The BBC had a nice summary about Hillary and Obama today. As I was reading this I was struck by how dissonant the campaign is from what I perceive as the ideal qualities for the next occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
North American political campaigns have gotten increasingly nasty and personal over the years (Canada is not as bad as the US but is sliding in that direction, it seems). Candidates sling mud at each other and dig for bits of nastyness. Think ‘Survivor — Washington’ or ‘Trailer Park Boys…’. And the current primary season just goes on and on and on…
My problem with all this political entertainment is that the result of the selection process would seem to pick the person least qualified to lead. Oh, sure, US politics can be pretty messy and I am sure the back room continues as the primary decision-making forum (sorry about that, public interest.). But the world is a very complicated place and there are a lot of folks out there who selfishly take care of their own interests and not those of the US. If there is a problem with the Saudis or even (gasp) Iran, do we want someone who’se approach to problem solving is a smear campaign in the press? I don’t think so. We need someone who can work with people over whom he has no real control — like a neighborhood organizer, perhaps.
The other aspect is this thing about refusing to talk to the folks that don’t agree with you. Seriously, this is not a sign of strength but of weakness — if your ego is so fragile and your principles so shaky that they cannot withstand disagreement. Read — Cuba, Iran, Hamas, etc. Not a pretty picture. And a guarantee that the problems will continue, whatever they are.
So here we are. Two candidates too busy tearing each other apart — and the apparent winner to be the one who successfully slung the most mud and made the most unsustainable promises. And a national committee for the party that has trouble holding to its own rules — and refusing to exercise leadership on their own side to limit the damages to the party and ultimately the country. If, having skewed the primary by disallowing Florida and Michigan, they then let the results in to bolster some backroom deal with one of the candidates, it is not hard to predict that they will have pulled defeat from the jaws of victory. Pity is, the country will suffer.. and so will we all.