Thursday, August 7, 2008

Alliance of Convenience

Lenin: The Tsar should have had your secret police. My party will study your methods.
German Consul: They [the reports] fail to mention your sense of humor.
Lenin: It gets even funnier: I want to get to Petersburg.You want to get to Paris.
German Consul: It's outrageous! We are here in Zurich, and if I understand you, you want the German government, which is at war with Russia, to take you across Germany to Sweden, because you can get to Russia from there?
Lenin: I'm offering to stop the war.
German Consul: (scoffing) Oh, I didn't know you had such authority.
Lenin: If there were a Bolshevik government in Russia, we'd immediately make peace with Germany. Then how many divisions could you send to the western front?
German Consul: And now you're asking me for classified information. You know my government has locked up more Bolsheviks than anyone else? How can you expect us, to help you make a revolution? You have no sense of proportion!
Lenin: All I'm interested in is power in Russia, and it's lying there on the streets waiting to be picked up. . .
German Consul: I see your jokes are very subtle. A Marxist wants to use the Kaiser. And perhaps the Kaiser can use a Marxist.
Curd Jürgens as "The German Consul" and Michael Bryant as "Lenin" in Nicholas and Alexandra (1971) (Directed by Franklin J. Schaffner; Screenplay by James Goldman and Edward Bond, from a book by Robert K. Massie)
Karen Tumulty, writing in Time, asks hopefully, fearfully, "Have the Clintons gotten over it?"
Oh, one surely hopes not.
The White House awaits you in four years, Senator Clinton, but the road to glory cannot be travelled with St. Barack upon it. If Obama wins, you're history, writing your has-been memoirs about what might-have-been and blaming Bill that it did not come out differently. But you knew that.
All kinds of rumors are circulating that you want your delegates "heard" at the convention. Maybe that you even want a floor vote on the nomination? I doubt you're going to do that, unless you think it certain that St. Barack is a gone gosling. He's lost some tail-feathers, but he's not weakened enough for you to expose yourself by forcing a vote, not yet. But some chaos is not all bad.
Perhaps all the noise is the sound of you making one last effort to gain the number two spot? Maybe. But I think you agree with me and John Nance Garner that on the terms you could get it, the position is "not worth a bucket of warm piss." Still, offering you the post would be a counsel of desperation for Obama: it would be too easy for you to connive at his defeat from within. If Obama is fool enough to give it to you, and he still wins, he'll watch his back, lock you up in the Naval Observatory, trot you out for the odd funeral, and make it his business to ensure your political future after him is oblivion. No matter how you look at it, his win is your loss.
I think you're probably smart enough to push for the position, enough to be noticed, and to demonstrate the viability of your power base; all the while being enough of a bother to ensure that you don't receive an offer, and to encourage a rookie's tendency to do something stupid to offend your supporters. For his part, Obama must consider you, but not give you the post, in such a manner that he doesn't appear a churl rejecting you. Hard to bring off. You win either way: if he loses it's not (obviously) your doing. If he wins, you still have supporters certain you were short-changed, which, combined with your seat in the Senate, is something of a base.
Ms. Tumulty reports that you're "skeptical" that St. Barack can win in the fall. Your skepticism is well-founded, but it would be even more well-founded, and much in your interest, if you were to give the New Messiah, and history, a little bit of an unobtrusive shove.
So, you don't like Republicans and conservatives? Well, the distaste is mutual of course, but what of it? Tomorrow we can have our quarrel, and we will see whose political head winds up over the barn door. But today, our interests, and those of the country, happily coincide, and on that basis we can surely understand each other. How about it? Looks like a win-win, from here, for the moment. If the Marxists can use the Kaiser, maybe the Kaiser can use a Marxist?

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