What Clinton understood, and Obama doesn’t, is that politics is about people. And that politics is nothing without people. 400 glowing articles don’t compare to what people are feeling when they’re unemployed, when they’re not sure how they’ll make payroll next month and when they sit toting up the numbers late at night and worrying about the future.
Obama isn’t so much a machine politician as he is a politician of the machine. A man whose career was made by one machine after another. Smooth gleaming urban monstrosities guiding him from one organization to another, from handshakes to dinners to ballots to signatures. Politics to him is nothing but a power game almost completely detached from the people. They’re spectators, showing up to faint, cheer and buy him drinks afterward.
[snip, but you must read every word of this post; it’s that good]
Clinton, like McCain, underestimated the power of the machine behind Obama. The new world order of digital power, manufactured cult-of-personality media complex and sheer arrogant rule-breaking. Slick Willy had tasted two out of that three in his time, but no one ever worshiped him as a god. And certainly no one was going to faint on listening to his wife or build statues to her. Hillary would not inspire works of art or paeans of praise.
But Bill also had the last laugh. Because gods are not allowed to let you down. Gods are not allowed to keep blaming Bush or the Republicans. They’re not allowed to promise to take care of things later. That’s not what people elect gods for.
There’s no doubt that he saw this coming early on and that in the dregs of his bitterness at losing, not just failing to win, but the humiliation of defeat, he knew that the day would come when the statues would fall. When people would stretch out their hands expecting help… and when it did not come, the hands would clench into fists.
As I was reading this post, I kept flashing back to 0’s 2010 tax cut presser in which President Clinton takes over . . .I wrote about this at the time because I was so amused that President Clinton told 0 to “please go.” So I was prompted, of course, to go back and watch that clip again in light of Greenfield’s insights.
Several things stand out. Note how 0 starts by admitting that when it comes to the economy, Clinton did a better job and then rambles on in typical “erm ugh d’oh” 0 fashion with what he imagines to be lighthearted remarks, and how when President Clinton begins speaking, 0 stands to the side, head tilted up in that grating trademark self-righteous and superior manner. Note, by contrast, how President Clinton is . . . well, there’s no other word for it, genuine. Now we all know he can lie with the best of them, but what Greenfield points out, what 0 can’t comprehend, is that President Clinton is, in many ways, very genuine and even more importantly that people read him as such. It matters.
Next, note how President Clinton tosses out several body blows to Teh Won in the first five minutes. One, he’s genuinely shocked that the President of the United States of America just told a press conference, that he called on the spur of the moment, that he had a party to get to. Two, he admits that he feels “awkward” being there. No way does President Clinton not love it, every single second of it, but the point, of course, is that 0 had to call in back up because he’s weak, ineffectual, and incapable. Three, he notes that he still spends time each day studying our economy. No one believes for one second that 0 spends time . . . well, ever doing that; he’s totally clueless, and we all know it. President Clinton knows it. And he told us he knows it, if not in so many words. Indeed, as President Clinton starts getting into the details of the economy, 0’s head drops, his eyes glaze over . . . he checks out. Totally.
Then he calls 0 a “partisan,” causing a bit of a lip pursing-sneer-snort thing to erupt from our Dear Leader. It was golden. And then, particularly interesting given what has transpired since, President Clinton expresses his support for the 2010 tax cut deal by explicitly stating that he believes in it but “not because of class warfare.” He’s no drooling rube, he has 0’s number, and he’s had it all along. President Clinton saw the class warfare nonsense in the works, and he called it out. At a 0 presser. How freaking priceless is that?
And then, perfectly at ease, totally in command, President Clinton begins taking questions from the press. 0’s disgusted by it and lets it show. But President Clinton is all too happy to accommodate the press (just as he always was); unlike 0 who rarely holds a presser, and when he does, he doesn’t take questions (mostly because he has no idea what’s going on and can’t answer them). President Clinton goes on to demonstrate that he has a better grasp on everything from the economy to START to “green” energy. The absolute best part for me is still at around the 11 minute mark, when President Clinton tells 0 “please go,” but looking back at this, in light of all the recent Clinton maneuvers, is certainly of interest.
I don’t believe for one second that President Clinton doesn’t know exactly what he is doing, including his faux “apology.” Word salad or ” [wink, wink] nudge, nudge”? I’m going with “[wink, wink] nudge, nudge.”