"Well, now the fun part starts," Hillary Clinton has now said. "We're into the last month, and we're going to start drawing a contrast, because I want every Iowan to have accurate information when they make their decisions."
Hillary's definition of "fun" strikes me as going to the heart of why her candidacy is about the continuation of the same, dysfunctional political system we know doesn't work... and NOT about change.
Despite her claim that "If change is what you want, I'm your..." (I can't find the exact reference to how she completed that statement. Can anyone?)... her apparently non-focus group tested statement that "drawing a contrast" with Senator Obama is something she will enjoy proves what should have been obvious to everyone already. She has lived the "politics as permanent campaign... as permanent combat" life for so long, she actually enjoys it. "Combat" is part of who she is. And combat is what we will get if she becomes president.
Am I saying that fighting for what you believe in is wrong? No! When attacked, you have to stand up for what you believe in.
However, what I'm saying is that fighting should not be something you enjoy. It should be something you seek to avoid where possible, because you know that the long term effect is that you only wind up having to rebuild what you've torn down later.... that is, if you have any interest in being the president of all the people.
That's why you never hear George Bush apologize... and why, in one of the strangest little comments from the podium I've heard, White House Press Secretary Dana Perino recently said "President Bush doesn't hold a grudge" when someone asked her how Bush felt about Al Gore visiting The White House recently. Bush not hold a grudge? Why would he? Because Gore didn't just roll over and give him Florida in 2000 without a fight? What an amazing - but not surprising - display of arrogance. Bush is quite happy being president of half of the American people. And those who work for him display that "We couldn't care less about the other side" attitude every chance they get.
But back to Hillary "now the fun part starts" Clinton...
Do you honestly think that she has the ability to give up - for real - the battle she's been waging all these years and suddenly become the great healer of America's socio-political culture?
Oh sure, she's built little bridges across the divide... like her support for a Bill to ban flag burning. But if she had it in her to transform politics to the extent that Senator Obama is capable of doing, I think she'd have made that the centerpiece of her campaign. And I'm sorry, but "Elect the first woman president" has nothing to do with bringing America together. It's actually just a variation on the politics of pitting one segment of society against another.
"Now the fun starts". How I wish Hillary really understood what could really make the campaign that still has nearly a year to go fun.
In a campaign where Hillary even answered a debate question about fixing our nation's infrastructure by saying that we need well-maintained roads and bridges in order to improve security against terrorist attacks (What???), here's what would really start the fun part:
How about a campaign that is about a president who leads America to achieve something even greater than a basic survival issue such as health care for all?
How about a president who taps into the brilliance that is American ingenuity and launches our nation on a program to lead all the nations on Earth to the achievement of some great cause... like the Millennium Development Goals... or - beyond the MDGs - eliminating AIDS (not just reducing how many are afflicted)... or - my personal favorite - treating the issue of War and Peace as a global, systemic problem (not a collection of separate outbreaks of hostilities), which would enable a future American president to lead the world to finally achieve real, honest-to-God peace on Earth?
Yeah, I know, that goal sounds crazy. But only until you've studied the works of the great Systems Thinking masters: Drs. R. Buckminster Fuller, W. Edwards Deming, and Russell L. Ackoff. Then you'd know that what sounds impossible is actually, amazingly enough, quite do-able... and would fit perfectly with Tom Friedman's recipe for how to end terrorism: by having Hope win the battle with Fear for which emotion will control the fundamental design principles that create our future.
Not having any shares in Halliburton, I'm like Tom Friedman - someone who would like Hope to beat Fear. (See, Hillary, there's a contrast worth pointing out to people.) Fear is close to winning too, if you believe the financial trends that Naomi Klein recently reported.
But it's not too late. American can be called, once again, as President Kennedy said, to choose to do great things, not because they are easy. But because they are hard."
And here's someone who I think would gladly lend his voice to such a campaign... be it a campaign to bring this spirit to America before the 2008 election or after. He knows what America is capable of, because the space program itself was a defining moment in his life...
So you can all hear exactly how Hillary said what she said, here's the video of her saying it: