Thursday, February 14, 2008

"We also discussed whether Hillary should run for president"

Wherein interesting, possibly amusing


A little more from Vaclav Havel. Written May 12, 2005:
This morning at 8:30, I was at the Clinton', who live not far from us. Clinton looked very good after his operations. He was calm, not too overweight, had a smooth complexion, and he exuded an expansive equanimity. I've always somewhat envied that in him. We talked for about an hour about everything imaginable -- Russia, Ukraine, common experiences, his visits to Prague. We also discussed whether Hillary should run for president. He was in favor. Hillary once asked me if I thought she should run for the Senate and I said that she certainly should, and she won! When I see Hillary again, I'll remind her, as a joke, that it's worth listening to my advice and that I'm naturally in favor of her running for president. I was struck by one thing Clinton touched on, but which I had heard as well from other leading American Democrats, that while the Republicans can always position themselves as strong supporters of certain basic values, such as the family or the right to life, the Democrats are at a certain disadvantage: they refuse to make their lives simpler by holding to simple and traditional dogmas without qualification and without regard for the current state of the world, and for that very reason it can appear as if they are not defending clear values. I think that the Democratic Party has at its disposal a great fund of intellectual and political capital but that it's waiting for the right person to bring the two together and articulate a clear, comprehensible, yet modern hierarchy of values. Perhaps Hillary will be the one to do that, who knows? Naturally I have no great insight into the real background of politics here, but I must mention at least one impression. Everyone I've met so far seems outstanding for their competence, their matter-of-factness, and their generosity. In this regard Czech politics still has a long way to go and a lot to learn.

Thoughts, comments? There's a lot there to work with:
  1. Bill Clinton's opinion of simple Republicans versus complicated Democrats.
  2. Havel's thought's on the "great fund of intellectual and political capital" the Democrats are sitting on.
  3. What is needed is that One Person who can make the complicated soothing and comfortable.

For the last point, isn't that always the challenge? That the messenger becomes the message? And for some, isn't that also the fear?

And is the Althouse post, Obama's message is just too depressing at all related to this? She writes:
I think Henninger means to say that people will eventually perceive left-wing ideology in the rhetoric and, since most of us are not lefties, we'll say we don't want what he's selling. But will we? Or do we buy the mood and the style and wait until after the election to object to the actual policies?

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