Why does Kinsella support Obama?

So I’ve just finished Kinsella’s new book – The War Room – which I thoroughly enjoyed, but not for the reasons I thought I would (more on that in another post).

I find it interesting that Kinsella is an Obama fan, and that he’s been one since early on (e.g. long before Hillary went off the deep end and her campaign started imploding). After finishing his book I was even more surprised. Here’s why:

First – Kinsella’s fighter:

Kinsella is the ultimate Canadian political fighter (second to Chretien, I’m sure he’d add). As his book testifies, he’s unafraid to pull out the brass knuckles and pummel his opponent. But which Presidential aspirant does that sounds like? Who talks about beating up Republicans, of the dangers of ones political opponents? No one is more partisan, nor more of a scrapper, than Hillary. She’s practically remolded her campaign around the notion that she is a “fighter.”

It doesn’t stop there though. Not only is Kinsella a fighter, he’s also not a believer in any type of “new politics” – such as that advocated by Obama. In his book’s intro he states (page 27):

“So they [politicians] will make soothing noises about the need to “do politics differently” and to avoid “the old politics” (or what has been called “the politics of personal destruction”). They make these disclaimers because they know it is what the voting public wants to hear (even if it isn’t what the voting public necessairly believes, but more on that later). Watching them, you would think such politicos would seldom utter a discouraging word about anyone.
But that is a pile of crap.”

Given that Obama talks regularly of how people are tired of the politics of division, does Kinsella think this is all a clever ruse?  Either way, I’d have put him squarely in the Hillary camp (on a philosophical level at least).

Second – her war room runs like his war room:

To my (untrained and unsophisticated) eye, Obama campaign conducts itself in manner counter to the approaches Kinsella argues for in his book. This is in contrast to the Clinton war room, which hits back hard and fast at any opportunity.

(I’d love to hear Kinsella’s take on the Obama war room – I’m pretty sure my blog will never get on his radar but with luck he’ll blog about the democrates respective war rooms). For example on page 90 Kinsella shares the rule “Leave No Charge Unanswered:”

Any critical statement offered up by a reporter or the other side, no matter how imbecilic or nonsensical it may seem at first blush, must be taken seriously, and pronto. If the charge appears to be getting ready to blast off into the political stratosphere, fight back.

Again, unlike the Clinton campaign, the Obama campaign appears to ignore this rule on some occasions. On numerous points through out this campaign the Hillary camp has claimed to have won the popular vote, the states that count, and criticaldemographics. Often, the Obama camp does not seem to hit back, or at least hit back hard. (This strategy frustrated me enormously a few months ago) Indeed, on occasion they’ve been near silent – especially on the charge that Hillary has won the popular vote. There is rarely a counter-quote from the Obama campaign team in articles about Hillary making this claim (especially on CNN).

Finally – Legitimate Policy differences:

While there are few legitimate policy differences between Hillary and Obama, one area where people are concerned there might be differences is over Israel and Middle East policies. In his book Kinsella self-identifies himself as a ZIonist… and if any candidate can be defined as pro-Israel it is Hillary Clinton. Indeed, this one part of the Democratic Party that Obama has been working hard to assuage.

That, and the fact the (like me) Kinsella is a huge fan of Carville and Bill Clinton (and unlike me, Begala) I would have landed Kinsella squarely in the Hillary camp.

In sum:

Obviously, these are only 3 of thousands of reasons why anyone might choose to support one of the nominees. As an Obama supporter I’m pretty pleased that Kinsella is a fan as well. It’s just that his book has left me more puzzled, not less, about why he’s a supporter. I’d be interested to know what Kinsella thinks the Obama campaign has done effectively, and what it has done poorly, and if he thinks Obama is going to redefine politics, or if he’s a just a brilliant new spin on an old theme.

8 thoughts on “Why does Kinsella support Obama?

  1. warren k

    Many thanks for reading the book and thinking about it!

    To get all military, however, you have mixed together tactics and mission.

