Just back in Los Angeles, and settling back into the office here. Before Monday goes the way of every other day, and with comparable speed, I have a quick word or two on politics for the blog. I have been sitting on the sidelines for quite some time about the Democratic candidates for president, and have been going along perhaps too easily with the "inexperienced" tag that has been tied onto Barack Obama. At the weekend, though, I read two pieces in the current Atlantic Monthly that shifted my thought a bit: the first, "Goodbye to All That" (nice title, by the way: Robert Graves used it first) by Andrew Sullivan made the simple but to me compelling point that Obama's face alone would speak volumes to the world at large about a new America. "Change" would be more than a word: it would be unmistakably, inarguably visible. And change, as I see it, is what we desperately need. I'm no Democrat-basher. It was Ronald Reagan's commandment, of course, that no Republican should speak badly of a fellow Republican--and it worked for them. The Democrats are not above criticism, but let's for God's sake get one of them elected.
The second article, "Teacher and Apprentice,"by Marc Ambinder, revealed a different side of Obama, one that is more ambitious for the job than I had somehow imagined--a good thing, perhaps, given the high office he seeks. I'm glad to learn that he's not above a little Machiavellian strategizing when the need arises, and that he can be ruthless. It's not a quality I myself aspire to, but I do believe it's needed by a man who seeks to represent this country to the world.
I plan to float a while longer in this fluid situation. I gaze sadly at the lonely Kucinich button that hangs on the bulletin board above my desk, and wish that it made sense not only to agree with what he says, but to support him with my vote. But I'm not that idealistic. And I remember with some anger what Ralph Nader did in 2000. In drawing the idealist vote, he assured election victory for the man who sits in the Oval Office today. I still can't bring myself to grace him with the title that he stole.