Wednesday, November 30, 2011

You Read It Here, Now Read It There

You happy few, you happy band of readers, smaller than the Henry V army but maybe smarter.  At least you got a lead on a couple of heavy-hitter opinionaters with way bigger readerships.  To wit:

Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times sez what I've been saying: President Obama's real accomplishments are being overlooked by the sometimes rabid left as well as the media, and while differences are of course legitimate, the danger is in creating such a sour mood that the President's reelection is endangered--and you really, really don't want that.  You don't want Newt Romney, Mitt Gingrich or any of the Rabid Rightists.

And Kristof makes exactly the analogy I make, maybe too often: the self-hypnotic chant of the year 2000 that there's no important difference between Gore and Bush (remember the Bore v. Gush bumper stickers?) so it doesn't matter, vote for Nadir or stay home, flip a coin, who cares.  Please, please remember how that turned out.  As Kristof and a lot of people have been saying this week, the election is a choice, not a referendum.

Kristof was on Lawrence Tues. with Tom Friedman, usually the model of a moderate business-oriented futurist.  He was even more insistent on the absolute necessity of reelecting Obama, not just for the sake of the U.S. but for the world.  He thinks there's a strong possibility that the world will face a major crisis before election day. 

The other preview you got was to the thrust of Frank Rich's piece in New York Magazine.  Frankly, for me this was validation, because I hadn't seen anyone make these connections besides me.  Rich was writing about this year's books on JFK, comparisons to Obama, etc.  He writes that JFK was getting about the same media treatment as Obama--disappointment, he should be communicating better, he doesn't work Congress enough, etc.  But the main similarity Rich sees is that  JFK was surrounded by Rabid Right hatred that led to his assassination, and President Obama is surrounded by even more widespread hatred now.  So Rich takes the assassination attempt of 11/11/11 seriously.  These are both points I've made here.

Apart from several hours of conversations on the phone and in New York over several years a good many years ago, I don't have a great deal in common with Frank Rich except experiences of that week of November 22, 1963.  We were roughly the same age, we both idolized President Kennedy, we both were glued to the TV that weekend, and we both saw Lee Harvey Oswald shot to death on live TV.  So all of that remains real to us the way such a formative experience would.  And it remains an in-formative experience. 

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