I don't at all adhere to the school of thought that says "if Andrew Sullivan and David Brooks like Barack Obama, he must be evil." That said, I do think it's clear reading things like this doozy from Brooks today that one important driving force behind the sophisticated right's praise of Obama is a simple belief that he'll probably lose in the end. Then, when Clinton is nominated, having praised Obama to the skies they can lament that once again -- sigh -- the Democratic Party has let them down and they have no choice but to vote for the Republicans. The effort here is to somehow bracket the Bush years as just some kind of goofy one-off that we can forget about and remember that the real issue -- as it so often seems to be here in Washington -- is Bill Clinton's sex life. Or something.

It's all pretty inane. I've developed an increasingly strong preference for Obama in this race, but there's no gaping substantive void between them policywise. Certainly, I don't think I can think of any respect in which an Obama administration would more closely resemble a McCain administration than it would a Clinton administration. Meanwhile, McCain, despite some admirable qualities, shares Bush's lunatic conception of America's role in the world, declined to endorse any climate change measures that might actually solve the problem, and has pledged fealty to Bush's irresponsible tax policy in a way that makes it impossible for him to do much of anything innovative on the domestic front. There's a big, clear choice facing the country between the party of war, tax cuts, and the destruction of the planet and the other party -- the notion that the big story is the fortunes of the Clinton family is preposterous.