Sunday, January 27

Miracle drugs, better angels, and the real meaning of hope.



They played the U2 song "Miracle Drug" as he walked onto what would've been the court at Bartow Arena, shaking hands beneath a canopy of outstretched arms holding cell-phone cameras. It was a noticeable change from the '60s soul music they'd been playing for the previous two hours as 11,000 people crowded into the buiding; maybe they were really trying to imply that Barack Obama is a magical panacea to cure all the nation's ills, or maybe they were just trying to throw a curveball at a punditocracy that's still expecting him to walk out to Public Enemy's "Brother's Gonna Work It Out" one of these days. Me, I think the campaign just wanted some soaring guitar chords that would resonate with the substantial number of audience members who were still in diapers when "Where The Streets Have No Name" came out.

But whatever their reasoning, the energy of this particular song was matched and exceeded by a crowd fully prepared to make Obama the next president of the United States, or at least do their part from the state of Alabama. It was more or less his standard stump speech, numerous parts of which I'd already read or heard reported from other campaign stops around the country, but it was still one of the most inspiring -- and inspired -- campaign speeches I've ever heard, at least since 1992, when I skipped school to see Bill Clinton's campaign stop in Columbus, Georgia, and got interested in politics to begin with.

The people who constituted Bartow's largest-ever crowd, larger than the official-record 9,354 who attended a UAB-Louisville basketball game three years ago, included a black gospel choir and wealthy white folks from Mountain Brook. There were wheelchair-bound people in their nineties and little kids sitting on the floor, peeking through the railings for a glimpse of the candidate. There were Protestants, at least two Catholics (me and my sister), a number of Muslim students I recognized from the Arabic class I took last semester. There were even a few people whom I've traveled in various political circles with since 2004 and whom I could've sworn were preparing to get on board with Hillary last year. Whatever else you can say about the Obama campaign, the diverse coalition of supporters you've no doubt heard people talk about is very real.

And I don't want to get too flowery and "I believe the children are our future" about that crowd, but the group of people packing Bartow this afternoon really does speak volumes about why Obama's campaign is so important, and it wasn't just because of their diversity. What was even more inspiring, I thought, than the speech itself -- which, in spite of what you've probably heard, was a fairly equal mix of soaring rhetoric and actual policy -- was the way the crowd reacted to it. Some of Obama's biggest applause lines came from parts where he placed responsibility for bettering the country on the people in the crowd themselves: his assurance of college-tuition assistance in exchange for post-graduation public service, for example, or his line about how he could shovel all the money in the world into our public schools and it wouldn't matter if parents didn't do their part. Rather than just rattling off a list of insincere promises and calling it a day, Sen. Obama told his supporters about the role they were going to have to play -- and the hard work they would have to put in -- to make his vision of an American renewal become a reality. And from what I could see, at least, those supporters appeared to be willing to answer the call.

It's no coincidence, then, that both Caroline and Ted Kennedy, the two living people who knew John F. Kennedy better than anyone, both endorsed Obama in the last couple days: Obama gets what that "Ask what you can do for your country" line meant back in 1961 and what it should mean today. One of the biggest things that's caused me to pull my hair out over the past seven years is how little we've been asked to do for our country; we're fighting wars in two different countries, trying to rebuild one of America's largest cities, and doing so under a $9-trillion mountain of debt, yet we're still being fed a diet of upper-class tax breaks and full-size SUVs. Barack Obama, however, has the temerity to believe that the can-do spirit and willingness to sacrifice that we've lauded in "the greatest generation" hasn't completely disappeared from American society, it's just atrophied over the last couple decades. If called upon, Americans will make the sacrifices and put in the grunt work necessary to ensure that we leave a decent world for our kids and grandkids.

