Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Empty Politics of Obama Mania Beginning to Worry Some People

Those that follow politics closely know that Karl Rove is bound to be critical of an Obama candidacy. Rove is a Republican and Obama is a Democrat, both have opposing political ideologies and views of the world.

In his latest op-ed piece, he stays consistent with his usual format and comes right out to say what many of us already know. Of particular interest to him is the media-driven (and in some ways, self-created) image of Candidate Barack Obama, as a non-partisan uniter that wants to reform Washington:

Perhaps in response to criticisms that have been building in recent days, Mr. Obama pivoted Tuesday from his usual incantations. He dropped the pretense of being a candidate of inspiring but undescribed "post-partisan" change. Until now, Mr. Obama has been making appeals to the center, saying, for example, that we are not red or blue states, but the United States. But in his Houston speech, he used the opportunity of 45 (long) minutes on national TV to advocate a distinctly non-centrist, even proudly left-wing, agenda. By doing so, he opened himself to new and damaging contrasts and lines of criticism.

Mr. McCain can now question Mr. Obama's promise to change Washington by working across party lines. Mr. Obama hasn't worked across party lines since coming to town. Was he a member of the "Gang of 14" that tried to find common ground between the parties on judicial nominations? Was Mr. Obama part of the bipartisan leadership that tackled other thorny issues like energy, immigration or terrorist surveillance legislation? No. Mr. Obama has been one of the most dependably partisan votes in the Senate.

Until this week, Obama's rhetoric has been focused on reuniting the country, by changing the way business is done in Washington. If that is truly the objective here, one must wonder how this will get done knowing that his resume is so weak. In Washington, favors beget favors and without a lot of them banked in his account, it won't be in his favor.

When there have been opportunities to create good will across the aisle during his senate career, Obama was nowhere to be found -- as Rove further states in his essay. In the area of special interests, he also notes:

Mr. McCain gets a chance to question Mr. Obama's declaration he won't be beholden to lobbyists and special interests. After Mr. Obama's laundry list of agenda items on Tuesday night, Mr. McCain can ask why, if Mr. Obama rejects the influence of lobbyists, has he not broken with any lobbyists from the left fringe of the Democratic Party? Why is he doing their bidding on a range of issues? Perhaps because he occupies the same liberal territory as they do.

The truth is that Mr. Obama is unwilling to challenge special interests if they represent the financial and political muscle of the Democratic left. He says yes to the lobbyists of the AFL-CIO when they demand card-check legislation to take away the right of workers to have a secret ballot in unionization efforts, or when they oppose trade deals. He won't break with trial lawyers, even when they demand the ability to sue telecom companies that make it possible for intelligence agencies to intercept communications between terrorists abroad. And he is now going out of his way to proclaim fidelity to the educational unions. This is a disappointment since he'd earlier indicated an openness to education reform. Mr. Obama backs their agenda down the line, even calling for an end to testing, which is the only way parents can know with confidence whether their children are learning and their schools working.


The past two elections have featured a challenge from Democratic candidates that espouse an affinity for a far-left agenda. Al Gore (and his overzealousness for an unproven theory) and John Kerry (who up to that time had the most liberal voting record in the Senate) were rejected for their messages. What makes Democrats believe that the American people want another referendum on this, is way beyond me.

But here's the clincher.

We expect this kind of analysis from Karl Rove. It's nothing new.

But what when we have liberal journalists like Margaret Carlson sounding concerned about the lack of experience, one must consider there is something to this. By reading her latest, we can see that not all is wine and roses, even in the liberal leaning MSM camp.

I am not sure she has convinced me to believe that the media's love affair with Mr. Obama has come to a complete end. And I won't, until I see him challenged on important issues. Yet, there's a sound of regret and concern that hasn't been sounded much, because Mr. Obama's sudden popularity and success beating a machine candidate from his own party has become the story.

As you may surmise from this, this has fed very well into the Obama campaign (and maybe even Obama, himself).

Up until now, he has laid a foundation that is not as easy to criticize, in that, most people want to see Washington change (except for those that benefit directly from it). Most people want to be a nation united, once again. And who wants to go around life thinking there is no hope for a vision of the future? His speeches (carefully crafted) have been enough to carry him over a candidate that is pretty much in line with his way of thinking, whose only differences are his charisma and charm and her lack thereof.

I suspect that when we get to see what Obama really stands for, we will all know that there isn't a dime's bit of difference between him and his other Democratic opponent, except for experience. And with the likability factor being such a strong issue, even left leaning journalists have to cringe at the notion of a Democratic candidate who relies heavily on personality and image, leading the way into the general election.

From the Carlson piece (about Paul Krugman, noted NYT liberal columnist):

Paul Krugman, also of the Times, fearing he'd been too subtle in his criticism of Obama, went ballistic over the Illinois senator's rhetoric. ``I won't try for fake evenhandedness here,'' he wrote. The Obama campaign is ``dangerously close to becoming a cult of personality.''

