Saturday, January 26, 2008

# Posted 7:55 AM by Ariel David Adesnik  

HILLARY, OBAMA AND THE LIBERAL IDENTITY CRISIS: The Clintons are pouring it on full throttle in their effort to stop Obama, which poses a very interesting question for liberals. For more than a generation, liberals have seen themselves as the victims of ruthless and deceptive Republicans. That's how it was under Nixon, under Reagan, and now under Bush. Now, liberals are determined to fight back. They're not going to let their high-minded approach to politics prevent them from doing what is necessary to take back the White House. Unless...

The charisma of Barack Obama draws heavily on precisely that high-minded approach to politics of which liberals have become so wary. Nonetheless, this high-minded approach exerts an almost magnetic pull on many Democrats because it represents their ideal vision of politics. When the Clintons began to attack Obama with accusations that were increasingly at odds with the facts, Democrats had to confront a contradiction. Should the Democratic primary be a proving ground, in which candidates go at each other no-holds-barred, in order to demonstrate who is tough enough to take on the Republicans? Or does attacking a fellow Democrat in such a manner demonstrate that a candidate has failed to recognized the imperative of closing ranks in the name of taking back the White House?

Complicating this problem is the fact that the most vocal advocates of bare-knuckle politics are the self-identified "progressives" who have long resented Hillary and prefer Obama. In contrast, the moderates who remain skeptical of the progressives' more aggresive partisanship are inclined to support Hillary.

I certainly don't have any thoughts about how to resolve these contradictions, but it is fascinating to watch so many liberal bloggers, pundits and pols navigate this sort of identity crisis.

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(3) opinions -- Add your opinion

You are joking, right? This is the Clintons. This is what they do. This is what they've always done.

Liberals now produce methodological critiques of the Clinton Machine that are identical to long-standing conservative ones.
I would argue that "playing politics" is easy. It's maintaining integrity and standing firm with democratic principles that now determines toughness in our advanced, and thoroughly corroded, political environment.

I assert that Hillary fails that test of toughness, and Obama succeeds.
What identity crisis? I've never thought of Billary [sic]as being liberal. They're squarely middle of the road, witness their vigorous support of NAFTA and the death penalty.
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