Join 3,553 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Who's afraid of Obama?
December 15, 2006 11:55 AM   Subscribe

“President Barack Hussein Obama – it does have a ring to it, doesn't it?” – Who’s hot for (and who’s not for) America’s up-and-coming presidential wonderboy.
posted by Milkman Dan (113 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
(And I don’t know which déjà vu to link to.)
posted by Milkman Dan at 11:56 AM on December 15, 2006


He does have the ability to articulate a meaningful liberal agenda.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:57 AM on December 15, 2006


His middle name is Hussein?

It's as if this country is trapped inside a Greek tragedy.
posted by Pastabagel at 12:01 PM on December 15, 2006 [6 favorites]


Did you know that Barack Obama's middle name is Hussein? You may have missed that. Personally, I think it's got a nice ring to it: "Hussein". Rhymes with, "the rain" or, maybe, "no pain." Yeah, Barack HUSSEIN Obama. Where have I heard that name before? I completely don't know. But Barack HUSSEIN Obama is going to be president, I think, because he has a cool name, which is Barack HUSSEIN Obama. HUSSEIN is his middle name. And his last name is OBAMA. I don't even know what Barack means!! He should stop going by Barack altogether, because that is such a weird name. He should just go by HUSSEIN OBAMA. Or, maybe, like, OBAMA BIN HUSSEIN. That has a nice ring to it, doesn't it? The guy is going to win, because he hates God, and so do other Americans, but at least he's got a sweet name, which, if you haven't heard, is HUSSEIN. That's right, I've just shortened it even further. No need to refer to him as anything else, just HUSSEIN. So, in closing, I'd just like to say, "YAY HUSSEIN!"

HUSSEIN 4 PRESIDENT 2008!!
posted by billysumday at 12:03 PM on December 15, 2006 [2 favorites]


Coming from worldnutdaily, I'm surprise the didn't print his name as "Barak Hussein Osbama"
posted by MikeKD at 12:04 PM on December 15, 2006


I agree with Astro Zombie. Obama has charisma, can speak eloquently and has tons of energy. I could give a damn about his lack of proven record. Governors are chosen because of their executive accomplishments? Bah! I'll take a freshman senator thank you.

So, is the US ready to elect a female or a black president?

I sure as shit hope so.
posted by punkbitch at 12:04 PM on December 15, 2006


oh, how I miss the <big> tag.
posted by MikeKD at 12:05 PM on December 15, 2006


For the benefit of left-of-center and Libertarian voters, a brief overview of parts of Obama's questionable voting record, taken verbatim from Congressional records.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:11 PM on December 15, 2006


> So, is the US ready to elect a female or a black president?

Hmmmm. Dixie reactionary that I am notwithstanding, I would have voted for Colin Powell in a heartbeat six years back. I would support Condi if she runs on 08.
posted by jfuller at 12:13 PM on December 15, 2006


Husayn, Hussein, Hussain, Husain (Arabic:حسین), is an Arabic name which is the diminuitive of Hasan, meaning "good" or "handsome". It is commonly given as a male given name among Muslims, after Husayn ibn Ali. (from Wikipedia).

Well, dang. If I ever get a male dog, I know a pretty good name, then.
posted by pax digita at 12:24 PM on December 15, 2006


I dig Barack, big time.

CNN, not so much.
posted by hifiparasol at 12:24 PM on December 15, 2006


"Doremus had never heard Windrip during one of his orgasms of oratory, but he had been told by political reporters that under the spell you thought Windrip was Plato, but that on the way home you could not remember anything he had said"
posted by paxton at 12:27 PM on December 15, 2006


Myself, I only heard of this guy today (ignorant cretin that I am -- I guess I tend not to follow the careers of Illinois senators). But from first impressions, this guy is handsome, relational, articulate and very easy to get along with (at least over the intertubes). I have no idea what he stands for, or where he wants to take the country (if anywhere), but it's quite a curious thing that a US presidential candidate could step forward with the type of name that the current administration has been villainizing to no end. If Cat Stevens gets detained at airport security, I wonder if there'll be trouble for this guy?

Whatever, though. Sticks and stones. I wanted to start the discussion and gauge some popular opinion on this fellow. Does he have more to him than Denzel-good-looks and a spooky old name?

Blazecock Pileon: That's not exactly 'verbatim' -- in fact, it's the opposite -- but it's still interesting.

hifiparasol, I think your link got diverted.
posted by Milkman Dan at 12:31 PM on December 15, 2006


If Barack is elected President and Bin Laden is still at large, I think it's only be a matter of time before somebody releases a war game called OBAMA VS. OSAMA!!

(cos that'd be cool)
posted by jonmc at 12:31 PM on December 15, 2006


Ha. This clip is cute.
posted by Milkman Dan at 12:34 PM on December 15, 2006


You know I've only seen Obama speak on TV a little bit. But I just do not understand the excitement about this guy.


It just seems like it's been repeated over and over how wonderful this guy is, how awesome he is but no one every says why. "Oh he's charismatic!" they say, but most politicians are charismatic. That's why they're politicians!

He can "Articulate a liberal agenda"? Like what? Universal Healthcare? Every single democrat supports universal healthcare!

I'm sorry but what the hell does this guy bring to the table besides good looks and charm?

The only thing He's done that I know of is his pork database bill, which he co-authored with one of the craziest conservatives out there (Tom Colburn). It's hardly a controversial measure.

Is he likeable? Sure, but haven't we gotten past the "I'll vote for him because I'd like to have a beer with him" stage after the first six years?

Let's hear what he thinks our countries problems are, and how he thinks he can fix 'em.
posted by delmoi at 12:40 PM on December 15, 2006 [1 favorite]


er, I mean after the last six years...
posted by delmoi at 12:41 PM on December 15, 2006


w/r/t the Cnn uTube piece: what's the difference between a blazer and a jacket, anyhoo?
posted by DenOfSizer at 12:47 PM on December 15, 2006


If this poll is at all accurate, Obama's race won't be a handicap, and his youth, eloquence, energy and all the rest might easily put him over the top.
posted by Bromius at 12:47 PM on December 15, 2006


I'm sorry but what the hell does this guy bring to the table besides good looks and charm?

That's why he has a podcast
posted by Rubbstone at 12:49 PM on December 15, 2006


If you want to view hifiparasol's video, just copy the link and go directly to it in a new browser window.
posted by Partial Law at 12:58 PM on December 15, 2006


Blazecock Pileon, thanks for the link to his actual voting record. Sure, he's got charisma, but his policy ideas are more middle-of-the-road protect-the-ruling-class bullshit.

If he actually ends up on the ticket (my money says he won't), I'd for sure vote for him. He'll be better than whatever republican asshole is running, and I'd vote for a black man on principle, but he's not particularly progressive.
posted by serazin at 12:58 PM on December 15, 2006


Oops, I mean hifiparasol's video.
posted by Partial Law at 12:59 PM on December 15, 2006


Onward Obama!!
posted by pwedza at 12:59 PM on December 15, 2006


This focus on his name is laughable. If a candidate is named Dick Fofuckey, that should not degrade his platform. I'm with delmoi, where do you stand o'likeable one?
posted by robot at 12:59 PM on December 15, 2006



Barack Obama Inc. (via Harpers Magazine.)
posted by fluffycreature at 1:02 PM on December 15, 2006


I'm sorry but what the hell does this guy bring to the table besides good looks and charm?

I kind of agree with you about how Obama seems to be getting a bit of a free pass on a lot of stuff for some reason. Sure he is youthful, energetic, and speaks pretty well. But he really hasn't done anything and I think that many will find him a bit too religous for their liking.

