Powerful, quiet photos of Barack Obama.
October 22, 2008 1:22 PM   Subscribe

Powerful, quiet photos of Barack Obama. Callie Shell captures Barack Obama in private and mundane moments that happen to say a lot about him. Highlights include two little kids literally looking up to him, Barack doing pull-ups, waiting in a stairway, and cleaning up after himself at an ice cream parlor.
posted by ignignokt (319 comments total) 75 users marked this as a favorite

 
I saw these yesterday, and thought, as you do, that they are both powerful and quiet.

I especially like the one in the stairwell, where he's waiting to go on stage.

I want him to win so much it hurts.
posted by kbanas at 1:25 PM on October 22, 2008 [29 favorites]


Barack Obama?
posted by fixedgear at 1:25 PM on October 22, 2008


I think we broke it...I can only see 3 pics on the first page and the link to more pics at the bottom of the page is borked for me.
posted by contessa at 1:26 PM on October 22, 2008


Same problem here.
posted by greta simone at 1:27 PM on October 22, 2008


I loved that he cleaned up after himself before leaving an ice cream shop in Wapello, Iowa. He didn't have to. The event was over and the press had left.

Everyone except the photographer three feet away.
posted by smackfu at 1:27 PM on October 22, 2008 [7 favorites]


Could be a browser issue. I'm on Firefox under OS X and whenever I click "More Photos" they load without a problem, even after I've cleared my cache, so on, so forth.
posted by kbanas at 1:28 PM on October 22, 2008


Not sure how this is in any way a FPPable post. Bonfire, amirite?

I'm all for humanizing the candidates, I really am, but this just seems silly to me.

Of course, so does People magazine and the E! network. So...
posted by TomMelee at 1:28 PM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


This photo really demonstrates Obama's quiet power.
posted by KokuRyu at 1:29 PM on October 22, 2008 [23 favorites]


Works for me.

The photo of him surrounded by cellphones (people taking pictures) is amazing.
posted by rtha at 1:30 PM on October 22, 2008


OUR president.
posted by vito90 at 1:32 PM on October 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'm with TomMelee on this one. This is pretty ridiculous.
posted by Autarky at 1:34 PM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh please you lefties act like this is news, but I bet if I linked to a site of an Real American Hero looking relaxed and attractive it would get deleted immediately. SO UNFAIR
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:37 PM on October 22, 2008 [39 favorites]


The one with the two kids looking up made me tear up a little. How awesome is that?
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 1:37 PM on October 22, 2008 [5 favorites]


Callie is one the nicest photogs around and a breath of fresh air in a business full of narcissistic egomaniacs. She was VP Gore's photographer throughout the Clinton years and would have probably been the official White House photog had Gore become president. I wouldn't be surprised to see Callie hanging around the WH in 2009 if Barack wins.

She's married to Vince Musi who's an awesome photographer in his own right.

They're the super-couple of photojournalism.
posted by photoslob at 1:38 PM on October 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


I once saw him walk across a lake to heal an injured swan.


these are great pictures.
posted by boo_radley at 1:38 PM on October 22, 2008 [5 favorites]


I'm all for humanizing the candidates

I'M NOT.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 1:39 PM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Amazing pictures. Thank you for the post.

The one of him cleaning up after himself in the diner says a lot about the man.
posted by Drainage! at 1:40 PM on October 22, 2008 [4 favorites]


Yeah, these are great pictures but lets not veer into idolatry here.
posted by delmoi at 1:40 PM on October 22, 2008 [5 favorites]


or what delmoi said.
posted by boo_radley at 1:41 PM on October 22, 2008


These are awesome. Nothing silly or ridiculous about 'em.
posted by theCroft at 1:41 PM on October 22, 2008


The one of him cleaning up after himself in the diner says a lot about the man.

That he's really good at posing for photos?
posted by gyc at 1:41 PM on October 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


It must be a law of the internet that all photography sites must have different but equally unusable interfaces.
posted by sciurus at 1:41 PM on October 22, 2008 [37 favorites]


Pepsi Presidential Candidate Blue
posted by GuyZero at 1:43 PM on October 22, 2008




This photoblog is also good -- not just pictures of Obama but interesting campaign-related shots as well.
posted by Rhaomi at 1:46 PM on October 22, 2008


If it's not working for you try this link. You'll have to click the images individually but they're there at least.
posted by bowmaniac at 1:47 PM on October 22, 2008 [3 favorites]


Pepsi Presidential Candidate Blue State
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:48 PM on October 22, 2008


"My friends, where's the photo of him in a secret meeting with Bill Ayers, Jeremiah Wright, Bin Laden, and Che Guevara, my friends?"

i can't wait for him to be president.
posted by mark242 at 1:49 PM on October 22, 2008 [4 favorites]


I was ready to hate on the idolatry of this, but then I got to the picture of the two little kids looking up at Obama, read the caption, and instantly choked up. If it's good enough for them it's good enough for me.
posted by Camofrog at 1:51 PM on October 22, 2008 [5 favorites]


Idolfilter.
posted by lalochezia at 1:54 PM on October 22, 2008


veer into idolatry here.

Huh? They are great pictures. If he becomes President these type of things will be commonplace but considering he was almost entirely unknown to most people until about 12 to 18 months ago it's an unusual situation. Pictures like this of Biden or Hillary would not be that interesting.
posted by stbalbach at 1:55 PM on October 22, 2008


This is over the top and slightly scary, somehow.

On the other hand, McCain looks more like Don Rickles to me every day-- except not so lovable.
posted by jamjam at 1:55 PM on October 22, 2008


that's basically Obamaporn

*voting obama
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 1:56 PM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Enabling Javascript on the page will allow you to view the additional photos. Hooray for poorly-implemented graceful degradation.
posted by Doofus Magoo at 1:56 PM on October 22, 2008


So many lovely lovely images.

Sometimes it's hard to remember outside of the US, in a different social and political climate, what and how much Obama means. The shot of the young girl with a tear in her eye, the mobile phones and especially the two kids looking up to him made me feel a little bit emotional in a way that newspaper headlines and presidential debates are yet to.
posted by mippy at 1:57 PM on October 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


Obama Daily

Yeah, that's the spot. Epic pictures, man. This will probably all get beeleeted, but there is just a great air about him and people around him. And it's a good feeling. Makes you feel closer to everybody around you, somehow.
posted by cashman at 1:57 PM on October 22, 2008


lets not veer into idolatry here

I keep trying. Really I do. And then I see photos like this and I think, "I idolize this man."
posted by nax at 1:57 PM on October 22, 2008 [20 favorites]


I also like the way that the style is very candid, almost snapshot.
posted by mippy at 1:58 PM on October 22, 2008


It's a very cool collection by a good photojournalist.

Is it more silly or ridiculous than this fpp? (Not to be hatin' on it, because I loved it.)
posted by rtha at 1:58 PM on October 22, 2008


Have we had a link to yer man's colonoscopy yet, or do we feel we're doing a good enough job of getting as far as possible up his arse already?
posted by Abiezer at 1:59 PM on October 22, 2008 [5 favorites]


The worship of jackals by jackasses.
posted by Kwantsar at 1:59 PM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


"I idolize this man."

Is this the new "I'd love to have a drink with this man"?
posted by gyc at 2:00 PM on October 22, 2008


Okay, I'm back, right away.

When I was a little girl in subn Philly I believed that girls were physiologically incapable of filling a car's gas tank. This was because I was told "girls can't (not 'aren't allowed. Can't') pump gas. Forget being president. Little girls in the 50s were taught that they were too incompetent to pump gas.

So when I see a picture like those too little black kids looking up at Obama I just get so choked up that I lived to see this. That I now live in a country were anyone, (with all due respect to Amy Poehler), ANYONE can be president. Yeah. I idolize this man.
posted by nax at 2:01 PM on October 22, 2008 [10 favorites]


Barack Obama has no sole.

(Change starts with your shoes.)
posted by ColdChef at 2:03 PM on October 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


I love the one of Michelle checking him over, brushing something off his coat. They look so married there. "What are you doing, you can't go other like that!" "Honey, it's fine, I gotta go" "Well just let me get this bit!" "Alright"

The one with him doing the pullups, while in a suit and the story behind it is great. Competitive? I'll show you competitive.

Nice, quiet moment.

They look so very family.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:04 PM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


I clean up after myself at diners too, you know.
seriously guys wtf
posted by naju at 2:06 PM on October 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


::veering::
posted by vibrotronica at 2:07 PM on October 22, 2008


the one of him doing the pull-up is just awesome.
posted by stargell at 2:07 PM on October 22, 2008


I like his butt.
posted by Metroid Baby at 2:09 PM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


I once saw him walk across a lake to heal an injured swan.

And that swan was my mother.
posted by orange swan at 2:14 PM on October 22, 2008 [12 favorites]


The third one down is my favorite. Anybody running for president who is willing to bunny ear someone during a photo can't be all bad.

Although it would be funnier if he was doing it to Sean Hannity.
posted by beowulf573 at 2:14 PM on October 22, 2008 [3 favorites]


She's blocking by referrer right now, I think.

I have Javascript on, but the link for more images is not found right now.
posted by Pronoiac at 2:16 PM on October 22, 2008


Future Vision (30 seconds in)
posted by nitsuj at 2:18 PM on October 22, 2008


Have we had a link to yer man's colonoscopy yet, or do we feel we're doing a good enough job of getting as far as possible up his arse already?

I hear what you're getting at, Abiezer, but consider: would you rather hear a bunch of people getting all fan-girly about a potential world leader, or would you rather hear a bunch of people getting all fan-girly about a singer/actor/sports star/YouTube video guy?

Granted, I like the guy too, and I like his photos. But considered apart from this, I'm also seeing the notion of people falling all over themselves in admiration of someone who does something serious to be a hugely refreshing change.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:21 PM on October 22, 2008 [18 favorites]


These are great pictures. Sure, I realize they're propaganda, but she got some good shots, I daresay. I was glad to see photos of the Obama family uncoiffed. Michelle in leggings and a cotton dress. The girls with cornrows. Obama's worn soles. I've stood in back stairwells, leaning against mustard-y brick walls too, in my life, waiting to come out and speak. That particular photo resonated with me strongly, as did the photo of the woman in Iowa in tears because of her lost son.

Whether Senator Obama wins or loses (I'm to his left politically), I can't help but be gladdened to see something I never thought I'd see in my lifetime, a person of color and a woman both ran for president this year and were taken seriously. Though I was born post-King, post-Bobby K and post-Malcolm X, I'm bordering on middle age and I was sort of despairing that I'd not live to see this happen. I know about Barbara Jordan and Jesse Jackson, but this year was different. I know about Lenora Fulani, too, and this year is still different. This year, Obama and Clinton were neither jokes nor sideshows to the main white guy event. They threw down. Yes! Finally. Whatever their mistakes, they took the ethos of this country at its word, went out there and mixed it up. If only my grandfather and some other people I knew had been alive to see this, they would've been so happy...
posted by droplet at 2:22 PM on October 22, 2008 [32 favorites]


These are remarkable, and just what I needed in this final stretch, flagging energy, news cycles, wayward hope. Thanks.
posted by wemayfreeze at 2:23 PM on October 22, 2008


w/e haters, these are great pictures and thank you for posting them. (I actually wouldn't mind seeing humanizing pictures of McCain, either.)
posted by Nattie at 2:25 PM on October 22, 2008


If you open the links in a new tab, and then just hit enter in the address bar, it will reload without a referrer, and will display the images.
posted by Malor at 2:25 PM on October 22, 2008


Yes, fixedgear, that's Barack.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 2:27 PM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


A friend took this picture in Austin in 2006 that is pretty great. It goes well with the one before it.
posted by spiderwire at 2:27 PM on October 22, 2008


Has this man ever taken a bad picture?
posted by orange swan at 2:33 PM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Great pictures. I was really struck by how horrible it is to run for president. This one felt like being backstage with Foghat or something.
posted by puckupdate at 2:44 PM on October 22, 2008


These were really moving. Thanks.
posted by pised at 2:46 PM on October 22, 2008


Surely you can buy shoes with pre-worn soles now? That'd be gangbusters.
posted by xmutex at 2:47 PM on October 22, 2008


i *love* the one with the worn-down shoes. LOVE.IT.
posted by CitizenD at 2:48 PM on October 22, 2008


Hagiography?

