I am coming to understand Barack Obama so much better. It took me a week to get past The New Yorker cover, but I finally, slowly and carefully, read the article about his rise in politics up through the Chicago/Illinois machine into the national spotlight. Obama is NOT a sell-out, but a realist, and my sense of his brain power, toughness and determination has all been but clarified and strengthened.
A politician will do whatever he needs to do to get elected. That is one of the pitfalls of democracy: yes, we have free voting, but these votes must be collected and nurtured, which leaves so much room for empty promises and dirty dealing. Glory be to the candidate who will stay on course and emphasize the issues over petty, base personal politics. But some pols get utterly desparate. Take Grampy McSame for instance.
One of his television ads he is currently running is saying that because Obama is against offshore drilling, it is HE who is responsible for the current run-up in oil prices. Now, now Grampy. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Make up your mind: you claim Obama has a deep lack of experience because he has been a national Senator for only two years. Yet you blame him for the high prices at the pumps which have been going on for almost 40 years —– kind of as long as GRAMPY has been in office! The ad clearly infers that if a person is FOR drilling, than this energy problem can be fixed overnight. Not true. Any way you look at it —– wind power, solar power, nuclear power, offshore drilling —– it is going to take at least ten years to right this problem. To pigeonhole Obama as the fall guy for our current mess is simply untrue and just another immature, desparate attempt to get votes, not a viable path to solutions. Talk about personal gain!
Furthermore, this week Grampy McSame spoke at a town hall meeting and said that Obama’s trip abroad was nothing more than a ploy to win the race. Here we go again: all along, Grampy has been criticizing Obama for a lack of experience in foreign affairs, and then when he goes abroad to learn more for his own benefit and the benefit of our country, McSame accuses him of doing it for personal gain. Grampy said that Obama, citing his stance on the Iraq war, was willing to lose the war in order to win the race for President, while Grampy was definitely NOT willing to lose the war for this race. What a hypocrite.
Apparently, Grampy STILL doesn’t get it: there is NO winning this war. When just ONE young life is lost in this nonsense, we have won NOTHING. We entered into this catastrophe based on lies, it has been going on for six years based on ignorance and no planning, and we have no exit policy to date. We have semantics, i.e. “timetable” versus a “horizon”. Have you ever realized that a horizon always remains a horizon because, like the end of the rainbow, there is no reaching a horizon? As to win, lose or draw in this war, now what it is all about to the Republicans is saving face. Period. They need to save face because they need the votes for this election. So you tell me who is really in this for personal gain.
What I have learned about Obama from The New Yorker article is that his changes in policies have come out of his quest for reality. When he lost the race in 2000 for Illinois state senator, he had to adjust his thinking and actions to encompass certain strategies to win. Here’s what Ryan Lizza, the author of The New Yorker article, writes about Obama’s political transformation after he lost the 2000 state senate race:
“Like many politicians, Obama is paradoxical. He is by nature an incrementalist………He campaigns on reforming a broken political process, yet he has always played politics by the rules as they exist, not as he would like them to exist. He runs as an outsider, but he has succeeded by mastering the inside game. He is ideologically a man of the left, but at times he has been genuinely deferential to core philosophical insights of the right.”
This transformation also applies perfectly to Obama today in the Presidential race. He had to concentrate hard on fundraising, because it is just plain old reality that without money, a race can not be won. As more money flows into a campaign, the chances of winning that race increase exponentially. Similarly, issues in our nation and the world are constantly changing, as must a leader’s reactions and policies to them. Without such flexibility and intellectual understanding of the issues, we will be STUCK in a dead end, being dragged down by an ill-conceived and irrelevant policy like we have now in Iraq. “WINNING” this war went off the table years ago. We need to move on, concentrate our time and money on THIS country and its overwhelming needs.
I am grateful that Obama had a very successful overseas trip. I am even more grateful that he is home in one piece. I have learned a lot about him and his “beautiful words” are NOT empty, but stepping stones to designing policies that are actually relevant to finding solutions for our many problems.
The following is a little comic relief sent to me by Nephew Number Three. I do feel that Obama’s leadership abilities are overwhelmingly more sophisticated and obvious that Grampy’s. What I do not understand is why Obama is not further ahead in the polls. Is racism rearing its ugly head? Do these numbers not reflect yet the massive numbers of NEW voters? I don’t know, but I am worried. Enjoy this video; its funny, but also a little scary.