Thursday, March 20, 2008

Barack Obama

I just don't get him. He's a good-looking guy who knows how to deliver a speech. He's also a socialist who worships with an America-hating pastor and an America-hating (or at least not proud of America) wife--two pretty influential people in a man's life.

I just don't get him. The race speech? What was new there? Nothing, if we're to move towards a post-racial society. The WSJ Online points out some common cynicism, though:

We didn't write about this back in October, because the whole kerfuffle was, at its root, silly. There are many ways of expressing patriotism, and if wearing a flag pin is not Obama's idiom, who cares? It was arrogant of him to imply that his own patriotism was more "true" than that of pin-wearers, but one could put this down to defensiveness at being asked a "gotcha" question.

But in light of his October comment, what are we to make of his extravagant use of the Stars and Stripes on Tuesday? If a flag pin on a lapel is "a substitute for true patriotism," is that not also true of eight flags on a stage as a backdrop to a political speech? Obama proclaimed himself too good for cheap symbolism, but resorted to it the first time he faced a real crisis. Is he really any different from the run-of-the-mill politician?

No, he's not. He's just another socialist.

And his speech may have explained, but certainly doesn't excuse, Wright's anti-Americanism and Obama's association with it. See, Wright's allowed to have his opinions, and Obama's allowed to have his. But everyone is judged by the company he keeps, and Obama has kept this man's company for 20 years. Just words? No, poor judgement, and not that of someone I'd want in charge of our government. You can't transcend race when you dwell in the deepest pool of racism. Obama's defense doesn't sound very post-racial to me or to the WSJ:

What it really demonstrates is that whereas whites are expected to be respectful, sensitive and fair-minded when talking with or about blacks, there is little expectation that blacks will reciprocate--to the point that a black presidential candidate doesn't feel inhibited from making a statement about "a typical white person."

Did you read the laundry list in his speech? It sounded to me like the typical "blame everyone else" game. It didn't sound at all like his "feed your kids breakfast and make sure they do their homework" speech that he gave to a black audience a couple weeks ago. No, in this one, intended for a white (or at least mixed) audience, we get a lot more of the feel-bad pablum that the guilt-laden left has foisted on us for decades.

I just don't get him. I don't understand why he's given a pass on these things--unless he's the affirmative action candidate. Or are we really so shallow as to vote for a man because he's good looking or merely a good orator? Because honestly, that's all I see in the man. I'm sure he's a nice guy, and I'd enjoy chatting with him at a barbecue, but I need more in a President.

I need someone with a moral compass. I don't know if Obama's points north. I need someone who says what he means and means what he says. I don't trust Obama to tell me anything other than what he thinks I want to hear. I need someone who shares my values. Obama isn't that man.

I just don't get him. And he does not have my support in his run for President. I trust he wasn't counting on it.


Unknown said...

I love the "affirmative action candidate" label, the Republicans are so good at making worthless, unfounded labels in an attempt to ruin people. It has no basis, he might be winning because of his looks or his attitude, but I can't believe that he gains more votes than he loses for being African American, and if it's the case it can't possibly be enough to give him the win. I guess you watched another speech.

"For the African-American community, that path means embracing the burdens of our past without becoming victims of our past. It means continuing to insist on a full measure of justice in every aspect of American life. But it also means binding our particular grievances - for better health care, and better schools, and better jobs - to the larger aspirations of all Americans -- the white woman struggling to break the glass ceiling, the white man whose been laid off, the immigrant trying to feed his family. And it means taking full responsibility for own lives - by demanding more from our fathers, and spending more time with our children, and reading to them, and teaching them that while they may face challenges and discrimination in their own lives, they must never succumb to despair or cynicism; they must always believe that they can write their own destiny."

But the best part is your statement about his moral compass.

"I need someone with a moral compass. I don't know if Obama's points north. I need someone who says what he means and means what he says. I don't trust Obama to tell me anything other than what he thinks I want to hear. I need someone who shares my values. Obama isn't that man."

I assume your not voting for Hilary, which means its either McCain or someone who can't win. If it's McCain he's the biggest liar I have ever seen in politics and does it with a straight face. He's changed every view that didn't fit the Republican party's strict standards and has left behind most of what made him a moderate. When he was against Bush's tax cuts and condemned the intolerant religious right that he now panders to I thought he would be a good president. I'm not saying Obama is the next Martin Luther King or JFK like some people are most likely falsely predicting, but at least he hasn't already lied to me.

Darren said...

His qualifications for President are so minimal that I'm forced to believe that the *only* reason he's running is because he's a black non-Jesse-Jackson.

And if you think he hasn't lied to you, you haven't been paying attention to his changing story regarding Reverend Wright.

Here's where I'll assert something without specific evidence, only insinuation: you don't become *anything* or *anyone* in Chicago politics by playing the straight and narrow.

No, I don't trust this man. And as far as who I'm going to vote for, you can type the other two major candidates' names into the search engine at the top of the page and see what I've said about them.

