Too often, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd resorts to the cutesy, spreading nicknames and picky critical observations like so much manure. After reading her — which I always do — I sometimes wonder, Yes, but what or whom do you support? Isn’t anybody doing something right?
But then, she writes a column that’s brilliant, which is what keeps me and everybody else coming back. Her Sunday column about the Democratic nominee race was one of those gems. What got to me, in particular, was her description of Hillary Clinton as being far hungrier for the nomination than Barack Obama.
She’s right on target there. Clinton is amazing these days. Her energy and force of will have turned the whole campaign upside-down. Obama may still be the front-runner, but Clinton’s turned some kind of tide around. She looks invigorated, pumped, confident.
Obama looks drained. I can only imagine how Reverend Wright’s constant antics and deranged oratory are affecting him; there’s nothing like a full-frontal betrayal by a former intimate at a critical time when you’re running for national office. No wonder he’s tired of the campaign. I’m tired, too, and all I’ve done is voted and groused and slapped a sign in our front yard.
So. Clinton is hungrier — and maybe that will win her the nomination or diminish it for Obama even if he does get it. She’s an incredible campaigner, with reserves of energy and will I can’t begin to imagine. (The last time I ran for election was for class secretary of the 7th grade at Mann Junior High in Abilene. I lost, of course, and am still a bit deflated and bitter about the whole thing.)
I give Clinton her due. If she wins the nomination, I’ll vote for her.
But what isn’t clear to me is this: Does being the better, the more indefatigable, the hungrier campaigner mean she would be the better president or the better rival against McCain? I still don’t think so. But this is the way we elect a president, this is the business we have chosen, Michael.
(Copyright 2008 by Ruth Pennebaker)