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February 12, 2008

So, Can We Have a Kinder, Gentler General Election?
Posted by Heather Hurlburt

Over at bloggingheads, Dan Drezner and I get into it, civilly, about whether there can be a civil, substantive general election debate on foreign policy.  Dan thinks there can be, and I don't -- or perhaps, more to the point, I think the candidate's civility doesn't count if surrogates and Party members run around making comments like Mitt Romney's the other day, that he was getting out of the race to avoid helping Sens. Clinton and Obama deliver the country to the terrorists, and the candidate does nothing to denounce the surrogates.  That's not civility, that's smart, nasty politics.  And candidates and their supporters who don't get that are allowing (sorry, can't help it) hope to triumph over experience.

Now, on a positive note, I do think we're having an election that ought to be a tonic for us and for the world.  Today everywhere I went in Maryland and DC there were people excited about voting -- arguing on the street, the subway, the elevator.  I'm not sure I've seen this much excitement about an election since Ukraine in 1990.  Between that and the snow, it kinda felt like what Iowa and New Hampshire have been experiencing all these years.

This is the way I want the world to see my country -- that our system is so open that a woman, an African-American son of an immigrant, a war hero, or an up-from-nothing governor who goes on comedy shows and talks about Jesus all have a reasonable chance of becoming President.


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