This Week's Featured Op-Ed Column in The Cape Cod Chronicle
Contrary to what some pundits might think, this is a fun time to be a Republican. Or at least that's how I'm feeling. Now I'm not talking about whatever is going on with President Bush or whichever suit is leading whichever minority faction in Congress or the State House. And I'm really not talking about major issues facing the country like war or inflation or recession or stagflation or whatever.
I'm talking simply about the horse races.
There was a lot going on in both parties for quite some time. We had dueling debates in various states around the country. Democrats would meet on CNN's stage one night, and the next it would be the Republicans. It was just a guess as to how many chairs there would be.
I'll admit that I am happy with my party's nominee, John McCain. I supported him back in 2000, and after all that has happened since, I truly wish he had been the President on 9/11. He was just better equipped to do the job at the time.
I'm not saying I don't disagree with him on substantive issues. The issues of a shrinking middle class, stagnating wages for the working poor and generational poverty in America would not have been addressed by the immigration bill his sponsored. But he says that he heard from the American people that they want the border secured first, and says, "I got the message." That's what he says that he'll do first, and I trust him.
And now it is all wrapped up for the GOP. We'll go into St. Paul on Labor Day weekend and it should be an interesting convention.
This will commence just a few days after the Democrat's convention in Denver. And that's what I'm really talking about here: the almost even divide in the party of Jefferson, Jackson, FDR and JFK between the Obamaniacs and the Hillarians. The news channels are loving this, too, because the tortuous prolongation of the contest gives them an easy fallback story on any slow news day. It just keeps going on and on and on...
Its as if the Red Sox clinched the pennant early in season, and now even our bat boy is glued to a broadcast of a Mets-Cubs slugfest. Sure, we're watching, partly because we feel like we've heard much of this before.
Again, I'm not talking substance. I'm talking about the Clintons.
It is with great delight that I hear Democrats complaining about the Clinton campaign. I tell them, "This is what we went through for eight years. Being talked to like we were misguided fools, hysterical over nothing, and finally having to debate the meaning of the word 'is'."
What the real problem with the Clintons, clearly in evidence this primary season, is that they are so good at spin that it seems that's all there is. It is more about playing the game than actually doing anything -- anything more than remaining in power. And there seems to be a near-pathological aversion to admitting mistakes. It is an innate lawyerlyness that, by demonstrating skill at arguing any side of an issue to their advantage, shows the motivation is not about issues, or the public good, or even ideology, but rather personal ambition (singular) of Bill and Hillary Clinton.
Thus, the Democratic party seems to have broken down between those who say, "Well, that's how the game is played, and if the Clintons play it better than anyone else, then they should have it?", and those who say, "But that's not why I vote from someone."
At least, that's the way it strikes me, from the outside of it all. As Republican, I hope Hillary Clinton is the nominee. Poll after poll show she's a weaker candidate against John McCain. Her supporters should not delude themselves. After the past few months, not one Obama supporter I've spoken to is willing to vote for Hillary Clinton in November. They're now as sick of a Clinton dynasty as they were of the Bush dynasty.
And while Obama Democrats do say nice things about John McCain, they don't actually need to show up on Election Day for him. More than likely, many will be so disenchanted that they will go back to doing what they have done previously, and stay home. While this would help my candidate, it would be un-American to rejoice at victory won by the disillusionment of so many.
What this primary season has managed to accomplish, then, has been to up-end the normal processes and see the establishment, the orthodox, react -- often badly -- to a challenge. The GOP got it done first, but the show goes on across the street.
In this interregnum, Republicans can commiserate with at least half the Democrats in the country about their adversaries, Clintons. We feel your pain -- and we try not to smile.
Photo credits: 1) McCain Campaign, 2) Obama Campaign, 3) Clinton Campaign, 4) Diana Walker
Read Andy's other columns at this blog or at The Cape Cod Chronicle.