Saturday, January 05, 2008

Barack Obama

It's obviously too soon to tell what will be, but it's tough to dispute that we are seeing a different mood in the US.
That he got out so much of the youth vote is rather remarkable. Agree or disagree with what he is saying, (or it's true resonance/depth), there is no arguing, in my mind, that this guy is an orator. I'll spare you the comparisons, but speakers like this are few and far between. It's not what they say, but how they say it.
Here's the thing we rarely look at. Having a Democrat in power generally means more protectionism. Not so good for our country. However, this man is speaking to environment, health care, energy, etc. There is a different mood there and while it may still be focused on America, it does present a progressive model. Perhaps one that has the ability to showcase Harper as being a relic, though I'd like to see Harper out before the US election.
Consider this. Bush has made enemies around the world. I believe a Democrat will be elected next time around and while we do not know who it will be, they will spend an awful lot of time making amends and shaking hands with all democracies.
Here's his full speech after winning Iowa. I confess, I wish Dion could speak like this as he espouses similar themes, but then again, Harper is a terrible speaker and he does not espouse hope. We shall see how that all works out but in the meantime, kick back with your favourite bevvie and contrast this man with the one who is in power at the moment.


The Mound of Sound said...

Since Iowa I've become a resolute Obama fan. I wasn't convinced anyone could unseat the favourite, Ms. Expedience and that troubled me as she seems to be just the same old white boy except in a skirt. I hope he's the real deal and that he can comport himself with the same dignity should he win office as he's shown to date. There's so much at stake in this election.

knb said...

I'm watching the debate. She's hot and cold, Edward's has made some good points, but Obama has done well in my mind.

More to go, but if I had to bet, I'd say Edwards stood himself in good stead, Obama dominates, and Hillary did herself no favours, though she does make good points.

It's back on...

Miles Lunn said...

I think the Democrats definitely have a strong edge, although I wouldn't rule out a Republican win, when one considers there are more conservatives than liberals in the United States. The reason the Democrats are ahead now is more moderates are going Democrat than Republican.

As for global affairs, I suspect whoever wins will try to make amends, although the damage Bush has done will take years to recover from.

The Mound of Sound said...

I think you're wrong Miles on the extent of Republican support in the states. Americans are remarkably liberal as shown by poll upon poll. Don't forget the overwhelming majority fall well below the ruling, rentier, oligarchy. They were stampeded by 9/11 angst - a lot of it deliberately contrived - but that was used mainly as a tool to wage class war on the minions. Go back into history and review the progressive movement that swept the US in the late 1800's/early 1900's. There you'll find the heart and soul of American democracy. It's all that sustains the joint.

Scotian said...


I agree Obama is one of the best political orators I have ever heard anywhere and quite inspiring. I also agree that he appears to be creating a rare once in a generation phenomena down there. However, HRC has been making one criticism of him that I have to agree with, he has not been getting anywhere near the aggressive media scrutiny she has or that any perceived front runner normally receives. Which in turn is less aggressive than the attack campaign the GOP runs against whoever the Dem candidate turns out to be. This is where I see Obama's one real weakness remaining, and while I like him and how he sounds he does sound a bit too heavy on ideals and not enough on specifics/details on exactly how he would go about achieving these ideals.

I would be far more comfortable with the Obama phenomena if it had received that level scrutiny already, because one thing that does worry me about Obama is how extensively his own prior comments can be used against him down the road by the GOPers and the conservative media infrastructure within the US. After what I watched happen to John Kerry over his by all proven accounts heroic volunteer service in Vietnam via the SBVfT I would be a fool to not expect a similar level of attack politics from the GOP against Obama, and I have yet to see him under enough sustained attack from anywhere to see whether he can handle such attacks, which is one of HRC's main selling points since she has shown she can whatever else one wants to say about her.

While I think we may be witnessing a phenomena in the US with Obama, I am loathe to conclude that this is what is happening or that he has even with a win in NH got this race more or less in his pocket. I suspect that we may soon start seeing Obama receiving the aggressive treatment frontrunners normally get that he managed to skate under to date, and that will be when I will know whether this phenomena is substantive and can hold together against such heavy critical scrutiny and pressure or is more a case of Obama being a bit of an empty vessel in which hopes and aspirations are being poured into.

I don't know how this is all going to turn out, but I do think that writing HRC's political obituary even with a NH loss is a major mistake. I don't see her quitting until it is mathematically impossible for her to win the nomination, and as I said Obama has the big mo right now but has yet to face the scrutiny by the media that any frontrunner normally faces and until I see that I am going to be cautious in my thinking on him. I like Obama, but I also recognize just how messed up America is both domestically and on foreign policy terms and I have to say that makes HRC's point about being ready on day one not a small consideration. We saw how learning on the job with GWB went, while I would not expect anything as bad as him from Obama I do have to wonder whether he truly understands the guts of enough of these core problem areas to be effective in managing them. I just don't know.

Obama inspires, no question, but can he deliver on that inspiration, that is the real question. Well, that and is America currently in a position where it can take such a gamble given the current series of messes and major problems facing them right now. I just do not know, and while I like how Obama sounds I have yet to be convinced he grasps major issues well enough, his slip last month regarding Pakistan was a red flag to me on that score and does not reassure me. Well, that is my take such as it is on Obama and where things are right now, although I will add that thanks to GWB and the GOP disaster of this decade I do think there is a strong yearning within the American electorate to feel inspired and that may well be something that takes Obama over the top despite any/all attacks on him by his opponents and/or media critics. This is the most unsettled and unpredictable situation I have seen in American federal politics in decades. It will be an interesting year to watch.

Anonymous said...

Obama can't win because he did hard drugs casually enough to call it, "scoring some blow" There's a reason the Republicans want him to win.

First ad;

Latin families crying as they describe losing loved ones to the drug war. Then the caption reads; "Obama calls it scoring some blow. We call it supporting drug cartels."

Second Ad;

A shot of a small hut in Africa. "Obama's grandmother lived in this hut with no, health care, nor water and no electricity, while he bought himself a 1.9 million dollar house. If he won't make sure his grandmother has health care housing and utilites why would he care if you don't."

Third ad;

Children playing in a school playground. caption; "If you wouldn't vote for a cocaine user to be on your children's school board, why would you vote for one to be President?"

That's why he will never be President even if the Democrats allow 17 year olds and independents to commit political suicide and nominate him. Not because he's black because of his cocaine use, lack of experience, questionable record etc etc etc.

Then we get to his voting record which is mostly one of not showing up and not conveneing the committee he charis and basically not doing anything. Hardly a testiment to change.

He's not very good at defending himself either. He gets flustered and fast.

The Republicans will rip him to shreds.

Dame said...

Change America??? this will turn off a lot of Americans at the final Run...Change is good and badly needed but this implies a lot more and will Bring up sentiment against him.
he has a Vanguard Following But not the wide range of ages and social ranks. he is not unifying in my mind..
Deep down I doubt the substance behind his magnificent words..
Sorry ...sometimes I go against the flow with my assessment.

knb said...

Miles while it's never smart to rule anything out, I would agree with MoS that the "fear factor" that gripped that country and had it's citizens pratically comatose has eased for the moment.

It'll be back of course as soon as the race gets under way, I think some of the Dem momentum will be tough squelch.

knb said...

I don't disagree with you Scotian. As I said it's much too early to predict anything.

Indeed further media scrutiny will be telling however, I'm not convinced the Swift Boaters will have as much success this time. I doubt any of the Dem's will sit back as Kerry did and I think their supporters will be all over that strategy and show it for what it is. That's not to say that it won't have any impact, but this time around, I don't see a successful replay.

It seems to me that the mood of the country has changed. The Republicans sound like dinosaurs with the hiccups while the Dem's are speaking to the issues.

I know, my bias is showing. Key I think will be the Independents in the end, but I'm way ahead of myself here.

Bottom line, I'm not writing Hilliary off.

knb said...

Anon @12:09, his inexperience and record may be factors, but the coke thing strikes me as ridiculous.

I suppose the GOP could go after it, but then you have the adulterer Guilliani on that side. I mean if it really gets down to those ridiculous issues than that counry is in bigger trouble than we see.

Besides, overcoming obstacles like bad choices in youth to become a Senator plays into his whole message of hope and opportunity.

knb said...

Marta:Sorry ...sometimes I go against the flow with my assessment.

Hey, all opinions are valid and welcome.

As to his following, I heard one of the US pundits state this morning that he had as many youth vote for him as he did seniors. Unprecedented apparently.

Change may indeed scare some, but the status quo lovers wouldn't have voted for him anyway.

It's going to be interesting to watch.

Steve V said...

Scotian is quite right to point out the fact that Obama hasn't been subjected to much scrutiny. I wonder if that opportunity will present itself during this nomination process. This year, the calendar for the primaries is so condensced, with no real breaks for everyone to apply a sober analysis. I thought this was an interesting article, that references the power of momentum within this year's climate.

I don't agree with a process that basically front loads the decision, before the majority has had the time or opportunity to really speak. That said, when you couple the media's reactionary posture, with the obscenely tight calendar this year, it sets up a scenario where Obama could be the nominee before anyone really understands the longer implications. Clinton is trying to make this point on the stump the last couple of days, but it is swept away by the wave. The question then becomes, does the wave stop after a NH win for Obama? That just seems counter-intuitive, if anything it swells further. The race moves to South Carolina, where the polls done in the middle of December already showed a dead heat, prior to any Obama surge. If Obama wins there, and there are already signs that the Africian American voter there, which is massive, is becoming energized, then where does Clinton go? Anything can happen, a week is a month in politics, Obama may mis-step, blah, blah, blah... That said, you have to like his chances, whether the process is fair or not.