    The mission is him – he inspires me, too.

    The tactics are what we do to help him win.

    Simple.

    Call me sometime and we can talk O!

    Reply
  2. warren k

    Many thanks for reading the book and thinking about it!To get all military, however, you have mixed together tactics and mission. The mission is him – he inspires me, too. The tactics are what we do to help him win. Simple. Call me sometime and we can talk O!

    Reply
  3. Anne Mowat

    LOL. I like the way you write, David. Economic, insightful. Great Monday Morning brain-food.

    Maybe Mr. Kinsella is temperamentally oppositional to Obama, he calls himself a Socialist, among other things. Ms Clinton is closer to Maggie Thatcher Lite. But at least Mrs. Thatcher was genuine.

    Maybe Mr. Kinsella just wants to get his groove back: the Liberals have not fared so well recently, and that must still hurt. Besides, Mr. Kinsella was a rock star when he was younger, eh? There is a cool cat underneath Mr. Kinsella’s putatively “nasty boy” political in-fighter armour. I think he is rooted in authenticity, and responds to it as much as the rest of us.

    Can one “fight” and appear not to? I think so. Maybe Mr. Obama is a fighter in the best sense, perhaps, in the Harvard Negotiation Project sense of the word. Maybe Mr. Kinsella admires this deeply, because it’s so demonstrably effective.

    Reply
  4. Anne Mowat

    LOL. I like the way you write, David. Economic, insightful. Great Monday Morning brain-food.Maybe Mr. Kinsella is temperamentally oppositional to Obama, he calls himself a Socialist, among other things. Ms Clinton is closer to Maggie Thatcher Lite. But at least Mrs. Thatcher was genuine.Maybe Mr. Kinsella just wants to get his groove back: the Liberals have not fared so well recently, and that must still hurt. Besides, Mr. Kinsella was a rock star when he was younger, eh? There is a cool cat underneath Mr. Kinsella’s putatively “nasty boy” political in-fighter armour. I think he is rooted in authenticity, and responds to it as much as the rest of us.Can one “fight” and appear not to? I think so. Maybe Mr. Obama is a fighter in the best sense, perhaps, in the Harvard Negotiation Project sense of the word. Maybe Mr. Kinsella admires this deeply, because it’s so demonstrably effective.

    Reply
  5. Jeremy Vernon

    Having read The War Room some months ago and being a bit of a Kinsella fanboy, my thought is that perhaps his description of political tactics is an assessment of a positive reality, not necessarily his prescription for how campaigning need be conducted.

    Of anyone, Mr. Kinsella is keenly aware of the distortions of the full-spectrum warrior tactical politics as conducted by Clinton II and probably wants somebody more strategic in purview.

    Reply
  6. Jeremy Vernon

    Having read The War Room some months ago and being a bit of a Kinsella fanboy, my thought is that perhaps his description of political tactics is an assessment of a positive reality, not necessarily his prescription for how campaigning need be conducted.Of anyone, Mr. Kinsella is keenly aware of the distortions of the full-spectrum warrior tactical politics as conducted by Clinton II and probably wants somebody more strategic in purview.

    Reply
  7. Chris P

    Not to delve any deeper into the Kinsella psyche but his earlier comment lacks depth. When Chris Mathew’s leg is tingling, its obvious any fool can be inspired by Obama. I think Kinsella’s support lies in his preference for anti-establishment things like punk music and lil’ guys from Shawinigan. Before Iowa, Obama was just another young punk from the South Side trying to over throw the vast Clinton machine. I think therein lies your answer.

    Reply
  8. Chris P

    Not to delve any deeper into the Kinsella psyche but his earlier comment lacks depth. When Chris Mathew’s leg is tingling, its obvious any fool can be inspired by Obama. I think Kinsella’s support lies in his preference for anti-establishment things like punk music and lil’ guys from Shawinigan. Before Iowa, Obama was just another young punk from the South Side trying to over throw the vast Clinton machine. I think therein lies your answer.

    Reply

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