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January 06, 2008


farmer mark

Thank you, Mr. Bustard, for noting this little flap on health care. It echoed a similar disingenuous one in the Republican debate, where Mitt Romney would not own up to the penalties built into Massachusetts's health coverage mandate. To be fully fair, you might also note a fundamental disingenuousness in Hillary's own health plan, which embraces the Massachusetts model and somehow pretends that you can achieve universality without a substantial additional expenditure of public money.

I share your love of the democratic field, finding myself uncharacteristically undecided still among the big three. (I've gotten too old to throw my vote to the truly principled Kucinich when the choice among the 3 is so important and the vegan DK refuses to eat any of the animals I work so hard to raise). But I must confess, part of the reason for my indecision is my looming sense that each of the big three has some big negatives. Edwards's rhetorical dedication to the poor and powerless is invigorating, but I mistrust his trial lawyer pseudo-sincerity and manipulation of the facts, and don't see a particularly principled record reflecting that rhetoric from when he was a pretty centrist Senator. I love that Hillary has balls and is so smart (she, like Bill, seems always able to see the micro in the context of the macro) but remember all the triangulation, some of it baldly unprincipled and harmful, of the Clinton years and see her as perfectly capable of repeats. And the truly principled public life Obama has led is fading for me when viewed beside his new soaring rhetoric. He is appearing increasingly packaged, cautious, and caught up in being the next beloved JFK, and he now seems to be avoiding substance altogether. Will he be so intent on being the uniter and a pathbreaker to a new politics that he sells out the principles? I want his election to be a means, but right now he is giving me the impression it is the end.

The weekend NH debate made me respect Clinton more and Obama and Edwards somewhat less -- my internal polling went from Barack holding an edge to neck and neck Clinton and Obama. And I regretted that none of these three divas could ever be a team with either of the others, so that we combine their strengths and counterbalance their weaknesses. The comfort is how much better any of them would be than what we have now.


Very, very smart Mr Farmer - last night Andrew Sullivan was arguing that the inauguration of Obama was sufficient to change the world. God Help Us!

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