Tuesday, April 22, 2008

After Pennsylvania

After Pennsylvania, Obama and Clinton may continue to battle one another, or not. Hillary may continue to suggest that Barack lacks something essential to the role of Commander-in-Chief, and Barack may continue to point out that Hillary is not all that likable after all, or perhaps not.

It is a dismal place to be, waiting for this to end. Two candidates - either one of whom I could have supported - sinking into a quagmire of recriminations and overblown rhetorical negativity.

It is not only the candidates, of course. Mention the names Stephanopolous and Gibson, or Russert and Matthews, or any name from the FOX crowd, and one is reminded that our major media institutions are in a rut of their own.

We bemoan the low level of the discourse, as if we did not enable it. As if we do not get what we deserve.

Is there any penalty for negative campaigning? Or do we shrug it off, and utter some nostalgic aphorism about heat and kitchens? Do we aspire to anything more than this?

If Barack Obama ends up within 5 points of Hillary in the Pennsylvania balloting, will that be a reward for responding with his own last minute negativity, or will it be a penalty for Hillary Clinton's relentless negativity over the past two months?

After Pennsylvania, I hope both candidates will step back and consider a change in tactics. It is perhaps too much to expect the pundits and major news personalities to pick up their game, but - after Pennsylvania - I hope we will be less tolerant of meaningless bickering, name-calling, and appeals to fear and prejudice.

Too much is at stake.

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posted at 11:03:00 AM by Neil

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