Saturday, January 26, 2008

Messianic politics

Obama has given a soaring speech in South Carolina. Great rethoric, but what is his proposal precisely? Essentially the content he is proposing is the purity of his own person as a honest and truthful agent of "change" (whatever that means). His appeal can be summed up in the claim that his purity and truthfulness are the embodiment of the purity and truthfulness of the American dream, which has been betrayed by the "old" politicians. If you think about it, it is somewhat scary, because we all know that we are neither pure nor truthful.

4 comments:

Kansas Bob said...

I am not sure who I will vote for but this year I have decided to vote for the person and not their "positions".. not as easy as I thought but it seems to be a better way to process the candidates.

kabloona said...

When I listened to the broadcast of Obama’s stump speech on the audacity of hope, several times it made me think of the Pope’s recent encyclical on hope.

The blog title “Messianic politics” is excessively cynical and unjustified. Why knock someone because they have taken the high road? He is not messianic but transformational. The real problem is that there are too few transformational leaders in the world. If anything, the position of president is the one job where we need a leader who is as transformational as possible (think George Washington, Abraham Lincoln).

Of course if elected, his actions will be straight out of the liberal Democratic playbook. But his speeches and actions are a very strong sign that he should be more ethical and just than any president we have had in a long time, certainly more than the Clintons.

Transformational leaders motivate followers much more powerfully than transaction ones. If elected, I would hope that he would inspire many, including those in his administration to actually believe in and pursue his ideals. This is exactly what happened with JFK.

Of course, Obama’s lack of experience is of great concern. I also note that much of his support is coming from young people, and I presume that his young supporters do not appreciate the need for experience.

I fear that, if elected, one result of Obama’s lack of experience will be that the Democratic apparachiks in the administration will run amok.
I actually support McCain for the presidency, but that doesn’t prevent me from making an objective appraisal of Obama’s strategy. And, as an aside, I must say Obama’s record on abortion is disturbing.

Obama is winning because he chose a transformational strategy that resonates with people. Hillary just doesn’t get it (and that is a sign of something in itself). Authentic transformational leadership will beat low-grade methods of the Clinton sort any time. Every time Hillary or Bill make an attack on Obama, distort the truth, or spout the same- old Democratic ideology, Obama comes out and says we have to move beyond the same-old politics of Washington. The public gets it quite clearly.

I am not convinced that he will get elected. South Carolina has a large proportion of black voters. However, if you look at all the primaries and caucuses’ the number of people that are voting on the Democratic line overwhelms the number of Republicans. In South Carolina Obama’s total exceeded the top two Republican’s vote counts combined. It is not just that people are energized by Obama (or Hillary for that matter) but they are equally disgusted by the Bush administration. When someone comes along talking about dumping politics as usual, it moves people.

Stephen M. Bauer

Anonymous said...

I have to disagree with the other commentors and say that I agree with this blog post. Obama's campaign has struck me as one built primarily on sentimentalism.

RickK said...

What is he offering beyond change, optimism, and his own (presumed) integrity? Is there any substance or content here that I am missing?