"It is easy to confuse what is with what ought to be, especially when what is has worked out in your favor."
- Tyrion Lannister

"Lannister. Baratheon. Stark. Tyrell. They're all just spokes on a wheel. This one's on top, then that's ones on top and on and on it spins, crushing those on the ground. I'm not going to stop the wheel. I'm going to break the wheel."

- Daenerys Targaryen

"The Lord of Light wants his enemies burned. The Drowned God wants them drowned. Why are all the gods such vicious cunts? Where's the God of Tits and Wine?"

- Tyrion Lannister

"The common people pray for rain, healthy children, and a summer that never ends. It is no matter to them if the high lords play their game of thrones, so long as they are left in peace. They never are."

- Jorah Mormont

"These bad people are what I'm good at. Out talking them. Out thinking them."

- Tyrion Lannister

"What happened? I think fundamentals were trumped by mechanics and, to a lesser extent, by demographics."

- Michael Barone

"If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to."
- Dorothy Parker

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Who's more radical?
(or poetry versus prose)

On paper Hillary Clinton or John Edwards may look better for progressive hopes - although no doubt Obama supporters would dispute this. I'll admit my enthusiasm for Obama wavered when I read that two of my favorite writers obliquely favored Edwards (Barabara Ehrenreich and Christopher Hitchens).

But then I read this brief for Obama by Lorrie Moore and my mind was blown like an audience member at a Tenacious D gig*.

Moore articulates my inchoate thoughts about the Democratic primary. Hillary Clinton made a category mistake when she said people shouldn't succumb to "false hopes." Cornel West has made a useful distinction about the term "hope." He said people are optimistic when they erroneously believe conditions are more favorable than they actually are. Pessimism is when one is erroneously negative. Hope is when one has a realistically negative outlook but also recognizes the possibilities for and works towards - against the odds - positive change. In West's formulation you can't have "false hope."

Obama and his supporters had hope which ended up transforming the political economy after the Iowa primary and altered the landscape, at least for the time being. (Was there an actual paradigm shift? We'll see.)

David Brooks wrote on that occasion "This is a huge moment. It’s one of those times when a movement that seemed ethereal and idealistic became a reality and took on political substance."

Maureen Dowd, who once called Obama "Obambi" opined: "The Obama revolution arrived not on little cat feet in the Iowa snow but like a balmy promise, an effortlessly leaping lion hungry for something different, propelled by a visceral desire among Americans to feel American again."

One can overstate the changes and significance - that would be being optimistic. Nevertheless the Obama campaign gave people more reason to hope.

*Is that Amy Adams in the audience?