Turnabout is fair play. The Rs were just as adoring of Reagan.
posted by Araucaria at 2:50 PM on October 22, 2008


1. She's a great photojournalist
2. These are inspired shots; candid to the point of being voyeurism
3. He doesn't come across like a pampered douchebag in them (when was the last time McCain cleaned up after himself?)
4. His family seems extremely tightly-knit in several of the shots (in a way that seems unusual for a national politician)
5. I don't think he's trying to 'look iconic' - I think he IS iconic
posted by chuckdarwin at 2:52 PM on October 22, 2008 [8 favorites]


Good lord, was there some vat of Kool-Aid I missed this morning? Half of you sound like you need to be taken to a motel somewhere for deprogramming.
posted by mattholomew at 2:54 PM on October 22, 2008 [9 favorites]


I second Delmoi - I have been trying to watch out for the moment that we cross from inspirational candidate to cult of personality. I don't think we've crossed that line yet and are currently in "Camelot the sequel" territory.
posted by jlowen at 2:54 PM on October 22, 2008


He has to win because democracy works. I know how it sounds, but damn for all its tarnishes democracy can still work and Barack Obama will be our president.
posted by shmegegge at 2:54 PM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


I find the scene of him sitting in the stairwell incredibly moving, because I've been there myself, obviously not nearly at the same level of tension, but sitting behind the scenes, waiting to be announced, and you don't have a chair so you are just sitting on your heels, leaning up against the wall, trying to get your head in the game.

I've been a fan of his for a while, but that one image is one of the first times I've really been able to identify with him.
posted by quin at 2:55 PM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


the lesser of two evils
posted by Dumsnill at 2:56 PM on October 22, 2008


OMG HES SO DEEP AND NOBLE. HEIL LEADER!
posted by norabarnacl3 at 2:56 PM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Barack Obama has the same pea coat as I do!

I wonder if he got his at Dillard's, too.
posted by dirigibleman at 2:56 PM on October 22, 2008


I have been trying to watch out for the moment that we cross from inspirational candidate to cult of personality.

Please, check again.
posted by mattholomew at 2:59 PM on October 22, 2008


Not sure how this is in any way a FPPable post.

Okay, I misread this as "FAPPable" and I was like, well, he's hot and all, but . . . .
posted by The Bellman at 3:00 PM on October 22, 2008 [3 favorites]


Dinnae work. Which is a shame, because I really like this guy. (No not in that way!)
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:01 PM on October 22, 2008


The worship of jackals by jackasses.

Kwantsar, bless you for sticking around as an upstream voice in what's often an echo chamber, but I'm not sure I understand what you're trying to say here.

Is it that this is myth making? It's true that presidential candidates -- possibly all candidates for office -- end up having to elevate themselves to the status of a symbol, and that photosets like this are taken precisely to do just that. It's also true there's a gap of some size, whether spark plug or grand canyon, between the image and the person. Probably most readers here are media-aware enough to realize this.

Is it that you've got evidence this is a grand canyon sized gap? Proof that this isn't just the usual politics and photography, but outright blatant propaganda? Because if you do, please don't just hint. There's an election in less than 2 weeks, and I'd like to know.

Good lord, was there some vat of Kool-Aid I missed this morning? Half of you sound like you need to be taken to a motel somewhere for deprogramming.

Same goes for you, mattholomew.

If the images are genuine, then the positive reactions to them are basically human. If they're misleading beyond the usual, then it's important to speak up about it. But it's bullshit to suggest that there's some kind of beyond the basics brainwashing going on here just because there's some enthusiasm for a candidate who appears to be the Real Deal: a genuine human being on top of a capable policy thinker and politically powerful beyond expectations.
posted by weston at 3:03 PM on October 22, 2008 [13 favorites]


Palin/RNC: $150k in dresses. Obama: resoles his shoes (per one of her photos).

Hm. But, y'know, Obama's an elitist, right? 'Cause ...

COLUMNS.
posted by WCityMike at 3:05 PM on October 22, 2008 [13 favorites]


I want McCain to lose as much as the next guy, but who are you people? (This is too disgusting for words.)
posted by Dumsnill at 3:08 PM on October 22, 2008


OMG HES SO DEEP AND NOBLE. HEIL LEADER!
Yeah, absolutely, several people like these pictures, so Obama's Hitler.

My personal favorites: this and especially this. It gives me hope to see that he gives people hope.

On a different level, I like this one, for two reasons:
  1. The kid getting the haircut is all "Why can't these people just let me get my hair cut in peace";
  2. The barber's beard? Awesome.
posted by Flunkie at 3:14 PM on October 22, 2008 [3 favorites]


If, after having seen these, you still want to vote for Senator McCain... I feel really sorry for you. Because you'd have to have a heart of stone not to see what I'm seeing: a normal (although very gifted) human running for president because he wants to serve his country. 'Made' candidates don't have holes in their shoes.
posted by chuckdarwin at 3:14 PM on October 22, 2008


Have we had a link to yer man's colonoscopy yet, or do we feel we're doing a good enough job of getting as far as possible up his arse already?

Listen buddy - you really need to take a reality check, and stop posting crap like this.

Just try to understand that those of us who care about politics are excited about Obama - and, before the too-soon election is decided, in this beautiful moment of anticipation, we can feel justified in celebrating the hopeful possibilities that a truly charismatic, truly change-driven candidate just might bring to our country.

I've been in this situation before - with a certain politician I won't name - and I know that you've got to grab the chance to celebrate hope when and while you can.

Because when Obama starts invading Russia and rounding up the jews and homosexuals in death camps it'll be too late to jerk off over some pictures of him licking ice-cream off a naked six year old child - or whateverthefuck these photos are.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 3:14 PM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Keep the hate coming, guys. Helps remind folks not to become complacent.
posted by maxwelton at 3:14 PM on October 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


This isn't (entirely) about ObamaLove. I'm fascinated by behind the scenes campaign stuff. If this was John McCain off-guard but good photography I'd still love it. The possibility that some of these shots may be recording genuine history just elevates matters. Love the worn shoe shot.
posted by theCroft at 3:14 PM on October 22, 2008 [3 favorites]


That's a little over the line norabarnacl3.
posted by edgeways at 3:15 PM on October 22, 2008


> Barack Obama has no sole.

Do you know who else was an Illinois politician was well known for his clear wit, directness, appealed primarily to the youthful and educated and ran for President with holes in his shoes?
posted by ardgedee at 3:17 PM on October 22, 2008


That's a little over the line norabarnacl3.

let's not start a pileon, please. it's not over the line. there is no need for outrage. it's just a little shallow and very uninteresting.
posted by shmegegge at 3:17 PM on October 22, 2008


Well, if we're comparing pieces of Obamolatry, this Wes Anderson-style image, by Doug Mills in the New York Times, has got to be my personal favorite. (But what would be the background music, I wonder?)
posted by washburn at 3:22 PM on October 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


This is my favorite photo so far. I'm surprised it hasn't been mentioned yet.
posted by null terminated at 3:24 PM on October 22, 2008


Thanks, goodnewsfortheinsane. Looking at the dates refreshed my memory. Someone sent me that picture about a week before US Magazine confirmed it with the campaign, then my buddy Fritz blogged it. Collector's item trike!
posted by fixedgear at 3:25 PM on October 22, 2008


Are the people who are weirded out by this upset that the photos were taken, or that we're enjoying them?

If they're upset that they were taken, what would they prefer? That there be no photos taken of candidates? Or that all photos of candidates be, well, non-candid? Should only bad photos of candidates be allowed? Taken exclusively with dime-store disposable cameras?

If there's something wrong with the photos, what is it?

If they're upset by the fact that people like the photos, why? Would you prefer that we react to every photo of politicians with indifference, whether real or feigned? Would you prefer that we simply not look at the photos at all, because images might influence our views?

If there's something wrong with enjoying good photography of someone you admire, what is it?

There's a long history of presidential photography, with official photographers creating iconic images of candidates and office-holders in personal moments. Some of these images have become icons in our culture. Is that wrong? If so, how?

I like Obama for his policies, his strategy, and his record. I like these photos because they show a candid side of a man who I'm used to thinking of in terms of policies, strategies, and record. It's nice to be reminded that he's also apparently a nice guy who has the humor to throw up bunny ears in the occasional photo.

Seriously. What's wrong with that?
posted by MrVisible at 3:25 PM on October 22, 2008 [36 favorites]


Has this man ever taken a bad picture?

There's this one. It's the preferred go-to pic for weird anti-obama youtube conspiracy videos.

I think those who mock these as "posed" or whatever, kind of miss the point. Is Obama aware that there are cameras around? Yes, but there's also ALWAYS cameras around. With the amount of scrutiny he's been under for the past 2 years, the idea that "he was just showing off for the camera"doesn't hold up.

What you're actually seeing here is a campaign realizing their candidate's strengths and playing to them. He's photogenic, his family is beautiful, and given that he's pretty new to the spotlight, he's managed to retain a hold on the guy that he was before all the cameras showed up. So it's not rocket science to know that giving a good candid photographer a lot of access to the candidate will equal a steady stream of awesome humanizing photos of your guy. And like so much of the Obama campaign strategy, they were smart enough to know that it's not something you can Do in an afternoon.

You don't have to Idolize the guy, but you gotta give it up to the campaign. They've been brilliant at not just saying "this is who this guy is" but actually showing it.

Sarah Palin is a real down home American? Show it to us. Every picture I see, She's on a stage in a thousand dollar outfit, or rushing across the tarmac from limo to private plane. We're supposed to be swayed by McCain's vet/pow status? They haven't shown it to us. All he does is complain and crack corny jokes.

So it's not acting, it's just letting yourself be seen in exact right light. Bush was good at this(in the beginning), Bill Clinton was good at it, and Reagan was a master at it.

And besides, if Obama wins, this is history we're looking at. We're talking Kennedy-level mythology. Buy into it or not, it's damn fascinating to see unfold in real time.
posted by billyfleetwood at 3:26 PM on October 22, 2008 [26 favorites]


I think we broke it...I can only see 3 pics on the first page and the link to more pics at the bottom of the page is borked for me.

I, too, can only view the first three images.

TIME magazine has 20 of her images. Slideshow: Barack Obama: Portrait of a Candidate.

BTW -- regarding the FPP link to the 'Digital Journalist' -- that's the blog/website of former TIME/Life photographer Dirck Halstead who covered the White House for 29 years.

All of this brings to mind Pulitzer Prize winning photographer David Hume Kennerly who has photographed every American president since Richard Nixon.
posted by ericb at 3:26 PM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Feel free to post humanizing pictures of McCain, Biden, or Palin if you want. The thing is, I don't see Obama ever actively keeping a side of his face away from the camera (like McCain does with his left side).
posted by drezdn at 3:27 PM on October 22, 2008


EmpressCallpygos: I was mostly just joshing, but it is odd to me that this is the same site that loves The Wire (different portion of the membership maybe?), where we learn how it's all about institutions and even the best person will be limited in the possible impact they can have.
posted by Abiezer at 3:28 PM on October 22, 2008 [2 favorites]




Whew, I was prepared not to like these photos, but despite my best efforts...

The ones of the kids staring up at Obama - the girl with the tear trailing down her cheek - but the pictures of him.

Wow.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 3:30 PM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


“I keep trying. Really I do. And then I see photos like this and I think, "I idolize this man."”

S’why he’s dangerous.
I say that and people get all put out of kilter. Like it’s necessarily a bad thing. It simply is. Hell, I’m dangerous. Oh, I’m fairly aquainted with violence, but I do have some personal magnetism and leadership skills. You don’t get men to do crazy life threatening stuff otherwise.

(In context: this is akin to me being the best little league pitcher in my state comparing myself to Big Train Johnson.)

People do idolize him. I’d idolize him myself if I wasn’t so guarded. But damn if I don’t want to. He truly is what he appears to be. That or he can fool someone like me - into thinking he’s in earnest and we deeply believe in some of the same, but most important, things - up close and personal (either way, he’s dangerous).
I can maybe shoot a guy from a long way away, but people who inspire folks to that degree are truly dangerous men.

Some men, born to greatness, all that. I think he’s both.
Furthermore, I think he can carry it that magnitude of greatness. Hell, I think he’s been waiting for it. Working towards it. Fitting himself to take that weight. Probably why he seems so passive. Seems.
That scares me too. Not only accepting that burden, that massive weight of history, but working to put it on his shoulders.

Well, all the truly great ones want the ball in their hands when the game is on the line. Been there myself. The stakes here however are truly daunting.
The sheer size and indelibility of his life from the point of his success on, how much of himself he’ll have to give up and the importance of every single thing he does - more than any President in history solely because of the color of his skin. He’ll have weight of greatness constantly thrust upon him, even in death he won’t escape it.

And with most great men we’re charmed (or appaled) by the ways they seem so human.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:31 PM on October 22, 2008 [30 favorites]


orange swan: "Has this man ever taken a bad picture?"

billyfleetwood: "There's this one. It's the preferred go-to pic for weird anti-obama youtube conspiracy videos."

