Will 2008 finish what 1968 began?

The new year is barely a week old and already it is fraught with drama – and tears. (Hello – I predicted the tears):

What I dread most in this political season is the “genuine” moment – and it is coming, soon, sometime between today and tomorrow, or tomorrow and New Hampshire – when Mrs. Clinton, in her ongoing effort to turn herself into whatever the polls says she must be, cries in public. It’s going to be genuinely ghastly.

Political crying never used to work – ask Ed Muskie and Pat Schroeder. But in an Oprah age, it may have it’s charms for some.

I have three thoughts today:

1) A week into January and already we are watching the sensational, major collapse of “the inevitable candidate,” and it comes not via a grand “vast conspiracy” but via a simple caucus of midwestern “little people,” who live in the much-derided “flyover country” between the coastal corridors of power. You know who those “flyover” folks are – they’re the cornpone, white-bread, unsophisticated yokels and naive believers of endless caricature. Thanks to their “naive” belief in the election process, they actually believed they could walk off the heavily fortified Clinton plantation, and they did it. And in doing so, they’ve essentially given permission to other people in other states to walk away, too.

Unthinkable. Done. These same people went and walked over to the Obama side, and suddenly the semi-interesting idea of a female president was supplanted by the truly exciting idea of an exotic fellow with a Kenyan father, a caucasian mother, a Muslim name and a childhood spent in Indonesia. Oh, and he was precocious enough as a kid to write a kindergarten essay detailing his presidential ambitions!

I said the other day that Obama was the “Moses of the Democrat party” leading the Democrats out of captivity. But it cannot be said enough that the people of Iowa made that possible by just standing up and doing the deed. On the night of the Iowa caucus, aggravated by this fellow Huckabee, and feeling a case of the cranks I asked, Does Iowa Really Mean Anything?.

It’s baloney. It’s hype. Iowa doesn’t mean anything, and I’m not convinced it ever has, but it’s been a very long (too long) election season and we’ve got 11 months to go, so Iowa has been pimped and played up as the be-all-and-end all – the staggeringly important end to the beginning of election ‘08.

But previous presidents have lost in Iowa, and previous Iowa winners have seen the national ticket elude them, so let’s not overthink Iowa or lose perspective. Iowa is fun-n-games for political junkies and an amusing diversion in the months when fields lie resting – but I am not convinced it “means” much at all.

The answer is, “yes.
Iowa means a great deal. So does New Hampshire. So does every state and every community.” Lesson learned. I may be a hotheaded Irishwoman, but when I’m wrong, I don’t mind admitting it. For now, Obama is saying all the right things. He’s tapping into the nation’s need to feel united and hopeful again – and he’s the only one who seems to be doing it. When the first blush of this infatuation is over, and when (if) Obama’s ideas, positions, remarks and connections are allowed closer scrutiny, we’ll see how it goes.

2) Barely registering on our awareness, amidst all this Clinton/Obama drama and the seeming end of the Clinton stranglehold on American politics, President Bush is heading to the Middle East under stated threat. I’ll share some thoughts on that later, or tomorrow.

3) I have a feeling 2008 is going to be as surprising, dramatic and disorienting as 1968. For those who feel the world has been upside down since then – well…who the hell knows? Maybe the world is “re-orienting.” Or not. In any case, I think we’re in for a hell of a ride – a year where experts will be stymied and “predictions” will be for naught. Anticipate high drama and lots of surprises, and whatever you do, don’t listen to the press – they really have no idea – they’re just going to continue to talk as if they do…because that’s what they’re paid to do.

The year has just begun, and the games of 2008 are in deep mid-play. It ain’t over ’til it’s over.

Mildly Related:
Assassination Obsessives.

A few random story links:

Obama, Clinton and Edwards all agree that the United States has the right to go after terrorist leader Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan without first obtaining permission from the government in power. Ummm…wasn’t President Bush called “arrogant” for suggesting that the US is sovereign and did not need the UN’s permission to protect her interests? And ummm…how can we go after bin Laden like that if…we won’t be listening in on phone calls, or anything? Just wondering!

Impeach Him? Hey, Impeach You! – Don Surber responds to McGovern.

Why should Denzel Washington or Sean John or Jay-Z be expected to pony up dough for Obama? Just because they’re black? Isn’t that kind of a broad and strange idea? That’s like saying I should send money to McCain just because I’m Irish. That would be really dumb.

Chris Muir is rattling the tin cup.

