Friday, June 20, 2008

A Bittersweet Lesson for Liberals

(NY Post)

With news of Obama's withdrawal from public financing, Thursday and Friday have been treated to a slew of articles about broken promises and hypocrisy. Allegedly, Obama has turned on his word. This obviously proves (insert self-righteous commentary). In the end, the pundits all know the same thing. Obama's decision to withdraw from public financing was the wisest move, one that lofty liberals and delusional conservatives will undoubtedly condemn. And condemnation has become the expected, yet desperate effort of the GOP, a last breath struggle to name their assailant. For many starry-eyed supporters of Obama, this news is disheartening and may effectively break their hearts. But for realistic progressives, as David Brooks has said this morning in the NY Times, we are witnessing the "most effectively political creature we've seen in decades." And for anyone that has seen the film "The War Room," a certain comfort is brought on this day. The Democratic Party has a winner. They have a fighter. Obama has proven he is tough enough to make the decisions which must be made, even if they break our heart. A political theorist by the name of Max Weber gave a lecture titled "Politics as a Vocation." He spoke to a crowd of young academics aspiring for a role in politics. And almost a century after his lecture, the reality remains the same. Those who choose a life in politics, especially at the highest levels, must be willing to make tough decisions that are ethically questionable. Some of these choices will make you sick to your stomach. But in a nasty world, these decisions must be made. Often we are faced with multiple options that all have their particular weaknesses, with none possessing the mystical quality of being perfect for everyone. Presidents have made these decisions, by and large. When FDR placed thousands of Japanese Americans in camps, he could not have felt pleasure in what he did. Today, liberals have learned a valuable lesson. The office of the President is not for a fool-hearted softy. Ultimately, politics is not about objective matters like right and wrong, good and bad. The verdict is not in on many of the issues. Politics is about interests. Barack Obama has certain values, certain changes he wishes to see in the world. The same is held for most every statesman. John McCain and George W. Bush, like them or not, have interests. There are particular things that they stand for, that they would like to see done. With this in mind, the pundits may continue to cry, generating an unrealistic, inflated sense of reality. But the American people, especially feel-good liberals, need to wake up and understand that at the end of the day, what they are really fighting for are their interests.

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