Thursday, February 21, 2008

Lessig, Obama and Hillary

I'm debating my web mate, David Petersen, about the announcement that Larry Lessig is considering a run for Congress. Inevitably, this becomes about the Presidential race. David says it is about The Movement, the People. Like Obama, he talks about a wave of change that will sweep over Washington and change government.

My problem is I've heard it all before. It feels good. It resonates in the media.

Does it work?

Populist appeals are very workable in campaigns. George Wallace was an example. George W. Bush is an example. An 'empower the people' speech is always thrilling, but it conveys the idea that they are not empowered already, that they do not participate already, that they are not heard.

We elected George W. Bush not once but twice.

The people did speak. They always do.

This is not about an election where one candidate speaks for the people and the other does not. It is not about populism or a movement. It is about governing the country well and for the best benefit of the people so governed. Yes, the will of the people to participate is strong and vital, but the needs of governance are the means and audacity to fight for what is right and to know exactly how to take that fight to Washington in a way that will succeed.

Populists elected Carter. Populists elected Wallace. Populists want to elect Obama, to send populist figures to Washington such as Lessig. Populism can elect a President.

But the buck stops at the Oval Office. It is a real job not a movement. It takes a skilled fighter and one who's heart is as strong as the head. It takes a lifetime of commitment. It takes leadership, but David, leaders are not reflectors. Ultimately we elect our leaders to make decisions that may not be popular. We do not elect them to reflect our will but to govern us and to provide by the power we entrust to them, the protection of the opportunities of liberty and justice.

I've seen what Hillary Clinton can do. I like it. For me, that's what this is about: the only choice I have is to pick the candidate I believe can do the best job and that I trust to do it.

I've seen how hard she fights for her family and her country. I've seen what a woman can do when everything she values is threatened. She prevails. She preserves. She advances.

I trust her.

... And she's sexier.

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