Oh, and as for Republicans' making "worthless, unfounded labels"? Check out this post:

Ellen K said...

My concern is that many people are guilt-riddled enough to vote for Obama simply because he is black without listening to what he's about. And Mr. Obama has been very careful to play into that attitude of "shame on you" for many voters. If he wins the delegate vote, but loses the nomination due to superdelegate overrides, what happens then? I hate to say it, but many in the African American community see everything in the light of racism. I don't want to see a repeat of the rioting of the Sixties due to a failure of Obama to win either the nomination or the election. Isn't this a type of extortion in a way? And what can we look forward to down the road on legislation if the race card is pulled on every agenda? Not everything comes down to race, yet there are some people who see it that way. Americans deserve someone who is willing to approach problems from a factual basis, not tied to someone else's plan.

Anonymous said...

> I love the "affirmative action candidate" label, the Republicans are so good at making worthless, unfounded labels in an attempt to ruin people.

Yeah, I love it too. Here's a clue: Susan Estrich, raving leftie, hung that sobriquet on Obama along with the implication that affirmative action implies incompetence.

I'd welcome her to the ranks of the troglodytic right but I'm sure it's just a case transient dizziness with which she's had to contend her entire adult life. Without doubt some kind leftie will remonstrate with Susan, reminding her that affirmative action is social justice in the flesh and thus is without blemish and above criticism.

> If it's McCain he's the biggest liar I have ever seen in politics and does it with a straight face.

You haven't had much exposure to politics then. Do da name "Bill Clinton" ring a bell?

My main question about Obama is whether he's a more or less pragmatic politician then Hillary Clinton? He's obviously a significantly more competent politician having achieved his success early and on his own. That suggests ideology subservient to ambition and while I'd vastly prefer a reincarnation of Ron Reagan I'll settle for someone I can do business with.

Obama's brisk distancing of himself from Reverand Wright suggests that pragmatism elbows ideology out of the way whenever there's contention between the two and while the same can be said of McCain he's starting out where Obama has to move to make himself electable.

Anonymous said...

Obama made me "get" Ronald Reagan for the first time. I never understood why people adored him until Obama came along and I realized that Obama was Reagan. but with a vision of government I agreed with. To be clear, I thing Reagan was an exceptionally effective but abysmally bad president whose vision of government was and is profoundly immoral. That you think Obama is a socialist (that's absurd and unsupportable by anyone with any sense of history, politics, or what English words mean, but that's another point) makes it impossible for you to get Obama in the same way I didn't get Reagan. I still don't get him, but I now get why others do.


Darren said...

Michael, we'll just disagree on a bunch of stuff--but how you can imply that Obama is *not* a socialist is far beyond me.

Anonymous said...

I was perusing your blog, happy that most of the posts showed the writer to be capable of nuanced thinking, happy that most of the mental shortcutting that characterizes so much rhetoric of the so-called "right" was absent, that is, until this post. "Socialist", "America-hating", just company-line rhetoric devoid of truth.

For the right, any criticism of the country is "America-hating". No honest discussion can occur because real patriots must continually blow smoke up the collective ass.

Further, an awareness of the tradition of liberation rhetoric in black religious culture would firmly place the sermon's soundbytes into a larger context in which it is completely, utterly, typical and unsurprising. The right's utter disregard for context in favor of knee-jerk "America-hating" rhetoric is a blight; political discourse is stifled.

The very utterance that Obama is a "socialist" is hilarious. I wish he was. At least that would be interesting. But socialism is not represented in American politics. Both parties feed from the corporate trough. This should be obvious to anyone, yet the rhetoric serves its purpose of skewing and stifling the discourse. If Obama is a "socialst" then he must be disregarded, dismissed without thought.

So, we get posts like yours "I don't get him". Indeed, there are many things you don't seem to get.

Darren said...

I could translate what you wrote:

You struck a nerve with me, so I'm going to say your post was dumb boilerplate.

That's what comes across to me. To say that socialism isn't represented in our political system just says that in your opinion, *not enough* socialism is present. In mine opinion, there's already too much.

If you want to have a reasoned, rational discussion about how much is enough, and what programs constitute socialism, we can have that. But just to toss insults because I've gored your sacred cow, well--you're probably more capable than that.

Anonymous said...

Your translation would be inaccurate. If you aspire to more than "boilerplate", or if it is truly "reasoned" and "rational" discourse that you seek, you should avoid the mental-shortcutting that runs rampant in this post. There's nothing "reasoned" or "rational" here; it is all, as I pointed out, repetition of the same tried-and-true knee-jerk rhetoric that stifles real discourse. I see that you are a teacher. So am I. And if a student turned in a paper with the fallacious shortcutting you use here, he'd earn himself an F. Surely you can do better.

Darren said...

My post was not designed to be of essay standard--it's a blog post.

You got the point of my post, despite the boilerplate rhetoric--or perhaps because of it.

We're not going to get anywhere calling each other idiots, so how do you suggest we proceed?