I had an interesting experience this evening. I saw the Olberman/MSNBC comments on the democratic debate before I saw the debate itself. I might not have watched the debate afterwards had I not seen the comments. As usual, I did not see some of what others seem to think they saw. I think there was a bit of wishful thinking on the part of some commentators. Several remarked that they thought Obama had a bad night. Perhaps I am so biased I am not responsible but I can’t see why Obama had a bad night. Actually, I don’t think Clinton had a bad night either. I thought the two interrogators didn’t do very well with the candidates. They seemed on some occasions to think it was their job to argue with the answers rather than simply elicit them. Anyway, I didn’t see much that was new or different except one thing, terribly important, that might go unappreciated. That was Clinton’s brand new proposal to have some kind of NATO-like organization in the Middle East whereby all the nations there would somehow agree to defend each other from Iran. She seems to want them to commit to “massive retaliation” in the event that Iran does something or other. I thought this, apart from being far-fetched, probably impossible. Actually, I thought it was weird, given the fact that the last time Iran acted aggressively against anyone was probably more than two hundred years ago. She said, quite specifically, she did not merely mean in defense of Israel but in defense of others as well. Did she just suddenly think of this at the moment, or does she know something we don’t? When I heard the first comments, before hearing the debate, I had the impression that it must have been Hillary and ABC versus Obama. Having seen it now, I don’t think so. I don’t think they were much easier on Clinton than Obama, except they may have tried to argue with him a bit more. I will be very surprised if this debate resulted in any significant changes in the vote. I do think Obama proved once again that he keeps his cool under pressure and that attempts to rattle him by unfair or ridiculous questions don’t faze him very much. I think they are both great candidates even though Clinton has proven to be untruthful and willing to go to any lengths to win, the result of which has made me (and many others I’m sure) very disappointed in her. I am sure this will cost her some votes in the future. Again, I think Obama may well win in Pennsylvania or come so close as to make it impossible for Clinton to realistically continue (not that realism has had much to do with her campaign up until now).
I have finished the manuscript for my book, Savages and Savagery. The publisher still can turn it down. Naturally, I hope not, but it does not present a very flattering picture of European colonialism. I have just started reading a book on Darfur. If I were younger, and if I had more energy, and if I didn’t have to constantly get reference materials through interlibrary loan, I would start a more ambitious project. All I have at the moment is a title, Murder, Arson, Plunder and Rape: The History of the Human Species. Sorry, but my last few months of research has pretty much convinced me this is a perfectly accurate description of what we have been doing to each other from the very beginning It is decidedly not a pretty picture.
“Against stupidity the Gods themselves contend in vain.”
Friedrich von Schiller