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.
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.