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Two barriers to high office in America have lost traction, thanks to these people. It used to be that being a woman or a black foreclosed the possibility. Now it seems America has begun discarding racism and sexism and, we hope, prejudice and bigotry. The coming weeks may be the most exciting in history as Americans weigh their future in the voting booths. In what follows we weigh what Christopher Hayes (Washington Editor-The Nation) and George Packer (New York Times Staff writer) have to say about Clinton and Obama.

Packer dwells mostly on Clinton, so some important views are missing from Obama's side. Paraphrasing / "quoting" Packer and his quotes by others on Clinton vs Obama:

Clinton Obama
Essentially the same as Obama. Essentially the same as Clinton.
Leadership Style: Micro-manages, pays much attention to detail. High turnover in campaign staff. Supplies vision, energizes the populace. Little turnover in campaign staff.
On themselves Packer quotes Clinton: "I think that the world is only beginning to recognize that women should be permitted the same range of leadership styles that we permit men. I followed with great interest the election of Angela Markel as Germany's first Chancellor." Packer: "Obama offers himself as a catalyst by which disenfranchised Americans can overcome the two decades of vicious partisanship, energize our country, and restore faith in in government."
Issue: View of the Presidency The President is the "chief executive officer who has to be able to manage and run the bureaucracy." Use unifying rhetoric to reach across partisan lines. "...Manage the government so it doesn't manage you." The president's business "involves having a vision for where the country needs to go, and then being able to mobilize and inspire the American people to get behind that agenda for change. ...As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country."
Commentator: Peter Wehner. (Veteran of the Bush Administration Clinton will become a target with "Clinton fatigue" the result. "I find him to be very impressive. He would be much more difficult for the Republicans to handle. He has much more breakout potential." Wehner's only criticism was that Obama is a liberal, which of course applies to Clinton as well.
Commentator: Craig Greg. (Obama campaign advisor, long time Clinton friend and confident.) Doesn't like Clinton's tendency to see conspiracy or an opponent in every corner that must be crushed. He quote's Clinton's statement in Iowa that she would attack Obama's record: "Now the fun starts." "I want a president who is looking to move the country with positive inspirational ideas rather than fight off the bad guys and proclaim victory by defeating the forces of reaction.
Personal Background Read "Living History." You will get a feeling that Clinton wants to impress you. Read "Dreams From My Father."See if he is not asking what you have to offer him?
Commentators quoted by Packer: (John Danner and Nancy Pietrafesa--staff from Arkansas days.) Danner: Clinton "had this binary view of the world, a little like Bush's 'You're with us or you're against us."
Pietrafesa: "Hillary needs enemies."
Packer notes Hillary is stubborn, often refuses to compromise or be forthcoming.
Packer quotes Dee Dee Myers on November After attending McCain's presentation in Salem, NH, she wrote: "Unlike Clinton, he engaged questioners in lengthy back-and-forths that showed he was capable of a respectful disagreement. After hearing Clinton that evening [in Hampton], I thought she might have a hard time beating McCain in November."
Personality / Transparency Keeps her personhood largely concealed, has trouble being forthright. Naturally open, fully at ease with himself.

Christopher Hayes has insights from other angles. For example:

"Neither front-runner is calling for the nation to renounce its decades-old imperial posture, or to end the military-industrial-complex; [neither is saying] that America's suburbs and car culture are not sustainable modes of living in an era of expensive oil or global warming; neither is pointing out that the war on drugs has been a moral disaster and strategic failure, with casualties borne by society's most marginalized and--a word you won't be hearing from either candidate--oppressed. And yet, this election is far more encouraging (dare I say hopeful?) than any in memory. The policy agenda for the Democratic front runners is significantly further to the left on the war, climate change and healthcare than that of John Kerry in 2004. The ideological implosion of conservatism, the failures of the Bush Administration and, perhaps most important, the shifts in public opinion in a leftward direction on war, the economy, civil liberties and civil rights are all coming together at the same time, providing a rare and historic opportunity to elect a President with a progressive majority and an actual mandate for progressive change."

Obama seems ever upbeat. His 6 Mar, 2008, e-mail declares:

"We knew from the day we began this journey that the road would be long. And we knew what we were up against.

We knew that the closer we got to the change we seek, the more we'd see of the politics we're trying to end -- the attacks and distortions that try to distract us from the issues that matter to people's lives, the stunts and the tactics that ask us to fear instead of hope." Obama used the pronoun "we" even though he was talking to "us." A team player and consulter would use phrases like these.

And so it now, 11 Mar '08, we do indeed see politics we're trying to end: Senator Clinton has offered the Veep slot to the person ahead of her in popular votes, delegates and states won. Obama has deftly rejected the offer. From our vantage point, we have to ask: "Do we really want a person so out of touch with political reality in the White House?" To be sure, the race is not over, but Obama has a significant lead and a very strong claim. Clinton's Veep offer looks like desperation.

For the record, we view John McCain as the third-best option in November. Would he be an improvement over the Bush Administration? Yes, hands down, on all matters that count. He would be acceptable. McCain is right of center socially while being properly conservative on all other issues. Only Obama has the worldview so sorely needed in these trying times. In Iraq, McCain would stay longer, probably much longer (maybe two terms if he could), than Clinton, and Clinton would stay longer than Obama.


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