Friday, April 11, 2008


DUMB PHRASING IN SF, I think. But I'm not talking for 20 hours a day.

BUT OBAMA'S RESPONSE to the hamfisted attacks from his rivals is kind of beautiful--as rhetoric, as incredibly deft politicking, and most of all, as truth, rough and simple. The kind his rivals don't seem eager to tell.

I THINK this moment will either lose him or win him the Penn. and Indiana for good.

That is all.


Lhyzz said...

I agree with Obama that people are fed up, but I'd just like to say this: Obama's comments about guns, religion, etc., being a refuge for the bitter are going to be replayed endlessly by FOX News (and all the other character-assassins) if/when he wins the nomination. And in light of that, among other PR nightmares, I just never want to hear the old "Obama has a better chance against McCain than Hillary" garbage from anyone again. :P

Sully said...

Speaking as a Hoosier, I don't get the idea that Indiana is that much of a toss-up. We identify much more with Illinois and their great mythical city than with Ohio and their nut identity. Obama is essentially on home turf when it comes to Indiana.

As far as PA, it's Clinton and her name recognition to lose. She appears to be fully capable of doing so, however I still feel she will probably win there. May 6 is a near lock for Obama, and thus should be the knock-out moment for the Clinton campaign.

Sully said...

Not to pontificate, but as far as the speech goes, it appears he's playing as if he already won the nomination and is starting to frame the debate on all of McCain's weak points.

Seppo said...

"And in light of that, among other PR nightmares, I just never want to hear the old "Obama has a better chance against McCain than Hillary" garbage from anyone again. :P"

I wonder if maybe I'm just being overly optimistic about the public at large, but I can't agree with this at all. I'd much rather hear someone talk about issues with intelligence, tact, nuance and feeling even if it means that the two-second soundbites don't come off well.

Maybe it'll actually force people to listen to more than the one-liners, to put the discussion into *gasp* a larger context. Every time I hear Obama's made some "gaffe," or "PR Nightmare," when I go listen to what he actually said, even if it's not the best choice of words ever, the feeling and thought behind what he's saying comes through in a way that I almost never see in a politician.

Compared to the mindboggling sycophantic inanity of the McCain campaign or the blatant opportunism that Clinton's campaign is full of (maybe less so now that Penn's out?), every time I hear Obama, I'm astonished by how *obvious* his strategy is - talk to people like you respect them - like you don't have to talk to them like they're morons, and you can actually say something of substance.

Maybe I'm being too optimistic - this is a public where something close to thirty percent of it still thinks Bush is fine and dandy. But I can hope, right? At the very least, I can do my part to bring about a future I actually believe in, instead of one in which I'm permanently cynical and disengaged.

Thad said...

Gah! You tricked me into reading the Huffington Post! And I'd done such a good job of not going there for the past month...

Matt Stafford said...

Roar, Lions, roar!

Lhyzz said...

"I'd much rather hear someone talk about issues with intelligence, tact, nuance and feeling even if it means that the two-second soundbites don't come off well."

Do you really think that Hillary doesn't/can't speak about the issues with intelligence, tact, and nuance? I take serious issue with that.

"every time I hear Obama, I'm astonished by how *obvious* his strategy is - talk to people like you respect them"

Absolutely, Obama is a great speaker. He's very good at conveying that feeling of down-to-earth, brass-tacks, straight talk. Unfortunately, the more I read, the more it seems like it's just as much blowing smoke as it is genuine, just like the other candidates.

Jay said...

It's true it was a poorly worded remark, but I took it as a sincere attempt to get at an issue that McCain and Clinton seem to be ignoring: the country has an ideological divide that trumps every other issue we have to deal with.

I think of my dad, who unfortunately is a member of the Limbaugh set. He is a smart and compassionate guy, a blue-collar guy, and if I had never heard him talk about politics I would have thought him a left-leaning centrist. He buys lunch for hard-cases on the street. He rescues small animals. Just last week he sent me pictures of himself bottle feeding a squirrel he had found, and when I was a kid he rescued a baby bird which turned out to be a chicken. He did not rescue it by keeping it in a cardboard box, but by tucking it down beneath him in his chair to keep it warm. It grew up into an adult chicken inside the house. They watched TV together. This is true.

My point is that based on the way he lives he does not strike me as a person who would sit at the dinner table and become rabid over the fact that bums on the street and "welfare queens" secretly make hundreds of thousands of dollars per year or that animal rights advocates are crazed nazis, but he does. I used to talk politics with him, but now I go very far out of my way to make sure nothing is ever mentioned that might lead to a political discussion. God help us if the name "Clinton" ever comes up. The Clintons are the root of all evil, and the cause of all his woes.

He is bitter. I take Obama's remarks as an exploration of the question, why? Why is he bitter? I think for Clinton, people like my dad are members of the right-wing conspiracy. They are the enemy. There are normal, decent, hard-working Americans, and then there are the right-wing nut jobs. Ihyzz, correct me if I'm wrong. I respect Clinton and would like to hear her take on the ideological divide.

Likewise, I have not heard McCain talk at all about why so many of us on the left might be bitter about these past eight years. Rather, times are tough and we just have to cope with it.

If you ask my dad, he will tell you that the reason he's bitter is that the bums on the street really are secretly rich, that the Clintons really are the root of all evil, that his tax dollars really do mostly go to welfare queens. It has nothing at all to do with the fact that he is an extremely bright person who never had a chance at getting an education and has always had a hard time making ends meet, and there was Rush Limbaugh whispering into his ear every day through the AM radio on his job sites.

And this is where the wording was unfortunate. Nobody wants to hear, "the reason you're mad isn't really the reason you think you're mad." But I think it's an important question that I have never heard anyone discuss but Obama.

It seems to be spinning badly in the papers. I'm seeing a lot of "Obama apologizes for remarks," which is the worst way it could go. But I think it's a rare misstep for him, and next week it will be something else, some other gaffe by who knows which of the three candidates. I remain confident he can win. Maybe not PA, but the primary. If he makes it past the convention, I think he'll win by a large margin in November.

Tom Burchfield said...

From I've read, poverty only explains part of the reason why people turn to extremism. My own father was a successful well-regarded man who managed to be both far to the right of Rush Limbaugh and far to the left of the Chicago 7--at the same time. A sense of extreme alienation does have a lot to do with it and the rich can be as angry and alienated as the poor--remember the 9/11 hijackers all came from the middle and upper classes.

I suspect--but am unable to prove--that nature endows the brains of some of us an attraction toward extreme absolutes and ideologies . . . but our environments and our place in society can determine how these minds play out.

Self-promotion department: my blog this week discusses the progress I've made regarding this book I've been writing:

Seppo said...

"Do you really think that Hillary doesn't/can't speak about the issues with intelligence, tact, and nuance? I take serious issue with that."

No, I think Clinton's perfectly capable of talking about the issues with intelligence, tact, nuance and experience. But the fact that she's capable of doing so doesn't mean she *does*. Instead, most of her speeches are geared towards the two-second-soundbite mentality, they're full of generic political boilerplate platitudes, and it makes her sound like a disingenuous opportunist.

That's *not* to say that I don't think she's capable. I'd take her a million billion times over someone like McCain. It's not to say that I don't have a great deal of respect for her - I do.

What I am saying is that when Obama speaks, it's inspirational and feels genuine and heartfelt in a way that McCain's and Clinton's speeches do not. I think that Clinton's strategists should all be fired, because like Gore, they've taken someone who I think is genuinely interesting and turned her into a wooden, fake-sounding robot.

I want her to "come alive" the way Gore did after he decided he wasn't running in 2004 - where the political "research" is jettisoned, and she speaks like she gives a damn about the things she's saying instead of spouting the rhetoric that supposedly polls well.

I want her to express her intelligence and her conviction in ways that I can not only understand, but believe she cares deeply about them. But I *don't* feel that way. Though I know she has experience, and while I don't believe presentation and personality are nearly as important as good judgement, experience and intelligence, the simple fact is that they *do* matter, and when I hear Obama speak, I am inspired to act. America could use a real leader at at time like this, and while I'm sure Clinton would do a fine job, she's never going to be genuinely inspirational until she loses focus-tested sound-bite driven style of communication.

dalas v. said...

This election is taking years off my life.

number44 said...

Two quick thoughts--

A lot of people are bitter because, no matter who you are, there's a lot to be bitter about. It's harder now to take out a loan or get credit to buy things. If you're lucky enough to get some extra money, it doesn't buy as much as it used to. We've spent five years in Iraq, and all we got was this expensive gas. Our librarians are spying on us. "Dancing with the Stars" remains on television. Regardless of political affiliation, these are dark times indeed.

Secondofly, seppo, Clinton is NOT capable of engaging, sincere rhetoric. Some people just suck at public speaking, and Hillary is one of the unfortunates. She always has been. She has always needed a script, she has always sounded hollow and fake. Not to say she is those things, I'm just saying that her handlers are not the problem here.