Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Barak Obama: Tell Us About Your Country!

I have to congratulate the Democrats running for President. At a time when it seemed impossible for a Republican candidate to win, the Democrats on all sides (there are always exceptions) have turned the odds slightly in favor of John McCain. That “slightly” is not so bad when you consider that McCain hasn’t yet won the Republican nomination and has not yet begun to fight. It seems almost as if the loudness and shrillness of the media anti-Bush drumbeat had destroyed the hearing of chief contenders Obama and Clinton.

Let me be honest here. I felt that Obama would be more popular with voters than people gave him credit for, but not this popular. So now he rides the wave of a “movement” to surprising number of primary wins. Hillary’s the more informed candidate on the Democratic side, but her experience has worked against her within a young Democratic population brought up on computer games and mass hysteria. Such people are desperate to play follow the leader, especially if they believe something “new” is better than what they did yesterday, since what they did yesterday is the fault of “society.”

There’s also the Hillary Hate Factor which is deadly when combined with the Bill Factor. With Hillary, there’s also a very powerful perception thing that works against her with two types of men: blue collar workers and middle-aged and mid-level managerial types. Were I Hillary’s campaign manager, I’d tell her to lose the hand signals. They’re perfect for the classroom or the library but somebody ought to tell her that men point at each other just before they begin throwing punches.

It’s the “movement” part that bugs me the most, to tell you the truth. Both Dems are “movement people.” No doubt one has to have come of age in the 60s to know what the term means: movement people. Teddy Kennedy knows, and so does John Kerry. Hillary Clinton knows, too, even better than most people for it was through connections with “movement people” that she and her husband rose to prominence.

Barak Obama’s a “movement guy”, even though he was in knickers when the “movement people” were on the move. You can be a “movement people” if you read a lot, style yourself after other movement people, and do social work. It does impress me that Obama can adopt the jargon of hip-hop and “shout out” to some of his supporters while asking them if they “know what I’m sayin’?”

I can do that also. For the past ten years, I have been working at schools for “at-risk youth” and volunteering with the type of kids who are better off hanging out in boxing gyms than on the street. I guess I am a “movement guy”. Well, if I wasn’t your basic misanthrope, I could be a “movement guy.” I be spittin’ it nice but I wouldn’t be spittin’ it to John Kerry an’ Howard Deans.

At the same time, Obama can appeal to liberal elite yuppies in states with majority Caucasian populations, speaking their language in an equally facile way. But what is there about upwardly mobile college educated liberal white people that distinguishes them from shaker hordes in a Southern Baptist Evangelical prayer tent or lemmings?

Last night I heard Obama’s speech. Uplifting, long, and boring after your curiosity abandons you three minutes later. The only thing short about Obama’s speech was its content. We’re going to talk about it in detail later but I’m afraid as hell of some of the things Obama says. He ought to go back to school and bring his best game next time. Not that I wouldn’t support him for president of some other country!

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