Is that faith misplaced? Apparently some people think so -- the people who've been pooh-poohing Obama's candidacy as a lot of naive optimism, anyway. And there was a time when I was at least that skeptical, if not more so. You live through the Clinton impeachment, the travesty of the 2000 election, and the disappointment of 2004, and you come out the other side just a little bit jaded. But cleaning the filth and decay out of Washington and restoring our country's moral authority on the world stage was always going to require an effort on the part of 300 million people, not just one man, and there came a point when I realized that Obama wasn't promising to conjure all that up on his own; he was declaring a willingness to organize and lead such an effort on the part of an entire country. And so far, he seems to be the only one who's done so.

The "hope" he talks about that the punditocracy has tried so hard to marginalize is not, as they would have you believe, a matter of Barack Obama saying, "You just sit back there and hope while I wave my magic wand and make everything better"; if anything, that seems to be the provenance of his opponents, those on both sides of the aisle. Rather, the hope he's selling is the hope that one's hard work, sweat, and tears will actually make a difference. We haven't been able to believe in that for a while now, partly because we haven't been given a coherent plan or even been asked to do anything. Obama, however, is telling us things can be different. Is that such a bad or naive thing to hope for -- that we can achieve a better future through hard work and sacrifice? I thought that was the whole point of America to begin with. (Not to mention the whole point of hope.)

Some people criticize Obama as being nothing more than a symbol. Look, everyone who dares to run for the position of Leader of the Free World is a symbol of something, whether they want to be or not; they might as well be a symbol of something good. To me, Obama represents a political system where we can vote for a guy who's for something rather than just being against what the other guy is for. He represents an America that doesn't shy away from its responsibility to set a democratic example for the rest of the world to follow. He isn't promising to be a miracle drug, but he is promising to try to be the kind of leader we haven't had in a while -- one who appeals not to our worst instincts but to our better angels, and who helps us channel our hope and hard work into something real.

Is that dumb? Eleven thousand people at Bartow Arena didn't seem to think so. Two hundred ninety-five thousand people in South Carolina -- more than the people who voted for McCain, Huckabee, and Giuliani in that state's Republican primary combined -- didn't think so. And I'm more confident than ever that come November, a majority of America's voters won't think so, either.

What about you?

31 comments:

Reed said...

Hear hear, Doug. Three weeks ago I had my mind made up to support Kucinich. While some would argue I was "throwing my vote away", I would at least be voting my principles and making my small statement in support of Bush, Cheney and company being held accountable.

But in the last week, Kucinich dropped out, the Clintons jumped in the muck, and I had to rethink things. For as long as I can remember, I have been waiting for a candidate who would do exactly what Obama is doing. Run an honest campaign that rises above all the mendacity and mud-slinging we've seen since at least GHWBush (that's about as far back as I can really remember anyway as I was only 12).

When Obama retaliated the misquotes and insinuations by saying, "I'm going to call people out when they speak untruths," he had won me over. When the people of South Carolina proved they wouldn't fall for nonsense, it renewed my faith in the American voter - or should I say it "newed" my faith because I never really had a reason to believe before. Treat us like adults and we will respond with our loyalty. It gets my blood pumping.

I am afraid to jump to ahead and ask, "Can he live up to this message?" But then I think, if his campaign can remain consistent and faithful to its ideals, and if the American people finally reward such ideals for once, that's a mandate he could never turn his back on.

In sum, I'm on board. He's the man.

Eric Tonn said...

Amen, Doug. Coming from a college student hoping to be in that "I believe the children are our future" crowd this time around: great stuff, keep it up!

Chris said...

Amen. This basically sums up perfectly how I feel about Obama. And even as someone who generally affiliates himself with the Republican party there is little doubt in my mind who I want to see as president of the United States come next January. I certainly dont agree with all, hell most, of his policies but then again I remember that few presidents stick with their campaign policies (still hard to believe GWB ran as a fiscal conservative)and his message of hope, as you articulated it, gives me hope.

And friends of mine that have known him personally basically confirm that this message is not just a nice face that he puts on for the campaign trail or to win office but how he truly is and what he believes.

Megs said...

