Sunday, June 01, 2008

What Makes Clinton Run

There are two fairly obvious emotional engines driving Senator Clinton’s continued scramble for her party’s nomination: She desperately wants the job and she fervently believes that Senator Obama can’t beat McCain.

Only a political naïf would fault her for wanting the job and devoting herself passionately to its pursuit. If you don’t believe you deserve to be President, if that desire isn’t the hot center of your emotional life then you probably shouldn’t run. Passionate ambition is the sine qua non of a political life.

The Clinton problem, however, (and the reason so many people dislike her without being able to quite say why) is that her ambition is so painfully obvious. We much prefer our candidates to appear at least a little reluctant to shoulder the awful burdens of public service---but willing to do it, of course, out of devotion to the public welfare and as the result of a great spontaneous groundswell. Oh, Yeah.

On the question of Obama’s ability to beat McCain I can only comment that he was able enough to beat one of the cleverest political families of recent times. In my judgment he will be more than able to handle McCain.

Did the Clintons misjudge how good a politician Obama is? You bet. Far from being some sort of misty-eyed novice dreaming an impossible dream he was (and is) a political street fighter and community organizer trained up by some of the wiliest attack dogs in Chicago Democratic politics.

It makes those of us who learned our politics in the Chicago wards of the Daley organization smile .

For a revealing backgrounder on Obama click here.

No comments: