Ron Rosenbaum, Writer

October 16, 2008

Why I was Right About Obama

Filed under: Uncategorized — ronrosenbaumwriter @ 5:21 pm

If I said technical difficulties have allowed the dog to eat my homework, would you believe me. It’s true! In part. Safari started crashing wordpress. I couldn’t download firefox because my Mac ooerating system is OS X 10.32 not 10.4. So near but so far… Tragic. I had so many brilliant and witty things to say.

Now you’ll have to settle for what I can post via an old Interneet explorer I abandoned years ago.

First thing I have to say is “I told you so”. I started writing about the connection Barack Obama was able to make with voters, well, with this voter almost a year ago now. Nov. 17 or 19, (I forget which) I predicted on this blog he’d win Iowa, lose New Hamshire but win the nomination.

I’m not as confident about the general election, because I’ve been listening to talk radio and after whiping themelves into a frenzy over Ayers, they’ve fallen in love with Joe the Plumber and who knows what racism lurks inthehearts of the electorate.

But there were several things that struck me initially: the ability to respond to people by listening and thinking, picking up on their concerns rather than pushing a talking points button. Second the guy was not an Adlai Stevenson milquetoast Democrat. He was tough. Not just on his domestic political enemies. The staatement that caught my eye a year ago November was the one in whic he said, don’t let anybody tell you I’m not concerned about the War on Terror. You think I’m going to let someone blow up my little girls?

Whoa.

And then there was the post after the first debate when I summed up his appeal by one (hyhenated) word: self-possession. He just was comfortable being hiimself. He’d thought through the compromises, he knew who he was, he knew the symbolic meanings that others imposed on him. And he didn’t have to fake it.

And finally he wasn’t going to be rolled by anyone. He used the left blogosphere’s reverence for his anti war, anti surge position and then when the facts began to contradict it, he casually discarded it:he wasn’t going to let himself be used by people who refused to have their pre conceptions affected by changing facts. And he handled it in a way that somehow didn’t cause cries of betrayal because peole in the left blogosophere (well some of them) were smart enough to entrust his basic orientation or he led them to. He used them to win the nomination and then got real. General Petraeus won the nomination and probably the election for him by not making it about surrender versus futility but taking Iraq off the table.

He kept his head inthe fiscal crisis without (despite my hopes) a lot of self righteous eat-the-rich populism becuase he knew he had some culprits like Jim Johnson prominent in his campaign. No politiican was untainted, excet raloh Nader (whom I hope Obama will appoint Secretary of the Treasury)

He’s handled just about every crisis in the country and his candidacy with aplomb, with calm, unruffled willingness to apply reason to it. And now even intelligent conservative are realizing he reresents rational thinking and are flocking to endorse him.

I have to laugh most at the frenzy over him not having “accomplished anything”. What about that Kipling poem: “If you can keep your head while all around you are losing theirs..”: or whatever? That’s an accomplishment. One the other candidates have not shown.

He’s accomplished a lot more than his critics by turning out to be the person he is. We shoud be grateful if he wins. It will be at the very least a great civil rights victory. If he does it will be a vindication of the best art of ’60’s idealism and 21st century realism.

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4 Comments »

  1. It’s true what you say, that Barry Soetoro has handled everything so far with aplomb, calm, and unruffled willingness to apply reason to it. A con man and inveterate liar wouldn’t be worth his salt otherwise.

    Comment by Carl Sesar — October 19, 2008 @ 8:21 am | Reply

  2. “He’s accomplished a lot more than his critics by turning out to be the person he is. We shoud be grateful if he wins. It will be at the very least a great civil rights victory. If he does it will be a vindication of the best art of ’60’s idealism and 21st century realism.”

    Imagine! He is what he is. Well, there’s a real accomplishment. There is something about Obama that precludes the application of your usual rigorous analysis. When you write about him it feels like an evangelical Christian justifying the doctrine of grace.

    At the very least, in your “justification,” you admit that his accomplishments are nothing more than being. If that is the standard to which we must tumble to elect a person of color, it does not seem to me to be any part of my ‘60’s idealism. I wanted him to be “post-partisan” and “post-racial.” He was neither. He turned out to be (in keeping with my theme here) a charismatic Chicago politician who was prepared to use racism and misogyny at the drop of an adjective.

    While he may well be the better choice in this election, he is only what he is.

    Comment by MarkO — October 20, 2008 @ 8:30 am | Reply

  3. “I’m not as confident about the general election, because I’ve been listening to talk radio and after whiping themelves into a frenzy over Ayers, they’ve fallen in love with Joe the Plumber and who knows what racism lurks inthehearts of the electorate.”

    I’ve read this comment several times and I’m still not certain as to what you meant by it. My interpretation is thus:

    Nobody could be stupid enough to not vote for Obama unless:

    they were bamboozled into believing being friends with Terrorist Ayers is a bad thing, or

    that conducting a smear compaign against anyone that would dare ask a tough question of Obama is a bad thing, or

    failing all else, your a friggen racist.

    When you set up your article on this premise, the rest of your points start to sound the same.

    Comment by Syd B. — October 21, 2008 @ 8:01 am | Reply

  4. Detachment and distance: George Washington was the master, of course. Lincoln’s was a mask for passion thwarted. Wilson: chilly elitism (and he was a virulent racist). FDR: a vessel fron the heavens and the master puppeteer. Ike: indifference, Nixon: alienation Carter: smugness. The detachment and distance of Obama is a means of intercession, avoiding dirty hands, a neat trick, if he can pull it off, with more supplicants at the White House than Andy Jackson.

    Comment by charlie finch — October 25, 2008 @ 10:21 am | Reply


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