But you also attribute to him something I will never understand. Good looks? Really? I've heard this several times and I just don't see it. He's one ugly sumbitch if you ask me. The fact that it has come up so frequently probably means I'm out of step on this, though.
posted by Arch_Stanton at 1:03 PM on December 15, 2006


Gotta go with Delmoi on this one. Moreover, I think a little more humiliation would be a good thing for the man. Even Clinton got thrown out of the governor's mansion before he hit the big time.

To me, he's becoming the Rachel Ray of politics. WAY too much, way too fast.
posted by IndigoJones at 1:06 PM on December 15, 2006


I agree was that robot up there, especially after seeing hifiparasol's video. If this guy's really going to run for prez, there has GOT to be more maturity on everybody's part. I think that after, oh, a week or so, people should be over the two most obvious deals with the guy:
* He has a funny name, and
* He's charismatic.

(Partial Law, thanks for the video-viewing tip.)
posted by Milkman Dan at 1:10 PM on December 15, 2006


The Obama charisma goes way beyond most standard 'But he's a politician!' charisma. When he was running against Keyes here in Illinois, Keyes would routinely attempt to draw Obama into ad homenim and character debate (not that it would have helped Keyes). Every time that would happen, Obama would say something along the lines of 'I sincerely believe my opponent wants what is best for the state of Illinois, and I respect him for this. Unfortunately I think that he's going about it the wrong way, and here's why:' and would then proceed to outline his own platform.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:13 PM on December 15, 2006


Blazers are typically navy blue with brass buttons down the front and on the sleeves--the kind of thing you wear when you're at the country club or you're on your yacht.
posted by emelenjr at 1:13 PM on December 15, 2006


If a candidate is named Dick Fofuckey, that should not degrade his platform.

On principle sure, but in reality we all know a President Fofuckey will never happen.

It's as if this country is trapped inside a Greek tragedy.


It all started when the republicans decided to run the son of a previous president, an extremely "insider" thing to do and rather suprising development for an allegedly democratic country. One might assume the method to the madness was to take advantage of name recognition. Similarly the wife of a previous president may also become president, again in part taking advantage of name recognition.

Names clearly matter, both negatively and positively.
posted by scheptech at 1:20 PM on December 15, 2006


a President Fofuckey will never happen.

Maybe in Fofuckistan.
posted by jonmc at 1:24 PM on December 15, 2006 [1 favorite]


Still say he'll take VP. Wish it were under Dean, but it will probably be under Hillary.
posted by RavinDave at 1:24 PM on December 15, 2006


Letterman: Obama, Osama. Osama, Obama.

(camera cuts back and forth to the faces of the two men, one pair of wrists bound by a red bandana, broke-neck bottles in their free hands.)

Paul Shaffer: aaaah ha ha ha!
posted by the sobsister at 1:24 PM on December 15, 2006


If a candidate is named Dick Fofuckey, that should not degrade his platform.

Of course it shouldn't, but it will.
posted by lisalisa123 at 1:33 PM on December 15, 2006


... haven't we gotten past the "I'll vote for him because I'd like to have a beer with him" stage after the first six years? posted by delmoi

Mental note: delmoi knows too much.

I saw your correction later but... That, my friend, is the scariest thing I've ever read.
posted by hal9k at 1:39 PM on December 15, 2006


Blazers are typically navy blue with brass buttons down the front and on the sleeves--the kind of thing you wear when you're at the country club or you're on your yacht.

Or hunting illegal immigrants for sport while rogering the stable-hands.

I'm sorry, what were we talking about?
posted by sonofsamiam at 1:41 PM on December 15, 2006


That's Senator Fofuckey to you, and he's got my vote.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:54 PM on December 15, 2006


The once was guy named Fofuckey,
Who was elected governor of Kentucky.
But everyone was hesitant,
To vote him for President,
Because his wife's first name was Suesucky.
posted by StarForce5 at 2:05 PM on December 15, 2006 [13 favorites]


Jesus, enough already with this "I don't know what he stands for" bullshit.

You can either look it up, or listen to what the man has to say. He talks about as plainly as anyone does in politics.

Besides, other than Lyndon Larouche or Ralph Nader, who knows what any of these motherfuckers stand for at this stage in the game? That's why you campaign, so you can both try to tell people what you stand for while at the same time, letting the Republicans tell people what you stand for.
posted by psmealey at 2:09 PM on December 15, 2006


I turned on the tv to watch the 2004 Democratic convention, expecting to be bored and discouraged. Obama gave the keynote, my jaw dropped, my spirit revived, and I actually felt happy and proud to hear a Democrat speak--amazing. All week I kept thinking who the hell was is this guy?, and please let's hope he can keep his pants on.

Here's the speech.

Plus he was funny on Leno and apparently if you call his office for the spelling of his middle name, they say, 'Yes, like the dictator.' Which is the, Yeah, what of it? attitude the dems rarely have the balls or wit to muster.
posted by tula at 2:12 PM on December 15, 2006 [1 favorite]


Barack Obama has the grace to apologize when necessary.
posted by furiousthought at 2:28 PM on December 15, 2006


Saying that all politicians have charisma misses the point in a major way, because the truth is that all politicians do NOT have charisma, at least not that I can see.

I'm incredibly cynical. When politicians talk to me, I assume that I'm being lied to. Even highly charismatic Bill Clinton left me feeling like every word that came out of his mouth was a lie. I don't get that with Obama. Obama feels very different.

Maybe he is just spinning like the rest of them, but when I listen to him speak, he actually fills me with hope. It's like maybe, things can get back to the way they should have been. I imagine it's what it must have felt like when JFK was around (I wasn't alive then, so I can't say for sure).

If the election were held today and he was running, I would absolutely vote for him. I'd do it happily which is a far cry from the hold your nose and pick the least offensive choice of the past few decades.

Who knows what he'll look like after he gets through the primaries and after the press builds him up so they can tear him down which is obviously the drama they're going to need to create to tell a compelling story. Still, for right now, this guy looks great to me.
posted by willnot at 2:29 PM on December 15, 2006


I'm more than ready to vote for a Female or Black President - wouldn't bother me at all.

But growing up in the south, living in the Mid-Atlantic, and regularly visiting family in the west, I have to ask - is AMERCIA ready to vote the same as me?? I'm not so sure...

CNN didn't put up that 'racism in america' article the other day just for funsies.
posted by matty at 2:32 PM on December 15, 2006


People that decry his middle-of-the-road senate voting record need to understand that Barack is quite likely being groomed to be POTUS, if not in '08 than sure in '12 or '16, depending on how the Dems do in the next election. Perhaps the people upset about his voting record are unaware of the success rate of senators running for president? If you are, allow me to enlighten you: not good!

As such, I think it's probably quite likely that Barack has steered clear of the sorts of career-breaking proposed legislation that would cost him a shot at the presidency. It's sad that such a thing matters in American politics, but it does. Look how easily Kerry's voting record was turned against him. The longer you've been in the senate, the more the American political machine will work against you. I suppose it's the nature of 30-second campaign adds and talking point television these days.

Also keep in mind that Barack has been a senator during a divisive, Republican-run era of governance; the odds of any liberal legislation being passed were close to zero. Moreover, given the race issue, Barack may indeed have to step even more carefully than a traditional candidate.

At any rate, I think it's fair to say that Barack is playing it safe. This isn't necessarily the good for we hardcore lefty types who want a pitbull-at-the-Republican's-throat type (which is why many people like Dean so much), but it makes perfect sense as a political strategy.

