While it’s certainly true that his speeches represent sweeping statements of vision—and not, until recently, laundry lists of policy proposals—he has also presented original and specific ideas about what he would do as President.
It could be argued, for instance, that Obama’s pledge to sit down face-to-face with Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is the most substantively meaningful plank in any candidate’s platform in 2008, a wholesale departure from the past 28 years of U.S. policy toward the Islamic Republic—and from the cautiously conventional approach articulated by Hillary Clinton, who memorably branded Obama’s posture “naïve.”
And when he talks about “ending the mind-set that got us into war,” Obama raises the possibility of an administration whose global vision would not be shaped by the stale, nonpartisan national security establishment that has infected the thinking of both political parties for decades—and that helped convince an overwhelming bipartisan Congressional majority (Clinton included) to choose war in 2002.
But the real problem with sneering at the fervor that Obama has stirred is that it ignores how elections are won and how governing coalitions are built. The truth is that even voters who aren’t moved by Obama’s substantive appeal are still, by and large, favorably impressed by him and willing to at least consider voting for him. [complete article]
Editor’s Comment — Cynicism that parades itself as worldly wisdom is generally no such thing. Most often it is the psychological armor through which we protect ourselves from disappointment. It insulates us from the vulnerability of being wrong. It provides us with justifications for shying away from risks without revealing our fears.
Barack Obama, now leading Hillary Clinton in the Democratic Party presidential primaries ahead of key battles in Texas, has come like rain on American politics.
His campaign theme – ‘the source of new hope on a parched land’ is a cleansing agent in a land weighed down by crusted blood of Iraqis murdered in their own territory by Americans who came to save them from “weapons of mass destruction”.
Obama has come as rain from a Kenyan cloud that seeded in the plains of Iowa and fell in Hawaii, but refuses to be tied down as just another “black candidate” pushing primarily for the restoration of justice for African-Americans by reminding white America of its guilt.
Instead, he insists on the freedom of a collective American Messiah who has come to mobilise all disillusioned children of American democracy to open up a new frontier in politics. This is Obama’s venture of building hope using the power of hope. [complete article]