A few thoughts on a morning when the world seems to be moving too fast for one beleaguered guy to get a handle on:
- If Wayne Barrett is a Mets fan, this 24-hour stretch between the Santana deal and Rudy's drop announcement later today surely is the best of his life.
- That goddamn Santana deal... kudos to the Mets and Omar Minaya, who leveraged their money advantages (they can both afford to extend Santana and quickly reload their farm system with big bonuses to amateur ballplayers) to strengthen their team, but if I ever see Twins GM Bill Smith, I'm going to kick him in his tiny balls.
- Incredibly, John McCain will be the Republican nominee. I pronounced him politically dead last summer; bad on me, though everyone else did too... what's interesting is how McCain plays it now in response to his newfound good fortune. Think about this. From 2005 through late 2007, he tacked hard right and twisted himself into pretzels trying to make himself acceptable to the likes of Falwell and Norquist… and came face to face with political oblivion at the end of that process. Sometime late last year, he seemed to decide, “Screw it, I’ll go back to ’straight talk’ and see what happens.” Lo and behold, he’s all but won the nomination–but the Rush Limbaugh crowd still despises him. So is he going to reach for the middle (the accepted general election tactic) and go Sister Souljah on the right-wing nuts, hoping that Hillary Clinton scares the haters back into his corner anyway? Or will he try to shore up his right-wing bona fides, maybe by pledging to rip Nancy Pelosi’s still-beating heart out of her chest and eat it on live TV?
- John Edwards is dropping out of the race, and won't make an endorsement--which probably helps Hillary Clinton, in that the low- and middle-income whites who backed Edwards seem likely to go with tribalism and Clinton Brand loyalty over Obama's tranformational appeal. While I had some issues with Edwards, he played an extremely positive role in this race, and I hope he stays engaged in public life–with his heroic and inspiring wife by his side. I'd love to see him as Secretary of Labor or Attorney General in an Obama administration... though I'm increasingly doubtful such a thing will come to be, at least in 2009.
- I thought hard over the weekend about potential strengths of a second Clinton presidency, and came up with two:
1) The most common squandered asset in any presidency is the first year/"honeymoon period." She'd almost certainly do more in this window than Obama (or anyone who hadn't been there before), by virtue of knowing the importance of that window and learning from the terrible mistakes of the first Clinton administration in 1993.
2) In negotiating with Congress for legislation, having been there in the weeds of legislative horse-trading would give her an unusual insight into how to move reluctant supporters and neutralize opponents. ("Sen. McConnell, release your caucus to vote on my healthcare reform bill and I'll tell my guys not to get in the way of your Eat Babies for Freedom Act.")
- Along these same lines, I concluded that my issue is actually more with Bill and "the Clintons" than with Sen. Clinton herself. I don't like the sleazoids she hangs with, and I don't trust her honesty or commitment to progressive principles, and I hate the idea of dynastic presidencies... but I've gone overboard in my opposition to her, and I'm going to try to check that from here on out.
- More than anything, I'm upset that an event I'd so looked forward to--Giuliani's defeat and disgrace--is overshadowed in the world of politics by the Edwards announcement, and that I can't savor it as planned because Johan Santana now pitches in the Phillies' division. Bastards all.