How poignant is that? It's not often I agree Mr. Krugman , but this hits it square in the bullseye.

While Obama wins the beauty contests that have been set before him, I think it is becoming more and more apparent that buyer's remorse may be starting to set in. Personality alone cannot win this election. George Bush (either one) did not win on personality, and neither will Obama. And when the hard questions are asked, it is becoming more likely that the wave Obama has been riding will come crashing down on him, in a sea of empty politics.

Of all of the things that I can say here and of all of the things the concerned punditry can say in their forums, the most poignant of all comes from someone you would least likely see linked to here, Roseanne Barr. In her 2-21-08 post, she says it well enough for the GOP to use her words in the general election. And you can bet they will. But even more directly, in her 2-23-08 post, she says this:

If you do not vote for Hillary Clinton, John Mccain will be your next president. Barack Obama's slide out of favor is just beginning in the media, and it couldn't have been more expertly timed.


I couldn't agree more, Roseanne.


9 comments:

Mustang said...

In a post a month or so ago, I predicted Clinton would have a clear shot at the democratic nomination. I was wrong. I’m not so much disappointed in Hillary as I am with Americans who think (and I cannot imagine why) that Obama has any worthwhile plan for America. I have not seen a single issue on his website where he suggests one common-sense solution, and yet . . . thousands are going “ga-ga” for him. Well, I’m doing that too in a way . . . Gag Gag.

ayo said...

Obama is a strategist. Who he is appealing to now are those people that have been apathetic about voting. Right now, his strategy has to be based on how people feel about a candidate. No one may not remember what you say, but they will remember how you make them feel. Right now people feel optimistic, not just about the candidate, but about their own lives. People are getting off of their couches, listening, watching, paying attention. I personally will have to say that personally Obama's greatest accomplishment is actually getting me to care about politics. I voted for the first time yesterday. I thank Senator Obama for that. Now i can't wait to do it again. I believe that once Obama is toe to toe with Mccain, you will really get the deep down core of what obama truly represents and the specifics surrounding his campaign. Obama is pure genius. You need charisma, personality, charm, and a love for the common good to get you in the door. Just because you've dated alot of people doesn't mean you now qualify to date the star captain of the football team. You have to sell the sizzle before the steak. Expect steak from Senator Obama in November. Lots of steak. He knows exactly what he is doing. Experience i feel sometimes makes you jaded. You run out of new and fresh ideas, you get bored, stagnant, the old i've done this before. Obama brings new, fresh energy. He brings the message Dr. Martin Luther King died for. What's experience anyway? After 3 months of doing anything, it just becomes redundant. Why do you think corporate execs invest in fresh, new talent? So the company can evolve. Go Barak. No one is worried. Barak is the man!

ayo said...

Oh and about experience. Where was Hillary's experience in Austin? I commend her for a message at the end. It was....sweet. But she seems angry and trivial. The whole xerox speech. Really. Experience would have taught you to come harder than that. Yet it fell flat. Barack stay cool, calm and collected. Not phased. He's got this campaign planned down to his second reelection. He is choosing his battles wisely. She couldn't really take on Barack in this debate. Do you really expect Barack to deal out all his cards now? It's just way too early.

Rocket said...

I fear even more for the reputation of the United States if Obama were ever to be elected and carry out his plan for Iraq.

From his website

"Obama will immediately begin to remove our troops from Iraq. He will remove one to two combat brigades each month, and have all of our combat brigades out of Iraq within 16 months. Obama will make it clear that we will not build any permanent bases in Iraq. He will keep some troops in Iraq to protect our embassy and diplomats; if al Qaeda attempts to build a base within Iraq, he will keep troops in Iraq or elsewhere in the region to carry out targeted strikes on al Qaeda."

The last 4 lines are laughable. With embassy troops how does he plan on even knowing where al queda will be. As a sovereign nation that would mean Iraq could veto any attempt by the US military to carry out invasions on their territory. (see Pakistan. Ayo. Do you think Al Queda isn't patient?

If we follow his reasoning, let's just close up every military base around the world and pack it in, then we can have more money for subventions and welfare. In that case why don't we just build a wall around the US and we won't ever have to worry about the coming storm. Let the Europeans deal with it.

How does he plan on keeping Sunni and Shiite from killing each other in Iraq. (by dialogue?)

In spite of the flack we are receiving for having engaged this war, we are in it and to pull out now would even send a more severe message to our allies and enemies.

Don't count on the US when the going gets tough.

As much as I'd like to see our soldiers at home with their families. We're in it and the job has to be finished. Nobody knows how long that will take.

It takes more than a pretty face to be a statesperson.

And what's all this MSM Kennedy comparison? Was Kennedy some kind of role model?

A.C. McCloud said...

That's nothing, Mustang. Last summer I wrote a post called "Obama has no chance". Apparently Hillary felt the same way judging by her stunning display of desperation and pettiness of late.

