Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Obamania

I'll admit it, I'm a sucker for a politician who sounds good. I got all excited when Jimmy Carter was inaugurated, almost exactly 30 years ago, walking part of the parade route in Washington; finally an honest president. I got all excited when Bill Clinton was inaugurated, almost exactly 14 years ago, watching on CNN as he and Hilary stood in the White House greeting ordinary citizens who had stood in line; finally a president who cared about ordinary people.

I'm a late comer to Obamania; not voting for him in the Democratic Senatorial primary in Illinois in 2004 because I had never heard of him and didn't think someone with a weird name like his had a chance. I became a convert after I got to know him better after the primary, and, once more, I have high hopes that this time we have a different kind of politician. I am not impressed with the arguments that he lacks substance. Anyone who has read his books (I have only read the first one, Dreams From My Father, although the second one, The Audacity of Hope, is on the shelf waiting for me,) knows that Obama is not a person without substance. He did not miraculously become a United States senator without serving an apprenticeship in serving his community and state as a community organizer and state senator. He has not felt it necessary to try to hide the less savory aspects of his past. He lets it all hang out in Dreams From My Father, including the parts that do not make him look good, such as drug use when he was a young man.

I realize I'm getting too old to be suckered by a politician once again. But this campaign biography video made my throat get all lumpy and my head get all mushy. I'm willing to believe once again.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

I was so taken with Obama back in 2004 when he was running for the Senate and I too feel that I'm inclined to be sucked-in,charmed,whatever you want to call it; but I would rather be charmed when my heart is warmed by such promise and hope than continue the anger and frustration caused by those in power who lie, send Americans to defend our freedom(access to oil)and allow ordinary citizens to sacrifice sons and daughters and turn out more terrorists per million as the entire Middle East heats up. I vote for hope and a better feeling any day !! The funny name is now a household name which means that anything is possible. Into the future, I say !

Jarrett said...

Obama will be the next president. And I can't wait.

Momo said...

I'm a believer too. I have hope in America because I have hope that he will become president (in 2008? or whenever).

Have you seen his speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention? I became a believer right then and there.

Dan S said...

I was a big fan in 2004. My son, who looks a little bit like him, even dressed up like him at Halloween (blue blazer, huge Obama button, easiest halloween costume ever).

However, he's been pretty cautious so far, so it is hard to get a feel for whether or not he will be a dissapointment. He's not nearly the progressive many seem to think he is - he voted for the border wall between US/Mexico and he's been notably silent on the separation/apartheid wall in Palestine. Plus, he seems to be following the Hillary route of talking tough on defense, and not working very hard to get us out of Iraq.

Still, I would easily vote for him, and love to see him as president, simply because the alternatives are much much worse.

I think he stands a good chance of winning. My arch-conservative father-in-law heard him give a speech on campaign finance reform, and was so impressed that he said he was the only Democract he would ever consider voting for. I've not heard any conservatives say that about Hillary.

Amishlaw said...

Aren't there any Obama haters out there? I can't believe the vote will be unanimous.

Debra Hope said...

I'm not an Obama hater, far from it; in fact, several of my friends and relatives know him personally and think he's the greatest. But, let's get real. Obama's been very lucky. The leading contender in the Democratic primary, Blair Hull, got knocked out when his ex-wife said he used to beat her up. Obama wins primary. Republican is Jack Ryan, a yahoo from the suburbs who also has a vicious ex-wife; she waits til the general election and then blabs about the unsavory sex clubs he forced her to visit. Ryan out. Who does Obama have to run against? Alan Keyes, that nut case they brought in from out of state. No contest.

Yes, he's attractive, but I fear that once he announces, the media, which has -- let's get real, here -- created this new hero, will then do its usual 360 and slice and dice him and it will be the end of his political career. It's a toss-up. This might be his only chance, but it also might be his death knell. Instead of getting all hysterical about him, let's all calm down and look at this rationally. And, while he looks squeaky clean, my source tells me there's dirt that will be released the minute he announces . . . and she should know. She looked for it will working for Hull! Finally, I'd say something about the whole white guilt factor, but . . . hey, let's not ruin everyone's day.

Lauren said...

It's experience he lacks. Certainly not substance! And I don't know, Dan S.,but Obama objected to the war early on so I find him very un-Hillary-eque.

I wish he'd wait, because I'm afraid he'll make some political error and get chewed up. Also just because he is inspiring doesn't mean he will be a savvy politician. And that's what he needs to be. Translating inspiration into politically feasible and do-able policy is a bitch to accomplish. Still, though, I'm voting for him should I have the chance.

Jarrett said...

If Obama waits he will have thousands of votes he makes in the senate held against him. the man has 6 years in the Illinois house and 4 years in the U.S. Senate under his belt. Abraham Lincoln had, what, two terms in the U.S. house and two terms in the Illinois house before he became President?

I don't really know what sort of "experience" everyone is looking for in their president. Seems to me this country votes because of a gut feeling they have, not anything very rational. And Obama is the only candidate out there who has centrist republicans reconsidering their notions of who they will and won't vote for. He makes everyone feel like this is something new. and we're desperate for that.

rdl said...

I'm with you, I like this guy(and i haven't watched the video yet). Makes me sick the propaganda against him already.

Anonymous said...

All you middle-aged Obama fans might want to take a look at Ellen Goodman's column, "Boomer Society Fuels Green Talk About Obama." Even though Obama's technically a baby boomer himself, according to Goodman, he "places himself outside the 'PSYCHODRAMA OF THE BABY-BOOM GENERATION' which he describes as 'A TALE ROOTED IN OLD GRUDGES AND REVENGE PLOTS HATCHED ON A HANDFUL OF COLLEGE CAMPUSES LONG AGO.'" Hmmmmmmmmmm.

Amishlaw said...

Anonymous, I did read the column and it is very supportive of Obama. As to Goodman's quote of Obama's humorous statement about baby boomers, I don't agree with its characterization of baby boomers, but I would want to read the actual statement before putting much stock into it. Thanks for your comment though. At least we got something not completely adulatory of Obama.

Anonymous said...

Check out "The Audacity of Hope" at the bottom of page 36.

Amishlaw said...

Thanks for the citation, anonymous. Here is the first part of the sentence, which Goodman left out of her quote: "In the back-and-forth between Clinton and Gingrich, and in the elections of 2000 and 2004, I sometimes felt as if I were watching the psychodrama of the Baby Boom generation. . . ." And here is the next sentence after the Goodman quote: "The victories that the sixties generation brought about -- the admission of minorities and women into full citizenship, the strengthening of individual liberties and the healthy willingness to question authority -- have made America a far better place for all its citizens."

As a member of the Baby Boomer generation, I don't feel Obama was dissing us at all. If anyone was being dissed it was Clinton, Gingrich and the politicos caught up in their sometimes petty battles in 2000 and 2004.

But, again, thanks for giving us a different perspective.