Saturday, August 16, 2008

Greater Than Their Self-Interest

Taylor Marsh, who has been getting a lot of shit for having thrown support behind Obama so quickly after Hillary withdrew, has provided her take on the "interviews" that Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church, did with McCain and Obama. I find her comments to the point and not giving Obama an inch, and her observation about how McCain uses religion was excellent:
...about faith. McCain goes to the Vietnamese torture. A guy came in at one point, a guard came in, then motioned him to stay quiet, then loosened the ropes tying him. He came back later to tighten them. One day outside that same guard came next to McCain and drew a cross in the ground, then quickly rubbed it out. At that one moment, there were just two Christians. This is exactly what I thought McCain would do on faith. He did not talk about Jesus. He went to an anecdote, which talked about faith and torture, what Christians do in deeds.
This observation actually holds true for the contrast that McCain is going to draw through the entire campaign, a message he has been honing since at least May. It is of a piece with the article today in the New York Times about Democratic leaders wanting The Precious to put some real substance behind the hopey-changey message. It resonates perfectly with the Republican assault on affirmative action.

Experience vs. narcissism. Doing the right thing vs. indulging your self. Hard knocks vs. celebrity. Living by the rules vs. preferential treatment. Embodied faith vs. religion as a convenient tool.

I note that I don't think McCain actually lives up to any of the claims he makes for himself, but that is not the political point. The question isn't why is McCain doing this. It's about the only way he can argue since his specific positions are wretched, rewarmed Republican crapola. The question is why is Obama unable to respond? It's a lot more than "experience". Taylor grouses:
Obama could have had policy answers ready to help push forward why Democratic policies are grounded in humanity and morality, which proves why he'd be a much better president. Instead he offered his standard word fogs without any goal whatsoever, much like he did in the primaries where Clinton regularly cleaned his clock.
The problem here is that Obama has never had answers and doesn't give a shit about answers as this campaign is about nothing save gratifying his own ego. There is nothing greater for him than his self-interest. He doesn't give a damn about Democratic policies as he has stated (again, this is his own formulation) that his supporters are "Obamacans", not Democrats. His campaign has never been anything besides how wonderful he is and how awful you are if you don't agree.

I know, I sound like a broken record, but this all gets back to the argument I've been making all year about having a philosophy of government and political power that sees a need to use the power of the state to secure and improve the lives of ordinary citizens. If you simply don't believe that it is so, that public policy should be nothing more than artful structuring of choices (and not mandating that X shall be available for all, regardless), then policy as such loses its punch. One is as good as another, and all are mere bargaining chips in the hunt for bipartisan unity.

Obama could be as old as Methuselah, or even John McCain, and all that experience would not do him a bit of good as long as his campaign is about what the nation owes his precious self and not about what he intends to do for the country.

Anglachel

8 comments:

My Name Is Earl said...

and all that experience would not do him a bit of good as long as his campaign is about what the nation owes his precious self...

I don't want to say he's too young for the Presidency but experience does matter. His part-time job in the IL senate and his short time on the national scene in DC are not enough to give him gravitas. I'm not even going to go into the silliness of being a community organizer. That won't fly when dealing with Putin and Medvedev.

lakelobos said...

Correctly said. You have made the vaporware comment about Obama endless number of times with full justification. Your Whole Food Nation is the other face of the coin. They also have no ideology, no civil rights they want to enforce and no goal but make themselves even better positioned than they already are.

I do go back to my old argument as well. Obama is dangerous because he is also a hate monger and uses Republican, i.e. fascist, tactics to achieve his goals.

Another scary argument is that I don't see Obama as a smart person. He is cunning like a stray dog, but that isn't what we need in a president. I think that he'll make a lousy president because his judgment is bad.

A.Citizen said...

Bullseye!

And no it's not about Obama's age and I would go further and assert it's not about his experience either. Democrats must face the fact that the man is an empty suit.

What! The first debate in the GE and he's not prepared! Excuse me. This is not acceptable. And yet he's been doing this from the very beginning. Again and again his foot stuffs itself into his big flapping mouth.

The Supers better stop this assclown in Denver or it's all over for the DNC, Miss Nancy and Howie. Not to mention Donna, as Obama shows right out of the gate that he is going to get his ass handed to him by McCain.

By McCaine!

If that happens the Dem caucus in Congress will become a howling mob after....

Guess who!

sister of ye said...

Obama is a nasty piece of work in the G.W. Bush mold. Where Bush used his family connections, Obama took advantage of programs meant to benefit bright students from real disadvantaged situations, who didn't have mothers who were professionals and grandmothers who were bank vice presidents.

Cunning, underachieving, self-centered, supremely egotistical, ignorant of and uninterested in matters they should grasp, and - worst of all - "God chose me for this position." Both pretending to be religious men with no evidence whatsoever that they have actually helped another human being - at least, when the giving didn't benefit them.

I don't think it's a coincidence that both are "juniors" with major daddy issues.

marirebel said...

I think Obama’s lack of experience plays into the “empty suit” phenomenon. Experience allows of person to define and hone a philosophy of government and political power. Like George W. Bush, Obama’s resume is thin and singularly unimpressive. He was a law school lecturer, but never wrote a single scholarly article? In this Olympic season, I am particularly struck by the fact that we accept laziness and inexperience in our political leaders, but we would not accept similar behavior in an Olympic athlete. What if, instead of working his tail off for years, gaining experience and expertise, Michael Phelps stayed out of the pool because he thought it better to be an “outsider,” and based his gold medal aspirations on notions of hope and change, rather than hard work? Experience leads to the expertise necessary to lead well. A fundamental concern for the well-being of all beings is also necessary.

Still4Hill said...

Empty suit. Not really too young, but immature - some kind of arrested development. Too much self esteem. But the worst part - and THIS is why I cannot support him, no sympathy or empathy. HRC showed such strong identification with us - the common gal or guy. He never has- he just looks down his supercilious nose and tells the crowd that change doesn't come from the heights but from the grassroots - from below. Well, we are the grassroots- we'll show him change.

ex-pat said...

I have scrolled through many blogs and the majority have described Obama's performance in the debate as, "nuanced",
"thoughtful" and "intelligent".Just when did "uh, uh, er, uh, uh, er, er, uh" become nuanced, thoughtful and intelligent?

ooneh said...

I love your statement - "about having a philosophy of government and political power that sees a need to use the power of the state to secure and improve the lives of ordinary citizens. If you simply don't believe that it is so, that public policy should be nothing more than artful structuring of choices (and not mandating that X shall be available for all, regardless), then policy as such loses its punch. One is as good as another, and all are mere bargaining chips in the hunt for bipartisan unity.
"

this is powerful stuff you wrote, and if the majority of the people who elected offices aspire to such views about public service, we'd be having a government that really works for the people.

awesome stuff!

Hillary to me is someone who embodies this vision. I only hope that our nation can be lucky enought to be under her watch one day.