Campaign Notes From Indiana and North Carolina
The New York Times has asked some of its op-ed contributors from North Carolina and Indiana to write about the race in their states.
Today's articles, one from each state, are both very good. In Songs of Eloquence and Experience, Alan Gurganus attends first a Bill Clinton and then a Hillary Clinton event, not expecting much but comes away impressed with each of them. Then it's on to an Obama event where he is expecting to be swept away in hope, optimism and youth -- politics mixed with a little religious ferver.
I’m nervous as I enter Chapel Hill’s basketball Valhalla, the Dean (Smith) Dome. Am I about to sing-speak-preach? This is the most perfectly racially integrated crowd I’ve ever been part of. Average age? Twenty-eight. I become that young myself.
He leaves extremely disappointed: [More...]
We keel forward, ready to re-love our country through him. Is he fatigued? And we aren’t? He puts in his full 40 minutes. He punches a clock. That clock is 20,000 souls he knew he had already. We’re people who left work early, paid costly sitters, parked a mile away to hear one clarion goose-bumping grace note from him.
Is he smart? Yes. Tall? Check. Heat? Sixty-eight degrees. We sit in his peanut gallery waiting to jump up and scream ourselves hoarse with a backlog of “Amens.” We’ve come for that. We never get it.
His attitude, as a performer, as a voice for justice and reason and peace, tonight seems that of a calm if besieged martyr. At times he sounds a wifely tiredness; the old “See everything I do for you, night after night?” And this is his audition to compete against a grizzled no-nonsense P.O.W.? Is this the snake charmer whose song we hope will purge that toxic nest called the Bush White House? The rally ends. Grade? A hopeful “Incomplete.”
The second article is Porter Shreve's Clinton at the Crossroads, in which he recounts attending an event for Hillary. He too is not expecting much, but also comes away quite impressed:
What a challenge for Senator Clinton, I thought — to be both “male” and “female,” to be a fighter and polite, at the same time. Yet she pulled it off. Stepping to the stage in a petunia-pink suit jacket and pearls, she was as charming as a hostess at a church social, but also clear and assertive. She spoke without condescension or finger-wagging about overhauling the tax code, trade policy, new investments in clean energy.
....There’s an old joke that “the reason there are so few female politicians is that it is too much trouble to put makeup on two faces.” Looking at the crowd filing out of Riehle Plaza, I wondered what the rest of Indiana will have to say about this politician in pink: Two-faced? Or the right guy for the job?
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