This is where I get worried about the voters back in America: it seems they all want to vote on "feelings". Feelings are great, and they are important, but hope and excitement only get you so far. Then reality sets in.

The Democrats have a great system this year that gives Americans abroad their own 11 delegates for the primary, and allows them to vote online. Now that I can easily vote in the primary, and taking my responsibility seriously, I went online to compare the platforms of Clinton, Edwards and Obama last week. My first concern, naturally, was foreign policy, especially as it relates to fighting global poverty. And I was surprised at what I found.

Edwards has put together a really well-thought-out set of programs as relates to the MDGs and development in third-world countries, and made a strong link between eradicating disease and poverty and our national security. He proposes several areas in which we can make targeted and direct improvements, and they are realistic and attainable goals. Some of his language, however, makes me a little nervous: he wants to increase funding for microenterprise "five-fold", but five times a drop in the bucket is still just 5 drops in the bucket. His overall pledge toward reducing global poverty is US$ 5 billion, but with US$ 3 billion a year going toward primary education, I'm not sure he's leaving much for his other goals. Still, he's clearly done his homework and has mapped out strategies that will really work in this fight.

Then we have Clinton, who also has a very well-mapped-out set of goals toward reducing global poverty. She is more specific in terms of dollar amounts, and that goes a long way with me. The strategies that Edwards and Clinton put forward about reducing global poverty are similar on many counts, with a few variations here and there. But both outline positive steps, and both have clearly thought this issue through, and understand why it is important.

Then we have Obama. This is what he has on his website as it relates to Global Poverty: "Obama will embrace the Millennium Development Goal of cutting extreme poverty around the world in half by 2015, and he will double our foreign assistance to $50 billion to achieve that goal. He will help the world's weakest states to build healthy and educated communities, reduce poverty, develop markets, and generate wealth."

Two sentences. That's it. The majority of the rest of his page on foreign policy looks like this: Ending the War in Iraq
Iran
Renewing American Diplomacy
Nuclear Weapons
Building a 21st Century Military
Bipartisanship and Openness
On Israel

I'm sorry, but this does not instill hope in me. This reads just like Bush! He can't get his head out of the Middle East and the military! Those two sentences don't show me anything, they are just a vague reference to one of the biggest problems facing the world, whether people want to acknowledge it. The leading cause of death in the world is poverty, whether through malnutrition, inability to purchase medecines to fight treatable diseases, or when poverty leads impoverished nations to go to war with each other for their natural resources. Barack's father may have been from Kenya, but I only think that goes so far. It doesn't imply to me that he has a better understanding of the problem than anyone else, and he needs to show up with his homework complete, just like anyone else. In this sense, he failed, and he ranks third in line for my vote.

I think there is something disconcerting and maybe even selfish in voting for someone because they make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. Because warm and fuzzy doesn't get anything done, it's just a buzz. I'm looking for real policy. Real understanding of the issues. I don't want pie in the sky. That's just empty calories.

Message of hope? What hope? What do you hope? I hear this a lot. I'd love a post from you, Doug, about what that is. And I'd like to know how it translates to something concrete. Hope for abstract ideals is nice, but doesn't get you anyplace fast. Hope for what? I am seriously curious.

megs said...

Rereading your post, I see that you WERE attempting to explain the meaning of hope. Ummmm...sorry. I guess I still don't get it. You say Obama is FOR something, (as opposed to being aganst what the others are for) but it's not clear what he's for, other than those warm and fuzzy abstract ideals. Also, he wants Americans to sacrifice, and I agree with you it's a great rallying cry and I'll be the first in line, but for what? In what way? Let's be good? Let's be moral? I'm equally, if not more so, concerned with what the goal is, and the objectives we need to achieve in order to accomplish those goals, as I am in the way we go about it.

C In Bham said...

Sen. Obama told his supporters about the role they were going to have to play -- and the hard work they would have to put in -- to make his vision of an American renewal become a reality. And from what I could see, at least, those supporters appeared to be willing to answer the call.

Sounds like a Republican!

Josh said...

