There’s a famous, if facetious, conjecture in mathematics that every person on earth is connected to every other person by a chain of fewer than five “I know x” links. So, for example, I know a guy who knows a guy who knows Bill Clinton, would be a connection between Bill Clinton and I that is a chain of three links.
In the era of the internet, that has significant implications, for it means that an idea can be spread almost instantly, for, by the connection just suggested, if even those who frequent this obscure blog forwarded the following suggestion to their mailing list, then the idea would be virtually, if not literally, “in the lap” of Barack Obama. So, why not forward it? Anyway, it’s my topic du jour.
Why Barack Obama
Will Almost Certainly Lose;
But Also How He Can Win the 2008 Election
In The Next Eight Months
Mr. Obama is in an absolutely unique position at the perfect time to be there. A virtual unknown, he is considered a front runner for the Democratic Party’s nomination to be the President at a time when the current Republican leadership is being exposed for the elitist sociopaths they are.
But he has little real chance of winning the Democratic nomination, and, in fact, his candidacy is the great white hope of those very Republican elites. Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, Richard Pearl, and the rest of the autocratic leadership of the right wing presently in charge of the G.O.P. can hardly restrain themselves from wringing their hands in glee at the young black’s announcement of his intention to take Hillary to the mat. There’s nothing they relish more than a good fight amongst the Democrats.
Here are the factors that make them so happy to see Obama in the race. He’s black, but not black enough to get anyone’s serious attention on that account. That way you can count on the resistance of every closet racist on the white side of the demographic, and yet not have to address the issue head on. Plus, if you can find a politically correct way of attacking him, you should be able to enlist resistance from everyone in the country who is a bit reluctant to vote for a black candidate in a country traditionally controlled by whites on the legitimate worry that he’ll be frustrated by the establishment.
Barack is a primo target in that regard: the guy is hardly wet behind the ears. There is no better target than a wall, and the lack of record is a wall of unknown. Hillary will slaughter him in the primaries, but she’ll be painted as a raving bitch in the doing of it, and the Republicans will, almost miraculously, be in a powerful position coming out of the primary season. The Democrats are their own worst enemy. That’s wisdom you can bank on.
Obama might change the situation by turning his weaknesses into strengths. And if he can do it at all, he will have won the election of 2008 by the conduct of his primary campaign of 2007. The trick will be in taking advantage of his lack of record to define himself now, while he has both the stage and the ability to do it. Here’s how:
First: the War. Obama must turn the debate to an attack on the War Powers Act itself, not just on the war. America has not won a war since it stopped declaring them with an act of Congress. They haven’t done that since 1941. America has to stop playing at war.
Barack can, and should, take a strong personal stand against the war, but his real positioning has to be against half-way war. He should declare that he will take a proposal of declaration of war in Iraq to Congress as his first act as President. He can do so fully supporting its defeat without being wishy-washy on defense. He position is simple: He opposes the war and if, as he hopes, the resolution is defeated, he will immediately withdraw forces leaving the middle east to self destruct if it wishes.
But if it is the will of the people’s representatives that America stay in Iraq by declaring war, then
Barack’s position should be equally clear and up front: America will no longer approach the fight as Mr. Niceguy. In the presence of a Declaration of War, Obama should promise a universal draft–no exemptions save what we saw in WW II–rationing at home, and full occupation of Iraq with brutal, if necessary, measures to eliminate violence in that country. The commitment should be to a tank on every corner, all day and night every day and night, no mercy for insurgents caught in the act, and commitment to an occupation that will last until stability and infrastructure allow for a gradual transition to a democratic government, almost certainly no sooner than in a decade or so. The cost will be huge, no doubt about it. But it’s the only way progress can be made if we stay. And besides, the cost would be a better investment than the huge drain on the treasury we’re already seeing going straight to Haliburton and company with no results whatsoever (except for a lot of Cheney’s good old boys getting richer still).
Let the people’s representatives decide. Up or down. Either we’re in or we’re out. Obama’s position should be “let’s get out.” But if the Congress says we should stay, then it’s, “Sorry it’s come to this. America f-worded up in starting it. Sorry. But that’s over. Now we’re going to put a stop to it.” But no more half–assed wars.
With that as a campaign bulwark, Obama can couch every issue as a call for real decision and real commitment as a nation to executing on our decisions/commitments.
America knows, after the partisan infighting of the last thirty years, that we have to unite. Nothing about the idea of unity implies that people can’t, or shouldn’t, have strong positions going into a debate. And every question from health care to abortion to the environment to access to public lands to social security boils down to exactly that. Debate. Open Debate. Fight it out amongst ourselves in the houses of our Representatives. Keep the questions simple. Cut out the power of the manipulators in Congress by democratizing it: let everyone have their say (within reasonable time constraints). Reach resolution. Whatever happened to Roberts and his famous rules, anyway? (Congress doesn’t follow them, you know.)
But on every issue, once the debate has run its course, the whole idea of democracy is that we all go along with the vote. That this proposition has come to be challenged is, I think, a function of the bosses having manipulated the debates, distorted the questions, and deceived the country. It’s the cheating that’s undermined the willingness to go along with the majority rule.
America needs to regain a sense of self as a united entity, and Obama can be President of the United States if he runs on that platform, for, as a newcomer, he can credibly make the case.
Oh, one other thing: Democrats have to be able to learn a thing or two from geniuses, even when they are as evil as a Karl Rove. Obama mustn’t make the mistake both Kerry and Dean did of backing down from something. Once it’s out of the mouth, it’s what you really meant to say. Dean would be President today had he responded to the critique of his famous growl/howl with an even more emphatic growl/howl.