Hope and Change Posted by: McQ
on Monday, June 30, 2008
Jennifer Rubin, at Contentions, points out that Paul Krugman, like David Brooks, is confused as to whether "Obama is more like Ronald Reagan (an ideological, transformative politician) or Bill Clinton ( a poll-driven pragmatist)."
[Obama] hopes to let voters define what "hope" and "change" mean to them and then hang that on his candidacy. They define it, he pretends to agree with it by talking in glittering generalities, he gets elected and then the political bill comes due.
Rubin goes one step better and finds Obama saying precisely that in prologue of "The Audacity of Hope":
Obama has told us there is no there, there. In his book he wrote: “I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.” So perhaps searching for Obama’s “core” is a fool’s errand. He is glib and clever and seized upon a clever formulation (Agent of Change) to attract young and idealistic people longing for meaning. But perhaps that is all there is.
Charles Kesler, a professor of government at Claremont McKenna College and editor of the Claremont Review of Books explains the phenomenon:
Of all the presidential contenders slogans this year, Barack Obama as had been the most interesting. His campaign creed is "Yes, we can." To which any reasonable person would ask: "can what"? The answer, of course, is: "Hope." Bbut again, a reasonable person might ask: "Hope for what?" To which the answer confidently comes back from the Obama campaign: "For change." Indeed, Obama's signs say: "Change We Can Believe In", as opposed, one supposes, to unbelievable changes. But the elementary problem with this — which any student of logic might raise — is that change can be for the better or for the worse.
Democrats in general, I would submit, confuse change with improvement. They fail to weigh the costs and benefits of change, to consider its unintended consequences, or to worry about what we need to conserve and how we might go about doing this faithfully. They ask Americans to embrace change for its own sake, in the faith that history is governed by a law of progress, which guarantees that change is almost always an improvement. The ability to bring about historical change, then becomes the highest mark of a liberal leader. Thus Hillary Clinton quickly joined Obama on the change bandwagon. Her initial claim of experience sounded in retrospect a bit too boring — indeed, almost Republican in its plainess. So "Ready on Day One" morphed into "Ready for Change."
So here we are, as a country, on the verge of electing someone who admits to being "a blank screen". Whose resume is so sparse that most businesses would be wary of hiring him for middle management and who painfully reminds us daily of his lack of experience, his lack of substance and his lack of any real leadership experience.
If we're reduced to Krugman's two choices, I'd have to go with "a poll-driven pragamatist", but in the mold of Jimmy Carter, not Bill Clinton.
Neo, it’s been a while since I saw Being There (great movie!), but as I recall, he really is Chance the gardener. When he is coughing and telling them his name, the rich folks hear it as "Chauncey Gardiner", and they call him that the rest of the movie. But since he really is Chance the gardener, I suppose that’s how they listed the character.
Even the fact that there’s confusion about the name fits Obama. What’s his middle name again? Are we allowed to say it yet?
Dale or Bruce, Do either of you remember the sequence of events, when during the spring of 07, when Obama stated categorically; he absolutely would not seek the 08 presidency, then in a matter of days (two weeks?) he had a meeting with George Soros. Days later, from Bill Ayers living room, he announces his candidacy, campaign slogan and has a whole boat-load of money? This story was talked about a little among bloggers (deafening silence from the MSM) then dropped, what significance, if any, can be inferred form this influence?
Ronald Reagan, though he remained something of an enigma, was nonetheless a well-known figure on the American scene for 40+ years before he was elected president.
Aside from being an actor, he was the head of the actors union, SAG. After that he traveled around the country as a spokesman for GE (i.e., he had a job). He was the governor of the largest state for eight years during one of the most turbulent eras in the history of the country and the state. He studied every major issue of the time and took a position on each of them.
Bill Clinton, on the other hand, was a heavily networked coat and tie radical who wound up trying to be all things to all people.
Obama, however, is whatever you want him to be. The shifts he has made in just the past few weeks suggests a capacity to take on virtually any guise to attain power. "Just get the power, Barack."
"Just get the power, Barack."
The best thing that can be said about Obama is that he’ll recycle the lame "brain trust" of the Party of Defeat, and that alone could bring ruin. But what he might do with that insane Chicago political culture, with its Ayerses, Rezkos, Pflegers, Wrights, and Farrakhans could make the Arkansan mobworks look like the pansy guild.