As a conservative, the idea of Obama winning the nomination scares the boo-boo out of me. The guy is definitely electable, so much so even I've had my "Hell, I'll vote for him, he's better than the Republicans" moments - until I remember some of his positions.

Thank goodness, then, that Hillary is still going to get the nomination, and an election that should be absolutely unwinnable for the Republicans will be made very much so.

(And no, I really wouldn't vote for a Democrat. Only because seeing the Democrat Underground-style crowd in misery has just been too fun for me).

Anonymous said...

Doug,

Great thoughts. I am 54 years old. Although I was a kid during the JFK years I remember the legacy of Camelot and the "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" feeling. I realize that Obama doesn't have 10 point policy positions for every issue under the sun. That doesn't bother me in the least. Presidential candidates have policy plans just like generals have battle plans. Eisenhower once said, best I can quopte it, "plans mean everything; plans mean nothing." I was told that means that while a battle plan is indispensable, once the shooting starts conditions change and affect the battle plan. Once a president is elected his or her agenda goes to congress and it gets changed. The important thing to me, then, is what is the candidate's basic vision, and how will he or she use the political process to protect his overall vision.

Obama strikes me as the most likely of the candidates to inspire and energize Americans to look beyond partisan points of view to address international relations and economic policy from as close to a what's best for all of us reference rather than what's best for a group than can get the most electoral votes point of view.

Will said...

I've got about a week left to decide here, and I don't think any of the electable 3 Dems (remember, Mike Gravel's still in this thing, and he has actual first-hand experience in getting the US out of an unpopular war...and the same odds of winning as Fulmer winning a popularity contest in Athens, GA) are "ideal."

Neither Clinton nor Obama has shown me a damn thing from a leadership perspective this past in year the Senate and that bugs me a lot. Iraq funding, or--and this is a huge issue for me--the FISA spying nonsense: where were the impassioned floor speeches from Obama on these issues? Or the "building consensus" from Hillary?
I like a lot of John Edwards' positions now--but where were they when he was in the Senate?
The use of "we" vs. "I" is probably why I'm leaning lukewarmly towards Obama, but it'd be nice to see the two sitting Senators actually lead from their existing jobs some too.

And if worse comes down to it, I am prepared to hold my nose and vote for Hillary in November, if only to watch Hannity, Chris Mathews et al choke on their own rage. Plus all the yahoos at LGF and RedState. And I'll say this for D.Underground. I went there back in '03 or so after one of Boortz's rants about them, checked out the "tinfoil hat" guy talking about the PNAC folks...and damned if they weren't right about that particular group of neoconservative asshats.

Hobnail_Boot said...

Camelot was a fictional place.

Time to step aside and let the adults talk now, Obama.

Ulysses said...

Damn straight Doug!!
I am 32 years old and feel that Obama is the first candidate who truly represents my generation. As for people concerned about electibility issues, I am a white male who voted for Bush in 2000 ... and I have contributed hundreds of dollars to Barrack's campaign. I can't remember being this excited about a presidential candidate, ever. Unfortunately the elderly retirees in Florida will likely hand that primary over to Hillary, but we need to make a push on super Tuesday.

Anonymous said...

Hobnail boot, morning came to America every day before January, 1981. Glib comebacks cut both ways.

The adult approach to the issues confronting issues facing America is for Republicans and Democrats to put aside the Newt Gingrich/Karl Rove approach of dividing Americans and work to find common ground. The adult thing for us everyday Americans to do is to share the responsibilities of liberty, rather than claim we can reshape the world at no cost to us individually.

Obama is calling upon us all to be loyal to America and not to party, and to be responsible for improving our lots in the world. Sounds pretty adult to me.

Anonymous said...