It's telling, then, that that picture is a proven fake.
posted by Rhaomi at 3:31 PM on October 22, 2008 [12 favorites]


There's this one.

but he looks like bogart in that one...
posted by kliuless at 3:32 PM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


The worship of jackals by jackasses.

Someone kick the soapbox from under idiots like these.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:36 PM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


These are really good candids.

I shoot mostly candids myself, but I wasn't able to get close enough at Obama's Tampa rally on Monday to really shoot that style.

I was able to get press credentials, and shot a bunch (self link, natch).
posted by tomierna at 3:38 PM on October 22, 2008


Potomac: I'd seen some early attempts using that image and was waiting for it to hit MeFi, but some of those were unbelievably good.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 3:40 PM on October 22, 2008


This one is a bit creepy.
posted by smackfu at 3:41 PM on October 22, 2008


Think I’m being hyperbolic?
Picture it - *you’re* the guy who’s simply cleaning up after himself after eating, and that act alone merits attention.

*You’re* the guy sitting alone in the room with a crowd outside waiting for you to change the world.

*You’re* the guy with the kid with the tear looking up at you in hope.

Fuck me, I’ve never said “can’t” in my life, but I’ll be damned if I think I could pull it off. Like saying I can’t bench press 1000 lbs. Never thought anyone could until I saw it.

The elan with which this guy deals with that weight is stunning. No sneering/smiling mask. No cynicism. No net.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:42 PM on October 22, 2008 [14 favorites]


She has a fantastic eye for photography.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 3:42 PM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Also: this Wes Anderson-style image. Excellent call.

and cashman, yeah. Wow. That is quite the series.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 3:44 PM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Obama When No One Is Watching: Malia Obama probably wasn’t sure if her Dad would make it home from work to watch her soccer game this past Friday night. . . .
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 3:45 PM on October 22, 2008 [8 favorites]


Obama hotdogs, hamburgers, and, of course, beer, beer, beer.

C
owboy
posted by inconsequentialist at 3:45 PM on October 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


The one of him cleaning up after himself in the diner says a lot about the man.

That he's really good at posing for photos?


You might think that, but it's amazing how boneheaded politicians can be. I mean, we're in election season here in NZ, and a former Cabinet minister, likely to be one again, thinks it's an excellent idea to make comments like this.
posted by rodgerd at 3:47 PM on October 22, 2008


If, after having seen these, you still want to vote for Senator McCain... I feel really sorry for you. Because you'd have to have a heart of stone not to see what I'm seeing: a normal (although very gifted) human running for president because he wants to serve his country. 'Made' candidates don't have holes in their shoes.

Sorry, but I'll choose who I want to vote for based on things like issues rather than who looks better in photos.
posted by gyc at 3:48 PM on October 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


Obama When No One Is Watching: You see that smile. That smile that resounds with the very power and the glory of the city lights behind it.

Gag.
posted by smackfu at 3:49 PM on October 22, 2008 [3 favorites]


These sort of candid photos of Obama always get to me, as his facial features are so strikingly similar to a close friend who suddenly committed suicide a little over a year ago. The resemblance in this one is uncanny... I've seen that expression so many times.
posted by jal0021 at 3:50 PM on October 22, 2008


Kwantsar, bless you for sticking around as an upstream voice in what's often an echo chamber, but I'm not sure I understand what you're trying to say here...Is it that you've got evidence this is a grand canyon sized gap? Proof that this isn't just the usual politics and photography, but outright blatant propaganda? Because if you do, please don't just hint. There's an election in less than 2 weeks, and I'd like to know.

The saying was stolen from Mencken, and whether the photojournal is "outright blatant propaganda" or not, half the people in this thread are reacting like teenage girls at a Beatles concert, and it doesn't sit right.

I suspect that I'm coming around the bend, about to arrive at one of those rare points where anarcho-capitalists and the ultra-left agree on something: that all this fawning over a politician ("tear[ing] up a little"?) is scary, no matter whose team he's on. As a skeptic (of both political power, and the wisdom of mankind) I prefer my democratically-elected leaders to be unpopular, and my countrymen to be incredulous. Most people here I suspect would have agreed with these sentiments-- at least for the past eight years or so.

Someone kick the soapbox from under idiots like these.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:36 PM on October 22


8,000 (combined) comments in under three years (under the current alias, that is), and I'm the one on the soapbox.
posted by Kwantsar at 3:51 PM on October 22, 2008 [4 favorites]


Someone kick the soapbox from under idiots like these.

Blasphemers shall be burned at the stake!

Anyway, to make a useful post, I don't find the idolization of politicians very farsighted. I can understand when people want to idolize say a musician or a novelist. In those situations it doesn't really matter; the idolee has no real authority over the idoler and the idolatry is really more a form of strong admiration and perhaps gratitude for the idolee's work. But a politician has very real authority over you and has the very real power to materially affect your well-being. Some claim, for example, that FDR's misguided economic policies delayed recovery from the Great Depression by a decade or more. As such, we should view the presidency as an (arguably) necessary evil. We should view candidates for the White House with disinterested assessment of their policy stances and past records. We should be cognizant of their alliances and debts: political, ideological, and otherwise. I do understand the social significance of an ethnic minority President and the much needed empowerment that may bring to impoverished ethnic communities. But that is no reason to believe that any candidate is your "friend," is "on your side," or is "enlightened" in the way you are (lol check out my ipod). A president signs in effect a four year contract with his nation. It is a deeply scary transition, and you should be afraid of any candidate, especially one whose espoused ideology is very pro big-government, and god knows what his personal beliefs are anymore, as he is the most 'made' candidate in history.
posted by norabarnacl3 at 3:52 PM on October 22, 2008 [3 favorites]


The Beatles for President!
posted by cortex at 3:54 PM on October 22, 2008 [3 favorites]


There are pictures of the McCain/Palin campaign on the website this post links to, so you can compare and contrast if you like.
Thanks for the link, there are some great pictures here. I think a few of them may become as iconic as some of the behind the scenes/family photos of the JFK era.
posted by Megami at 3:56 PM on October 22, 2008


The image of him cleaning off the ice cream counter implies so much to me. It is about the dignity of work. He respects the person working the counter. Respects their worth as no greater than his own. He cleaned his mess, because he could and made that person's work day, one-little-mess-clean-up shorter. A small but powerful acknowledgment of the value of the worker.

Just my opinion. You might see two women kissing in the image or a goblet.
posted by zerobyproxy at 3:56 PM on October 22, 2008 [10 favorites]


These are great pictures, whether you're behind the candidate or not. It's amazing to look at pictures like this and realize once again that running for President has got to be like running an incredibly grueling, years-long marathon.

And the comments here, even the really positive ones, seem far from "idolatry" to me. Some of youse guys need to relax.
posted by OolooKitty at 3:57 PM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


half the people in this thread are reacting like teenage girls at a Beatles concert, and it doesn't sit right.

People are starved for someone to believe in. They want to believe in a leader who isn't going to fuck everything up again. It looks more and more like he might be that leader. The fact that he looks good is a bonus.
posted by chuckdarwin at 3:57 PM on October 22, 2008 [4 favorites]


Someone kick the soapbox from under idiots like these.

Blasphemers shall be burned at the stake!


Yeah, those statements are totally the same.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 3:58 PM on October 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


Criminy but this post and all these comments just cost me valuable time at work.

Yeah, I'm voting for him, but here were my thoughts on viewing Shell's work:

1. Excellent, excellent photography. Just top-notch photojournalism.
2. Several of the shots do a terrific job of humanizing Obama, yeah. The one with the crying mom was the one that really stood out for me, then the one with the two college female college students (one with the tear track on her cheek) and the diner.
3. I'd REALLY, honestly, truly like to see similar work from someone following McCain. He has to have a good photog on his campaign, and as much as I don't believe he should be our next president, I think he's a human being too and I'd like to see this kind of behind the scenes work on him.
4. After going through the comments, it makes me sad that people can't separate out the high-quality photojournalistic aspect of this from the political... hmmm, that's not sounding quite right, but now I have to leave work and return later to this thread...

And now I'm just noticing the title of the next post... will have to check it out.
posted by yiftach at 3:59 PM on October 22, 2008


3. I'd REALLY, honestly, truly like to see similar work from someone following McCain. He has to have a good photog on his campaign, and as much as I don't believe he should be our next president, I think he's a human being too and I'd like to see this kind of behind the scenes work on him.

Such photos don't exist. McCain's campaign is desperate. They are in PANIC MODE. If they had good photos like these, they would be splattered everywhere.
posted by chuckdarwin at 4:01 PM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]



Btw, Obama's favorite TV show? The Wire. Wire lovers and Obama fans are typically the same people. But thankfully there seem to be a heckuva lot more Obama fans. I can't imagine a Wire fan voting for McCain, can you?

Just because the system is powerful and broken doesn't mean you don't vote for those who have the best chance of fixing it.

I have never been enamored of a politician before in my life, but he genuinely inspires me because he's brilliant, not ashamed of being brilliant, not pretending to be something else and actually does have some idealism. I am told that Hillary is brilliant but I have never read anything she has written or heard her speak in any way that hints at superior intelligence. It's all pander and cliche and I have my serious problems with her claiming to be a first at anything, gender-wise because of her association with Bill. Could she have got there otherwise? Probably, but she didn't so it doesn't count. Sorry.

Is Obama still a politician -- of course. Do I disagree with him on some issues I very much care about? Yes.

But for the first time in my life, I feel like the election is *not* a choice between lesser of two evils. And, there's the bonus of being able to feel good about a country that can go from segregation to electing a black man in a lifetime.

Another thing that hits me when I see these pictures-- and when I see him at events like the debates-- is how much he looks like a winner. There's something elegant, commanding, trustworthy and powerful about the way he looks: something I am definitely not used to in Democrats!
posted by Maias at 4:04 PM on October 22, 2008 [3 favorites]


Turnabout is fair play. The Rs were just as adoring of Reagan.

I believe this logic fails under the "2 wrongs don't make a right" rule.

I sincerely hope Obama gets elected. I'm also freaked out that so many seemingly rational people admit to idolizing him. Thanks for sharing and all but this can't end well (the idolizing, that is). Look no further than the rancor with which the handful of skeptical comments have been met (by some). Grow up, people. He's not Jesus, or Santa Claus. Just an immensely gifted and charismatic homosap with a huge task ahead of him.
posted by philip-random at 4:05 PM on October 22, 2008


Anyway, to make a useful post, I don't find the idolization of politicians very farsighted. I can understand when people want to idolize say a musician or a novelist.

See, I think precisely the opposite -- I think idolizing a politician instead of, say, a basketball player is a refreshing change.

Not that basketball players aren't cool. But -- who has more immediate, hands-on ability to directly affect your very life?

But, to be fair, I was never one who idolized any celebrity in an "omigaw he's so DREAMY" way anyway. I had my fan-girl moments, sure, but they were never about "omigod I wanna meet Bono because he's so HOT and I wanna MAKE OUT WITH HIM for HOURS", even when I was fifteen they were about "omigod I wanna meet Bono because he has AWESOME IDEAS and I wanna ask him what he thinks we should do about Belfast".

...Well, there was a brief moment when I saw Sting in that metal bikini-thing in DUNE. But that was only for a moment.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:11 PM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck.

(No, wonderfully grotesque photos, but Jeezus Kraist)
posted by Dumsnill at 4:11 PM on October 22, 2008


Not that basketball players aren't cool. But -- who has more immediate, hands-on ability to directly affect your very life?

Politicians have way more downside though. They might turn out to be ineffectual or even corrupt, and then you end up a jaded bitter old Republican. The worst a basketball player can do is lose, but most of them lose nearly 50% of the time, so it's not so bad. You still like basketball.
posted by smackfu at 4:15 PM on October 22, 2008


Blazecock Pileon, I am not really in the know about the conservatroll history of the blue. Someone should memail me and fill me in.
posted by chuckdarwin at 4:18 PM on October 22, 2008


You know what these photos, and the reaction to them in this thread remind me of? April 1997.

Obviously Blair and family were a good bit less photogenic than yummy Sen. Obama and co., but the atmosphere is the same. The carefully released, well-shot candid images of a Presidential family man are the same, the HOPE and CHANGE rhetoric is the same, the thrilling prospect of a sleazy bunch of fascists being defeated in a landslide is the same...

Fingers crossed that's where the similarities end, eh?
posted by jack_mo at 4:18 PM on October 22, 2008 [7 favorites]


IDOLIZE:
1. to regard with blind adoration, devotion, etc.
2. to worship as a god.