Disclaimer: I'm a Canadian!
posted by The God Complex at 2:55 PM on December 15, 2006


If this poor bastard attempts to run for President in 2008 he will be crushed like a fucking bug. There is no way he will ever get elected. I'd like to see him run. Hell. I'd like to see him win. But it won't happen. It isn't that he is black - though that will make it tough enough, no it's merely his name AND because he is a freshman senator.

Americans are simply too fucking stupid to get past the name. Hello. Anybody remember Dukakis? The goddamned mouth breathers were PROUD they couldn't pronounce it or spell it. Wasn't Loretta Lynn at the 1988 Republican Convention who was all golly-shucks "ain't that some kin a fer'in name... hyuk... hyuk hyuk..." Jesus. What a bunch of stupid mother fuckers. But there you are.

Almost NO senators have made successful bid for President. Add to that his lack of experience and assholes like McCain will eat him for brunch.

No. We need some schmuck of a nobody Governor with a name like Jim Johnson or something.
posted by tkchrist at 2:57 PM on December 15, 2006


Sheesh, at this point I'd vote for anyone who wasnt a privilaged male white lawyer... or any part therein. Not like they could do any worse.

I saw Hillary Clinton speak years back, on behalf of her husband running for President the first time, and even though she kinda scares me now, she really impressed me then. I remember thinking I'd rather have her running.

I like Obama, but thats just all his charisma talking. It's a terrible thing for a die-hard Jeffersonian like myself to say, but I'd vote for him in a second just because he's African-American. Just to see.
posted by elendil71 at 3:04 PM on December 15, 2006


delmoi writes "He can 'Articulate a liberal agenda'? Like what? Universal Healthcare? Every single democrat supports universal healthcare! "


Really? Maybe if they mentioned it once in a while instead of trying to be slightly less overtly evil than the Republican party platform they'd have a chance of being elected on their own merits, rather than out of contempt for the incumbents.
posted by stet at 3:08 PM on December 15, 2006


It just seems like it's been repeated over and over how wonderful this guy is, how awesome he is but no one every says why.

Watch his speech at the 2004 Democratic convention. Then you'll understand why (or you'll understand that you're just not in the constituency that Obama aims for).

"Oh he's charismatic!" they say, but most politicians are charismatic. That's why they're politicians!

That's funny, because it is sooooo wrong.

Many politicians are borderline social retards. It's only the very prominent (and generally national) politicians that are charismatic. Indeed, Obama's meteoric rise to fame is a testament to the power of eloquent rhetoric and good public speaking abilities. Most politicians absolutely do not have that, and you're kidding yourself if you think they do. (In the last 26 years, Clinton and Reagan had that. Gore, Bush I, and Bush II did not. So it's not ever a given in the office of the Presidency).

Obama is overblown, but such is the power of charisma, your protestations notwithstanding. People see Obama and quite often say "I really like this guy." And not just died-in-the-wool Democrats. Right or wrong (and I'd argue it's wrong), but that is worth more than a mountain of gold in a politician/leader, and very few of them have it.

Me, I'd be reasonably happy with an Obama presidency (better than H. Clinton or any of the current crop of dip-shit Republicans running). He's a decent guy (too centrist for my tastes, but that's OK). I do worry about his very limited experience. I fear his serious desire to "triangulate" (like W. Clinton) is an outdated political motif for a Democrat, and that he might not be able to capitalize on the current mood in America because of that, but I'd be happy to be wrong.

I'd rather see Edwards win.

It will be interesting to see how well the "OMFG!!! the Democrats are nominating Osama Hussein for pres!" sentiment from the knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing idiot contingency that the Republicans have grown to love plays out. I'll be curious to see if it works or not. I don't think it would, but it might.
posted by teece at 3:14 PM on December 15, 2006


I'm skeptical of Obama running. I like the guy, but he's too unseasoned. I expect he'd wilt quite quickly under the assault from the Clinton-Kids, and that's even before facing off against the Republican smear-machine.

He's going to be a great bet down the road for eight years as a Dem POTUS, but not now.

What would get me excited?

GORE-OBAMA 2008
posted by bardic at 3:34 PM on December 15, 2006


Really? Maybe if they mentioned it once in a while instead of trying to be slightly less overtly evil than the Republican party platform they'd have a chance of being elected on their own merits, rather than out of contempt for the incumbents.

You don't follow current events much, do you? You proud of that?
posted by teece at 3:36 PM on December 15, 2006


"Oh he's charismatic!" they say, but most politicians are charismatic. That's why they're politicians!

are you kidding? Hillary? Bush Sr.? Cheney? Kerry? Gore? Bush Jr?

The only recent politicians I can think of who get called charismatic are Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan. I could see Clinton as charismatic, but in a slightly seedy kinda way, and Reagan I would call charming in a plastic robot kind of way.

Obama, on the other hand, was actually a joy to watch during the 04 convention. He came across as a real person with actual interest and passion. Whether that translates into good policy choices is hard to say, but we do elect an individual to oversee (preside) and organize various factions, and like it or not, part of the job is being a people person - engaging with the public, the cabinet, the congress, making final decisions based (one hopes) on the wealth of input s/he receives from all of these arenas. I would say what we want in a president is not necessarily proof of already formed brilliant plans, but rather a capacity to work with all sorts of people, a drive to understand as much about each issue as possible, and good judgment.

as for the name, when I first heard of him I thought it was funny/problematic, but it's been ages since I've even thought about it. But I didn't know his middle name... or realize that he's not already universally famous across the whole country. Still, I think this issue will be worse for Vilsack than Obama :)
posted by mdn at 3:40 PM on December 15, 2006


mdn, I don't deny the fact that Obama has obvious charisma. My real concern is that in the zero-sum game of American politics, a loss in 2008 wouldn't "toughen him up" for 2012," it would totally destroy him and we'd never hear from him again. Given that the POTUS for 2008 shouldn't be the Dems priority IMO (four more years of Iraqi quagmire? I'm happy to let the Republicans keep their fingerprints all over this mess, and McCain is the right toadie for the job), I just think it would be a waste of a (very valuable and singular) resource.
posted by bardic at 3:49 PM on December 15, 2006


Here's the thing about Obama, I'll vote for him before any other Democrat you care to name. I think the whole "let's pick someone who we think is electable for the good ol' boys who are never gonna vote Democrat to begin with strategy" has proven to be fruitless. If Dubbya has taught us anything, it's that you don't stick to your guns just 'cause you think you ought to, or because maybe it will work this time. I'll pull for the guy I actually want right now, and I'll worry about 2008 when 2008 rolls around.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 3:56 PM on December 15, 2006


I would support Condi if she runs on 08.

good to know that at least someone still supports utter incompetence! keep the dream alive, jfuller.
posted by Hat Maui at 4:00 PM on December 15, 2006


Obama is positioning to get the nod for Veep no matter who wins the primaries.

Personally, I'm hoping it's Gore.
posted by darkstar at 4:05 PM on December 15, 2006


Condi has already promised us that she'll be teaching at Stanford. Although I have a hard time believing they'd take her back.
posted by bardic at 4:06 PM on December 15, 2006


but most politicians are charismatic. That's why they're politicians!

I can only conclude that you missed the last couple of presidential elections and have no idea who this "Hillary Clinton" person is.
posted by Artw at 4:21 PM on December 15, 2006


this Fofuckey guy seems to be the most electable of the whole sorry bunch
posted by matteo at 4:31 PM on December 15, 2006 [3 favorites]


But you also attribute to him something I will never understand. Good looks? Really?