That's an article that makes me go "hmmmmm". I'm going to go out on a limb and guess you did well on essay tests in school. (An essay? Okay, "Shovel please..."). But, you are starting to make me think he might be an answer. I said before I liked him, but wasn't supporting him because I didn't think he had the experience, or for that matter, a specific program that I could identify as a position. In Georgia, he has run TV ads with him speaking saying something like "I will get universal health care by uniting Democrats and Republicans." Really. That's not an exact quote, but it's pretty close. And I thought when I heard it that if that was all there was to it - uniting dems and pubs, why the hell hasn't someone already done it?

But, after reading the piece, maybe a plan really isn't the answer. Plans are going to be picked apart and criticized and will have to be changed to meet political realities, and when that happens he'll be declared a failure. Maybe it is more important simply to have goals. Clear goals, desirable goals, but just goals.

I don't know. The jury is still out so to speak, and now that he is less and less 'under the radar', the pub attack machine will set in and do worse than Hilary ever thought about; if he can survive that, I may climb on board.

Megs said...

Re: plans vs. goals:

I remember a State of the Union speech a few years ago in which Bush pledged US$ 5 billion to fight the spread of HIV and AIDS in Africa. And I got goosebumps. I thought, "I really hate this guy, and think he's terrible for America, but I really agree with this goal, and if he gets this done, it will be a huge step in the right direction." But he didn't outline his plan, which was to stuff all that money into abstinence-only sex education in Africa! These programs aren't even allowed to TALK about condoms! I'm not saying that money hasn't had any impact, but I'm saying the impact has only been a fraction of what it could have been.

I'm using this as an example of why I want to hear not only the goal, but how Obama hopes to achieve it. I know as well as anyone how plans change when you try to implement them on the ground, and you need to be flexible and adapt, but an explanation now as to the HOW is important. HOW you intend to do something says just as much about you as WHAT you want to do.

Megs said...

And God bless, someone else puts it even better than I do: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/28/opinion/28krugman.html?ex=1202274000&en=0dd23392cae95bb8&ei=5070

DC Trojan said...

megs, at the risk of being cynical, the US could plow $500 billion into poverty reduction and it still wouldn't solve much of anything because it doesn't address macro issues.

I think Edwards is right to focus on primary education because many other desired outcomes will follow from that... but fundamentally, existing trade and ownership patterns in the developing world are going to have to change in parallel to a change from the bottom up.

Which brings me to your earlier complaint about Obama's focus on national security issues. You could say that's old-fashioned and parochial, yet $275 million a day for Iraq a lone, and thousands of dead people say it's pretty much the central problem in US foreign policy. Or, put it this way, you could pay for Edward's aid program with 20 days' worth of the direct costs for being in Iraq.

My complaint would be that we're not focusing on the right security issues: we've tried and failed to co-opt the Pakistanis, we're not taking the Chinese seriously because they're happily holding the mortgage to our future, we're missing the boat on energy and managing carbon emissions, and our latest gift to the rest of the world is the risk of global recession because of "investment packages" that were a way to move mortgages off the books so that banks could swerve the law and issue more.

I respect your stance that candidates should have positions, and should be honest about how they are going to do what they are going to do. But what gets lost in primaries sometimes is the fact that you're supposed to be in a Presidential campaign to win it. I flat out don't buy that Senator Clinton can do that, and I'm willing to take a chance on Senator Obama, details or not, even if all I were to get out an Obama presidency was a four year breakwater against the Congressional Republicans.

ACG said...

Megs, I certainly agree with you about the important of solid foreign policy, especially as concerns foreign aid and global poverty. I've always felt, personally, that anyone with a ridiculous wealth of resources has a moral, if not political, obligation to help out those who have little to nothing.

But I also have this concern: Who are we to be helping anyone right now? Not that we don't have the resources or the moral obligation, but in terms of both economic and foreign policy, our national shit is seriously not together. We're fighting a war on two fronts, pouring $275 million a day into a country whose people hate us a little bit more every day we're there. We've pissed off a great many former allies who could have, at one time, enthusiastically followed our leadership in addressing issues like poverty and disease prevention. We're staring down the barrel of a recession that has the potential to drag world markets down with us. We used to be the Conrad Hilton of the world, and now we're the Paris Hilton; I think that's something we need to address before we'll really be able to get anything accomplished globally.

