Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Warts & All

The problem with political campaigns--okay, there's more than just one, but I'm trying to focus here--is that they inevitably shed light on the less desirable aspects of your candidate. I'd been meaning to offer a thought or two on this problem a while ago, but The New York Times decided to force my hand today.

The questions raised about Obama's investments strike me as relatively insignificant, but they've registered the greatest tremor on the scandal scale thus far. Opponents now have something more tangible to cite when criticizing him--although personally, I feel like I've recently learned things about the guy that are more troubling (like his Senate vote cast in favor of the wall along the US/Mexico border, or his support of a civil-liberties-impinging law targetted at child molesters that sounds ineffectual at preventing crime yet likely to generate voter approval).

Our icons, regardless of the realm they occupy (government, the arts, professional sports, etc.), are supported by public relations machines that boost their profile and make them seem like swell folks, but even in the face of all that hype, it takes willful ignorance or absurd naviette to pretend like they don't have flaws. In the months to come, I'm expecting to see more of this kind of dirt about all of the folks who seek the top job at the White House in 2008, and have already braced for it. And at this point, it's going to take the dead-bodies-buried-in-the-basement kind of story for me to give up the Obama cause.

No president is going to be perfect, that's a given. But we know that with this candidate, we'll get a positive net result, and for practical purposes, that's what matters.



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