We're talking about politician good looking here. He's obviously no John Edwards. For a regular person he's kind of average. (I wouldn't call him ugly)

Every time that would happen, Obama would say something along the lines of 'I sincerely believe my opponent wants what is best for the state of Illinois, and I respect him for this. Unfortunately I think that he's going about it the wrong way, and here's why:' and would then proceed to outline his own platform.

Obama could have spent his campaign money on a Bahaman vacation, and still won. It's not hard to take the high road when you have absolutely no chance of losing.

Jesus, enough already with this "I don't know what he stands for" bullshit.

I turned on the tv to watch the 2004 Democratic convention, expecting to be bored and discouraged. Obama gave the keynote, my jaw dropped, my spirit revived, and I actually felt happy and proud to hear a Democrat speak--amazing. All week I kept thinking who the hell was is this guy?, and please let's hope he can keep his pants on.


Watch his speech at the 2004 Democratic convention. Then you'll understand why (or you'll understand that you're just not in the constituency that Obama aims for).

All I remembered from that speech was "[something liberal in red states] and we worship and awesome god in the blue states!" I'm watching it again now... and... I really don't see it. Seems like a bunch of political obviousness. "America is great!" His style doesn't strike me as that inspiring at all, just milquetoast rhetoric of "We're all in this together". He didn't even criticize bush.

And where did everyone get those Obama signs? Did they all wave them because they loved him so much and had them on hand? Or were they given them and asked to wave them around? It's just more indicative of the marketing campaign that surrounds this guy. I feel like I'm being sold. And why?

are you kidding? Hillary? Bush Sr.? Cheney? Kerry? Gore? Bush Jr?

People like Hillary, Chenery, and Bush Sr didn't really get to their positions by being elected over and over again. They're not "people facing" politicians, but I suppose you're right.

Still, lots of charismatic politicians have been terrible legislators.

I'm not saying he'd be bad for the country, I'm just saying he doesn’t inspire me and it's annoying to see him lauded, essentially, for being able to give a good speech.
posted by delmoi at 4:44 PM on December 15, 2006


"To me, he's becoming the Rachel Ray of politics. WAY too much, way too fast."

I'd rather see Rachael Ray run. I could never get sick of that.
posted by drstein at 5:12 PM on December 15, 2006


Ick, drstein. I could.

Next thing you know, there'll be RR-brand enemas. Sheesh, she's everywhere.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 5:31 PM on December 15, 2006


Letterman: Obama, Osama. Osama, Obama.

(camera cuts back and forth to the faces of the two men, one pair of wrists bound by a red bandana, broke-neck bottles in their free hands.)

Paul Shaffer: aaaah ha ha ha!


followed by a major seventh chord (aw heck, make it a 9th) and 45 seconds of continuous applause
posted by kurumi at 5:53 PM on December 15, 2006


Rachel Ray - that’s the cute broad with the drink in her hand all the time on the food network right?
Nah, what I like about Obama is his seriousness of intent and his gravitas - what shakespeherian sed. He’s zero bullshit. There’s no “we’re all just pretending this is what I mean to beat the other guys” thing going on. He sticks to what he believes, it’s obvious. Oh, he might be wrong, I’m not totally on board with his platform, but he’s in earnest. I’d vote for him. Even if he’s on the ticket with Clinton...although I’d prefer if his name came first (indeed, on any ticket).
That would eliminate the very grave and serious misgivings I have about her being in charge of the country. Nothing wrong with the veep spot. And she can run for president after Obama. When the country is in better shape to withstand it.

Plus his name sounds like a great middleweight boxing champion.
“Fighting out of the blue corner, the middleweight champion of the world -Barak OBAMA! Obama!” ding ding!
posted by Smedleyman at 6:00 PM on December 15, 2006


"And where did everyone get those Obama signs?"

Uhh, are you new to this whole political convention thing?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:21 PM on December 15, 2006


I feel like I'm being sold. And why?

It's about fucking TIME someone tried to sell a Democrat. It's really not about issues on the big stage, and it (unfortunately?) never will be. Obama to me is the kind of guy who has the power to get people to like Democrats. Personally I couldn't care less if he agrees with me on everything. He's a possible generation changer. Oratory is incredibly important. A symbol for future generations to look to as an INSPIRING DEMOCRAT is huge. Will Obama turn out to be this? Maybe, maybe not. But to me he's the only one out of the whole lot who has the chance. I guess just hope you don't get too bitter or surly about his popularity so soon? I've heard a great number of people say similar things to you. They seem mad at him for these things. These things they find lacking, and I understand that, but I hope enough of them will give him another chance, or many chances. I think (and hope) he'll deserve it.
posted by haveanicesummer at 7:06 PM on December 15, 2006


delmoi, Obama inspires people. He inspires a lot of people. People see him and say "wow!"

I don't really care if you don't see that. Don't play dumb; you've admitted yourself that you've seen this. The ability to do that is absolutely NOT a given in a politician, and it is absolutely NOT something to scoff at.

He has reasonable policy positions, he's pretty honest when I've seen him speak, and he's a very bright guy. That stuff is all out there for you to look up, if you want. He's too centrist for my tastes, but that's fine.

Inspiring people is something a leader must be good at. Policy and intelligence must also come with that, but don't act like being an inspiring leader == Obama is a an empty-headed actor (say, like Reagan).

It's just plain wrong, and comes off as knee-jerk, brain dead contrarianism.

People see Obama for the first time and say: "I want that guy to be president." That is utterly and completely significant. And if you spend just a few minutes researching the guy, you'll find he's eminently reasonable on the issues, and quite intelligent and capable, so it's not like his inspiring people is dangerous in some way.

I'm sorry but what the hell does this guy bring to the table besides good looks and charm?

The ability to inspire people, and get them to work to fix problems etc. That is one in a million in leader. Don't scoff at it.
posted by teece at 7:37 PM on December 15, 2006 [1 favorite]


But you also attribute to him something I will never understand. Good looks? Really?

it is all so very very relative. He's got a nice smile, and compared with john kerry or dick cheney, hey.

My real concern is that in the zero-sum game of American politics, a loss in 2008 wouldn't "toughen him up" for 2012," it would totally destroy him and we'd never hear from him again.

I'm not sure that's really fair - Nixon lost in 1960 and then won in '68. And really you just never know how things will go - even if it had never happened before, there's no way to say exactly what a loss would mean. I think the bigger question is whether he would really be up for the job - he's still pretty young & inexperienced, and he'd be taking over when we're seriously in need of someone who can pull shit together. My concern would be more that he'd end up being a mediocre one-termer if he doesn't have a deep enough understanding of things. I think he'd be a fantastic pick as veep though. Who should get the top billing, I'm not sure. Maybe Gore/Obama. After all, he did win the popular vote, many bush supporters must be rethinking their original choice, and Gore has pretty much had positive coverage in his non-political endeavors.

The question would be who republicans nominate. Giuliani has no chance; McCain maybe has a chance but I think his star is kind of on the descent... I think Pataki would get squashed, unless there's a side of him we haven't seen. Who else is on the table?
posted by mdn at 8:03 PM on December 15, 2006


serazin: I'd vote for a black man on principle...

elendil71: I'd vote for him in a second just because he's African-American.

Yup. Gotta love principle.
posted by cribcage at 8:48 PM on December 15, 2006


Good looks? Really? I've heard this several times and I just don't see it. He's one ugly sumbitch if you ask me.

Abraham Lincoln was often described in this manner.
posted by SPrintF at 9:16 PM on December 15, 2006


elendil71: Sheesh, at this point I'd vote for anyone who wasnt a privilaged (sic) male white lawyer [...] I'd vote for him in a second just because he's African-American.

Spelling is really the least of the problems here, but it's a start.
posted by kid ichorous at 12:03 AM on December 16, 2006


Job title: 44th President of the United States
Skills required: Candidate should have experience cleaning up after messy suicides.

Here, that should get it started. Monster.com anyone?
posted by kid ichorous at 12:23 AM on December 16, 2006


elect that guy from CSI then
posted by matteo at 1:59 AM on December 16, 2006


There is just something about this dude that sets of my creepy vibes. I can't quite put my finger on it, but I'd guess that if he does run, it'll come out.

That said, I don't give a shit if a candidate was bright purple, if they can be competent, that would be a huge step forward, and with the lack of experience I think he's going to get nailed on that alone.
posted by sperose at 3:50 AM on December 16, 2006


...I'd vote for him in a second just because he's African-American. Just to see.

This is one of the most interesting aspects of the upcoming election if Obama does run for office. I know people talk a lot about the good ol' boys down south not voting for a black man for president, but the same demographic was probably going to vote the other way anyway. What interests me is the amount people who would vote for a black man out of principle. Especially with Obama's relative neutral stance on issues. Might being black increase his chances of getting voted in?
posted by slimepuppy at 4:35 AM on December 16, 2006 [1 favorite]


He has my vote if he runs. Simple as that. And there are a lot of us.
posted by spitbull at 5:59 AM on December 16, 2006


He's a smart guy. He's anything but an overnight story -- he was elected to the Illinois State Senate in 1996. The platform he had with that seat and his teaching post at the University of Chicago took him far and wide -- the people who matter in politics have known, and been in some degree of awe, at him for a decade.

That said, he's far too liberal to be elected President under ordinary circumstances. He's significantly to the left of John Kerry, and John Kerry couldn't even beat George Bush, a President who only ever managed to be liked by a meaningful majority of the country for a few weeks after 9/11. Against a Republican with a more typical appeal, forget about it. It would be a massacre lying somewhere between the Mondale and Dukakis range.

This leaves Obama two choice: move right, or wait until circumstances change. The current American blend of capitalism and welfare is absolutely unsustainable as the Baby Boomers start to retire and Asia continually grows its ability to compete against American goods and services. Western European style welfare economics will have a lot more appeal then, and Obama could be just the guy to sell it. I doubt I'll be voting him, but lots of other people will.
posted by MattD at 7:02 AM on December 16, 2006


What interests me is the amount people who would vote for a black man out of principle. Especially with Obama's relative neutral stance on issues. Might being black increase his chances of getting voted in?

well, the trick here is that pretty much no one is going to actually say that they won't vote for him because he's black. The question is whether more people will find "something about him" they don't like than they would have if he'd been white (consciously or subconsciously). Will some people not vote at all because they don't quite feel comfortable voting for him? Will more traditionalists come out to vote against him? etc. Those are the kinds of things that would make a real difference. I would hope it would be negligable, but that may be optimistic.
posted by mdn at 7:16 AM on December 16, 2006


I'm sorry but what the hell does this guy bring to the table besides good looks and charm?

If you are really interested, read his book, The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream. I just finished reading this book. Although I do not agree with Obama on all his policy points, I found his thoughtful analysis of the issues refreshing. I hope he runs.
posted by gruchall at 7:29 AM on December 16, 2006


Thanks for posting that congressional record of his votes. I'm amazed hes getting so much bland/good press despite this record. Can't wait for the race to start so we can see what the potentials (Hilary, Obama, McCain) have to say when things are more serious.


I wish John Edwards (not the current Senator with the same name) was more high profile since he seemed to support the working class
posted by Freecola at 8:44 AM on December 16, 2006


He's significantly to the left of John Kerry, and John Kerry couldn't even beat George Bush

Kerry's problem wasn't that he was too liberal. It's that he equivicated too much. People didn't trust him or really even like him very much. I would never have voted for Kerry if Bush wasn't the guy running against him.

Obama's politics won't matter. And, if he can inspire and bring back to the polls the 50+ percent of Americans that don't even bother voting, well there's a huge untapped block. Those people feel like it doesn't matter because both choices suck. Up to this point, I think they've been largely right (although Bush has shown that there's sucking and dangerously incompetent and power mad sucking).

That's why Obama seems like such a compelling candidate. His charisma and oratory skills could bring out some portion of the disenfranchised and disinterested.
posted by willnot at 8:48 AM on December 16, 2006


All this support for Obama as a presidential candidate makes no sense to me. It's kind of like when McCain won the support of a lot of progressives because he was a "straight talker," despite his track record of conservative positions. How can otherwise intelligent, thoughtful people be rendered so uncritical by a person's supposed "charisma," and vote for someone just because of his charisma and oratory skills? Obama's insights in politics are nothing new; they seem to be re-hashed boilerplate we've heard a million times. And we know nothing about this guy, other than what he's written in two recent books. It's bizarre.

I'm just surprised that people are not more guarded in their embrace of this brand new thing that Obama represents --- Obamania seems to be basically a herd-mentality reaction that can be summed up as, "He's so young, so charming, and so smart! I just love him!" I get the feeling that a lot of smart, youngish urban people are so sick of seeing politicians who look like fuddy-duddies like our parents, that we're glomming onto the first guy who comes along who reminds us of us. But to do so is not intelligent, it's not critical ... it's infantile.

The following comment is the sort of mindless gushing I just don't understand:

Nah, what I like about Obama is his seriousness of intent and his gravitas - what shakespeherian sed. He’s zero bullshit.

He's "zero bullshit"? From what I've seen of him, he's all bullshit, made more powerful by how slick and mediagenic it is.

And gravitas? What does that mean? Doesn't everyone who puts themselves forth as presidential material have gravitas? (And why is that word only bandied about in political discussions?)
posted by jayder at 9:32 AM on December 16, 2006


Now that I've actually read the comments above, delmoi hits it on the head.
posted by jayder at 9:41 AM on December 16, 2006


How can otherwise intelligent, thoughtful people be rendered so uncritical by a person's supposed "charisma," and vote for someone just because of his charisma and oratory skills?


A question for the ages, truly. History is replete with examples.
posted by darkstar at 10:45 AM on December 16, 2006


People are willing to cut a lot of slack to pretty things. Any woman with cleavage recognizes this.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:20 AM on December 16, 2006


I'm just surprised that people are not more guarded in their embrace of this brand new thing that Obama represents

I think there are plenty of guardedly optimistic voices in this thread.

How can otherwise intelligent, thoughtful people be rendered so uncritical by a person's supposed "charisma," and vote for someone just because of his charisma and oratory skills?

what you are dismissing as "charisma and oratory skills" other people consider intelligence, groundedness, interest, passion - etc. Look, the problem with going by "voting records" is that we are absolutely never going to find a candidate who has what would be considered a perfect stance on every issue. That is impossible not because no one's come along yet, but because there is not a majority bloc of the voting population who have the exact same stance on every issue. We will always have to compromise certain things. That's why the parties put together 'platforms' that seem vague and middle-roadish to people who have more distinctive and aggressive political aims.

What we need in a president is not someone who will completely overhaul the government, but someone who can negotiate, make intelligent decisions, work to find creative solutions, etc. Someone's personality and ability to articulate ideas is not incidental to that.
posted by mdn at 12:30 PM on December 16, 2006 [3 favorites]


and with the lack of experience I think he's going to get nailed on that alone.

If Obama was elected in '08 he'd be the same as as Clinton was when he was elected in '92.

For everyone that continues to harp on his voting record, scroll back up a bit to my first comment. Obama is most assuredly being groomed for a run at the presidency at some point in the next decade. Senators don't win presidential elections; it's commonly believed that this is the case because any missteps in your voting record (and you'll have more the longer you're in office) are easily spun against you during the long, fatuous campaign for presidency.

