January 27, 2008

"Mo" squared

And as we leave this great state with a new wind at our backs and we take this journey across this great country, a country we love, with a message we have carried from the plains of Iowa to the hills of New Hampshire, from the Nevada desert to the South Carolina coast, the same message we had when we were up, and when we were down, that out of many, we are one, that while we breath, we will hope, and where we are met with cynicism and doubt and fear and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of the American people in three simple words,
yes we can!
Somewhere in America tonight, a middle-aged woman is swearing like a longshoreman, and a grizzled Vietnam vet is in need of some fresh Depends.

When it comes to touching all the emotional chords, all the aspirations, the innate idealism, the yearning of people to regain hope and be asked to do their part in restoring this country to its greatness and achieving its potential no one does it better than Barack Obama.

It's moving to see and hear the palpable desire of people to move away from the dark era of government and politics dominated by money, trivial matters elevated to importance by a media who views the entire process as entertainment and gossip, and a clean break from right wing ideology towards an era of the unity and common purpose that has always enabled America to surmount and exceed any challenge it's faced.

(NOTE: Adding to Obama's surge tonight was word that Carolyn Kennedy was planning to endorse him in an op/ed in the New York Times entitled, "A President Like My Father". Now THAT'S a heavy endorsement.)

UPDATE: The Kennedy piece just went up and can be read here.

The ugly Republican politics of division and lies began during Reagan with Lee Atwater, and was honed and expanded during the Bush reign of error by Karl Rove. It was so successful that no rational person any longer takes a thing their president and government says at face value or as the truth. Hatred and racial divisions are so ingrained that Obama's message that there's only one America, not 500 racial, economic, cultural, religious subdivisions working against each other is considered almost radical.

Yet the very same pundits and talking heads who marvel at the response to that very message then turn around and spend two hours dissecting poll numbers that break everyone down into racial and gender categories. Then they spend more hours issuing their pronouncements on how the black male vote means this and the white female vote means that.

Who beyond campaign wonks even cares? The pundits and guests each recount how they went out among "average voters" and they all report that no one was even concerned with what Bill Clinton said or who attacked who. Voters could care less who did what among blacks between the ages of 32 and 40. Then they ignore that and effortlessly go on to rag about and berate the Bill Clinton and bang on the race drum relentlessly, as if it's the only story these poor schmucks have to dine on.

Who cares about all this nonsense aside from campaign analysts? It seems apparent, and evidence suggests, that the answer is no one, least of all actual voters.

Obama's magic is his promise of a new day coming, and that promise, that hope, touches millions upon millions of Americans from all political, ethnic, and religious stripes who are so incredibly fed up with the arrogant, almost casual ineptitude and corruption of Bush era, that for them that day simply can't come soon enough.

After watching Obama's speech after Iowa, and then tonight's speech from South Carolina, it's very hard to imagine that any candidate or any campaign can possibly slow down or derail the palpable energy and emotional fervor that Obama attracts.

George Bush Sr. once referred to the quality of a campaign starting to catch fire with the public as having "big mo". Obama doesn't have that. Big hardly describes it. What he has, at least for now, is gargantuan "mo", and it's tough to see anything that could stop it, whether it be the Clintons in the primary or any likely Republican nominee, including McCain.

McCain would look like a hide-bound old piker compared to Obama, someone so mired in decades old thinking and mindless reliance on military power to solve everything that he could actually become a caricature.

Someone who touches everyone's better nature and desire for a better country and a better world would trump someone who snarls that we'll likely be in Iraq for over 100 years and so what and who thinks that giving more breaks to the wealthy is the fix for our tanking economy. I think a McCain/Obama race has the potential to be a rout despite the experience issue.

Such a contest would boil down to what one chooses to be guided by, belligerence based on fear.... or hope based on the belief that we can do better.

I trust that Americans will choose the later every time.

P.S. As always, I suppose opponents will bring Obama back down to appearing merely mortal, but that ability to move masses of people will always be his ace in the hole. Even Joe Scarborough (whose pig eyes reminds me of the banjo playing kid on the porch from "Deliverance") was gob struck after the speech, explaining that his blackberry and emails had been streaming in from many, as he described them, "very conservative Republicans" and others saying more or less, "This is it."

The mere fact that Obama is able to attract Republican support is further testament to his power to lead, or at least inspire, and will certainly be yet another big asset down the line.


At 1/27/2008 9:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Momentum is only as good as the latest Primary. Much like the pundits on ESPN obsessing over Tom Brady's foot, the pundits on the all-news stations read far too much into each win.

The only things that are for certain is that Edwards and Rudy are going the wrong directions and need an immediate fix.

As for Obama and cross-over voters - yes, he can atrack cross-overs in a manner that Reagan was able. Hillary cannot. Why on earth any Democrat that has a brain and wants to win the White House would vote for her is beyond me.

At 1/27/2008 5:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"MO" - just watch what happens to the race as it moves to California, New York and other states where Hillary is in control.

Let's face it, Democrats are too stupid to put forth the more electable candidate (Obama).

At 1/28/2008 5:06 PM, Blogger nicodemus said...

Dope, you gotta stop blogging after you take your Ambien. I mean really, at least your endorsement of John Edwards was rational and reasoned.

It takes more than a deep voice to "move" me, sorry. What is Obama saying? Has he said anything of substance that goes beyond the platitudes of what any cracker-barrel philosopher could say? Okay, he's for hope and bringing people together? Gee, that's a tough stance.

Now, what exactly will the masses of people unite AROUND? What exactly will BRING people together?

Are we going to "unite" around the tired old insider politics and liberalism which Ted Kennedy personifies? Is that what will restore hope and bring people together?

If we "unite" around the values that brother JFK represented, then that means tax cuts and increasing our national defense . ("pay any price bear any burden", etc.) In that case, Obama is no Jack Kennedy. Vote for a Republican.

To assume that Obama moves the majority of Americans, you are insulting the majority of Americans. Not everybody impresses that easily. If you are basing this charisma on Obama's being a mulatto, then that is sub-consciously racist.

At 1/29/2008 2:42 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...


I've never taken a sleeping pill in my life, not even over the counter.

Secondly, I'm simply acknowledging the obvious. That Obama is capable of inspiring masses of people, making them believe in him and his message, and that's an incredibly powerful talent that will likely be impossible to beat.

You can have the opinion that there's not enough substance behind the inspiration, that's fine.

But don't accuse me of being wisked off to dream-land here.

Did you even see either of Obama's recent speeches? You're telling us you weren't moved in the slightest, even by the ideals he espouses?

Hard to believe. If you think I'm on sleeping pills, I guess I'd have to say you're pretty Grinchy yourself.

There's a long, long road until Novemeber, and certainly Obama will be hit long and hard about your concerns and many others both legitimate and imagined.

But when you're generating truly historic levels of support, money, and enthusiasm from a broad cross-section of the electorate, is that the time to really change style and start droning on about wonkish policy details?

I very much share your desire to hear more from Obama on his proposals, as well as to have others pick them apart and have him defend them. I still have nagging questions about just what he really wants and at least some concrete evidence of how he plans to accomplish them.

I also am confident that he already has detailed policy plans on a wide range of issues. It's just that the way the campaign is covered, there's precious little opportunity to expound on them.

When candidates are limited to the "debate" format, they simply can't go into any detail, as they're too busy trying to get out short, punchy, and effective jabs or sound bites.

I hope we'll here more about the nuts and bolts of what Obama wants to accomplish.

But certainly in terms of political strategy, now isn't the time for that.


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