Friday, February 15, 2008

Barack (pt. 1)

As per always, various observers and professional wise-acres have casted the 2008 US Presidential election as a question of "electability." This is one of the most wretched aspects of American politics, but it pervades the culture at large: operational evaluation has taken the place of critical analysis. People talk about books that are readable, and "popcorn movies" which are most excellently...watchable. So, like cheeseburgers that are sublimely edible, politicians need to be electable, and elections are about who can win, not what is at stake.

John McCain has been mouthing off, in his sly, old bastard way, that Barack Obama is nothing but platitudes about Change. But as it happens, Change is an actual issue in this election, motherfucker. Neither McCain nor Hillary Clinton represent the sort of potential for change that Obama does. I think that's a pretty strong argument for the guy right there.

Nonetheless, if the same old media cynics will not actually grapple with Obama's ideas and positions, I think we should. And I will. After this post.

But the thing that impresses me about Obama so far is the idealism surrounding him, particularly that on display in this music video with the Black Eyed Peas, John Legend and Scarlett Johansson singing the words of one of his speeches. I wasn't aware there were any Americans still unparalyzed by eight years of Bush administration horseshit, let alone Americans guided by the simple belief that our president should be a decent fellow. People who think the US can not only do better, but that it can do good. That is more moving than any campaign speech I've seen so far.


Elizabeth said...

I am 100% agreement with you. The enthusiasm I've felt in myself, seen in others, springing up again after eight years of being trampled, cut down. It's amazing.

But also, the guy is brilliant. In a recent speech he said, "cynicism is a sorry sort of wisdom," and "the future will not be written for us, but by us." On McCain, Obama said, "He says that we might be in Iraq for 100 more years. That is reason enough not to give him four years in office." What can I say? I love a smart man, and this guy is smart as hell.

EuroTrippen said...

I'm an Obama fan too. And after much soul-searching he got my vote in the primaries.

That's not to say I don't like Hillary Clinton. I do. And I'm genuinely flabbergasted by all the people who can't stand her. Both are excellent (well, as excellent as you get from presidential candidates these days)choices for the democratic ticket.

Even after his recent wins I still have my doubts that Obama will prevail come national convention time, but I sure hope he does.

more cowbell said...

Well news just in that Obama won the Overseas Dems as well, so he keeps on winning. Way to go, guys. It took me a long time to make up my mind, but I'm in teh Obama camp now.

I've written about this a couple of times -- seems like Hillary keeps stomping the "hope and change are empty words" and how she's all about specifics, but her speeches haven't been about specifics, they've been idealistic generalizations lately, along with talking about how Obama's not specific enough. What? I'll look for specifics on their web sites and in the debates, but right now, damn right i'm looking for some inspiration and some change.

And I do think electability is an issue this time around, as distasteful as that sounds.