It's like DC Trojan said: That $275 million per day that we're currently spending in Iraq could mean a whole lot of foreign aid directed elsewhere. I'm all about plans and strategy, and I'd love to see a concrete plan from Obama outlining precisely how he'd like to address issues like global poverty, but I can't entirely fault him for his priorities.

Universal REMONSTER said...

I wrote something on here yesterday and it must have been deleted or something. Anyway, you're htting it on all cylinders Doug. I'm heading to the polls right after work.

Dawgy said...

Obama is no JFK! Not even close.

BTW, besides being a great speaker, what does he bring to the table? What's his plan for fighting the war against terrorism? Let me guess...diplomacy. Say what you will about Bush but, since 9-11 the terrorists have a zero success rate in the U.S. Maybe they're scared of Barney Frank, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Chappaquiddick Teddy.

If John Wayne were still alive he would kick your ass Dougie.

ACG said...

Terrorists have had a zero success rate in the U.S. since I went back to what I think may have been my original haircolor. We're fine as long as I stay brunette. I'm considering going red again, though, so we all might want to brace for Threat Level Auburn.

Anonymous said...

Red hair is totally hot if it is right for your skin tone. Jes' sayin'.

Will said...

Yes Dawgy, that must be it, we're safe because Dubya is so great at protecting us. Not because maybe, just maybe the terrorists really are a bunch of moderately (if that) funded nutjobs largely hiding out in the mountains near Pakistan. The USSR had 50 megaton nukes, and means to drop them on NYC at a moment's notice, but to hear the GOP tell it, the whackos in Waziristan are a greater threat to the US. Sorry, I don't see it.

DC Troian said...

will, don't be too relaxed about this: just as soon as they can find a donkey strong enough to wear the lead coat and carry the surplus Pakistani warhead, they're coming to New York.

Anonymous said...

Yo, I just voted down here in Baldwin County. Super Tuesday=Fat Tuesday, so of course drunkenness wins and we can vote early. Quite a few people out, even though it turned cold as heck overnight. Most voting Republican, of course(the most republican county in the state) but I hollad at ya boy, Doug. They ask me who I vote for, I just tell em the next President of the United States.

Josh said...

Obama can get away with inexperience and lack of realistic detail in the primaries. Liberal proponents tend to embrace the warm and fuzzy platitudes of "change" without bothering to verify reality out of the feel good rhetoric. I live in a deeply liberal town and I see this played out in real time everyday.

If he can dodge the Clinton political knives to land the nomination (and keep in mind the Clintons pretty much built the current variation of the Dem nomination machine), the real fireworks/flaws and potential implosions will begin.

He'll have to face an opponent of far greater experience regardless of who gets the GOP nod. "Change", identity politics and the perceived JFK halo won't cut it at that point. He'll have to get real, and start hashing out his details with half a country that thinks he'll step a bit too far into Socialist territory for comfort. Pining about Fighting Global Poverty (which is a fool's game that only works on the young idealists and/or naive voters...much like 'Middle East Peace') won't help.

Granted, I can't stand Hillary. But I would like to see Obama defined. He's warm and fuzzy right now, but completely out of focus outside of liberal circles.

Not to throw cold water on your candidate of choice. I'm just saying he's got his work cut out for him. Beware the Clintons starting to really push the race card against him. The further they slip, the uglier they are going to make it.

DC Trojan said...

Josh - Obama is planning on nationalizing American industry? Establishing an income ceiling with punitive income taxation? No? Then he's not a Socialist, sorry to disappoint.

josh said...

I didn't write that "he IS a Socialist". I wrote that he would need to hash "out his details with half a country that THINKS he'll step a bit too far into Socialist territory for comfort."

Nationalized Healthcare is a move towards a socialized system. No one can even pretend that it's not "healthcare by beauracracy".

"Taxing the rich" is a thin euphemism for what amounts to punitive taxes for individual success, which is particularly distressing when "the rich" tends to be defined as any household making $100K or more per year. In Sioux Falls, that may be considered rich. But
in NY or San Fran or LA? You'll still be paying rent.

Wishing to legislate federal provisions for seizing oil profits beyond taxation for forced redistribution to social agendas isn't exactly a capitalist move.

In short, no one is worried about Obama being a definitive Socialist. But they are worried he will be more than a gradual step in that direction. And Hillary would be even worse.

"A moral obligation to fight Global Poverty". "a War on Poverty". Redistribution of national wealth and forced creation of jobs through government agencies. C'mon - that's just leaning on the Marxist playbook.

Anonymous said...

In short, no one is worried about Obama being a definitive Socialist. But they are worried he will be more than a gradual step in that direction. And Hillary would be even worse.

And John McCain would be.........?

When the Republicans hand the keys to the kingdom over to that doddering old fool then you will know we are officially screwed. Why a Democrat would be disappointed in a McCain presidency is beyond me. Come November the democrats win folks. No matter who runs or who wins. Everybody on the bus has the same world view. Get used to it.

Will said...

Good thing none of Obama's proposals for repealing Bush's tax cuts use 100K/year as the threshold. It's 220K or 250K (I forget)...same with raising the 15% tax on folks earning all their money from the market. Now if you pick some miracle stocks one year and turn a quarter million in profit, sorry, you'd get taxed at the same rate as Warren Buffet. But that's better than my tiny 401K earnings getting taxed the same as the 8 figure sums hedge fund managers get.
I listened to (and occasionally still listen to) Boortz for over a decade, so I've got that stigma against "class war" pretty ingrained...but the more I look at real wage growth for the past 30 years, the harder it is to say that the top 1% haven't been getting it at 100x better clip than everyone else.
And this is why Obama's Reagan comments are dead on: he wants to be the leftwing/Progressive antithesis to Reagan. Folks remember Reagan and largely voted for him because he was The Great Communicator, and he made us feel all warm and fuzzy. They ignored his Goldwater-esque foreign policy and (somewhat) radical economic policies and union busting. Lovable, Teflon Reagan shifted the center to the right. Obama's could shift it the other way.

Anonymous said...

I was very young when JFK was first elected and I grew up in the Northeast so you can imagine that I was indoctrinated as a young age into the liberal higher education mindset of that area. It seems that ever since JFK the Democrats have seemed to want to find the "next" JFK. As a young idealist in college I voted for John Anderson instead of Reagan. I thought that the $.50 gas tax was a brilliant idea. I just never warmed to Ronnie who seemed like a nice old guy but never had to do anything but give a good speech and then take another nap.

As I aged I became more conservative and more disillusioned with the Democratic party. I certainly have issues with certain groups who the Republicans have tended to answer to or aligned themselves with. However, the Democrats have become a group that has no identity and seems to have no focus. Maybe I have grown somewhat cynical after Jimmy, Walter and Duke but I just dont see that either of these candidates has the talents to lead this country. B.O. has been a US Senator for three years and Hillary left a lucrative career as an options trader to become first lady. Nothing like exploiting your husbands former position to help you get a Senate seat. A real role model would have kicked to the curb a husband who is getting BJs in the oval office and passing out Whitman poetry books to his conquests.

I will be voting for McCain next Tuesday. I certainly dont agree with many of his positions. However, I find him the one that I trust the most. I think its about time we have a president who knows something about foreign policy, been around the block more than a few years and we can trust to make the tough decisions.

Anonymous said...

I have been following the responses tom this topic for a while now, and the only person that I agree with entirely is Will. In a nutshell, "...Teflon Reagan shifted the center to the right. Obama's could shift it the other way" is unbelievably astute analysis. Of course, even though it may be correct, it really isn't an argument for Barack, because I always thought Reagan was an idiot who just managed to con a bunch of folks even more idiotic than him. That's the sort of thing that cuts both ways.