Let's be honest here. If a senator has no interest in running for president he or she can blithely vote their conscience and make a moral stand on any issue, and probably have been for the past six years while GWB is in office, despite the fact that absolutely nothing they voted on would realistically make any difference (given that the Republicans completely controlled both houses). What's a smart left/centrist populist type senator interested in the presidency to do? Make the smart plays and bide his time, and maybe win a few small battles.

This is the reality of American politics. The man has a chance to do for the Democrats what Clinton could have done if he'd kept his cock in his pants (or at least not been caught for it). Maybe he won't. Maybe he'll fall on his face and we won't' hear much from him again. But it's a bit silly to completely ignore the reality of contemporary American politics and pretend this is a simple issue of values.
posted by The God Complex at 12:50 PM on December 16, 2006


(same "age")
posted by The God Complex at 12:51 PM on December 16, 2006


The man has a chance to do for the Democrats what Clinton could have done if he'd kept his cock in his pants ...

Getting caught with his cock out was actually a good thing for Clinton's legacy, I think. Clinton humanized himself, and became a kind of folk hero, when he got caught shooting his seed on Monica Lewinsky's dress. I think the enormous affection that people have for Clinton is traceable to that scandal, the human dimension of Clinton that it revealed, and sympathy for the cruelty he was subjected to as a result.

Obama strikes me as a savvy manipulator, someone who became Senator largely by accident (the elimination of the front-running Democratic candidate in the senate race) and who would, in the end, be as calculating, ruthless, and beholden to big money as any other president. For the most part, expecting a revolutionary president, as many people expect Obama to be, is like expecting a revolutionary CEO of General Electric or General Motors. It won't happen. The shareholders (the money people and corporations) won't have it. There are too many economic/structural hurdles to the person that people dream that Obama is, actually becoming president. I think that if Obama gets elected president, it will prove that he's just a slimy piece of shit like every other president. If Obama is the Jesus-figure that Democrats seem to think he is, he will not be able to be elected.
posted by jayder at 1:14 PM on December 16, 2006


jayder, don't conflate the democrats with Clinton. It may very well have done something for the Clinton legacy, but it didn't do anything for the Democrats. In fact, a lot of people didn't like Al Gore by his association with Clinton alone. That's what I was referring to.
posted by The God Complex at 1:16 PM on December 16, 2006


The God Complex writes "jayder, don't conflate the democrats with Clinton. It may very well have done something for the Clinton legacy, but it didn't do anything for the Democrats. In fact, a lot of people didn't like Al Gore by his association with Clinton alone. That's what I was referring to."

Good point
posted by jayder at 1:32 PM on December 16, 2006


Man, nobody mentioned Wesley Clark yet. In an Obama thread. Something isn't right here.

(P.S. Clark/Obama '08.)
posted by mazatec at 10:21 PM on December 16, 2006


"He's "zero bullshit"? From what I've seen of him, he's all bullshit, made more powerful by how slick and mediagenic it is."
So clearly like me you live in Illinois and follow the political scene closely, or rather, more closely than I and thus your perspective then is sharper than mine? Or is there some point other than simply disparaging my opinion as "gushing" that makes yours more astute?

"And gravitas? What does that mean?"
A formality in bearing and appearance.

"Doesn't everyone who puts themselves forth as presidential material have gravitas?"

No. But the depth of your insight on this matter is intriguing despite apparently knowing very little about his platform or his philosophy. My opinion is based on, y'know, actually having met him and following his career (typically as interested opposition, although if any man on earth is a narcissistic jag off it's Jack Ryan - I'm sure you've met him as well as I have - and of course only a madman would have supported Keyes) among other things and having some knowlege of his positions and the principles they're based upon. I would rather have an honest liberal in office that I might not fully agree with than some of those now calling themselves "conservatives" who have no underlying philosophy other than themselves. I believe, based on my experiance (obviously inferior to yours) that he is earnest in his principles much like Goldwater was in conservativism.

But perhaps I don't have your keen reasoning to realize that everyone who runs for office is completely disingenuous.

Nor indeed your acute awareness of matters of importance vs. mere political theater, to wit:
"Getting caught with his cock out was actually a good thing for Clinton's legacy, I think. Clinton humanized himself, and became a kind of folk hero,"

Yes, what was good for the country was nowhere near as important as Clinton's legacy in story and song.
And the overwhelming sympathy generated for Clinton, as we all know, lead to a crushing defeat of the Republican party in later years.

"I think that if Obama gets elected president, it will prove that he's just a slimy piece of shit like every other president."
Hmmm...Clinton was a folk hero as well as a slimy piece of shit? Now there's some cogent thought for you.

"Obama strikes me as a savvy manipulator, someone who became Senator largely by accident"

Yeah, working on that Earned Income Tax Credit bill, what a jag off. And of course the IFOP (Illinois Fraternal Order of Police - I know you know, but just for other's edification)
routinely endorses people who promote legislation they don't like (laws requiring police officers to record race information in traffic stops and requires taped interrogations of murder suspects f'rinstance) because it's not that he's willing to compromise or work with people, it's cause he's a manipulator.
And if anyone is a big pushover in the state of Illinois, it's the friggin' police union.

"who would, in the end, be as calculating, ruthless, and beholden to big money as any other president"
Then what's the difference?

You know Obama's statement in the Trib to Rezko (met him too) - and the Pat Quinn, Blagojevich, Madigan (not the A.G., she's great, papa), Stroeger, et.al. crowd amounted to "go fuck yourselves" right? Of course you do, you're far more educated than I am on this, you know that all those democrats are neck deep in corrupt backdoor b.s. and I'm just "gushing" when I observe that while he's getting support from the national level of the party (probably, I haven't bugged any Dem offices) he's getting it in the back
from his own people in the state. And that's the heaviest factor to weigh if he's going to run. And maybe people with money, corporations, are against that. Odd how they - and Diebold - didn't stop Dems getting elected this cycle. Odd how that controversy kinda just went away.
But what do I know?
posted by Smedleyman at 11:21 PM on December 16, 2006


I feel like I've talked about thisin a different thread. I don't remember. Either way, I wish he would run for president already because he's a really mediocre senator here in Illinois. He gives all this great speech and then votes safe (on the conservative side of middle-left). If he wanted to stay a senator, he could vote as left as he wanted to in Illinois and we'd reelect him for decades, but he won't because people keep saying "president" around him. I wish he'd run for governor for a while instead.
posted by elr at 1:47 PM on December 17, 2006


On the gravitas question --- it's a term I have only heard applied to political candidates, and whenever someone uses it, my bullshit detector perks up. It's media-speak that makes the user sound like an idiot recycling talking points. (Kind of like that brief blip of time when all the talking heads were using the ridiculous phrase, "there's no daylight between [PoliticianX] and [PoliticianY].")

As for "formality in bearing and appearance" --- I thought his appeal to his fan-base was that he was casual, easygoing, and approachable. This is the first time I have heard someone laud him for his "formality."

But, smedleyman, you're right, you obviously know a million times more than I do about Obama and are very interested in his success. Sorry to tread on your turf with my off-the-cuff impressions. I have a deeply held belief that politicians are, by definition, pieces of shit and I think, from what I have seen and read, that Obama is no exception to this. But maybe I am wrong, maybe he's the savior you think he is.
posted by jayder at 1:49 PM on December 17, 2006


I have a deeply held belief that politicians are, by definition, pieces of shit

if this is true by definition, what is your solution?
Would you say there is truly no difference between, for instance, lincoln, kennedy, GWB and Putin?

