First off, last night my pastor commented that when I write about politics on my blog I seemed to get “pretty excited.” Ouch. Sometimes the truth of an observation can make it sting despite its gentle delivery. I’ll try to be better.
Gideon: How To Fight a Righteous Battle
Here is a story from the Book of Judges, which is a wonderful collection of folktales that I recommend to anyone.
Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD, and for seven years he gave them into the hands of the Midianites. . . . Midian so impoverished the Israelites that they cried out to the LORD for help.
[T]he angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, “The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.”
“But sir,” Gideon replied, “if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our fathers told us about when they said, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the LORD has abandoned us and put us into the hand of Midian.”
Gideon requires God to perform several minor feats of magic dealing with dew before he will believe. God complies and so Gideon puts his army together.
The LORD said to Gideon, “You have too many men for me to deliver Midian into their hands. In order that Israel may not boast against me that her own strength has saved her, announce now to the people, ‘Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.’ ” So twenty-two thousand men left, while ten thousand remained.
But the LORD said to Gideon, “There are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will sift them for you there. If I say, ‘This one shall go with you,’ he shall go; but if I say, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go.”
So Gideon took the men down to the water. There the LORD told him, “Separate those who lap the water with their tongues like a dog from those who kneel down to drink.” Three hundred men lapped with their hands to their mouths. All the rest got down on their knees to drink.
The LORD said to Gideon, “With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the other men go, each to his own place.”
Gideon goes on to win the day with his 300.
Obama: How to Fight a Righteous Campaign
Last night Hillary Clinton managed to stay in the campaign. She surely closed some of the gap in the popular vote of primary goers, but probably did nothing to close the gap in delegates. I wish my guy had won, but he didn’t. I think his chances of being president have not changed much.
The story will be that Hillary won by going negative. To be fair, it is policy negative: Barack is weak on foreign policy, Barack is not being honest about his position on NAFTA, etc. We really have no idea about where the Obama is a Muslim or similar stuff comes from or even how effective such things are. Nonetheless, she will be encouraged to go even more aggressively negative in Pennsylvania.
The hope of this novice is that Obama, like Gideon, will defy conventional wisdom and not answer with attacks. I hope that he answers her charges, but with nothing more negative than perhaps a little “not only was I right, but I got it right the first time.” I am afraid if he does much more than that he will lose his standing as a different kind of politician. Also, I would like to see a positive campaign overcome a negative campaign. I would like to see hope beat cynicism.
Finally, to be clear, I have no idea if this is a successful strategy. It may be necessary for Obama to start a whisper campaign that Hillary Clinton is a lesbian and start publicly attacking her as a win-at-all-costs politician that John McCain will crush in the general election. I just really, really hope that isn’t the case.
Linda, how was that?