Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Onto the blogroll

My friend and former colleague Melissa Harris, a political scientist at Princeton, has had a "Bloggin' In page for a few years that has the "Ceci n'est pas un pipe"-esque motto "I don't blog... but if I did, here is what I would blog about..." And for a long time she basically didn't blog on it, so it didn't occur to me to add her to the blogroll.

Now I see via aufheben that she's blogging up a storm with very smart commentary on Obama, race, gender, and the primaries. Recommended, and onto the blogroll she goes.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Brief thoughts on the Democratic race

1) John Edwards inspires in me a great desire to smack him whenever he opens his good ole' mouth. I wanted to smack him twice when he maintained that his electability argument ('vote for me because I can campaign in rural areas not just in big cities') had "nothing to do with race and gender." And I cheered Clinton when she went after him about his self-righteous "lobbyist" shtick, and when she noted that trial lawyers are a special interest, too.

2) I'm a little surprised at how many people are shocked (shocked!) that Bill "we'll just have to win, then" Clinton is a dirty fighter on the campaign trail who may not always be entirely truthful. I mean, I guess that I understand why progressives don't remember the events of 1994-8 as Clinton fighting dirty, relentlessly savaging Congressional Republicans, Ken Starr, and Monica Lewinsky. And I share in the general retrospective sense that Clinton was a much better President than I realized at the time.

But does no one else remember the brutal, scorched-earth, deceptive victory Clinton won over Paul Tsongas in the 1992 Florida primary? To the degree that Barack Obama is this year's nice-guy good-government intellectual progressive reformist in the Adlai Stevenson model he's in trouble-- because one of the very first things Bill Clinton learned in presidential politics was how to eat a candidate like that for lunch, with none too many scruples about truthfulness.