Friday, March 28, 2008

The Swiftboating of Barack Obama - David M. Green



Forget about charisma, a very much overrated if not dangerous characteristic in politicians anyhow. What matters instead is this: It's been decades since someone spoke to the public with this much honesty and sophistication about our society and its choices. It was breathtaking just to witness that level of esteem pointed in our direction.

All the more so because of the epoch we've just survived. George Bush is far from the only contemptuous politician in recent history, but he is surely the worst of the lot, and his politics are instructive because of that.

In Bush's world, everyone is two-dimensional, at best. They're either good or evil. Folks is either with us or with the enemy. In Bush's comic book reality, no issue is ever nuanced. There's only right - which, remarkably, always happens to be his way - and there's wrong.

[In his speech, Obama] treated his listeners with a dignity and an intellectual esteem largely absent for a generation.

...he demanded sophistication in our thinking. He asked us to use our minds rather than our emotional reflexes, and to invest more energy into determining our own fate than that which is required for passively imbibing deceitful television ads, cold beer in hand.

When he implored us to reject the divisions of race, religion and nationality that right-wing politicians have been exploiting for decades to divert attention from "the real culprits of the middle class squeeze," he showed a political courage that is as exemplary as it is rare.

And when he did all of these things - but especially when he showed us an intellectual respect that we frankly haven't often deserved - Obama demonstrated that he perhaps really might belong in that pantheon of American political giants that includes Jefferson, Lincoln, FDR and King, but precious few others.

...For the first time in a very long time, a presidential candidate is speaking to Americans as if they were grown-ups.

We're about to find out if anyone is listening.

The Swiftboating of Barack Obama

by David Michael Green March 28, 2008

If there's anything I've learned about American politics over the past decade, it's this: First, regressives will do anything - and I mean anything - to obtain power (the real purpose of which is to loot the public fisc of all items not securely nailed to the floor). And, second, just about everything they try works when employed against an American public possessed of stunning political immaturity.

It comes as little surprise, therefore, that two things happened over the last couple of weeks. One, that Barack Obama was swiftboated by means of a bogus inference in order to make him look like an angry black radical. And two, that a lot of dumb voters went for it.

It was pretty inevitable, really. I mean, the guy was getting rather, um, uppity, if you know what I mean. Winning elections and all. Mobilizing millions of voters. And so on. Plus he's talking like he might actually, really, seriously, shut off the government teat of Iraq war no-bid contracts, NAFTA/WTO-based cheap labor, and massive tax transfers for the hyper-wealthy. This shit had to end.


The Swiftboating of Barack Obama The Smirking Chimp