It’s Wisconsin primary day. I’ve seen poll numbers all over the map, and I’m making no predictions. Given this campaign season, a pretty even split of votes and delegates wouldn’t surprise me.
The biggest significance of Wisconsin (other than the alarming number of mounted trophy fish in the bars) is that if one candidate does end up with a significant lead over the other — or if Clinton does Better Than Expected (BTE) — it will shape the news coverage of the campaign going forward. The Big Mo, and all that. In particular, if Clinton does BTE, some probably will credit the plagiarism charge against Obama by her campaign made yesterday. See James Fallows for why the charge is so bogus and might even backfire.
On the other hand, Clinton’s plan to deal with the mortgage crisis is being ridiculed by the free-market guys, which means it’s probably very good.
And Jeff Fecke finds a good reason to oppose Obama — Ann Althouse is voting for him. That does give one pause.
Fecke also writes,
There are good reasons to support Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and good reasons to oppose them. Both candidates are flawed, and both candidates are nevertheless far better than the average Democratic candidate over the past forty-odd years.
I think reactions to Obama and Clinton often say more about the person doing the reacting than the candidate themselves. If you see in Barack Obama the Second Coming of Kennedy, Jesus, and/or Lincoln, you’re probably Andrew Sullivan or Ann Althouse — someone desperately hoping that a lone figure “unity” to our country, despite all evidence to the contrary. Similarly, if you see in Hillary Clinton the second coming of Richard Nixon, well, you’re a credulous fool who’s been suckered by Richard Mellon Scafie.
I have argued before that one person, even a POTUS, cannot heal the nation’s sick political culture. But I believe healing the nation’s sick political culture is not only possible (although not easy), I think the life of our nation depends on it. That healing will take a movement, an overwhelming crush of public opinion that will chase the wingnuts back under their rocks. I think Obama gets that; I don’t believe Clinton does.
Second, I certainly don’t see Hillary Clinton as the Second Coming of Richard Nixon. However, as Russ Wellen says,
Were Hillaryâ€™s vote for the resolution authorizing the invasion of Iraq her only flagrant foreign policy misstep, we might be inclined to overlook it. But she not only supported it, she was the only Democrat to accept all of the Bush administrationâ€™s claims at face value. …
… Hillary also supported military aid, including missiles capable of being nuclear weaponized, to countries like Israel, Pakistan, and India, all of which had failed to sign the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. At Foreign Policy in Focus, Stephen Zunes compiles the whole dismaying chronicle of her martial heart as a presidential advisor and as a senator.
But weâ€™d be remiss if we failed to single out two instances in which Hillaryâ€™s overcompensating to prove herself tough on defense went well beyond the bounds of decency. One, she refused to support the international treaty to ban land mines. Two, she voted down a Democratic resolution restricting U.S. exports of cluster bombs to countries using them against areas populated with civilians.
One doesn’t have to be duped by Richard Mellon Scafie to find that worrisome.