Sunday, February 10, 2008


This summer while Barack Obama was delivering bland policy wonk speech after policy wonk speech many of his supporters were down on him for not being more aggressive. To his credit, Barack recognized that redmeat fire and brimstone speeches might have a shelf life and he continued to deliver his plain vanilla speeches. Back then he was being criticized as "not black enough".

Now 7 months later and Obamamania has hit the nation there are a few that are asking "where's the beef?". For those that have tuned in lately have mostly heard about the need for change and the audacity of hope. Barack has been great at giving fire them up sermons, but of late people are questioning what Barack Obama stands for. No one questions his blackness anymore.

As a matter of policy Barack has pretty common Democratic values. He is a pro choice, get us out of Iraq, civil union supporting, stem cell research supporting, and pro universal health care Democrat. Those are some of the positions that are lost beneath the Obamamania.

All of the stylized fluff that has engulfed his campaign of late has been kind of fun but at the end of the day, does it matter? The Yes We Can Video was great, but again does that matter?

I would argue that all of these things do matter. At this critical juncture in our nation's history with big challenges to face, it is good to see someone that can really bring a lot of people into the process. Whether it is to vote or to be part of making things different and actually face up to some of these challenges.

Back 2 years ago I donated money to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. This year when they called looking for more money I told them how frustrated I was with their new majority's inability to get things done. In 2006 many Dems campaigned on having enough votes to override Bush's veto on Stem Cell research. The override fell 1 vote short in 2005 with a minority so why hasn't a bill been pushed through? My theory is the Dems think it is an effective wedge issue in picking up more seats this year so passing legislation would hinder that effort.

This is an incredible indictment on the process. This is what I hope Obama can change. No more 50+1 majorities, no more wedge issues. I expect that there will be fights along the way, but I am hopeful that his way to get his way will be to rally the troops and not to demonize his opponents.

Maybe it might seem idealistic that he can accomplish this. I would challenge those who are skeptics to look at the way he has run his campaign. Once it got close he could have had surrogates out there brining up Whitewater, Travelgate, Monica Lewinsky, the Rose Law Office papers, and any one of a number of other Clinton scandals. But he hasn't. He has chosen to take the high road and Hillary has had to come up to join him, so has Bill of late. If you think that he can't raise the level of discourse in this country, just consider how the Clinton's are behaving lately compared to how we know they would like to behave.

That is why I am hopeful and do not apologize for catching Obamamania.


thegrandview said...

Well said, Phil. At some point today I'd like to reference this post if it's ok with you?

thegrandview said...

Well said, Phil. At some point today I'd like to reference this post if it's ok with you?

Ez Blogger said...

no problem