Saturday, November 22, 2008

Forgiveness and Politics: The 21st Century Finally Begins in America

The title of this blog contains two concepts which most folks these days tend to think are mutually exclusive --- oxymoronic, if you will --- much in the same manner as the old George Carlin gag "jumbo shrimp, military-intelligence". Mortality being what it is, all George Carlin gags are now officially old by the way. In the forming era, though, these concepts may not be forever separated but it is not yet possible to tell.

My thought here returns to my last blog about poker playin' Obama. What he has set up here, though being promoted as such by the Mainstream Media (MSM), is not a team of rivals, but is intended to be a team of Americans. Politicians of distinct philosophical persuasions are being brought together for a particular purpose, to engage in the process of first pulling this country out of the perfectly complete mess the Bush administration has put it, and then charting a course forward which has been many years in the waiting as a result.

Obama has made it clear at least in public that he intends to welcome the disparate opinions because the problems we face are immense and complex, and they require deep thought to consider the many ways to get out of them. A lot of roads exist to drive out of the ditch that single-mindedness got us into, a fair number which have never been driven on before, especially in the current conditions we're in. It takes a driver with the good sense to ask for directions before deciding where to go.

And there's the technique to it politically. My guess is the backroom meetings to come will be pretty fascinating affairs. Not just the sheer ego power that will be in the room during these moments but the approaches to the issues they'll address, and the need to consider how it will all interact with the new landscape in Congress.

Cases in point, back to Hillary and Joe the Schmuck. Contrary to what I thought in my last blog, as I write this one, it appears that Hillary will accept the job of Secretary of State. As an advisor, she will jockey for position with Joe Biden, Jim Jones, and no doubt John Kerry in the Senate who will be filling Biden's former post as head of the Foreign Relations Committee, among many others from defense to commerce and energy (not yet named but can you intone the magic words "Al Gore"?). I can't imagine at this point that she thinks she can get away with the shenanigans that all in the MSM are already looking forward to. She will be the prime public standard bearer for the administration's policies --- the Obama administration.

The arguing and posturing and representing one's own interests and agenda happens inside the conference room. Each player must represent their position fiercely at that time. But once the boss makes the decision, the arguing ends and fierce representation of that position rules all. I suspect that the first person who strays very far from the party line on such matters will get slapped down pretty quickly. The first time the rebuke may be made not too publicly but after that it's the Obama hammer (probably in the person of Rahm Emanuel). Hillary will seek to establish her bona fides as a team player fast to cool down the speculation of her as a loose canon. My problems with her are not really of that sort. I think she will have some problems managing her own department squabbles but when she's told what to do, is as disciplined as they come. Off-message Bill is another story altogether and I hope one that remains in a niche of his own ongoing creation. If I'm right and she toes the line, I just hope the MSM gets on to other subjects and seeks conflict and controversy elsewhere. I'm really tired of the Clinton circus.

Unless Franken wins in Minnesota and Martin wins in Georgia, Joe the Schmuck is Obama's chew toy. Unless he is the 60th vote, Joe the Schmuck will be tested time and again to show he really is with the democrats as a vote and possibly even a voice in strong support of just about anything the administration wants. If he is not a reliable supporter now, there will be no further reason to allow him to stay in his positions of influence on committees or even nominally in the party. Time to dance Joe the Schmuck, and you ain't leadin'.

So for now, Obama appears to be forgiving and is the big man in every way. To some on the religious right I hope it gives the appearance that positive Christian principles are in play. To me though it still looks like a martial art where all opponents are invited to expose themselves before the master decides whether to dance or discard at will. Forgiveness lasts as long as one behaves in a forgivable manner. Rivals are not rivals anymore. These politicians are all Americans and have to chart a positive path or we will be doomed slide into our own manufactured oblivion. I remain optimistic that these characters know the difference between campaigning and governing in ways the Rovian Republicans never did.

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