Is Iran bothering our ships?

An American of Papal mettle?

Kyoto a snow job?

Bookworm on the left and death

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • http://americandigest.org vanderleun

    I saw them standing on a corner
    Bathed in ordinary light
    They turned away and started walkin’
    And faded off into the night
    Some years ago they were in fashion
    Tonight they couldn’t get a seat
    They’ve got themselves a brand new history
    From Revisionism Street
    Written on Revisionism Street

    The years of sacrifice and struggle
    The arc of stardom’s natural course
    The inevitable decline
    The wolves waiting at the door…..

    Bob Seger, Revisionism Street

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  • gs

    Anchoress, congratulations on an inspired call.

    “Political crying never used to work – ask Ed Muskie and Pat Schroeder. But in an Oprah age, it may have it’s charms for some.” Yes, that’s a concern. For example, some voters were influenced by Algore kissing Tipper at the 2000 convention.

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  • stephanie

    Umm, anchoress? Not to ruin your monologue, here, but many of us did not need “rescuing” from Hilary. I was for Obama long before the Iowa caucus. I went to an informal caucus here in Washington State a couple nights before Iowa- Hilary came in 4th or so, I believe. I think the media thought she had more support than she really ever did.

  • http://edwardcropper.blogspot.com/ edward cropper

    Iowa means nothing, Obama being elected means nothing,
    Huckabee means nothing, Hillary being dumped , if she is indeed dumped also means nothing.
    The only thing that matters is that the U.S.A has potentially lost it’s soul and spiritual way and apart from that nothing really matters.
    Do anyone really think an empty suit like Obama can do anything for his country? A man who has said absolutely nothing of any substance, because he doesn’t have any substance.
    Yet all the corrupted dead in politics and the press are expecting the second coming.
    Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people. we have sowed to the wind now we will experience the whirlwind.

  • Bender B. Rodriguez

    Why should Denzel Washington or Sean John or Jay-Z be expected to pony up dough for Obama? Just because they’re black?

    There was a saying that Reagan used on more than a couple of occasions — “If not now, when? If not us, who?”

    If Obama does not get the nomination, how long will folks have to wait for another opportunity for a Black man to possibly become president? When will there be another chance to put the nation’s long history of racial antagonism further to rest? Ten years? Twenty years? Thirty years? And if someone else does come along down the road, are they going to look for excuses to not support him or her as well, so that they can continue to play the racial victim card?

    Yes, they should pony up for “one of their own.” Not only one of “their own” in the black community, but one of their own politically, i.e. liberal Democrat (they sure as hell would NEVER support Condi Rice politically). They, and many others, have played the victim merely on account of race, and they have promoted racialist policies — giving preferences to persons merely on account of race — and so, by their own standard, yes, they are obligated to support him.

    They are obligated to not block the way and, by their nonsupport, insist that folks stay on the plantation.

  • gcotharn

    nice call.

  • Sigmund Carl and Alfred

    How utterly perfect is the reference to 1968!

    That is the year Simon and Grafunkel released Mr Robinson- “Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?
    Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you, woo woo woo
    What’s that you say, Mrs. Robinson?
    Joltin’ Joe has left and gone away, hey hey hey
    Hey hey hey…”

    Yup, like the man said, the future was in ‘plastics.’

    Fast forward. There are no more humble heroes, no more ‘team players.’ Now there are only very loud self absorbed plastic narcissists- and as you note, that is why Americans are responding to Obama and along the same lines, to Huckabee. They appear to be ‘real.’

    As I like to remind people, ‘The times, they are a changin.’

  • TheAnchoress

    Steph – of course lots of Dems didn’t need “rescuing” but a lot – like a few of my family members, actually did. They seemed to be living under the misapprehension that they “had” to vote for Hillary – it was “time to elect Hillary.” They’ve been shown that they’re still free! :-)

  • http://www.pal2pal.com/BLOGEE/ Terrye

    I still can not bring myself to commit to a candidate. And I am not a supporter of Huckabee or Obama, but I think they have something in common: They were not the party favorites. Both of them bucked the odds and won.

    I remember reading a post on some comment section before the Iowa caucas saying that Huckabee was done because Rush Limbaugh did not like him. And if Rush did not like a Republican he could not win. I think there are people on both sides of the political divide reacting to the pressure from on high by picking the guy they are not supposed to pick.

    But the difference here, I think Huckabee will probably fade, I am not so sure about Obama. I don’t agree with his politics, I think he is naive to the point of silliness on foreign affairs, but even I want to believe the man. There is just something about him.

  • TheAnchoress

    Terrye – I don’t have a firm choice yet, either, and I think that’s okay…still lots of time – lots of things are going to happen, fortunes raised and lowered. Like you, I think some of the conservative establishment are going to be surprised into changing their game plans or losing influence. And that’s probably a good thing.

    I dislike Huckabee…there is just “something about him” that keeps me disbelieving, but I think the candidates are discovering that people are sick to death of the hyperpartisan, “the enemy is the other American over there who disagrees with me,” nonsense. A few days ago I wrote that Bush never misidentified the enemy as “our other countrymen” and it’s time for more politicians to be that way…perhaps.

    Obama is certainly charismatic and he’s a good orator – we’ve missed good oration. Bush only had a few really GREAT speeches, and his delivery, well…

    And Clinton, for all that he was called the greatest thing since white bread, never delivered a “great” speech.” He’s folksy and a good communicator, but not an orator.

    I can see the attraction and I think he’s probably a good man. But I hope the press actually looks at the man and his positions and doesn’t just stand in front of him, protecting him. He can’t be perfect.

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  • https://self-evident.org/ nemo

    The Muskie tears (snowflakes?) incident was in 1972, not 1968.

    Or were you aiming for some other reference with that year?

  • TheAnchoress

    I didn’t say Muskie cried in ’68. And Schroeder cried later than that. I simply said their tears were not well received.

    If I have to explain further than I did my referencing a dramatic, historic and unpredictable year like ’68 to 08, then I must be a very bad writer. I’ll try to do better.

  • https://self-evident.org/ nemo

    Well, you did not actually explain at all. And some of your readers might be slow like me and have trouble making sense of your title.

    What, precisely, “began” in 1968 that 2008 could “finish”? Just wondering.

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  • Bender B. Rodriguez

    From a purely objective perspective it is still WAY TOO EARLY to be committing to any particular candidate, even if not too early to definitively oppose some. The best thing that could happen for the process is that there are different winners of the various Republican primaries and that candidates have the guts to stick with it, rather than quiting after the whiff of a vote, so that there is no nominee until May or June. (The best thing that could happen for the Dems and for the country would be to end the Clinton madness as quickly as possible.)

    Again, it is way too early, as Hillary has discovered to her dismay. She peaked eight months into her run, which is about an average peak time, but since she started so early, that was more than a year before the election! And it is only downhill from there. Anyone who was going to support her has been there and done that. She has peaked, she cannot go up, only down.

    The same thing will happen with the Republican nominee if he is selected too early (and it will certainly happen to Obama too). We are going to be sick and tired of whoever gets the nod too early.

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  • TheAnchoress

    Nemo – I never implied that you were “slow,” please don’t put words in my mouth. What I said was I must have written the thing badly. You don’t read here regularly, I don’t think, or you’d know I meant it.

    As to your question: An era of peculiar and noteworthy construction/deconstruction, wherein cultural conventions were discarded at a stunning pace and replaced with things less dependable and more changeable.

    What did you think I meant? :-)

  • Rip

    Nobody said that we wouldn’t be listening in on phone calls. The question is whether or not we listen in on domestic calls without a warrant. Overseas calls are universally agreed to be fair game, and the procedure to gain warrants for domestic calls isn’t onerous.

  • TheAnchoress

    Hey, nemo, you’re correct – rereading, I see that I was not as explicit in expressing my thoughts as I’d believed. I think I believed that some of the stuff in my “Assassination Obsessed” post was included in this one. So, you’re correct, I was less than clear. And slow!

    Forgive me, I have teenagers!

  • Tobias2012

    Hey Anchoress, or the mystical Anchoress of the blogosphere, you getting well deserved respect for this prediction. I commented at HotAir Headlines section, on what an insightful blogger you are. Your personal Epiphany came a little early this year. God Bless.

  • newton

    Great call, Anchoress!

    I should add one thing to it. Let’s add a song to Hillary’s crocodile tears… “The Crying Game”, perhaps? ;)

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  • http://none Darrell

    “Days of Rage” to “Days of Beige.”

    Maybe Hillary should have pulled her Che beret and t-shirt out of her purse to show voters that unlike Obama, she is not trying to hide her leanings. . .

    Tears? We’ll all have them if any of the current crop Dems get near the White House again. If you want to give something back, just stay away. Please.

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