Sunday, August 03, 2008

I Write Letters

George Will in the Washington Post with what has become the talking point that Obama is winning but not winning by enough:
But polls taken since his trip abroad do not indicate that Obama succeeded in altering the oddest aspect of this presidential campaign: Measured against his party's surging strength in every region and at every level, he is dramatically underperforming. Surely this fact is related to anxieties about his thin résumé regarding national security matters, the thinnest of any major party nominee since Wendell Willkie in 1940. But the fact also might be related to fatigue from too much of Obama's eloquence, which is beginning to sound formulaic and perfunctory.
I'm not certain how "dramatically underperforming" Sen. Obama is based on how "thin" his resume is "regarding national security matters."  Assuming that is true, I believe this is a yardstick Will reserves only for Obama.  Try as I might, I cannot find anything referring to George W. Bush's national security expertise before he ran for presidential office in 2000.  (If anyone as a link, I'd appreciate it and will make a correction.)  And Obama's opponent?  When did he become the national security cipher and why wasn't he applying his superpowers during Katrina or doesn't national security apply to within as well as without.

But that national security expertise aside, why is it incumbent upon Obama to obliterate?  This is a country of many different people, beliefs and ideas.  Wouldn't it be expected that not everyone in the country feels that he is their preferred candidate?  I won't even go into the "yeah, he's winning but not by enough" trope I keep hearing.  That's a shifty talking point made to try and convince people that their belief in Obama is not wholly justified or acceptable.

The whole of Will's Op-Ed piece is complaining about Obama's ability to publicly speak in coherent sentences and inspirational themes.  No slacker in the using 10 words when 7 will do arena, I would think Will would pick on something else.  Is his bar set so very low by the mundane expression of the existing President that he considers Obama completing a thought high-minded?

And, again, I will refer to the underlying current of envy present in all of these conservative Messrs. Ed sent out to shore up Sen. McCain's candidacy by superficially criticizing Obama.

Will's final paragraph:
Swift and sweeping changes are almost always calamitous consequences of calamities -- often of wars, sometimes of people determined to "remake the world." Wise voters -- polls might be telling us that there are more of them than Obama imagines -- hanker for candidates whose principal promise is that they will do their best to muddle through without breaking too much crockery.
I cannot express how irritated I was by this paragraph.  So as evidenced by the past 8 years banality is best?  Mediocrity works?  Breaking crockery is a no no, but setting lives asunder with no clear design is okay?

Wild hair?  Up my ass wriggling like a Slinky.  I write:
What is most disheartening about this op-ed is the same thing that is depressing about all of the essays criticizing Sen. Obama's expressions of what he wishes to bring about. They try to make me feel guilty for believing my country can do better, much better, than it has done these last years. To suggest that any president elected merely must tread water to be successful is insulting not just to me as an American but to both candidates.

Doing just good enough is for pundits too entrenched in their own ideology to venture to excellence by using their craft to actually elevate the discussion instead of snarking with half-truths and obviously envious talking points. Doing just good enough leads countries to ill-advised wars with the military they have. Doing just good enough mires us all in mediocrity. Yet doing just good enough seems to be the course Mr. Will advises for the next president.

I think we can do much much better than that and none of us should expect anything less.

Look here. I'm sick to death of picking apart both candidates with shallow purpose. My support is evident and I feel my preferred candidate is up to the task. But so might be the other if he would stop listening to those who would advise that he be just good enough.
On an interesting note, as I wrote this letter I flashed back to my mother speaking about how if I only applied myself, I could get all A's in third grade.  Just doing good enough wasn't good enough, she implied.  Apparently, for George Will, it is.

1 comment:

  1. phoebe8:03 PM

    Hear! Hear! (Or, is that: Here! Here!) Anyway, you said it sister!