Friday, December 11, 2009

"As a demonstration of governing ability"

Here's the full line, from BTD: "As a demonstration of governing ability, Democrats have pretty much failed when it comes to the health insurance issue, no matter the end result."

Yep. But there's no need for the dependent clause. It's not just with regard to health insurance. It turns out that 11-dimensional chess is antithetical to governing... that it's only about electoral tactics (pun on "electoral" intended). There's no important respect in which the Precious has demonstrated the capacity to govern. And absent that capacity at the top, the collective governing capability of the Party is modest, to be generous.

Having said that, I am not pessimistic about the Democratic Party's prospects for the next decade. They'll move past their current cult-like coup de craze, and become an actual political party again. Yes, they'll probably get a bit of a cold bucket in 2010, but that won't make a Republican electable as President in 2012. And I think the Democrats will gradually, in fits and starts, continue their generation-long crawl back toward a capacity to govern.

The most interesting thing to me, political-leader-wise, is Hillary's position. I think she's holding a remarkable hand. If/when it becomes obvious to a majority of Americans that Barack Obama is Jimmy Carter II -- i.e., a flop as president -- she's got two options: She can either resign from the Administration over some matter of principle -- and ipso facto become the presumptive nominee (doing to this one-term Carter what Teddy couldn't do to the first one) -- or she can choose to ensure his re-election by accepting his desperate plea to run with him as Veep in 2012... and then get elected President on her own in 2016.

The decision, I think, is hers. Her Q rating has done nothing but continue its upward trajectory since her transformational primary campaign, and I see no reason why that should stop. It's quite remarkable how little shit has landed on her shoes from the leadership failure of this Administration. During the 2008 campaign, she grew beyond her already impressive persona and meaning. She entered uncharted territory for a woman in American politics. And I think she has the option of mapping and settling that territory in a wide variety of ways.

Of course, she may not want to. She may actually have moved past all this... may have found an existential center of peace and strength in her life that frees her from the need to grab for the brass ring. She may have evolved past all of us, to a place where actual expertise, smarts and self-knowledge rule, and where the person who possesses them in superior quantities can have a significant (perhaps sufficient) impact on the world, independent of power relationships and institutions.

In other words, she may no longer need to run, to win, to get others' validation. But it's up to her. Hillary's choice.

3 comments:

G. said...

I think it would be a disaster for her to be Obama's vice president. As SoS, she has been able to steer clear of his disastrous domestic policies; as VP, she would be selling them—selling us out. At that point, even I (who gave her money last year) wouldn't vote for her.

—g.

Falstaff said...

I just think it's fascinating -- and inspiring -- that she has these options. What woman in American political history has ever been in such a position? Talk about 'choice.'

Re what she will or should do: Remember what she did when she got to the Senate. Trent Lott had jokily wished for her death (like Keith-O some years later), and yet she walked across the room and got him a cup of coffee. This woman is tough, tough, tough. She could make Cheney's uber-VP reign look like a mere warm-up.

G. said...

Yes, good for her. I wish her every success. I was impressed by her ability in the Senate to charm across the aisle.

But I don't want that talent and determination put to use screwing me over, which is what it would be if she were promoting his agenda.

—g.