Power Outage

As you’ve no doubt heard already, Samantha Power, Obama’s chief foreign policy advisor and all-around awesome person, has resigned from her role with the campaign, because she called Clinton a “monster” off-the-record and some completely unethical reporter in Scotland was more interested in selling papers than keeping her scruples and, thus, printed it.
Suffice it to say, this sucks. It sucks because it’s unnecessary; an apology would have sufficed, her resigning plays into the Clinton camp’s call for blood, and it hasn’t done anything to stop the class acts that are the Clintonistas from continuing to bash her.
But mostly it sucks because Power is quite possibly the best advisor a presidential campaign could have. Her closeness to Obama was one of the main reasons I was so quick to endorse him early last year; that selection indicated a willingness on his part to break with the Democratic foreign policy establishment, to carve out a different conception of what American primacy could and should mean. Her book, A Problem From Hell, has had a greater impact on me, and I suspect many others, than virtually any other volume. It is impossible to read that book and not conclude that (a) the US knew about every genocide of the 20th century before and while it was happening (b) the US had the means to stop or at least limit the damage of each one and (c) that we can and must do better in the future. It redeemed humanitarian intervention for me after Iraq, and convinced me that American primacy can be different, that our moment as the world’s dominant power can be benevolent if we try. Power, more than anyone else in the business, was willing to try, and Obama’s hiring of her suggested that he’d try too.
I still think Power will have a job waiting for her in an Obama administration come January 2009. This will be water under the bridge by then, and even I don’t think the Clintons care sufficiently little about their party to raise a fuss over it. Hell, if I had to put money down I’d say that Power will be national security advisor. But this, at the very least, decreases the chances of that, which is a crying shame.

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