Monday, November 27, 2006

Constructive Criticism and A Most Excellent Slate in '08

I've previously asked readers to begin thinking about the '08 campaigns, local, state, and national. Below is a posting on presidential primary candidates; the underlying tone is important for all primaries; not just the presidential. This posting was referenced from one on the power of netroots bloggers. I'll post it separately.


Democratic Ticket 2008: An Embarrassment of Riches
by Rob in Vermont

Jonathan Singer posted an article the other day called The Sorry Slate of Republican Presidential Candidates in which he opines that the GOP’s crop of 2008 candidates is perhaps the slimmest pickings for either party in the last 100 years.

But you know what? Here’s what really floats my boat: I’m not even thinking about how crappy their slate is – I’m thinking about how great our slate is!

Sure, we can all find flaws in candidates who aren’t our favorites, we can all prognosticate about “electability.” Of course we can - we’re all political junkies and it’s our nature to be rather cynical and jaded.

But just for a moment, put your cynicism on a shelf. Our 2008 field of potential candidates really is an embarrassment of riches. Just to name a few...

John Edwards – on humanitarian, moral leadership issues, he is riveting

Al Gore – on the subject of protecting our environment and the costs if we don't, he has no equal
Wes Clark – a tried and true expert on defense policy

Barack Obama – one of our country’s finest orators

Hillary Rodham Clinton – just considering the intellectual heftiness of a second Clinton presidency, after the unbearable lightness of a second Bush presidency - the Universe itself would be grateful for the restoration of cosmic balance.

Indeed, our roster is full of brainy wonks, each of whom is well able to speak knowledgably on complex domestic and foreign policy issues, each of whom would return intellectual credibility to the White House. I suspect being “brainy” will not be sneered at so much in ’08 the way it was in ’00 and ’04.

The 2006 election suggests that the electorate has finally begun to tire of ideologues who think with their intestines instead of their heads and who pull policy out of their behinds instead of listening to experts and viewing empirical evidence with an unbiased eye.

I hope that having such a high-quality field won't, perversely, lead to a greater-than-normal number of gratuitous potshots being taken by Democratic bloggers and diarists who can't stand to see attention being paid to someone who isn't their top choice, like this recent attack on Al Gore. I know politics “ain’t beanball” and “if you can’t take the heat” etc. But our candidates will receive more than enough unconstructive criticism from the GOPers and the media.

It doesn't take much effort to write a snotty post about why some Democrat, who isn't your favorite, shouldn't be anyone's favorite.

But here's my request (while I have you here with your jadedness sitting on that shelf): in the coming months, try to refrain from unconstructive criticism of potential Democratic presidential candidates. You can put your critical eye to so much better use by making the effort to offer criticism in a constructive way, with the goal being to help our candidates to become better candidates.

A great example of this are two articles by blogger Mik Moore on Barack Obama. In the first article, he writes very pointedly about what he finds wrong with Obama’s famous speech about faith and politics, and in the second article he writes about what he finds right about the speech. And here’s another good example (if I do say so myself) of constructive criticism.
OK, sermon over! I hadn't intended to write a diary about criticism.

I just wanted to yell CHEERS for our 2008 crop of potential Democratic presidential candidates. Because our slate is most excellent!!!

1 comment:

Minor Ripper said...

I gotta say, this business about Obama being a serious 2008 candidate is all a fantasy. Perhaps VP, but there is 0 chance he is our next pres. All this talk is for his book and for the media to sell newspapers (or get viewers)...