First, a little personal history. I grew up in a black town called Chester, Pa., in the 1960s–just South of Philadelphia–which was stone-cold Republican and, I think, did not elect a non-Republican mayor until some time in the late ‘80s or early ‘90s. I do not think I met a Democrat at all until I was about to graduate high school. I have often written about Democratic malfeasance and feather-bedding and such in upper Manhattan. I am, frankly, not an ideological person. If you have to call me something, call me, well, libertarian.
Would I “like” it if Hillary turned out to be a hard-core lefty? In fact, no. That time has passed (“way passed,” as my 17-year-old-stepson-to-be-would put it). What distresses me, really, is the Clintonian inabililty to articulate a central tendency of any kind. That’s old news, I know, and as a battle-hardened editorialist for the New York Times, I should be over disappointment. But it disappoints me nonetheless. Garry Wills wrote in the New York Review of Books a few years ago that “tacking”–back and forth, between left and right–was an honorable way of getting from the status quo to a new philosophy and a new vision. I admire Mr. Wills, but the essay did not convince me. As Juan Gonzalez says in todays New York Daily News, the idea of people “actually believing in a cause must be alien to [Bill Clinton].”
But alas, we may have reached a time when believing anything openly and publically–if indeed you wish to be president–consigns you to political death. What we have now is a beauty contest, I think, in which the candidates will say as little as possible and wait for the rival or rivals to crack under the camera lights. As you say, let’s pick this up tomorrow.