Friday, February 29, 2008

Change is Coming

I have been trying my best to contain my excitement about the prospect of Barack Obama securing the Democratic nomination. But I have to say that I am beside myself with excitement. Not only do I feel as though the nation is on the brink of a much needed progressive and positive change, but I also feel as though I am not alone in those feelings. There is too much excitement in the air.

On a slightly different note, I think that when one looks at those who surround John McCain, it's monochromatic. As one comedian suggested, McCain's posse looks like it belongs to a restricted country club. He feels like some anachronistic figure from the 1950s, and I have no desire to turn back. I think we all need a new way forward, and Obama needs to be the captain.


The Linden Row said...
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The Linden Row said...

Super-Tuesday's victory was the real date on which Obama secured the Democratic nomination. I know we all hope for a change in the tone and function of Washington, but as the McCain-Obama contest is beginning in earnest, it is becoming unceasingly obvious to the thinking hopeful that both candidates are more likely to prove dissappointing than not.

McCain the Maverick is no where to be found, and Obama, the "agent of change" that never was, will likely never be anything other than the practitioner of crass political calculus he has proven repeatedly to be.

Racial Ad Hominum logical errors aside(Is it the chromatic constitution of supporters that is important or policy details with which voters should concern themselves? ) ---"On a slightly different note, I think that when one looks at those who surround John McCain, it's monochromatic. As one comedian suggested, McCain's posse looks like it belongs to a restricted country club."

-finding substance amongst the flotsam of Obama stratagem is difficult if not impossible. As is too often the case amongst the enthused myopic masses, the loudest critics of identity politics are often the most apt to shamelessly embrace and employ them.

There are many, newly politically engaged and less than critically thinking supporters of Obama who, like supporters of Ross Perot or Ron Paul in the past, are hooked on a feeling and willing to buy the sales pitch without reading the ingredient list, circumspectly checking for filler, artificial sweeteners, and artificial flavoring.

Could Obama, once elected, become something other than the empty, rhetorically hypnotic repository of the political zeitgeist?

Could McCain return to form as the "truth to power" rebel the independently minded once found so attractive?

One can hope, but I wouldn't bet grandma's social security check on it.

hscfree said...

My commment about the lack of diversity, if you will, of the McCain team is hardly an ad hominum error. It is reflective of the static perspective of the GOP. More importantly, there is no empty suit afixed to Obama. All one has to do is review his positions and perspectives to see the substantive within his political approaches.

The Linden Row said...

Free, seriously - hardly an ad hominum error? Your statement is, by the strictest of definitions, as straight forward a case of ad hominum argumententation one might hope to find.

In a classic error of logic, you absolutely are, protestations not withstanding, conflating (1) a physical characteristic (race) of a man or group with (2)the worthiness of whatever argumentative claims he or they may be making (policy, experience, etc.)

McCain may be many things, but he is hardly a representation any "static perspective of the GOP". If nothing else, the great controversy within his own party surrounding his impending nomination should serve as indication that he is anything but GOP status quo.

Without attaching any importance to stance on issues, you are attempting (in this specific instance)to make the case that one candidate, is, by way of racial definition, necessarily anachronistic, backward looking, and should be dismissed out of hand in favor of another who,at least superficially, represents change.

McCain is no prize (I am sharpening my knives for him as well), and there is plenty of substantive fodder for criticism on his side of the street (especially of late - can you say HAGEE?)

I can make a fact based case against "agent of change" status being afforded Obama (and I have), but the color of his skin and that of those who surround him plays no part in my evaluation.

The Obama candidacy has stirred something powerful in previously apathetic groups of people (the young, the idealistic, and the spiritually disenfranchised.) Great men (Ghandi), monsters(Hitler), and hucksters(Uri Geller) alike have shared this "cult of personality" ability to attract followers throughout history.

Sorting the three out requires more than a superficial assessment of truthiness, and the process isn't well served by emotionally driven reasoning (however understandable and well-intentioned the nature of such reasoning may be). You wrote:

More importantly, there is no empty suit afixed to Obama. All one has to do is review his positions and perspectives to see the substantive within his political approaches.

The "positions and perspectives" you speak of are more aptly characterized as platitudes and Clintonesque bits of semantic parsing. You are correct,however, in your assertion that Obama is no empty suit . To the contrary, candidate Obama is a well crafted presentaton, encapsulating whatever needs to be encapsulated in order to capture the imaginations of an indiscriminately "hungry for change" electorate. It is the value and truth of the suit's content which I hold empty.

Obama (in a very sad and "politics as usual" way) is whatever he needs to be to whomever he is wooing at the time and is willing to do whatever is necessary to win. Principle (the kind that often proves politically costly) plays little to no part.

In a real applause getter, Obama falsely claimsthat he hasn't accepted any lobbyist's funds and will get the money out of politics to make room for the interests of the common man. Not even close to true. He gladly courts and accepts money from State lobbyists, law-firms representing Federal lobbyists, and corporate bundlers. You see, technically he only ever pledged not to accept funds from FEDERAL lobbyists. Very Clinton, no? (And don't fall for the "No Lobbyists in an Obama White House spiel either, it is also utterly false.)

This "harbinger of hope" has no problem "buying" "buying" super-delegates. Nothing illegal, just another indication of a politically expedient and ethically questionable tendency on the part of a candidate that presents himself as something other than politics as usual.

Is this approach "hopeful" or a well crafted and calculated presentation by a smart, opportunistic political practitioner? The facts strongly suggest the latter.

Whatever Obama's (the man) place in history, if he is elected, he may or may not ultimately prove to be the agent of character-driven change he purports to be, but Obama (the symbol) would nonetheless be evidence of a de facto change in what is held as possible in this great country.

All that said, the point I'm making here is that, your persuasive (and expressive) intent, genuine though it may be, is not well served by engaging in the very thing you ostensibly abhor.

P.S. Obama is more likely to be the next Jimmy Carter than JFK. (If elected would likely preside over a uniquely pernicious reappearance of stagflation, and what promises to be a deepening recession throughout 2009, making way for a very Reaganesque return of that mirage of a candidate-and conservative savior-Mitt Romney)