Like Scott, I turned on the TV this morning, out in Palm Springs after a wonderful afternoon Saturday with the great Fred Siegel (about which much more here in due course), to see a vaguely familiar face. Is that . . . could it really be Lanny Davis? Yes it is. Wait—you mean Hillary has decided to summon from the Old Timer’s Game Lanny Davis to defend her on the Sunday talkies? The email problems must be worse than we thought. Has Sid Blumenthal slipped into dementia?
As it happened, I once sat in First Class with Lanny Davis on a DC-to-LA flight, back in 2007. I wondered about the headwinds that day, because the flight seemed to take 20 hours to reach LAX. But after I realized it was simply Davis, who is Einsteinian time-dilation in human form. Here’s the account of it I wrote in 2007 for the late lamented NoLeftTurns site of the Ashbrook Center:
I’m in southern California at the moment, having flown out yesterday to give yet another speech on global warming. My seatmate on the flight to Los Angeles was the very chatty and convivial Lanny Davis, whom cable viewers will remember for his nightly appearances defending Clinton during the impeachment unpleasantness. He regaled me for at least an hour with the case for Hillary’s brilliance and greatness (I was unpersuaded). He also told a number of off-the-record things about Clinton White House in the 1990s, and other things. Nothing earth-shaking that you can’t guess or suspect, but I shall want to honor his confidentiality; I’m not a journalist after all.
But the most interesting point was our discussion of an aspect of the current political season that I see is the hot topic of conversation this week; namely, the way in which the political fights of the 1990s, and Bush hatred today, are part of the saga of the baby boomers continuing their intra-generational fight that began in the 1960s. This is the one aspect of Obama that is interesting: he’s been trying to make “goodbye to all that” a key theme, just as Jimmy Carter tried to make trust and goody-goodyness his leading trait after the disaster of Watergate. Obama went to college in the late 1970s right after I did (I have close friends who knew him at both Occidental and at Harvard Law School), and I do recall that the whole 1960s cultural divide seemed alien and remote to most of our cohort.
But is Hillary the answer to this? Isn’t she a continuation of the problem, with her sixties background? (Just read her senior thesis on Saul Alinsky some time if you want to read something scary. I am sure she doesn’t believe much of that anymore, but that fact that a person from a top university could once have written such radical tripe is still unnerving.) Lanny Davis assured me that Hillary is supremely conscious of this and has learned her lesson from the 1990s–and from the failure of Hillarycare–and this morning Joe Scarnborough was saying the same thing on MSNBC.
I’m skeptical but it bears watching. Back in early 2004 I had a notion to write an article about how if John Kerry was nominated, we’d end up refighting the Vietnam War. I’m still kicking myself for not doing the piece, since the Swift Boaters swiftly confirmed this. Now I suspect the Hillary nomination is inevitably going to open up another, but hopefully the last, chapter in the Hatfield-McCoy aspect of the baby boom saga.
So that was 2007. One thing that is more clear to me now is that Hillary would indeed be a continuation of Obama, or likely even worse, as she’s just as much as an Alinskyite as Obama is. Curious that the two contenders of 2008 in the Democratic Party were both Alinskyites. Even though Hillary might disguise this (less well than Obama has) it is doubtful she’s essentially different in her goals.
And who doesn’t thrill to the idea of seeing a lot more of Lanny Davis on TV in the next election cycle? I think Fox News should sign him to a nightly contract. The surest guarantee of a Republican landslide.