Power and Politics - I am Not the Yellow Peril

The life and times of an Asian American activist who tells all the truth (and dishes news and analysis) but with a leftwards slant.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Veepstakes shootout

Ugh, this whole debacle over Jim Johnson being forced to resign as head of Obama's veep search committee is really obnoxious. Just because he was involved with Countrywide.

[Pause. Take a breather.]

I do not love what greedy individuals involved with the mortgage meltdown and now credit crisis have done to this country. How many people have lost their homes and their jobs. But there is a difference between someone representing military juntas and someone doing deals around mortgages.

Now, the question of whether it was smart for the Obama campaign to pick someone who is very DC insider to head up the search committee is a whole different question given his emblematic "DC outsider" brand. But I understand wanting to have someone with a lot of experience at this thing, because it is arguably one of the most important decisions that you make in a presidential campaign.

Cos god willing you win the thing and then they are your partner and deputy in trying to push back all the years of manure that Bush II loaded on this nation.

But here's the other thing: Johnson is not staff. He is a volunteer - ultimately a very high level volunteer, but a volunteer none the less. And one of the crazy things about this campaign is just high high profile it is and high thoroughly people involved with it are scoured compared to the McCain campaign, compared to previous campaigns.

Marc Ambinder, who I deeply respect (and thanks for bringing back comments!) sounds sad that this is a war of attrition. I agree, a lot of it doesn't make sense, but the media are complicit in being the bloodhounds, as are we all. By asking for and demanding transparency in this internet age, there is so much information available about anyone online.

So we become mini oppo researchers sitting at home and we feed the beast. We all want increased transparency, but when does it stop? For those of us involved in campaigns, even as low level volunteers, would we want that harsh a light shined on our activities? Or would we also want some level of privacy?

Consider S. R. Siddarth, a former college student who helped bring down a sitting US Senator. I don't think he thought he would be at the center of a press frenzy, and over being insulted. And gods, he was only a college student! Imagine if you were him and didn't want all the press attention afterwards?

Uncomfortable, no?

At the end of the day, I think we should focus our energies on candidates, and to some degree staff. Unless candidates consort with killers or pedophiles or things of that nature.

My only remaining question is why did the campaign give over Johnson that quickly? The RNC should know that it's not an equivalent scalp, and now they are just thirsting for more blood. Sharks sense blood and weakness and attack. Man or woman up folks, this ain't over yet.

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