What the primaries are for

No penchant for complimenting here

The Economist’s leader on the Democratic primary season has an excerpt your writer would like to share.

The other point of the primary system is to see what somebody is like under pressure, and to measure their presidential character. Mrs Clinton, for instance, has stood out, thus far at least, by her refusal to quit; Mr McCain by his refusal to compromise on either Iraq or free trade. Mr Obama is a less feisty sort, but he has exhibited enormous grace under pressure. In the past few weeks he has had to cope not just with a fresh set of outpourings from his turbulent former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, now mercifully disowned, but also with Mrs Clinton throwing the kitchen sink—and a lot of sharp cutlery—at him. Mr Obama’s refusal to follow her (and Mr McCain) in supporting an idiotic summer suspension of the petrol tax, crude economic populism at its worst, was especially notable.

First, it’s tough to get a kind word out of dry and tight Economist staff–congratulations to Senator Obama. Second, it’s worth taking in what they had to say about the auxiliary purpose of a primary season–it’s a microcosmic competition to see how one might perform under all the same elements of stress in the Presidency. And again, congratulations to its winner.

The Democrats: Almost there – [The Economist]

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