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The Calculus of Confrontation

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I have been wondering about John Edwards and his endorsement. A leak yesterday on Morning Joe, MSNBC's thriving morning show featuring one-time Republican Congressman, Joe Scarborough, suggests that John Edwards voted last week in North Carolina for Barack Obama, but that his wife Elizabeth voted for Hillary Clinton. The problem of calculating the effect of this split is not the problem though. When John commits his 19 delegates to Obama, Elizabeth will agree and, with the Clintons progressively nasty racism mounting, it will be easy for her. The immediate question is "when?" The calculus of confrontation is this: Democrats are getting multi-millions of dollars of exposure for their candidates by prolonging the effort. The limits of the exposure are, of course, that the candidates keep it civil and that they challenge one another on issues, thus explicating the Democratic positions without commiting the Party to anything except accepting ultimately the leadership of one or the other. In other words, as Senator Biden said some weeks ago on the Capitol steps, (paraphrase) "it's okay, we are getting invaluable time in the media and they are not really hurting one another." The thing the Democrats who are super-delegates are missing is that the voters do not see it the politicians' way. We get drenched in political advertizing anyway, so any less is a bonus. What voters see is the cuts, some drawing blood, on each candidate, but more than that we see the cuts on ourselves, on our ability to make rational and effective arguments for our candidates. We lose hope that politics can raise itself up to our level of civility ... which may not be much, but it is higher by far than the cynical crap in Washington ... and elsewhere. The primary has gone on long enough. Super-delegates should read the results and go for Barack Obama, before the Clintons make us all ashamed of our Party. JB


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James R. Brett, Ph.D. taught Russian History before (and during) a long stint as an academic administrator in faculty research administration. His academic interests are the modern period of Russian History since Peter the Great, Chinese (more...)

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