I do believe we need another verb here.
posted by philip-random at 4:18 PM on October 22, 2008


In the end, who cares who these photos are of? They're still nice portraits.
posted by photomusic86 at 4:23 PM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


well...no shots of him taking a crap and stinking up the bathroom. He's 47 and that stuff SMELLS.
posted by shockingbluamp at 4:27 PM on October 22, 2008


The Beatles for President!

Obama is more popular than Jesus.

what?
posted by fixedgear at 4:29 PM on October 22, 2008


Tony Blair
posted by Artw at 4:29 PM on October 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


I think a photoset of politicians on the can could be interesting. Talk about capturing vulnerability.
posted by cortex at 4:29 PM on October 22, 2008


That one of him doing the pullup? All I could think of was, "McCain would have a heart attack just looking up at that bar. And then......YOU BETCHA!"
posted by CwgrlUp at 4:29 PM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Man...Senator Obama.

Every time I look at photos like these of him, my heart starts thumping hard against my chest:

1) Out of admiration: he's a striking human being. I feel no need to apologize for this or further explain it to the grumpy and cynical.

2) Out of fear for him and his family. There are so very many hate-filled people in this world, and no one -- not even well-protected VIPs -- is ever truly safe.

3) Out of fear, a massive fear, that I'm going to be let down. I know he's fallible, he's flawed, he's not divine, etc, but I have so much hope it hurts me badly sometimes.

But I'm not about to stop looking at such pictures or stop hoping.
posted by lord_wolf at 4:30 PM on October 22, 2008 [18 favorites]


I made a statue of Obama out of kittens.
posted by tkchrist at 4:31 PM on October 22, 2008 [18 favorites]


Kwantsar, you know that alarmed feeling Republicans get when they watch an Obamarama? How all that idolization just "doesn't sit right"? Yeah, now you know how we felt when the whole country was all "BUSH IS THE HAND OF GOD COME TO KILL THE A-RABS AND GAYZ".

Maybe you dudes will remember that next time you're thinking about blindly following a candidate because he makes you feel good. But probably not.
posted by schroedinger at 4:32 PM on October 22, 2008 [7 favorites]


fwiw, AS was commenting about obama's resemblance to his grandfather

So THAT'S where he gets the ears from!
posted by brain cloud at 4:33 PM on October 22, 2008


I prefer my democratically-elected leaders to be unpopular

Well. Then get that "third presidential term" law passed.

Oh. Democratically-elected, not appointed. Riiiight.
posted by tkchrist at 4:34 PM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


This one is good.

I really like the idea of what the candidates do before they go on stage before a rally. What do the behind scenes photos of Biden, McCain or Palin while they wait to go on.
posted by mrzarquon at 4:35 PM on October 22, 2008


2) Out of fear for him and his family. There are so very many hate-filled people in this world, and no one -- not even well-protected VIPs -- is ever truly safe.

He and his wife made the decision to run, and (since both of them are very bright people) took a huge risk when they did so. Their courage should be an example to us. We can't give in to fear just because we're afraid of armed crazies.
posted by chuckdarwin at 4:44 PM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Anyway, to make a useful post, I don't find the idolization of politicians very farsighted. I can understand when people want to idolize say a musician or a novelist. In those situations it doesn't really matter; the idolee has no real authority over the idoler and the idolatry is really more a form of strong admiration and perhaps gratitude for the idolee's work. But a politician has very real authority over you and has the very real power to materially affect your well-being.

I see this as stemming from a fundamental view of politicians as authority figures, period. If you can't see beyond this, to the policy-making used to transform commmunities for the better, then of course it's understandable that you'd find admiration of such people as strange, and say things like "HEIL LEADER".

Some claim, for example, that FDR's misguided economic policies delayed recovery from the Great Depression by a decade or more.

Some claim that my sweet potato pie is proof of God's existance. Some claim I have the voice of an angel on steroids. Some claim they need to wear scientifically calibrated protective eyewear when I smile.

As such, we should view the presidency as an (arguably) necessary evil. We should view candidates for the White House with disinterested assessment of their policy stances and past records. We should be cognizant of their alliances and debts: political, ideological, and otherwise. I do understand the social significance of an ethnic minority President and the much needed empowerment that may bring to impoverished ethnic communities.

Whoah, hang on. Do you think that an objective assessment of Obama's record and policies is mutually exclusive to finding his minority status neato? Why did you even mention this?

But that is no reason to believe that any candidate is your "friend," is "on your side," or is "enlightened" in the way you are (lol check out my ipod).

Unless, of course, he's consistently proven that he is, in fact, on your side.

A president signs in effect a four year contract with his nation. It is a deeply scary transition, and you should be afraid of any candidate, especially one whose espoused ideology is very pro big-government, and god knows what his personal beliefs are anymore, as he is the most 'made' candidate in history.

The most "made" candidate in history, eh? Surely you have a citation for this, whatever the hell it means. If you're curious about his personal beliefs as reflected in his policies, it just so happens he has a webpage which outlines these things in detail. As for the tired, played-out "very pro big-government" meme, here's a funny thing I noticed: governments only seem to become "too big" when it comes to reinforcing a social safety net, but are still just fine when they tell you who you can sleep with, marry, what to do with your own body, and how much money we should shovel into weapons systems. Funny thing, that.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:46 PM on October 22, 2008 [41 favorites]


*searches in vain for LBJ on toilet picture*
posted by fixedgear at 4:47 PM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Some claim, for example, that FDR's misguided economic policies delayed recovery from the Great Depression by a decade or more.

THIS is so precious and nostalgic. I feel like I'm reading UseNet Circa 1994 about the "Jew Banker Conspiracies and the evils of fluoridation" all over again.

MORE!
posted by tkchrist at 4:52 PM on October 22, 2008 [5 favorites]


Those are really, really good photos.*

*I resisted saying anything political. Yay me!
posted by zardoz at 4:53 PM on October 22, 2008


favorite
posted by parmanparman at 4:56 PM on October 22, 2008


First, let me start by saying that I'm not American. But Sweet Jesus, I want Barack to win. America is a great and powerful nation, and can be a force for good in the world. It's a shame that Bush & Co just really fucked it up. Please do the right thing and vote for Barack. I think he has the potential to be a truly great President of the United States.

Anyway...

This one just made me laugh. Reminds me of one those zombie movies! Kinda funny really.


This one reminded me of the 1952 Pulitzer prize winning photograph by Bill Gallagher of candidate Stevenson.

But then I thought about the current hype over Palin's clothing budget and that photo. The commentary for the photo says "he told me that he had already had them resoled once since he entered the race a year earlier."

The guy is wearing the same shoes he had a year ago... and he's even had them repaired!!

Compare that to $2,500 per day that Palin has been spending.


So, who do you want to win this race again?
posted by Mephisto at 4:59 PM on October 22, 2008


I like pie. For the past twenty-eight years, I've had nothing but stale fruitcake, and one pop tart with too much frosting, but no pie. I never thought I'd see pie again. I can understand why others might be just as excited to look at good photos of pie.

Sure, it would be great if it were a bacon pie. I love me some bacon pie. But at this point in my life, I'm happy just to have the chance at some pie, any pie. It can be rough waiting around for that pie to be served, and a lot rougher if the pie never arrives.

None of this means I idolize pie, though. I don't like bronze pie.
posted by effwerd at 5:09 PM on October 22, 2008 [18 favorites]


That shoe picture is great. But what has Obama got against buttoning his shirts' sleeve vents?
posted by enn at 5:09 PM on October 22, 2008


I loved this pictures.

I do not worship Obama.

I do not think he's perfect.

If he delivers 10% of what he's promising, I'll consider it success.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:10 PM on October 22, 2008 [4 favorites]


“god knows what his personal beliefs are anymore, as he is the most 'made' candidate in history.”

I agree with everything except this. But that goes either way really. I mean, whether he’s wholly altruistic or not.
Lincoln is usually at the top of the list of best presidents. And yet, the folks living during his time went through all kinds of hell. Not to mentions his unilateral moves to strip constitutional rights.

I do think our representatives should be, not afraid of us per se, because people do crazy things out of fear. But respectful. Like you respect a big dog who could - but doesn’t - bite you. You might feed him, water him, maybe even pet him. But you don’t screw with his food dish.
That’s healthy. I agree.

And yet, I suppose it depends a bit on where you stand as well.

This little play we’re in is sort of Richard III, isn’t it? (No offense to McCain’s injuries)

On the one hand you have, before the battle of Bosworth, Richard telling his men how evil Buckingham, Henry VII, and the rebels are. How base and low, etc. And on the other you have the rebels speaking of certain ideals and the reasons why they’re fighting.

More than that, there’s the contrast in fighting for one’s personal interests vs. fighting and perhaps even dying for an ideal.
Selfishness vs. sacrifice.
Now I’m not saying Obama isn’t dangerous for inspiring the will to sacrifice for an ideal.
But by the same token I do believe some of those ideals are worth dying for.
So in those terms the difference is this ‘wealth redistribution’ business. I’m willing to tighten my belt so people don’t die in the street. So too, I’m willing to suffer now for a better future world.

I’ll agree, the hero-worship gets in the way. I have people who love me more than they love breathing. So I can’t tell them anything straight. Love gets in the way of rational thought as much as hate.

But if you’d asked me during Lincon’s administration I’d say the man was a dangerous son of a bitch. But he’s the right son of a bitch, and I’d pick up my rifle and kill my brothers on the other side of an imaginary line because I know my grandchildren will live in a better world.

That’s bottom line. You either think it’s worth it or it isn’t. And you’re either willing to take the risk, make the sacrifice, or you’re not.

Obama is willing to walk that path with us. And in hard rain too. While we should recognize that the man is not the ideal and not kiss his ass, we should also recognize that maybe we’re excited about it because we’ve been left to the storm so many times.
(Still, men fail. Principles don't.)

( 2nding all the comments on the workmanship on the photos. I haven’t addressed it much because there’s not much to say. Self evident really.)
posted by Smedleyman at 5:12 PM on October 22, 2008 [7 favorites]


The hero worship and idolatry is a problem because, for example, it tends to make people look past the fact that he voted to give the TelCos immunity for spying on you. Seriously, he hasn't let you down yet???
posted by mattholomew at 5:25 PM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


If he delivers 10% of what he's promising, I'll consider it success.
I'm unaware of anything that he's promised.

I think he's been pretty clear that any of us who want the change that he wants are going to have to keep working at it no matter what happens on November 4th.
posted by Flunkie at 5:27 PM on October 22, 2008


It is a deeply scary transition, and you should be afraid of any candidate, especially one whose espoused ideology is very pro big-government, and god knows what his personal beliefs are anymore, as he is the most 'made' candidate in history.

Er, George W. Bush, anyone? Can't think of anybody who was more "made" than that guy. Thank the gods he'll be out of here in 90 days.
posted by brain cloud at 5:31 PM on October 22, 2008


I'm unaware of anything that he's promised.

Tax cuts
Continuation of the war in Afghanistan
End of the war in Iraq
Increased border security
Increased availability of health insurance

For starters...
posted by mattholomew at 5:32 PM on October 22, 2008


Is there one of him lighting up outside an office building in the smoking area? That would be refreshingly human... seriously.
posted by crapmatic at 5:37 PM on October 22, 2008


I like the pictures. I don't think he's a god among men. I do think he'd be a great president, though. He'd do some things that disappoint me, and he'd do some things that piss me off. But I think most of what he'd do would renew my faith in the office. I can't say that for John McCain, who really hasn't risen to the occasion as a candidate.
posted by Tehanu at 5:43 PM on October 22, 2008


he voted to give the TelCos immunity for spying on you. Seriously, he hasn't let you down yet???

Admittedly, this was a disappointment, but not a deal-breaker. It'd be pretty hard to outweigh what he has on the table. And I'm willing to overlook the immunity thing in light of a) the aspects of his platform that I do agree with and think would improve America greatly and b) the alternative.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:48 PM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm voting for Obama, but I think a lot of people are either going to be terribly, terribly disappointed at what he does once he's actually President, or end up defending and making excuses for things that they would have been enraged about (and rightfully so) if it had been a Republican responsible for them. I don't at all doubt that there will be less of those things in general- thus why I'm voting for him. But I can't help but find this thread kind of depressing.

EmpressCallipygos: would you rather hear a bunch of people getting all fan-girly about a potential world leader, or would you rather hear a bunch of people getting all fan-girly about a singer/actor/sports star/YouTube video guy?

