06 October 2005

Obama in the comfort of your home

Check out the podcast for Senator Barack Obama (D-Illinois) on his website...every week he shares his thoughts on current issues. A particularly good one was his podcast on poverty in America.

You can also check out his blog on the website. This is a particularly great entry he wrote regarding "Tone, Truth, and the Democratic Party." Here's my favorite part:
The bottom line is that our job is harder than the conservatives' job. After all, it's easy to articulate a belligerent foreign policy based solely on unilateral military action, a policy that sounds tough and acts dumb; it's harder to craft a foreign policy that's tough and smart. It's easy to dismantle government safety nets; it's harder to transform those safety nets so that they work for people and can be paid for. It's easy to embrace a theological absolutism; it's harder to find the right balance between the legitimate role of faith in our lives and the demands of our civic religion. But that's our job. And I firmly believe that whenever we exaggerate or demonize, or oversimplify or overstate our case, we lose. Whenever we dumb down the political debate, we lose. A polarized electorate that is turned off of politics, and easily dismisses both parties because of the nasty, dishonest tone of the debate, works perfectly well for those who seek to chip away at the very idea of government because, in the end, a cynical electorate is a selfish electorate.

In such a polemical time in our country, we need a leader who can see past the content differences and focus on the process going on behind these inimical relations (Counseling Nerd alert!). Anyway, I can't wait to see what the future holds for Sen. Obama.


Elaine said...

One of my favorite things about Obama is that he doesn't dumb things down. He doesn't think Illinoisans or Americans are incapable of understanding nuance and complications. It is refreshing to see a politician who successfuly embraces smart dialogue in light of the conventional campaigning wisdom from Washington that says that the American people are dumb and only respons when they are appealed to through base fear.

All that said, I was disappointed at Obama's recent comments on the well-known political blog Daily Kos (http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2005/9/30/102745/165).

The crux of what he says is that progressives are being unfair when they demand of the Democratic leadership and members of the Senate "fealty" to progressive views. However, I think Obama's argument was a reductio ad absurdum, amounting to treating progressives as if they are unthinking dittoheads who are most concerned with loyalty for loyalty's sake (like our President). I was a bit disappointed that a man like Obama, who has received so much support from progressives, doesn't seem to understand their intentions very well. As one who has been disappointed with the Democratic party (and I am not alone, as I saw last night at the James Carville event), I think I have a good reason: they are not holidng the Republican party accountable and they are not defining themselves against the GOP.

I'm still a big Obama fan and am glad he and Durbin are my Senators (there are only a few other states, New York being one of them, that has comparably admirable Senators). Still, I am surprised that he came out this way on DailyKos.

cc said...

"The bottom line is that our job is harder than the conservatives' job."

Obama had a whole lot more to say after this opening statement, but I just want to comment on this one line. By definition, liberality will always be more difficult than conservatism. Being conservative, at it's core, means that you strive to maintain the status quo. Being liberal requires effort and work to affect change. Overcoming inertia is never easy. That being said, the way I see it, you have to choose your battles wisely and fight them wisely.

Yeah Obama!