Sunday, May 11, 2008

Dapper, soft-spoken George F. Will pauses over Hillary's entitlement mentality. While my father's mother, Louisa Brayshaw, was still alive, back in the early 1980s, brother Dru and I used to spend Sunday morning at her small dim Ambleside apartment, parked in front of her old black-and-white set. Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom was an early favorite, later replaced by ABC's This Week With David Brinkley. Dour old explosively-tempered Sam Donaldson made a significant contribution to what would later be immortalized as my "shopkeeper's persona" (along with co-contributors Basil Fawlty and Bernard Black) but George Will's extemporaneous, perfectly-composed paragraphs impressed me more than I was probably able to admit at the time. Anyone who has ever heard me speak about art from minimal or illegible handwritten notes owes George F. Will some thanks.


"After Tuesday's split decisions in Indiana and North Carolina, Clinton, the Yankee Clipperette, can, and hence eventually will, creatively argue that she is really ahead of Barack Obama, or at any rate she is sort of tied, mathematically or morally or something, in popular votes, or delegates, or some combination of the two, as determined by Fermat's Last Theorem, or something, in states whose names begin with vowels, or maybe consonants, or perhaps some mixture of the two as determined by listening to a recording of the Beach Boys' 'Help Me, Rhonda' played backward, or whatever other formula is most helpful to her, and counting the votes she received in Michigan, where hers was the only contending name on the ballot (her chief rivals, quaintly obeying their party's rules, boycotted the state, which had violated the party's rules for scheduling primaries), and counting the votes she received in Florida, which, like Michigan, was a scofflaw and where no one campaigned, and dividing Obama's delegate advantage in caucus states by pi multiplied by the square root of Yankee Stadium's Zip code.

Or perhaps she wins if Obama's popular vote total is, well, adjusted by counting each African American vote as only three-fifths of a vote. There is precedent, of sorts, for that arithmetic (see the Constitution, Article I, Section 2, before the 14th Amendment).

'We,' says Geoff Garin, a Clinton strategist who possesses the audacity of hopelessness required in that role, 'don't think this is just going to be about some numerical metric.' Mere numbers? Heaven forfend. That is how people speak when numerical metrics -- numbers of popular votes and delegates -- are inconvenient."

My take? Either Hillary or Barack would be preferable to the so-called "independent" Republican now scrambling as fast as he can toward his party's lunatic far-right wing, but Hillary reminds me of many of the ladies (and one particular Chief Librarian) that I worked with at Busy Suburban Library in the late 1980s, folks given to explaining, over and over in stilted management-ese, why "we do things" a certain way, even when those ways contradicted speed or common sense. And Barack? His complaints about the campaign's length seem a little naive -- six months of Hillary snapping at your heels is probably far better training for the Oval Office's demands than a victory lap around the Senate floor, flashbulbs popping -- but his Philadelphia speech made a lot of sense. I watched all forty minutes of it at a Motel 6 in Everett, Washington and was impressed by its complexity and plain-spokenness, two qualities sorely lacking in the vicious spin cycle of modern American politics.

<< Home

Powered by Blogger

.post-title { display: none!important; }