Saturday, July 12, 2008

The shifting interpretations of Barack Obama

So, we all know that Barack Obama is the harbinger of progressivism, change, hope, and everything else pink and pretty in this world. Of late, however, there's been a lot of talk about him being a hypocrite / a neo-Bush.

Don't know what I'm talking about? Read up:
  1. http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/07/barack_w_bush.html
  2. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/13/us/politics/13liberal.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin
Then of course, there's the infamous Jesse Jackson scandal. During an interview in which he threw his full support behind Obama and his policies, Jackson was caught whispering to his co-speaker that Obama "talks down to black folk" and that Jacksons wants to "cut his nuts off." Take a look:



The ideas that Obama is not a true progressive, is regressing into standard Washington hard-line politics, and is antagonizing his voter base are circulating amongst voters and people are threatening to vote McCain or Green.

Relaxxxxx, morons. Yes, Obama rejected public financing and yes, supported the SC's 2nd amendment decision (which, IMO, was constitutionally sound....don't hate me?), but YES, he's running to be the PRESIDENT. Its important that progressive voters keep in mind that his voting record has been consistent and his ideals unchanging. As November approaches, it's only natural for Obama to try and paint himself as the more moderate and central politician that undecided or independent voters will support. When people seriously threaten to vote Green, I worry for their sanity. How can you sleep at night knowing you supported the biggest freakshow of them all, Ralph Nader?

Not to digress. There was also the issue that Obama supported Bush's FISA bill, which key democrats like Hillary Clinton opposed in the senate. Don't be misguided by the little information that Fox News provided you with. The bill obviously supports the Bush administration's wiretapping capabilities, but it is still a compromise bill that advocates a decrease in personal liberty intervention. IMO, Obama's support for the bill shows nascent bridge-building capabilities. We all know that Clinton would have had superior political capital over the legislative bodies as president; I think that Obama is working very hard to do that too, and that's apparent through this vote. FISA is fundamentally an anti-terrorism bill, and Obama also has to show himself as tough on terror because that is a Republican stronghold.

Finally, I believe that Obama's label as a solely "Black" president needs to be dimmed, if not removed altogether. Jesse Jackson's comments come at a very bad time for Obama's campaign and his already disunited Black base has another reason to question their vote. Let me put it bluntly. I agree that voting on principle defines one's morality or political equanimity....but a vote for Nader is a throwaway and a vote for McCain makes no sense for a liberal. Who better to support progressive and liberal ideals than Obama? Let's not be too quick to judge him based on headlines and think about the trend that he'll set and the doors he'll open for real change.

The point is, true progressive voice won't be immediately heard in Washington, if ever in the near future. Removing support from Obama only ensure more failure for a true liberal agenda - the voice would be sent very quickly to the Guantanamo of free speech if McCain wins the election. Recently, some extreme leftists put about $100,000 in an escrow fund for Obama, claiming to give him the money only if he stays true to his liberality. Is that money worth the hundreds of thousands of votes and dollars he could get from centrists? Or is it more important for him to stick with his loudest and previously most supportive base?

Many say that Obama's campaign has been one clashing idealism with policy-making. Here, Obama has to make a very big decision on how he wishes to proceed with his campaign to secure the Oval Office come November. This is the tone that will certainly be overseeing his presidential term as well.

And ultimately, this is a question we all have to ask ourselves as well. When do you stop sticking to your principles and start pursuing ambition? Are both necessarily mutually exclusive?

As an idealist, I believe that principles are the core that define and promote your ambition. What do your successes and failures mean if they can't be put into a framework of typological meaning for yourself? Success may come and go, but its character that keeps you in perspective.

Something to think about.....

1 comment:

Neel said...

with all this talk about being a washington outsider and not wanting to play washington politics it seems a lot like he's just doing what he criticized everyone else before him of doing: saying anything he can to be elected.

so he may not be a hypocrite for changing his policies but he's definitely a hypocrite for criticizing everyone and then doing the exact same thing.

He's definitely not the change he claims to be...