Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Oba-mania hits town

Its not that I don't understand the appeal of Barack Obama. He's a bright and good looking guy. He's articulate and he has a nice "origins" story. He's African-American and the day is coming when that will be, at least for a while, a political asset just as being female was during the "year of the woman".

Here's the most important thing, he's a blank slate. Not in the sense that he doesn't have his own ideas and aspirations, but he is so new that every one else can project their own upon him. Both Greg Borowski and Eugene Kane make much of his catch phrase and book title, the "audacity of hope" meaning, according to Obama, that "the world that is not the world that has to be."

It is a nice phrase. So nice that it has been a pretty standard concept for politicians. Bobby Kennedy, at least posthumously, "did not look at the things the way they are and ask why" but dreamt "of things that never were and ask[ed] why not." Ronald Reagan, channelling John Winthrop, said we could be as a shining city on a hill. Bob Dole was "the better man for a better America," Richard Nixon was "for the future," and Hoover promised "a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage." At least the last one eventually came true.

I know platitudes are part of the political game, but they are not profound. Obama cleans up well, but what is he about?

3 comments:

triticale said...

"A chicken in every pot"?

There goes the vegan vote.

Kate said...

I honestly don't know why everybody keeps saying he's good looking. I guess my taste is a bit different from the rest of the country. :/ Although, he is quite articulate.

Jim Rowen said...

The noteworthy thing about the Obama coverage is that Tommy Thompson's photo is above Obama's on page one, and above the fold, too.

Advantage Green, and a nice bit of scheduling to dampen coverage of the Obama-Doyle event, but does anyone think that ex-Gov. Tommy is the "star" that the paper's headline says he is?

Tommy has more government experience, but Obama has star power about which Tommy can only dream.