There's no reason Obama won't get crushed by McCain in the general if things go according to Hoyle (another risky prediction). As your link points out LA, McCain's the only one who can legitimately wear the uniter/centrist hat. But the lesson I've learned is to never underestimate a good orator with a positive message, progressive image, and helped by a reticent press, no matter how inexperienced and left-wing he might be in the real world.

ayo said...

Rocket,

It sounds like your fear is talking? Hence Barack's message. Hope, Faith, Change. Rocket, man is not God. Let's not forget that. Man cannot protect us. The U.S. can admit that all it's decisions and choices aren't perfect. Humility helps when you fess up to your mistakes. What's always been important in life and always will be are relationships, not arrogant, pompous, attitudes. America is not above anyone.

Obama has clearly shown he can disarm the public, pulling in thousands, getting endorsed, drawing large crowds of the under 30 who before could care less about politics. I wonder how much so called "experience" he had to have in marketing to pull that off? People do business with those they know, like and trust. Obama has all those factors. I'm sure the same relationships skills he has used, he will continue to use. Hillary's got a plan, specific solutions, but who cares if she hasn't got the people skills to sell it. I think she is just trying to clear the bad name left in the white house by Bill. Don't get me wrong. Bill did some amazing things and people love him, but he was impeached. I can hear her saying now, "Well, Bill, now i've got to go in and fix up the mess you made and clear our family name." Who want such a mar from the Clinton era on their legacy, Impeachment? what do you say to the grandchildren about your history. I'd be pushing to get back in myself if i were a Clinton.

Barack is everyman and the Al Queda will say that, maybe because Barack shares a middle name, amongst other things. Supposed negatives can be turned to positives when Barack shares that his father was muslim, even though he may not be a practicing Muslim. Like in sales, you've got to build rapport, find and share common ground before you address issues. Barack has got that covered. Like i said, he's pure genius. People in other parts of the world have compassion when they know that you are the child of an immigrant. People, all these things count and matter in globalization. Barack shares the story of everyman and that strongly matters. Also, McCain's old. Isn't he like 86? His vice-president will be president if he gets presidency.

Rocket said...

Ayo

Obama has clearly shown he can disarm the public,

Yes but can he disarm Hezbollah and Iran and the others?

"Barack is everyman and the Al Queda will say that, maybe because Barack shares a middle name, amongst other things. Supposed negatives can be turned to positives when Barack shares that his father was Muslim, even though he may not be a practicing Muslim."

Yeh! and maybe one day Al Queda will stop butchering Muslims too because they share the same name.


I repeat your quote

and the Al Queda will say that, maybe because Barack shares a middle name, amongst other things. Supposed negatives can be turned to positives.

I'm really sorry to be a bit simplistic but:

Am I dreaming?

That has got to be the most ignorant quote that I have ever heard and lacks a total knowledge of what goes on, outside of your neighborhood not to say in the rest of the world nonetheless.

Have you ever traveled outside of the United States?

Secondly what you said above. Is this the redeeming feature in his supporters beliefs that expects to get him into the White House?

If it is, God help us

ayo said...

Rocket,

a) I wasn't born in the U.S.

b) Not all his supporters. Just me and my comments

c) Chill.

LASunsett said...

AYO,

Thank you for sharing your reasons for supporting Barack Obama. I admire your zeal.

When I was a young man, the first presidential election I voted in had a similar situation where the country was crying out for change. After LBJ and Nixon (and a few months of Gerald Ford) Americans were fed up with business as usual. Subsequently, we elected a man that was promising a new era of politics, filled with hope, vision, and change. Jimmy Carter was the man that promised these things and the young people (like myself) delivered him to the White House, based on these things alone.

That was the promise we heard, but what we got was:

1. Double digit inflation.

2. Double digit interest rates.

3. A decimated military with low morale.

4. An ideology and philosophy that made conditions conducive for Islamofascists to violate international law, by storming the U.S. embassy in Tehran.

5. An America with very low self-esteem and an overall malaise.

So, maybe you can find it in your heart to forgive those of us older more experienced people that have seen how these empty promises come to pass, after the promise maker gets into the White House. Maybe you can see why we view Obama as nothing more than another flash in the pan, who says whatever to mesmerize a crowd but has very little in the way of specific plans, other than to promote the same old tired left-wing socialist agenda that elevates an already inefficient government to an all time high, in incompetence.

You see my dear AYO, we've heard this kind of stuff before. We have witnessed the disastrous outcomes of having trusted a greenhorn upstart to "fix" what is wrong with Washington. With that experience (that you have devalued) comes wisdom that dictates that by allowing this to happen again, will only result in the same lousy outcome, as in times past.

Anyway, thanks again for taking the time to share your views here. You are welcome anytime. But be aware that if you have nothing more than what you have said already, there are those that read this blog that may challenge your remarks. It is best to be prepared with more than generic rhetoric and emotional praise.

BTW, I visited your My Space website. I have to say that the song you have chosen for it, really kicks. I like it a lot, good choice.