Your suggestion that unless he's a "savior" he's just a piece of shit is pretty sillly. He's clearly very intelligent - first black president of the Harvard law review; taught at Chicago for years - and apparently is actually interested and engaged. I met someone the other night who had him as a professor for a couple classes at Chicago and was thoroughly impressed by him (& later worked on his congressional campaign).

Basically, there's no doubt he's being overhyped, because human beings get excited and gush over things. Lots of people get overhyped. But, it is usually based on something. You have to remember not to project endless fantasies onto who these people are when there's a media frenzy about someone - but really it's just as unnecessary to dismiss the notion that there's a reason the ball got rolling to begin with. This guy has a lot of qualities it would be good to see in a president. I'm sure he's a flawed human being, and he may not be ready to lead the country this early in his career, but all evidence points to his being smart, capable, interested, willing to work hard, personable, and aware of a wide range of american experiences.
posted by mdn at 6:04 PM on December 17, 2006 [1 favorite]


I was just at Target and spent fifteen minutes flipping through Obama's book The Audacity of Hope, which certainly qualifies me to hold forth knowledgeably about his fitness to be president.

Here's my summary of the book, from what I read: "Hi, I'm Barack Obama and I've got everything figured out. If there is a difficult issue with two diametrically opposed positions, I have staked out a middle ground that brilliantly manages to placate both sides [see his discussion of Constitutional originalism vs. relativism for a great example of this] and be as inoffensive as possible. Furthermore, like everyone else with Presidential ambitions, I have managed to find God" [for those following along at home, the money shot of the God stuff is on page 208].

Before I even glanced at The Audacity of Hope, I knew that it was impossible for it to contain anything other than polished, focus-group tested boilerplate crap, and upon reading excerpts from the book, I was delighted by my prescience. How is it that this guy strides onto the scene, has a great, reasonable solution to everything, and is actually taken seriously?
posted by jayder at 6:33 PM on December 17, 2006


Here is an excellent piece on Obama's problems.

The guy is a bit, umm, not sincere -- He tells reporters "I'm not sure what all the fuss about me is for....."

Well Obama, why do sign a $1.6 million book advance (of which became his private money) and title in "The Audacity of Hope" and then go on a national tour promoting it (all while you should be the Senator of Illinois) and try not to state that?
posted by skepticallypleased at 9:45 PM on December 17, 2006


Whoa, that's a great article. That's the article I would have written if I knew anything about Obama other than what I've gleaned from a handful of articles.

Throughout the floor the book appeared on dedicated display stands, alongside his previously published autobiography—some of Obama’s admirers were double-fisting both.

Double-fisting? That's a great, devilish little image there.

The cover of Audacity eschews the headshot typical of politicians’ book jackets: Obama appears seated right at your level, leaning forward with his elbows resting on his knees, looking you eye-to-eye with an understanding grin. The man onstage seemed just as approachable. Obama had taken off his navy blue jacket and looked relaxed in his impeccably pressed white shirt and light blue tie.

Don't you know, that's the famous Obama gravitas ... that is, his "formality in appearance and bearing."

The line for a chance to experience Obama up close extended all the way to the back of the store. When I asked people in the line, “What do you think of Obama?” the most common response was, “I really like him.” Pressed further, a woman thought of Obama as an honest man, the kind she’d like to see in higher office. Of his presidential worthiness another said, “At least he can speak and read.” “He works by hope rather than fear.” “Refreshing” was frequently invoked. “He’s an outsider.”

Do people get any more pathetic than dorks who come to a bookstore in hopes of shaking the hand of the hot new politician who is hawking his lame-ass bestseller stuffed with noxious platitudes?

He has positioned himself as a hero to the even-minded, reaching out to the other team and publicly balancing policy positions with slow, deliberate consideration of their opposites. Because of this tendency, his world view seems largely anchored by on-the-other-hands: Science, yes, but what about faith? Yes to tolerance, but is it the right time for full support of gay marriage? One could imagine him at a salad bar, weighing the implications of Caesar or French. (He might just mix them together as a reasonable resolution.)

See, this is exactly what I said above in my comment. I spent all of fifteen minutes reading about this bozo and it's plain as day that his modus operandi is to be all things to all people---that middle-of-the-road, please-everybody shit is the last thing we need in a leader. I hope he gets brutally stomped if he dares to run for president.
posted by jayder at 10:08 PM on December 17, 2006


I'm glad you liked the link. But, you know what, the point in the thread still stands.....its going to be tough to hate Obama too much if he's our best chance of beating McCain.

If you care about a Democratic president, we could do a whole lot worse than Obama.
posted by skepticallypleased at 10:56 PM on December 17, 2006


Obama is the Golden Boy of the Hour right now. But we haven't even gotten into 2007, yet. At this point in the race, Bill Clinton was on no one's radar and yet truend out to be not only the Dems' best option but won two terms.

Of course, most Democrats in 2008 would vote for a bowl of warm snot before they'd vote for four more years of a Republican president and administration and all that means. Just consider the probable retirement of Justices Stevens and Ginsburg in the next President's term...
posted by darkstar at 8:53 AM on December 18, 2006


yet *turned* out
posted by darkstar at 8:54 AM on December 18, 2006


And we know nothing about this guy, other than what he's written in two recent books.

I have a webpage elsewhere that mentions Obama and, separately, discusses the LSAT — and it has amused me to note, via the referrer logs, that about a half-dozen people every week find my page because they are searching Google for {Barack Obama's LSAT score}.
posted by cribcage at 8:58 AM on December 18, 2006


jayder - it’s not my turf and I don’t think he’s a savior. I think he is - simply in being mediocre, as others have labeled him - leaps and bounds better than any other democratic office holder in Illinois. Corruption is a way of life here and by not being part of it that alone makes him a nearly messianic figure. Anything short of not hauling off as much taxpayer money as possible is doing pretty well - whatever legislation he supports.
I tend to support 3rd party and republican candidates by rote - merely because they’re not democrats. Who have a lock on the state business in Illinois. In fact, more of one now that dems won such landslide victories - which is one of the realities of politics. Many people vote from the heart not the head. Illinois would have been better off without the dems and the governor having such a lock here. As it is, now, there is no oversight. Similar to what had happened on the national level with the Republicans.

And you’re entitled to your opinion however off the cuff it may be. My comments were directed at your labeling my opinion as gushing. I apologise for the acrimonly but I think our positions are naturally antagonistic because I think the level of cynicism you are defending has a negative affect on the political process and leads to despair and lack of interest, beyond merely not voting, on the part of taxpayers. Keep calling someone a piece of shit and they’ll live up to your expectations. Why excel when the bar is set so low? And indeed, why rise above that standard when one can still get elected?
Elect a guy who won’t take bribes and the next guy will have to do a little better to get elected.
The situation is similar to the one with Duckworth - she’s a disabled vet who ran for the Dems out here against Peter Roskam. I don’t have a lot of nice things to say about Roskam. He’s a ball busting corrupt prick. But he won, and for the same reasons I believe Dennis Hastert beat John Laesch and so forth - people are willing to accept corruption as long as it’s their guy’s corruption.
What is supposed to count is the principles a person stands for. I’m a conservative (and indeed, Duckworth considered herself a fiscal conservative and a social moderate) but I liked Laesch over Hastert because (among other things) of what Hastert said he stood for, but didn’t.

Hell, the whole crew was meeting at Hastert’s house recently with state GOP chairman Andy McKenna to try to figure out what to do after they got hammered by the Dems. To me, that’s good news. Maybe they’ll actually listen to what people want and actually start standing for something instead of looking for angles.
‘Cause right now in this state the Dems are hopeless cause (other than Obama for the reasons I outlined earlier) - absolute power corrupts.

