Teutonic Tips

by James Kirchick | October 31, 2007

Watching the debate of the Dems last night was a disheartening experience. The only candidates who were capable of engaging in conversation that was even a tiny bit spontaneous were Joe Biden and Chris Dodd.  But they are not going to be the party's candidate for president. They are running for some Cabinet office: Biden for State, Dodd maybe for attorney general.  Preposterously, Richardson wants to be vice president on the mantra of diplomacy...as if diplomacy isn't exactly what has been going on with Iran.  In fact, all of this sophomoric chatter about diplomacy as if it were a deus ex machina ignores the role of the Russians whose closeness to Tehran makes what Putin thinks about A'jad's nuclear designs more important than what Bush thinks. Putin's approval of Iran's atomic ambitions are clear: he wants Iran to succeed with them in the first place to deliver a diplomatic blow to the United States.  Richardson and Obama and Edwards are intoxicated with the very idea of diplomacy, as if once you engage in it you will score your points and win.  The failure of diplomacy is actually the beginnings of war, and that may be what we face.

Hillary Clinton wants to have it both ways.  But at least she is at bottom realistic that diplomacy is never guaranteed to succeed.  She also seems to recognize what Obama and Edwards want to deny: that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards are terrorists, even though Bush says they are.  Just because he asserts some things doesn't mean they are false.  As readers may know, I don't particularly like Hillary and Hillary doesn't especially like me.  Nor does Bill, as it happens.

Still, some of the rigidity of Hillary's positions is traceable to the fact that she not only wants to win the nomination; she also wants to win the election.  I don't know what she really believes.  But I do believe that she wants to reside once more at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and she knows she can't if she caters to every left-liberal slogan and left-liberal sloganeer in the party.

I read an article (in English) from the German language Spiegel. It is by Gabor Steingart who has a deep hold on the realities of American life, and he knows that going to the "blue state" left will not win the Democratic candidate the presidency:

Her refusal to enter the fray is a tremendously shrewd decision. If elections were decided in the first world of voters -- i.e., the one dominated by their unembellished current interests -- left and center-left parties would have been in power in every industrialized nation for the last 100 years. But they haven't been in power, nor will be they be in the future -- unless they find a candidate whose way of thinking and disposition lie to the right of his or her own party, like former Chancellor Gerhard Schr

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