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

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About Elizabeth Scalia