“I spent all of fifteen minutes reading about this bozo and it's plain as day that his modus operandi is to be all things to all people-”

Clearly you are of such a superior intellect that 15 minutes is all you need to greatly surpass anyone else’s years of erudition and political experiance. Please explain from a cursory reading of “A Brief History of Time” the elemental flaws in quantum theory. I won’t bother to point out Obama’s distancing himself from the extremism of other black leaders like Bobby Rush and so forth, big fish who can only get elected in very small pools.

“that middle-of-the-road, please-everybody shit is the last thing we need in a leader.”
Indeed, it’s worked so well with Bush.

“I hope he gets brutally stomped if he dares to run for president.” -posted by jayder

Yeah, ‘cause even Hitler would be better than Obama!
posted by Smedleyman at 12:08 PM on December 18, 2006


so to sum up - jayder, as I understand it and please correct me where I’m mistaken: you don’t like compromise in a leader. Nor do you like seriousness of purpose (what I mean by gravitas, bearing, etc. - as opposed to mere disposition of one’s attire, perhaps you’ll skim a reference book at target in the future). Additionally, you like when people get caught with their cocks out, but...well, not sure where that one is going really, the double-fisting comment perhaps, or perhaps that you don’t like people with presidential ambitions to be polished and they should be unpolished extremists who refuse to listen to anyone... (who does that remind me of?)
Additionally, the corporations will prevent Obama from getting elected because he’s a threat to them, even though in fact he will collude with them like every other politician.

Perhaps what is most irritating to you about Obama is from the op-ed piece posted by skepticallypleased (the article you would have written if you knew anything about Obama other than what you’ve gleaned from a handful of articles - and presumably the 15 minutes skimming his book at target):

“Obama has been very good at distancing himself from the cynicism with which many Americans now view the political process.”
posted by Smedleyman at 12:30 PM on December 18, 2006


On the gravitas question

Totally hear you on the bullshit detector alarm bells. I heard some jackass in the office the other day describe an interview candidate as "not having sufficient gravitas". I wanted to throttle him.

Why not "substance", "seriousness", "diginity" or God forbid, "gravity"?

Look, unless you're discussing a word in the Aeneid you don't recognize, or you're preparing to brief the Chief Justice, no one in this MTV/Britney Spears culture of ours should be allowed to throw Latin around like than can speak it.

As for the rest of it, I don't know Obama (though I have played pickup basketball with him back in the day in Hyde Park), but he seems a decent sort of guy, who's articulate, intelligent, thoughtful, hard-working and very measured and precise with his words. Which of those attributes makes him anything other than a respectable candidate for the highest office in the land, to say nothing of "mediocre"?

We've seen what we get when we have laziness, pettiness, obstinacy, demogoguery and messianic certitude in the White House, and it ain't pretty. I'm willing to give this guy a shot, at least in terms of what I've witnessed so far.
posted by psmealey at 12:39 PM on December 18, 2006


that middle-of-the-road, please-everybody shit is the last thing we need in a leader

so the last thing a democracy should aim for is pleasing the majority of the population?
posted by mdn at 1:05 PM on December 18, 2006


Smedleyman, skepticallypleased, psmealey, mdn -- you're right, being middle of the road should be no crime in a political candidate, especially after what we've been through with Dubya.
posted by jayder at 2:41 PM on December 18, 2006


“Why not "substance", "seriousness", "diginity" or God forbid, "gravity"?”

Well ‘cause ‘gravity’ doesn’t mean the same thing. And it doesn’t sound right off the tongue. “He’s got gravity” Yeah, well, so does Jupiter. Grave, perhaps, but it’s got a different connotation. Dignity might work, but that’s more of a characteristic than indicative of character. Character is too vague, ‘earnestness’ doesn’t have the same ring...I dunno, we’d have to get one of the several notable Mefi language experts in here. But I haven’t heard the term out loud since college. I wasn’t aware it had gotten so ubiquitous. And indeed, I can’t think of anyone else I’ve applied that term to. Even ret. gen. Clark doesn’t seem to carry the same amount of freight (since we’re not using gravitas) as Obama seems to. He just seems like a deadly serious guy who wants to actually accomplish something. He could in reality be the anti-christ for all I know. And indeed some men who have been most solemn of purpose have been harbingers of bloody change. Lincoln comes to mind. And if there was anyone you could apply the term ‘gravitas’ to, it was Lincoln. Even when he was being light there was a depth there.
This in sharp contrast to many modern politicians who seem not to serve purpose but expediancy. It doesn’t make the more serious candidate right, but it does mean you know where they stand, what they want, and thus can deal with them better than someone who is merely self or party serving. McCain comes to mind as the latter - I really don’t know what the hell he stands for anymore. He’s bent over for everything the party has done.
Goldwater is an excellent example in contrast. He stood on principle in accordance with the constitution, he happened to be wrong about civil rights and the timing of it, and indeed, that’s why that word works - perhaps to the detriment of people who use it frivolously. One can have gravitas and still hold an incorrect position, it’s not an end-all be all absolute good. So I agree, folks throwing the term about as if it is completely water it down.
Kinda like “robust” was being bandied about a bit back outside of it’s typical frame within economics or other numbers related issues where one determines the level of confidence in information - sounds kinda dumb otherwise: my car is robust today. But that doesn’t mean economists should stop using it to mean what it’s supposed to mean.
posted by Smedleyman at 7:01 AM on December 19, 2006


“you're right, being middle of the road should be no crime in a political candidate”

And you could be completely right about Obama jayder. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. I simply prefer to set the bar high. Hell, I was wrong about McCain. He was barking like a big dog, and he had a big dog background, and I thought maybe here’s a guy who will stick to his principles rather than kowtow to whatever the party wants. And he seems to have rolled over, it’s been one thing after another and he’s consistiently chosen to back away from what he manifestly believes. In Obama’s case I was leaning towards the prettyboy estimations like everyone else, but one act after another started convincing me otherwise. His statement in the Chicago trib a bit back that he doesn’t trade favors made a big impression on me. There are words that mean something and words that don’t. Obama telling the money guys in his own party he won’t play ball meant something. At the very least it means he won’t be getting any political help from them and he said it very publicly. Whereas what McCain says doesn’t cut any ice with me anymore because it seems he’ll say or not say anything to get that support. Maybe I’m wrong about Obama too and he’s the same type of guy. But I’d rather expect him to meet a standard rather than expect him to fail. And I think that’s the important point upon which we differ - all the other stuff is just opinon no matter our respective levels of information.
As I said, looks like I was wrong about McCain. So in a few years, maybe it’ll turn out this guy fooled me too.
posted by Smedleyman at 7:18 AM on December 19, 2006


I don't mind folks using the term "gravitas". It conveys a specific semantic sense that those synonyms don't. Namely, a fitness and credibility for public office based on the candidate's substance, gravity, dignity, experience and so forth.

So it seems to fill a particular linguistic niche that people understand when they use or hear it, one which has particular connotations beyond those synonyms.

/sociolinguistics nerd
posted by darkstar at 11:19 AM on December 19, 2006


McCain was different in the last election and he lost it. So, he neglected to play the game and he lost. He knows what he gots to do for this one and he's playing the game.

He'll give Obama a good race.
posted by skepticallypleased at 10:41 PM on December 19, 2006 [1 favorite]


« Older US Census Bureau Facts & Figures: Holiday Edition...  |  A multimedia exhibit on the Na... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments