I started to respond to some comments in response to one of my recent Obama posts and decided to move it into a new post.
Here is my problem with Obama. I appreciate that politicians speak in grandiose language. It is, for the most part, the response of Obama supporters that I find creepy. This type of hagiography was not present in 1980.
When I try to understand how it is that Obama might warrant such a response and we look to his stump speeches, I hear a hard left populist who seems to want to talk about what "they" have done to you and who spouts largely erroneous statistics about CEOs wrapped into meaningless non sequiturs about Main Street and Wall Street.
In response, smart commenters like Seth Zlotocha and friends that support Obama tell me that he's not that liberal at all. What's so extreme, they say, about a 1 % tax credit for companies that don't outsource jobs or extending ordinary income treatment to hedge fund managers?
Of course, the answer is nothing. But it's also nothing to get excited about.
Seth's response seems to be - repeatedly - to say that Obama wants to change the "tone" of politics and to encourage participation and to "reach out" to the other side. With all due respect, I have no idea what any of this means.
Obama's stump speeches are unifying only if, by unity, you mean bringing "us" together against "them."
Reagan did not move the country around incremental reform, but by a paragigm shift. He did not do that, contrary to Democrat myths, by the strength of his personality but by the fact that these ideas were right for his time.
He may have spoken about hope but it was linked to something substantive. That substance was not about having the government change your life. He wanted the government out of your life. Is that what Obama has in mind? Because that's not what I hear.
I understand that there is a difference between recognizing a limited role for government in facilitating opportunity and overweening statism. I just wrote an op-ed about it. But the over the top rhetoric and response does not seem to point to anything that is so modest.
If Obama is offering a paradigm shift that is other than what his stump speeches suggest that it is, e.g, a significant increase in collectivization whether through increased governmental spending or reregulation of the economy in the guise of fighting global warming, more protectionism as expressed by hostility to NAFTA and the imposition of costs on companies who respond to the pressures of global markets, or an increased willingness to subject American interests to some type of international system, I don't know what it is.
Suggesting that Obama will change the country just because of the kind of guy he is leaves me unimpressed. I am old enough to remember when Jimmy Carter promised a government as good as the American people. We fell for that once. I hope that, if Obama wins, we have a better reason than that.