislike the former First Lady is because we can’t stand (or fear) strong women.  Which means that some of my friends, acquaintances and family members are self-haters.  But, then, we gay Republicans know it’s par for the course for our ideological adversaries to call “self-hating” those whose views they refuse to understand.

In my case, it doesn’t even help when I remind these Hillary lovers of my reverence for Margaret Thatcher, quite possibly the most successful female leader in the West since the Sixteenth Century.  It seems, however, Mrs. Thatcher’s politics render her gender irrelevant.

The biggest contrast between that great woman, indeed and other successful female leaders and Mrs. Clinton is that they did not dwell on their gender, merely show by the power of their personality and the nature of their accomplishments that they could do they job better than a man.  As Jay Nordlinger asks:

Did Margaret Thatcher ever go on and on about how she was a woman? Or kvetch about glass ceilings? Did Indira Gandhi? Did Golda Meir? Didn’t they all just get on with it? I thought that Mrs. Clinton’s stress on her sex was unseemly — made her seem kind of affirmative-actiony, rather than a person who stands on her own two feet

Why is it that those on the left must dwell on someone’s membership in a supposedly persecuted (and therefore in need of protection) class.  Shouldn’t the goal be to make those differences incidental, that we not be judged by our gender, our race or sexual orientation, but our qualities as a human being?

Thoughts on Hillary’s Speech (from one who didn’t see it)

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 7:00 pm - August 27, 2008.
Filed under: 2008 Presidential Politics

Perhaps I shouldn’t write about HIllary’s speech last night to the Democratic National Convention as I had other obligations.  From what I’ve read in the blogopshere, most seem to regard it as a good speech which did what she needed to do, both to help her party’s nominee and to lay the groundwork for her expected 2012 bid for the White House.

Michael Barone offered the best critique of the address (no surprise there).  He called it “Good, but not quite very good.“  He noted the absence of any kind of

description of Barack Obama. What kind of man is he? One who supports the same positions she does. Has she looked deep into his heart and found something worthy? No evidence here that she had. Would he be a good commander-in-chief? Not a word on that, as the McCain campaign quickly and gleefully noted.

(Via Instapundit).

With this speech, she can now “tell Obamaites that she made the case for Obama and brought the convention cheering to its feet. She can say that she told her supporters in the most explicit language possible to work hard for his election.”

But, I doubt it will do much to win over some of the most diehard Obama supporters, many of whom hate her.  Indeed, as I’ve learned in researching my posts earlier this year on the Democratic contest (and reading our comments section), even talking to Democratic friends and family members (at least two of whom voted for Obama not so much because they liked him, but because they wanted to defeat her), the former First Lady has many enemies within her own party.

There’s something else. While people praised her delivery, the speech lacked the poetry and the passion of her recent rival’s addresses. Indeed, shat struck me in watching the few clips of the speech I did see was how wooden were her gestures and how flat her voice.   Unlike her husband, she doesn’t have a great range of intonation.  If she wants to do better in ’12, she’ll have to work on that in the next four years.

In reading the speech I was struck with how, well, how Clintonian it was.  Barone called it  “carefully tailored” while Rich Lowry imagined “Bill and Hillary, when the speech was being drafted, putting the stuff about Obama on a scale, and calibrating it word for word, syllable by syllable, until they had reached the perfect bare minimum about Obama.

UPDATE:  Calling Hillary’s speech, “the best of her career,” Peggy Nooan writes that toward “Obama she was exactly as gracious as she is capable of being.”  As with anything by this gifted columnist, just read the whole thing.

Bill Clinton of Pop Music Links McCain to Hitler

I have never really gotten the fasciation my gay peers have with the pop star who calls herself Madonna.  Unlike Barbra Streisand, a true diva, Madonna is little more than a musical cipher, shrewdly adapting her style to the prevailing trends in popular music.  

She has stayed atop the charts for so long (longer indeed than almost any other pop star) not for her own gifts nor for her unique way of singing a song (like Barbra), but for her intelligence and public relations savvy.  She knows how to cater to the audience; she’ll do whatever it takes to get media attention.

Madonna has always been the Bill Clinton of pop music.  Just as he does whatever it takes to appeal to voters, so too would she do whatever it takes to appeal to music-lovers.  In contrast to Ronald Reagan, Clinton is not known for his commitment to a core set of political principles.  Nor is the pop star known for her pioneering any musical style or perfecting any particular genre.

As Katherine Berry put it yesterday in Pajamas:”For two decades now, Madonna’s fame has stemmed more from her antics than any actual talent, singing or otherwise” (via Instapundit who thinks the pop star’s too old to be having a mid-life crisis). And now the faux diva has figured out another way to get attention.  

Launching his Sticky & Sweet Tour in the United Kingdom, she compared the presumptive Republican president to a whole slew of tyrants.  She knows the world media loves any criticism of American politicians with an (R) after their names:During the four-act show in Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, a video interlude showed images of destruction, global warming, Adolf Hitler, Zimbabwe‘s authoritarian President Robert Mugabe and – you guessed it – McCain.

In another sequence that was shown later, the images were meant to be positive. Madonna showed pics of slain Beatle John Lennon, former Vice President Al Gore, Mahatma Gandhi and presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama.

Smart woman, she knows the way to get attention.  It probably doesn’t matter to the very material girl that the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) condemned her use of Hitler’s image as “inappropriate and offensive.“  She just revels in the media attention.

The woman may lack taste or any standard of decency of fair play, but she knows how to stay in the limelight. As do some aging politicians of her party.

Kind of reminds me of a Saturday Night Live sketch.

UPDATE:  Roger wonders if Madonna is secretly helping McCain.

Thoughts on Leadership

As I’ve been read John McCain’s political autobiography, Worth the Fighting For: The Education of an American Maverick, and the Heroes Who Inspired Him, (in anticipation of next week’s convention) and pondering a post on Bill Clinton’s legacy to his party (in anticipation of tonight’s speech), I had some thoughts on leadership.

Me being me, I initially hesitated to write about them because I’d rather my posts be more “essayistic.”  But, I perhaps should show greater appreciation for this medium which has given me a forum for my views for the past (nigh on) four years.

In a blog, I don’t need to write a well-organized essay, just kind of throw out my ideas.

So, here they are:

  • A true leader inspires by example.
  • A leader convinces others to go some place where they need (should?) go, not where there want to go.  The crowd does not sway him, but he sways the crowd, yet he must know how to appeal to them should he wish to change their minds.
  • A leader is undaunted by opposition and holds true (stands fast) in the face of it, shifting course only when necessary to accomplish a broader goal, but never losing sight of his core principles.

I dare say there’s more to leadership than just those four qualities, but these notions came to mind as I as reading that book and pondering the Clinton post.

Bill Clinton Speech Prediction

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 2:35 pm - August 27, 2008.
Filed under: 2008 Presidential Politics

For every reference to his party’s presidential nominee in his speech tonight to the Democratic National Convention, Bill Clinton will reference himself at least three times.

Maybe I’m being conservative on this one.

Funniest Democrat Slip of the Month

Posted by Average Gay Joe at 8:32 am - August 27, 2008.
Filed under: 2008 Elections,2008 Presidential Politics,Humor

I’ve mostly been taking a break from politics lately, but this one is just too good to pass up:

“We should be led by Osama bin Laden,” he said, then quickly corrected himself. “I mean Obama and Biden.” – former Congressman Charlie Wilson (D-TX)

Ah, good times…

— John (Average Gay Joe)