Well, the idolization of athletes and pop stars and the like is depressing as well, but I actually think idolizing politicians is worse- in fact, much worse, as there's a lot more potential for harm in it. At best, it leads to an absence of needed criticism, at worst it leads to excusing or participating in atrocity. I'm more or less an anarchist, so I guess I would say that, but- well, it may be the first time I've ever agreed with Kwantsar, but I'm with him in thinking that skepticism of our leaders is a good thing, no matter who they are.

And even if it's not the universal reaction, there definitely is a current of leader worship in this thread- some stuff here goes well beyond "I like these pictures." We have people saying "I idolize this man", references to his "quiet power", his "iconic" nature, his "brilliance". I'm trying to avoid snark, so I'll just say that people who think this way about Obama are setting themselves up for either having their idealism painfully shattered, or defending things they would they would oppose in other circumstances. He's already done things which are not exactly in line with the image of him most people seem to have of him here. (FISA, anyone?) I am quite certain that as President, he will betray the hopes that so many people seem to have put on him, and he will probably do it repeatedly. (Such is the nature of the American political system that it would be without historical precedent if he or any other President didn't- thus why I'm an anarchist of sorts, but that's another topic.) Still, for all that I'm expecting an American version of Tony Blair's New Labour, an Obama administration will, in all probability, lead to less death and human suffering than a McCain one, and if one votes, that's certainly good enough to warrant voting for him. But I think viewing him as a different kind of politician is a recipe for disappointment. He's better than McCain- that should be good enough.
posted by a louis wain cat at 5:50 PM on October 22, 2008 [3 favorites]


I can't see these pictures no matter what I do in terms of cutting and pasting links and am feeling quite aggrieved.
posted by orange swan at 5:56 PM on October 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


Obama is always eating!
Nom Nom Nomination!
posted by Hands of Manos at 6:06 PM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Not really into reading the circle jerk but I did want to say that I really liked these pictures even though the post is a little creepy. The photo of him cleaning up after himself won me over.
posted by GalaxieFiveHundred at 6:06 PM on October 22, 2008


Make sure you have Java enabled in your browser orange swan.

I use Firefox and the "No Script" plug-in. Once I allowed scripts for that particular page, all was good.
posted by Mephisto at 6:08 PM on October 22, 2008


I hear what you're getting at, Abiezer, but consider: would you rather hear a bunch of people getting all fan-girly about a potential world leader, or would you rather hear a bunch of people getting all fan-girly about a singer/actor/sports star/YouTube video guy?

Definitely the latter. World leaders kill people. If Obama were a singer or actor, this stuff would be fine, but he isn't. He is an applicant for the job of chief executive of the most powerful and aggressive military empire that has ever existed on planet earth. He intends to be the single most important person in deciding whether or not you get health care, you keep your job, the nation of Afghanistan is destroyed, and several other world-historical decisions. It is not appropriate to be "all fan-girly" about the guy who, in all probability, will be giving a speech in a few months explaining why Americans need to accept wage restraint and social service cuts in order to boost investment and reverse the recession, or how the policies of [Latin American Country A/African Country Z]'s government are hindering the progress of freedom and prosperity on [continent] and so he is imposing sanctions/punitive bombing raids/funding a "democracy movement"/whatever.

Admire the guy, sure; vote for him, definitely. But all politicians, especially of his level of ambition and with his level of talent, need to be viewed critically at all times, even the ones you like.

I'm also seeing the notion of people falling all over themselves in admiration of someone who does something serious to be a hugely refreshing change.

Photos: President Bush lands on USS Abraham Lincoln
Pardon my french, but this guys a total "stud muffin". GW . . . MY PRESIDENT!

Damn, he looks great in a flight suit and gear!
He needs to do a press conference in that get up!

You can imagine Hollywood making a movie about this guy. You cannot imagine the same for Bill Clinton.

HOW COOL IS THIS?!?! MY LORD! Can you believe that we've gone from Beelzebubba, the "Sink Emperor", to this man? There is, indeed, a just God... These pictures are just awesome. I am so thankful that this man is our President...no wonder the military loves him...

I'm sure the liberals are outraged that an actual man is in the White House. They prefer a spineless husk of a man, you know.

Is this guy some kind of wonderful, or what. Out there, talking to the service men and women, on their level. You can feel the backwash of waves of loyalty just POUR out of that crowd.

According to our "friends" on DU, this was merely a photo op. LOL!
Etc, etc.
posted by stammer at 6:08 PM on October 22, 2008 [11 favorites]


he voted to give the TelCos immunity for spying on you. Seriously, he hasn't let you down yet???

Of course he has, that was shitty. Fortunately, I'm not a single issue voter.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:09 PM on October 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


orange swan: the link works for me, but maybe try (this)
posted by wei at 6:10 PM on October 22, 2008


I think a photoset of politicians on the can could be interesting.

Only if they're testing the width of their stance.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:10 PM on October 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


You know I've never gotten weepy looking at photographs of *any* politician but tears come to my eyes with hope and yearning for Obama to be the next President of the USA. It feels strange to say that. What if he's just another politician? But maybe not. Maybe he really is a decent human being. That would be so wonderful.

Thanks for those excellent images. They don't surprise me in the integrity and continuity of expression of his character.
posted by nickyskye at 6:17 PM on October 22, 2008


Like the rest of the world I hope that Obama gets elected but maybe he seems a little shinier than he actually when contrasted with the previous eight years of, beyond satirical, evilness you Americans have been living under.

In New Zealand, Obama would sit to the right of our conservative party so, yeah, I'm not expecting miracles. But like others have said: OBAMA - BETTER THAN MCAIN!!!
posted by meech at 6:21 PM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


yiftach: "I'd REALLY, honestly, truly like to see similar work from someone following McCain. He has to have a good photog on his campaign, and as much as I don't believe he should be our next president, I think he's a human being too and I'd like to see this kind of behind the scenes work on him."

chuckdarwin: "Such photos don't exist. McCain's campaign is desperate. They are in PANIC MODE. If they had good photos like these, they would be splattered everywhere."

Not true -- here is one decent photo-essay I came across, though I had to do some digging. It's too bad most of the photos are from McCain's speech. I get the sense that their campaign in general is much more insular and tightly controlled than the Obama campaign, making the dissemination of such candid images more difficult.

Another example is the on-the-road reports from FiveThirtyEight on the rival ground games. Every Obama office they visit is active and buzzing with activity. The McCain offices, on the other hand, are usually closed for the weekend, or almost empty, or their volunteers are heavily censored and prepped by payed campaign staff before they're permitted to talk. And, more often now than before, the site's writers aren't even permitted to visit. I guess they're just paranoid.
posted by Rhaomi at 6:25 PM on October 22, 2008


Favorited.
posted by Barack Obama at 6:26 PM on October 22, 2008 [6 favorites]


How can you not look at the picture with those two kids looking at him and not be moved? I honestly never thought in my lifetime that young black kids would be able to really, really believe that it's possible they could be president. That photo made me cry, out of joy for them, and for my restored faith in (some of) the people of America.

It's not about Barack Obama, it's about a country that finally believes that the BEST should lead us, not the whitest, not the richest, not the most masculine.
posted by TochterAusElysium at 6:32 PM on October 22, 2008 [14 favorites]


I think a photoset of politicians on the can could be interesting.

I think they tried this with Larry Craig last year... not so good results.
posted by nudar at 6:40 PM on October 22, 2008


Oh, hey, Barack!
posted by everichon at 6:41 PM on October 22, 2008


Adoration of the MeFi? The danger is not so much that people are attracted to Obama's charisma, but that he may start believing them.

We're hiring someone for a job. Someday, when the magic and the smiles wear thin, we may want need to fire them. Don't let the pendulum swing too far.
posted by cenoxo at 6:44 PM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


jack_mo: "You know what these photos, and the reaction to them in this thread remind me of? April 1997.

Obviously Blair and family were a good bit less photogenic than yummy Sen. Obama and co., but the atmosphere is the same. The carefully released, well-shot candid images of a Presidential family man are the same, the HOPE and CHANGE rhetoric is the same, the thrilling prospect of a sleazy bunch of fascists being defeated in a landslide is the same...

Fingers crossed that's where the similarities end, eh?
"

I'm not really familiar with Blair's '97 campaign, so I went to read the Wikipedia article on the election for that year when I came across this sentence:

"Prime Minister John Major obtained a dissolution on Monday 17 March 1997 - so ensuring the formal campaign would be unusually long, at six weeks."

That is just adorable.

But srsly. The perpetual campaign is just killing America.
posted by Rhaomi at 6:45 PM on October 22, 2008


Three ways this could have been a better FPP:

(1) Make it about Callie. Include other work by Callie along with a bio, all nicely linked up, with the Obama work just as the latest.
(2) Make it about the evolution of behind-the-scenes campaign pics, including some of the great Nixon and Kennedy work. End with the Obama stuff.
(3) More cowbell.

Otherwise, as-is... yeah, this is just whacking-off material.
posted by rokusan at 6:46 PM on October 22, 2008 [5 favorites]


The perpetual campaign is just killing America.

Doesn't the fixed election date plus state-by-state consensus thing sort of ensure such a long campaign? I haven't seen any suggestions on fixing that. Are there any movements to shortening the endless campaign? How do they work?
posted by rokusan at 6:53 PM on October 22, 2008


Otherwise, as-is... yeah, this is just whacking-off material.

Favorited. Idolizing Obama is nothing to be ashamed of. Just make sure you lock the door and wash your hands afterward.
posted by philip-random at 6:55 PM on October 22, 2008


I would love to see McCain photos in the same vein as these Obama ones, even though I'm not a McCain supporter at all. Come what may, one of these two guys is going to be president in two weeks. I know who I want for the job, but if it happens not to go my way I would at least like to have a few images in my mind of McCain in a few unguarded, spontaneous moments. Something to paint a picture that he's thinking every moment that he's on this trail, very deeply, about what the country needs him to do when he takes office, and shouldering the burden of that task in a conscious, believable way. Something that shows all of us, not just his die-hards, that he's got at least one foot in middle America instead of paying lip service to it and screwing it over while they're not paying attention. Some evidence, any at all, that there's a human behind all the bluster and tough talk, with some good intentions somewhere.

It would be nice. Does anybody have any pictures like those?
posted by brain cloud at 6:57 PM on October 22, 2008


My god I hate to be a hater, but that page is infuriating. Absolutely maddening. Why can't I just see all the pictures at once. Is that too much to ask?

I did love the pics though.
posted by zach4000 at 6:58 PM on October 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


The feelings evoked by these images is inversely proportional to how far we've fallen as a country from what the Founder's had in mind. The way was paved for Obama or anyone else for that matter by the sheer, total, absolute uselessness of the sack of shit that is stinking up the oval office.
posted by docpops at 7:13 PM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


I would not have seen these pictures without this post, so thanks. Yes it could have been a more thoughtful FPP; I'd especially like to have seen a set of all four P & VP candidates; you know they've got people doing this for them (it's serious when they start in on the black&white and the backlighting ala Kennedy).

But I absolutely do not understand the assumption that because people are either moved by the pictures or less than outraged by the shallowness of the post, they must be idiots or dupes. I don't know the average age here, but if you do not have your own memory of the assassinations of '64 and '68, and the burning of Watts and Philly, you simply cannot understand what Obama's and H Clintons's candidacies mean on a very visceral level for my generation, black and white. We nominated a black man for president. We almost nominated a woman. While race and gender have been snuck in here and there, really these issues are not central to that event. I did not believe this would happen while my generation (midBoomer) was alive. I thought we had just fucked it up too badly. These candidacies are evidence that we, the boomers, didn't, after all, fuck up our promise beyond redemption. So if I choose to be moved and motivated by a bunch of cheesy photos, well, fuck you for condemning me. It was a long hard road, and I'm damned proud that we got here and that I got to see it.
posted by nax at 7:16 PM on October 22, 2008 [16 favorites]


But all politicians, especially of his level of ambition and with his level of talent, need to be viewed critically at all times, even the ones you like.

I understand the critical comments in this thread, the cautions against idolatry and such, but my goodness, the presumptuousness. I'm a grown-up, and can actually have great regard for someone, even totally lurve him/her, and still be critical. It's possible to admire Obama a great deal, to invest in him a huge amount of hope, and still be sober in assessing his performance should he be president.

It is possible to have feelings and continue to think at the same time.
posted by LooseFilter at 7:33 PM on October 22, 2008 [13 favorites]


He won't save the planet, but he will give people hope, and stop McCain and friends screwing the planet. Thats enough to get excited about.
posted by MetaMonkey at 8:05 PM on October 22, 2008


A Less Guarded Barack Obama: Interviews From Before He Was A National Figure (NYT video)
posted by inconsequentialist at 8:06 PM on October 22, 2008 [4 favorites]


I, too, cannot get past the first page of photos.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:10 PM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


btw, if you're an apolitical wierdo like me and think politics is bullshit, please to enjoy The Fringe For Obama
posted by MetaMonkey at 8:13 PM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


A Less Guarded Barack Obama: Interviews From Before He Was A National Figure (NYT video)

Barack used to work for UPS?
posted by jonmc at 8:14 PM on October 22, 2008


I'm pretty fond of the crowd shots from the St. Louis rally.
posted by Foosnark at 8:17 PM on October 22, 2008



I once saw him walk across a lake to heal an injured swan.


I...I was that swan! So tender, so Presidential....
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 8:24 PM on October 22, 2008 [3 favorites]


jonmc writes: Barack used to work for UPS?

Only for about 15 seconds.
posted by inconsequentialist at 8:28 PM on October 22, 2008


I'd REALLY, honestly, truly like to see similar work from someone following McCain. He has to have a good photog on his campaign, and as much as I don't believe he should be our next president, I think he's a human being too and I'd like to see this kind of behind the scenes work on him.

There is a McCain photoset on the same site (Stephen Crowley: McCain). Its an interesting sort of "compare and contrast".

McCain waiting
Obama waiting

Mr & Mrs McCain
Mr & Mrs Obama
posted by anastasiav at 8:42 PM on October 22, 2008


I understand the critical comments in this thread, the cautions against idolatry and such, but my goodness, the presumptuousness. I'm a grown-up, and can actually have great regard for someone, even totally lurve him/her, and still be critical. It's possible to admire Obama a great deal, to invest in him a huge amount of hope, and still be sober in assessing his performance should he be president.

Thank you. Yes, this.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:44 PM on October 22, 2008


Smedleyman, I understand the Lincoln comparison, but why not George Washington? It seems far more apt:

Lincoln stretched the rules a bit after the fact, whereas the worry with Washington was an Imperial Presidency even before he came into office. And it was very clear that given his popularity and skills, he could have made the office into whatever he wanted. But his restrained conduct as President helped shape the office into what it was -- and it became a restraint on those who followed him as well.

I envision Obama acting in that mode as a counterweight to the Bush Administration -- bringing some restraint and level-headedness back to the Executive. Just my guess, though.
posted by spiderwire at 8:50 PM on October 22, 2008


Favorited.
posted by Barack Obama at 9:26 PM on October 22 [2 favorites +] [!]


Seriously. If you're going to do this, you could, you know, flesh out that profile page a little more.
posted by anastasiav at 8:50 PM on October 22, 2008


It feels like worship, but I think it's more that Obama is reaching for something that hasn't really been expected of us. I think he appeals to the better part of us. Not to the part of us that is worried 'what's in it for me?' Not to the part of us that is paranoid about what somebody else is trying to take away from us. Not to the part of us that wants to see a smackdown. Not to our fears. Not to our jealousies. Not to our prejudices.

Of course, I'm biased, but I don't see how someone comes away from one of the McCain/Palin rallies with a sense of hope and possibility, with the sense that we can be more than what we are. Maybe people do; I just don't see how that can emerge out of the tone of bitterness and attack. As it seemed to be with the convention response (of the major speeches, at least), it seems more mean and vengeful and defiant--and not against any real affront, but against the future possibility of such.

I think basically, McCain's message is you could have more, while Obama's is you can be more. McCain's 'Country First' seems just a thinly disguised version of 'Me First.'

If there's something on the Republican side that speaks to some kind of positive hope for the future, some kind of optimism for what we as a country can accomplish, maybe somebody could point that out for me. I'll admit that my vision might be blocked, but really, I have been looking for it.
posted by troybob at 8:54 PM on October 22, 2008 [11 favorites]


It feels like worship, but I think it's more that Obama is reaching for something that hasn't really been expected of us. I think he appeals to the better part of us. Not to the part of us that is worried 'what's in it for me?' Not to the part of us that is paranoid about what somebody else is trying to take away from us. Not to the part of us that wants to see a smackdown. Not to our fears. Not to our jealousies. Not to our prejudices.

There is going to be a massive letdown after the honeymoon is over, say, when Obama is forced to bomb some tinpot country, or if unemployment edges up to 10%. Because this "Change" mantra is only going to go so far to paying off the $700B mortgage taken out on the future of the United States.

But don't get me wrong. Even though an Obama presidency almost certainly spells decreased trade and increased trade friction between the US and Canada (where I live) I will be bitterly disappointed if you guys vote in an insane geriatric maniac and Bush with boobs. Lord knows I was seriously depressed for about a week after you guys decided to give Bush a second chance in 2004.

We need Obama. But I don't think he is going to be able to do enough to set you guys back on track, so you had better be prepared for that.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:59 PM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Great pics.
posted by Sailormom at 9:13 PM on October 22, 2008


But I don't think he is going to be able to do enough to set you guys back on track, so you had better be prepared for that.

I don't put those kinds of expectations on him or the office. My feeling is that in the U.S. we're heading to a point where making sacrifices isn't going to be simply a lifestyle choice that we can choose to buy off with credit. (I don't think any politician is up-front about that, but it's not a message that's particularly conducive to getting elected.) I think the difference in their messages is important in this regard. That we are going to have to face it is not in question, but the outcome is going to have a lot to do with whether we embrace it with some sense of hope and possibility, or try to deny it with a feeling of resentment and threat. On the more basic level--as I think is demonstrated with how people feel when they see these pictures--Obama inspires you to look at the people around you (and him) and feel like you can work together toward something. As far as I can tell, McCain inspires you to look at the people around you and wonder which of them is trying to take away what you have, or is getting what you deserve.
posted by troybob at 9:31 PM on October 22, 2008 [3 favorites]


If there's something on the Republican side that speaks to some kind of positive hope for the future, some kind of optimism for what we as a country can accomplish, maybe somebody could point that out for me. I'll admit that my vision might be blocked, but really, I have been looking for it.

I think to a certain extent, this was the type of vision that Reagan laid out when he was president - "Morning in America" and all that. The tone of his rhetoric was frequently aspirational - hence his broad appeal.

Problem is, when Reagan's terms were finished, the core of conservative America took that as a signal that the plan had been achieved; the Country had reached its peak in every possible way (never mind that it's not true - even Reagan himself would agree if he were alive - go along with me for the fantasy!): #1 global superpower, #1 in economic might, #1 in freedom and prosperity. Game over. Proposing that America can be something better than it already is after this amazing Reaganish trifecta, or that America has actually slid a bit behind, and ought to try catching up, is blasphemy to some people.

"What?!" they cry, "The USA is the greatest country on the earth!! We don't need to become better; you need to be more patriotic! SOCIALIST!"

I am quite convinced that this mindset is at the core of the resistance that people show when topics come up like providing universal healthcare, or raising our educational standards, or using our energy supply wisely, or any other number of subjects that offer room for improvement. To suggest that there are other ways of doing these things, that they have in fact been done differently with success in places outside of our borders, is an affront to this sensibility that America is #1, that the USA does everything the best way. Their view is that everything is perfect, nothing needs fixing except for maybe a little less taxes and a little more religion. Our view, basically, is that we're wasting our potential.

This is how people who are in lockstep with the USA#1/uncritical view of our supremacy can come to call anybody who disagrees a "hater," or "elitist," or "communist," or "anti-American." That's why nobody at a McCain rally tells the crowd "We can do better, be optimistic, have hope." Because that's not even something that the crowd wants, or thinks they need. And they don't want to be like somebody who would.
posted by brain cloud at 9:57 PM on October 22, 2008 [12 favorites]


It seems like most politicians treat acting as part of the job. The thing about Obama is that he comes across as very sincere and very genuine when he talks about the promise of America, and puts our current hardships in perspective of the past trials our nation has gone through and how we've become stronger as a result - by being a country that aspires to the hopes that were espoused in the Declaration of Independence and made manifest in the US Constitution. His biography gave him the opportunity to experience life in other parts of the world where those ideals aren't as sacred, and to fully appreciate the opportunity that is possible in the United States. When he speaks of wanting to change the direction of America, to return to the America that truly provided its citizens with life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, he's speaking from the heart, because he's a product of what America used to stand for.

The image that stands out the most in my mind isn't in this photo essay - it was immediately after he gave his acceptance speech at the DNC. The look on his face was best described as a mix of humility and fear. Humility that he was a very unlikely candidate that had made it this far, and fear that he might let the American people down. It's easy to talk about wanting the world to be different, to be better. It takes courage to take that responsibility upon yourself to actually try to make a difference. It takes some seriously huge brass ones to decide that the best way you can make a difference is to become president while being a first term senator.
posted by Nquire at 10:05 PM on October 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


Problem is, when Reagan's terms were finished, the core of conservative America took that as a signal that the plan had been achieved; the Country had reached its peak in every possible way (never mind that it's not true - even Reagan himself would agree if he were alive - go along with me for the fantasy!): #1 global superpower, #1 in economic might, #1 in freedom and prosperity. Game over. Proposing that America can be something better than it already is after this amazing Reaganish trifecta, or that America has actually slid a bit behind, and ought to try catching up, is blasphemy to some people.


Maybe it was my age when Reagan took over (20) and my proclivity for punk rock and hanging out with dope smoking anarchist weirdos ... but I never bought his act, even slightly. It would take a few thousand words to put this into proper context so forgive me for just saying (without annotation) that his eight years in power were dark times for anyone who gave a shit about humanity, and the degree to which he is now thought of in heroic terms comes like a continual kick in the face. Did he bring down the Iron Curtain? No. The people trapped behind it did, maybe with a little help from Elvis, The Beatles and Levis. Do his administration's nefarious doings pale in comparison to Bush Jrs? That's the wrong question to ask. I prefer, to what degree did his cynical crowd set the stage for Karl Rove, Dick Cheney and company by pointing out just how sentimental, one dimensional, xenophobic and stupid the American electorate could be?

Go Obama Go!
posted by philip-random at 10:25 PM on October 22, 2008 [3 favorites]


The image that stands out for me is Obama cleaning the smear on the diner counter top, holding an ice cream cone in the other hand. Thoughtful for the waitress, a regular, decent human being thing to do.

My hope is the possibly of having a relatively sane, relatively ethical person doing the incredibly difficult job being President of this incredibly diverse, neurotic, temperamental, imbalanced country, which used to have the possibility of tremendous freedoms and opportunities and, since the Bush gang moved in, has been going down the tubes, destroying Iraq at the same time.

My tears of joy are very much the dream of "January 20th 2009, end of an error" (political crime wave is more like it).

I don't feel remotely adoring of the man. I've just never felt hope before when it came to any politician. That's an unusual, unexpected feeling.
posted by nickyskye at 10:33 PM on October 22, 2008 [3 favorites]


> But I don't think he is going to be able to do enough to set you guys back on track, so you had better be prepared for that.

One of the results of Obama becoming President is that in the process, he has created an entire NEW generation of people who have worked in grassroots, local activist campaigns. Literally thousands of people have participated in a Democratic system on a level which they have never even knew possible.

Do you think these people are going to remove their Obama yard sign and call it a day on Nov 5th? They are going to stay politically active, keep in touch and participate in the massive organization network that Obama's campaign has created, and will be able to use it again to counter what would be a conservative backlash at the local level. The Christian Right has their churchs and pulpits to mobilize their members to push for their agenda, which is how they are able to get things like the Anti Gay marriage amendment on the ballot in California.

And the same reason why now the GOP has turned to attacking the community organizers on the left as socialist, and trying to spell the narrative of ACORN stealing the election. They are playing for the 2010 senate and house seats now, and keeping the ones they got. They see the mobilized, turned on, active left, and are very afraid. We don't need talking points or an agenda sent from a pulpit or mailing list to know when to jump. These are autonomous, self supporting and directing groups, that are encouraging intelligent discourse about politics. Which falls back to what is essential for a thriving democracy:
A strong middle class (a group not tied inherently to the established power base so open to change, but also one that has time to follow politics and)
A strong network for social discussion and discourse (which Obamas grassroots campaign has created)
A public space to organize in (internet, and again, Obama's cell/email network)

Without those three components, you end up with what we have had for the last 8 years. And really even before that. Probably the 80s and Reagan beating Carter and pulling the Solar Panels off the roof, signifying the death of the movements of the last 20+ years. One can really look at the GI Bill and WWII for creating the booming middle class and access to college education that lead to the social activism of the 60s.

Is it scary? Could this 'army' of activists splinter and fragment, and turn on each other and fall apart or turn into a totalitarianism like so many other revolutions? Possibly. Do I think there is a chance? Not so much, one of the key messages and stances has never to attack or dehumanize the opposition. This is not the poor rising against the rich, or the blacks against the whites, or the liberals against the conservatives. This is about the People challenging those who are in Power, and it happens to be that the people in power have collected their own little army around them, and under the guise of liberal bias they are trying to ensure that their army only hears the intended message.

As I've said to friends who are members of the fringe groups (anarchists, greens, etc.), Obama is pushing to open up the system, to get more people involved, and that means that he provides the best chance of their voices being heard. This isn't just about a Presidency, it is about a systematic reform of how we the people govern ourselves.
posted by mrzarquon at 10:34 PM on October 22, 2008 [9 favorites]


The photos of the crying mother at the rally and the 2 little kids looking up at him brought a tear to my eye. I am sick of today's politics of cynicism and despair. The hope that these pictures represent is a good thing.
Presidential Politics aside, these are beautiful pictures. Thank you for posting.
posted by dougzilla at 10:47 PM on October 22, 2008 [3 favorites]


Most of the McCain photos are so so

There is a nice one of him and Cindy (can't link to them directly anymore, it's the one where she is in red). He looks alive, like he's having fun and she looks like his biggest fan, which an SO should be.

But most of the photos are either half assed or feature McCain on the trail, not the "quiet moments" of the Barack set. Oddly enough, one of the few (and better) pictures like that contain Barack and Ted Kennedy. All three of them seem quiet and thoughtful there and McCain even projects strength.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:26 PM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


The "more images" link doesn't work in IE, but it worked fine in Firefox & Mobile Safari. The comments for the intro mention this, so they should know already. Boring tech details follow:

It uses Javascript to switch some divs from display: none & assemble the image addresses. Instead of linking the other pages, you'd have to write a bookmarklet to get this going, & that's beyond me. Note that simply removing CSS won't work.
posted by Pronoiac at 12:17 AM on October 23, 2008


Not true -- here is one decent photo-essay I came across, though I had to do some digging. It's too bad most of the photos are from McCain's speech. I get the sense that their campaign in general is much more insular and tightly controlled than the Obama campaign, making the dissemination of such candid images more difficult.

They do not exist. McCain would never grant this sort of access to a photographer. The set you linked to is as close to candid as you're likely to see.

In other words, you found all that there is... and they still looked really awkward and weird in comparison. Photos of rich, powerful people who have been rich and powerful for so long that they've long since ceased to 'act naturally'.

He looks like a man who has sold out. A man who is acting a part. A man repeating the same talking points over and over. Where is the shot of him going over the speech in his head? Where is the shot of him looking exhausted, but still working as his wife sleeps snuggled against him? Where is the shot of the McCain family dressed down and cuddled up, watching TV?

These shots don't exist because these things never happen.
posted by chuckdarwin at 12:46 AM on October 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think basically, McCain's message is you could have more, while Obama's is you can be more.

That's about right, I think, and nothing sells like self-interest. That was Reagan's vision, and it worked.

"Are You Better Off Than You Were Four Years Ago?"

(Emphasis mine.)
posted by rokusan at 1:00 AM on October 23, 2008


Everyone who can't see the images: there is a simpler way. Just navigate up one level in the directory structure of the pictures and you can see its index, where all 27 are listed.
posted by wei at 1:11 AM on October 23, 2008


Not only is he a wise leader and a hard worker, but kids literally look up to him.
posted by bokononito at 1:22 AM on October 23, 2008




In Barack, we hope, and feel okay in that hope. Beats the hell out of hopeless! There's a lot to like about the senator. We even hope that he'll pay some attention to the progressive left.

It's not like there is much choice going around. What rational person could vote in the chance of Sarah Palin becoming president? Sadly, the American system is put together such that third parties just can't compete, so we're stuck. At least we can allow ourselves the hope.

Some voice fears over the potential problems of a charismatic, powerful leader. They are perfectly correct. But one should not overlook the potential good that can come from a charismatic, powerful leader. It works both ways, or not at all.
posted by Goofyy at 2:24 AM on October 23, 2008


Nice hooker boots, Sarah!
posted by mannequito at 3:01 AM on October 23, 2008


From where I sit, the US presidential election is framed very much in terms of the individuals, both in respect of the visuals and the "narrative" that the media adopt. It's Obama against McCain. The import of the office the two men seek is taken entirely for granted or lipservice is paid by newsreaders (Huw!) sneering offhand and empty phrases like "last remaining superpower". The contest is reduced to a clash of personalities because it is hard it is to actually impress upon us non-Americans, usually a few degrees removed from the reality of American life, the extent to which this actually matters to Americans. I think that, to an extent, some of the Obama-worship (if calling it that isn't too pejorative) on less-right-leaning websites is a manifestation of how crucially important this election is to them: how keenly they want this man to lead them and how important it is that he does.

It is this photo that brings it home. It's not a close-up of hopeful faces, or a candid shot of a man cleaning up after himself, or some dude doing a pull up in a suit that makes the point, no. It's not really of Obama at all. It is of the massive organisational machinery (infrastructure, secret service detail, press photographers arrayed) of the campaign, of all the hoopla and complexity that inevitably coalesces around something so colossal so crucial. But it's also a photgraph of thousands - tens of thousands? - of ordinary people who would, if this election didn't matter to them so much, be off mowing the lawn, watching TV, pulling their puds, living their lives, whatever rather than standing in a park one overcast evening just to catch a tiny faraway glimpse of a man, to hear a man speak because they think that that one man might be able to make a difference to their lives. From these cynical shores, the scale of the optimism is pretty mind-blowing.
posted by my face your at 3:53 AM on October 23, 2008 [3 favorites]



Todd Palin and the kids eat Pizza


I genuinely thought Pizza was the name of one of the Palin's there for a second.
posted by minifigs at 3:55 AM on October 23, 2008 [3 favorites]


I looked through all the McCain pics from the equivalent article, and wasn't that impressed with the photography. There were a couple that were ok, but the candid ones seemed to be taken randomly, rather than capturing a small story.

This one is strong and stark, which I like. But the one of a room filling up annoys me just because it's badly put together, and this one shows more carpet than the signs which are ostensibly the subject of the photo.
posted by harriet vane at 4:21 AM on October 23, 2008


Say, why aren't those Palin kids in school?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:20 AM on October 23, 2008


FWIW, the pictures that billyfleetwood linked to, above, are way better than the ones on the digitaljournalist site.

I'm thinking that a small part* of the reason the McCain photoset isn't as moving as the Obama set is that Crowley is the inferior photographer.






*Small, small, tiny part, I should add, because a pile of shit photographed by Demarchelier is still gonna be, you know, a pile of shit.
posted by shiu mai baby at 5:30 AM on October 23, 2008


he has created an entire NEW generation of people who have worked in grassroots, local activist campaigns. Literally thousands of people have participated in a Democratic system on a level which they have never even knew possible.

We did this once before, and we also thought the job was done. And the Reaganites and the Rovites just moved in, appealed to our baser instincts, demonized the ones who never lost the hope and we ended up with W and Co. I hope that the lesson that this new activitist generation (and the old guard who are with them) take from that is that it isn't ever over. Not it ain't over til it's over. It isn't ever over. Don't please don't let them do that to us again.
posted by nax at 6:27 AM on October 23, 2008 [3 favorites]


In the ineterest of fairness, why is it that I actually had to go looking to find any pics of McCain's other kids, particularly Bridget? Where's Bridget?
posted by Pollomacho at 6:37 AM on October 23, 2008


my face your: The photo you linked was Obama's speech in Berlin, I believe. So it actually says one more thing -- here are 200,000 people, most of whom probably can't vote in a US Election, and they want to see the man speak anyway because this election matters to them, too.
posted by brain cloud at 6:57 AM on October 23, 2008


I remember a time in my life that I just didn't give a shit.

I wish I could go back, sometimes.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:23 AM on October 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


What brain cloud said (I was there).
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:26 AM on October 23, 2008


Personally, I'm squicked out by the photo of (adorable, brother-spit-shiner) Piper Palin carrying a Louis Vuitton bag. Even if it is a fake. Quoted from an email from an ex-Vuitton employee trained to spot fakes responding to that blog's original post about the bag, after clarifying that yes, it is in fact a fake:
As you can see, she has no trouble buying counterfeit goods off the streets of NYC as a "souvenir" for her child because she is too ignorant to know that another 7 year old in China labored all day to build that knock-off and won't be paid more than 50 cents for a day's work although it can fetch up to $500 in the American counterfeit marketplace.
Compare/contrast here. Obama resoles his shoes, Palin buys shiny new red ones AND gets her 7-year-old a fake status symbol bag that was probably made by someone her own age overseas...
posted by bitter-girl.com at 7:42 AM on October 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Do you think these people are going to remove their Obama yard sign and call it a day on Nov 5th? They are going to stay politically active, keep in touch and participate in the massive organization network that Obama's campaign has created, and will be able to use it again to counter what would be a conservative backlash at the local level. The Christian Right has their churchs and pulpits to mobilize their members to push for their agenda, which is how they are able to get things like the Anti Gay marriage amendment on the ballot in California.

Pfeh. I held my nose and voted on Tuesday. But I see a serious problem with all this activism. It's something I saw from Kossaks who wail and scream every time a gay rights initiative gains some traction, or one of their own criticizes a Democrat for gay-baiting. The Democratic party's primary purpose is to get Democratic candidates into office. Any other consideration of social justice is forced to wait for a more convenient season if it might, possibly, cost a candidate critical votes.

Which is why I don't feel that Progressive politics and partisanship is compatible right now. When the chips are down, progressive democrats are in the same position as log cabin republicans, forced to make choices between advocating for the morally correct action that advances social justice, or playing the politics of the possible in support of electoral success.

I'll hold my nose and vote, but Obama and Biden won't give unambiguous, unreserved advocacy of my rights before the election, and I don't expect them to make difficult leadership choices after the election. So I give my time and money to groups that will.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:43 AM on October 23, 2008


he voted to give the TelCos immunity for spying on you. Seriously, he hasn't let you down yet???

I was pretty disappointed about this when it happened. But on the other end, I see a Palin presidency — McCain doesn't have long on this Earth, let's face it — that will quickly turn this country into a fascist theocracy that would love to put gays into ovens, among other dire consequences. So I'll eat some humble pie, make the choice I have to make to keep my loved one and I out of a concentration camp, and hope that Obama will make good on his promise to restore our three-branch democracy.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:47 AM on October 23, 2008


Wow.
posted by proj at 8:30 AM on October 23, 2008


He's a handsome man.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:35 AM on October 23, 2008


It's amazing to me that people think that Presidents make laws. Or that they enforce them. All a president can do is SUPPORT something or NOT VETO it. Sure he writes a budget, but congress approves it.

In just the same way that the right wingers don't have to worry about Obama taking away all their guns, the left doesn't need to worry about Theocratic concentration camps. Seriously?

For me this is an election of which VP I hate more. If Obama had chosen someone other than the most stalwart member of the Organization he vows to Change, and if McCain hadn't pandered to Pat Robertson (whom he used to regularly fight) and selected Pamela Anderpalin, I might have a candidate to vote for.

My opinion on how to get CHANGE if we have to keep parties is to ALWAYS have a President on one wing, and a VP on the other (like it used to be!) OR a Pres on one side and a slightly oppositely aligned congress.

And you've sucked me into a post on the blue that I don't think belongs on the blue, on a topic that I think is played out on the blue, and on a topic that makes me put a baggie on my head until it TURNS blue.
posted by TomMelee at 8:36 AM on October 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


He's a handsome man.

He's a handsome black man!
posted by Pollomacho at 8:47 AM on October 23, 2008


...on a topic that I think is played out on the blue...

For as big a deal as this is for a lot of people here, I don't think it's taking up so much space on the front page. There seems to be one or two topics a week that become the election forum, but it seems to stay pretty much within the bounds of those particular pages.
posted by troybob at 8:53 AM on October 23, 2008


Aha, brain cloud, I see, thank you! I suppose I should have recognised the Fernsehturm from classroom posters of yesteryonks.
posted by my face your at 8:55 AM on October 23, 2008


Compare/contrast here. Obama resoles his shoes, Palin buys shiny new red ones AND gets her 7-year-old a fake status symbol bag that was probably made by someone her own age overseas...

Obama's daughter plays soccer, right? Many, many soccer balls are made by child labor in India. I am appalled!
posted by smackfu at 8:57 AM on October 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's amazing to me that people think that Presidents make laws. Or that they enforce them. All a president can do is SUPPORT something or NOT VETO it. Sure he writes a budget, but congress approves it.

Well, that's not always the case. The Civil Rights Act is an example of a bill in which the White House took an active role in developing and brokering the majority that passed it. Nixon led a call for the creation of the EPA and Endangered Species Act. The Patriot Act and No Child Left Behind were largely created by the executive branch and submitted through congress. So while the executive doesn't pass laws, it certainly has played a major role in writing them and setting the legislative agenda.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:57 AM on October 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wow.

I was shocked too. I haven't seen any other campaign turn to the language of Christian fundamentalist violence as a means to shore up support. Nor have I seen a political party invoke as many memories of McCarthy era in as short a time. Dividing Virginia into pro- and anti-American regions? Calling for the interrogation of the men and women of Congress to ascertain whether they are pro- or anti-American? This kind of classically Fascistic rhetoric from a party shifting to the hard Right is very troubling.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:01 AM on October 23, 2008 [4 favorites]


Nice hooker boots, Sarah!
posted by mannequito at 6:01 AM on October 23 [+] [!]


Hooker boots are perfectly acceptable in the context of a loving traditional Christian marriage, of course.
posted by aught at 9:07 AM on October 23, 2008


I wonder how Palin will try to come back from the clothes thing. Will she suddenly start showing up at rallies in Levis and peasant skirts? Will she say the liberal media elite force her to dress a certain way? Will she say that she was being guided by the campaign handlers (though that would expose that she is not in any kind of leadership role in the campaign)?

It's interesting to see the pictures of her in the informal moments with McCain, and the one with Graham as well. She seems out of place, like Britney Spears sitting in with The Beatles. But I wonder what they talk about and what the tone is like. Does she have input? Does she just keep her mouth shut and do what she's told? Do they roll their eyes when she leaves the room?
posted by troybob at 9:21 AM on October 23, 2008


I was reading some comments in that link Blazecock made and learned a new phrase: "prayer warrior".

Pictures. I need pictures!
posted by like_neon at 9:45 AM on October 23, 2008


Nice hooker boots, Sarah!
posted by mannequito at 6:01 AM on October 23

Hooker boots are perfectly acceptable in the context of a loving traditional Christian marriage, of course.
posted by aught at 12:07 PM on October 23


Oh awesome. Is this the part where we make nasty implications about a woman's sexuality based on her clothing choices?
posted by shiu mai baby at 9:50 AM on October 23, 2008 [6 favorites]


gesundheit!
posted by Skygazer at 9:50 AM on October 23, 2008


Image Results for Prayer Warrior
posted by philip-random at 9:54 AM on October 23, 2008


> I'll hold my nose and vote, but Obama and Biden won't give unambiguous, unreserved advocacy of my rights before the election, and I don't expect them to make difficult leadership choices after the election. So I give my time and money to groups that will.

I have much awe for Obama's community organization and leadership skills, and I very much like Biden for his work for women's rights. But I do not think they are going to fix all of these things in four or eight years.

The point I was making was that there will be something more than just a Democratic party after this. There will, hopefully, be people with community organizing skills, grass roots and fundraising experience who will be returning to their towns and helping support those local ballots and initiatives. Do I think Obama is going to decriminalize marijuana? No. Do I think he is going to legalize gay marriage? No. I mean, how could he, he isn't a king. Do I think as a result of the shared experiences and education of all of those thousands of people in getting things done and working in the political system, those things actually has a chance of occurring more now than it did before: YES.

The Civil Rights Movement, while it had Martin Luther King, Jr. as it's leader and public speaker, was not in fact, a movement by a single person. They had training camps, retreats, entire educational courses for everyone involved on how to mobilize groups, working all across the country to lean on politicians, push the press to report the truth, and to get every day people involved. A lot of those people went on to work with the women's rights movements, the native american rights movements, gay rights movement, the environmental movement, etc.

That is what I see this campaigning effort as, the grassroots organizations that Obama is creating. He is creating community leaders who can go on to fight for more than just the Democratic Party's agenda, but for actual social change. This is why his speeches are almost always about the people, because he knows how the political system works, he knows he will need support of the citizens in able to get things done as President. And he needs citizens that will actually participate and share their voice, and push their representatives on issues. Obama might be doing this solely to support his own agenda, but he is building a structure that will make those other changes possible (open congress, supporting public disclosure and transparency in government, encouraging citizen participation in community organizations).

As a leader, an organizer and as a human being, Obama has my deepest respect. And I love these photos because they reflect how very much he is all of those things.
posted by mrzarquon at 9:54 AM on October 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Am am totally disappointed as hooker boots go over the knee and those are clearly not hooker boots. Fuck-me boots quite possibly, but not hooker boots.
posted by GuyZero at 9:57 AM on October 23, 2008


Is this the part where we make nasty implications about a woman's sexuality based on her clothing choices?

No, it's the part where we make fun of her clothing choices based on her effusive conservative religiosity.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:58 AM on October 23, 2008


Could we cut the "fuck me boots" and "hooker boots" crap out? Plenty of women wear (and love) their knee-high boots--it's one thing if you want to lambast her for spending $2,000 on them, it's quite another to lambast her for liking them in the first place.
posted by schroedinger at 9:59 AM on October 23, 2008 [3 favorites]


So, for the record, I don't think there's anything wrong with them and if you live in a city of any size that gets cold, they're obviously both fashionable and popular. You are correct that they are, for the most part, "I'm going to work" boots. (though the clear heels are a bit much and do piush them into stripper-shoe territory) For those of you who remember the hookers than used to hang out in Parkdale in Toronto, they sure didn't have the budget to get a pair of fancy boots. I seem to recall a few standing around without shoes at all actually. However, some of the wagish class do refer to them as "f-me" boots. And on this I please descriptivism.
posted by GuyZero at 10:05 AM on October 23, 2008


Joe the Plumber makes $44,000 per year. Sarah Palin's spent more on clothes in three months than three years of Joe's salary.

But I wonder what they talk about and what the tone is like.

Does McCain blame Palin for his swirling toilet of a campaign? Chuck Todd on last night's Hardball:
...there was a tenseness between -- first of all, between the two -- there's no chemistry. I couldn't see chemistry between John McCain and Sarah Palin. It was -- I felt as if we grabbed two people and said, 'Here, sit next to each other, we're going to conduct an interview.'

There wasn't -- they're not -- you know, they're not just ... comfortable with each other, uh, yet. The other thing about it is that you can tell they know that they're losing. They just have -- there's an intensity there, they're drained, the entire campaign staff is drained. The two candidates are guarded, they seem on edge. It's not as if they were rude or anything, it's not as if they weren't trying to be forthcoming, it's just, they seemed -- it's a negative intensity. I don't know how else to describe it.

But you'll see, when you see the two of them together, the chemistry's not all there. You do wonder, is John McCain starting to blame her for things, blaming himself? Is she blaming him? You just wonder what's going on inside their heads. Are they upset with how the other has treated them, and is that why her numbers are low? But whatever it is, it's a negative vibe that you get in that room.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:09 AM on October 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Am am totally disappointed as hooker boots go over the knee and those are clearly not hooker boots. Fuck-me boots quite possibly, but not hooker boots.

More like Gestapo boots.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:25 AM on October 23, 2008


I think there will be a tipping point in the media sometime soon. There's an obvious incentive to portray the race as close, as they did in the Democratic primary, so they have something to talk about. However, I think at a certain point they will actually get more mileage covering the election as a Republican train wreck of historical proportions than pretending it's a close race. You know there are people in news production rooms right now creating "Historic Landslide" graphics and doing electoral maps to compare this election to previous landslides.
posted by snofoam at 10:38 AM on October 23, 2008


(though the clear heels are a bit much and do piush them into stripper-shoe territory)

I don't think they're clear heels. I'm pretty sure the soles are taupe, which in that picture, makes them look clear-ish from a distance.
posted by shiu mai baby at 10:44 AM on October 23, 2008


I'm a little baffled by all the cautionary language about liking a candidate too much, to be honest.

Firstly, because I haven't yet seen anyone here say that they expect Obama to lay his hands upon the nation and HEEEE-YUL! Cast the demons OUT-TAH!

Second, because it has been an awfully long time since a grassroots, progressive, community-oriented activist worked their way up to attain their party's nominee for president of the United States. Can we please have your permission to be excited?

Lastly, because I also have yet to see anyone engage in mental acrobatics to excuse the not-so-progressive aspects of Obama's voting record.

You mean to tell me he might not get to implement every single idea he touts? Consider my world shattered! We get it. It's not going to be fishes and loaves. But damn is he a far sight better than a lot of the other guys the Democrats have sent down the pipe, and leagues ahead of the alternative.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:47 AM on October 23, 2008 [9 favorites]


Marisa: Lastly, because I also have yet to see anyone engage in mental acrobatics to excuse the not-so-progressive aspects of Obama's voting record.

Well that's because most of the people are not engaged in much of mental anything. Instead, how it usually goes down is something like this...

"I'm disappointed that Obama..."

"Roe! Roe! Roe! Have you taken a look at the other guy!? Palin and the Head of Putin! Roe! Roe! Roe! What are you, a Nader voter!? A PUMA!? Roe! Roe! Roe!"
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:27 AM on October 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Image Results for Prayer Warrior

Sadly not as funny as I imagined in my head. Although this one is pretty good.
posted by like_neon at 11:27 AM on October 23, 2008


I'm a little baffled by all the cautionary language about liking a candidate too much, to be honest

This. He's the most exciting candidate ya'll have had for a long time, even without the enormous milestone of being the first black man likely to be President. And these photos are great, because of how they've been taken and because of who he is.

Nice hooker boots, Sarah!

Oh, please. You live someplace it's warm all the year round, don't you? These are just regular winter boots.
posted by goo at 11:39 AM on October 23, 2008


Dividing Virginia into pro- and anti-American regions? Calling for the interrogation of the men and women of Congress to ascertain whether they are pro- or anti-American?
There are no real or fake parts of this country. We are not separated by the pro-America and anti-America parts of this nation – we all love this country, no matter where we live or where we come from. There are patriots who supported this war in Iraq and patriots who opposed it; patriots who believe in Democratic policies and those who believe in Republican policies. The men and women from Indiana and all across America who serve on our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and Independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a Red America or a Blue America – they have served the United States of America.
-- Barack Obama
posted by kirkaracha at 12:10 PM on October 23, 2008 [9 favorites]


"Roe! Roe! Roe! Have you taken a look at the other guy!? Palin and the Head of Putin! Roe! Roe! Roe! What are you, a Nader voter!? A PUMA!? Roe! Roe! Roe!"

Really? That's odd, because I've been seeing people here admit they weren't happy about immunity for telcoms, for example, but that they still consider Obama the vastly superior candidate.

Unless you're talking about some people you hang out with or something. In which case, those people need to cut back on the caffeine.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:17 PM on October 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well that's because most of the people are not engaged in much of mental anything.

Well, it's no think tank, but the level of discourse here is far more advanced than the norm out there. There is triviality and there is solid discussion, and I like how those things can be intermingled in the same thread, the same person, and even in the same post. We can hardly be blamed for the dearth of opposing viewpoints here; I know that the popular rant is that we drive them away, but I'd sooner accept that we simply drive them insane, because many evolve into supreme nutcases.

I'm someone who would like to see a genuine discussion and even defense of what McCain-Palin are all about, because when I look at it--whether it's perusing other opinions or digging into substantive material--I don't get it at all. I have yet to hear someone who can agree with them and express it in terms that are positive and forward-looking; they can only speak in terms of what they are not--and the 'not' too often refers to any number of overblown knee-jerk scary labels that can easily tap into some paranoid hater crowd.

Yes, I'm biased and I like the side I have taken, and I think my views are correct. But I would still like to see a solid, decent Republican party that has some kind of vision; I'm hoping their failure in this election will bring that a little closer. I don't think either party does well without a solid opposition. I think the real difference between Republicans and Democrats is less about policy or ideals and more about whether they choose to defend them with debate or with pepper spray.

I was initially a supporter of Clinton; I saw Obama as being similar to what the Clintons were in 1992, the difference being that Hillary has now been through the fire of how politics are actually conducted, and Obama is--as they were then--more idealistic about his ability to carry out his vision. But then Obama has proven--even to many of our frustrations along the way--that you don't necessarily have to fall into the trap of old politics and that you can achieve something if you appeal to what brings people together, rather than trying to benefit from driving them apart. I and a lot of people feel good about that and the possibility that it brings us closer to who we have long told ourselves we are as a nation. If there is something about McCain-Palin that echoes that, without forcing some division of 'real' America and 'real' Americans, please bring it.
posted by troybob at 12:23 PM on October 23, 2008 [5 favorites]


What is baffling about it? Behind the great speeches and rhetoric, we have a candidate who is weak on abortion rights, equivocates on gay rights, offers only modest health care reforms, and flirts with the religious right when politically convenient.

Given all this, don't you think that caution as to exactly what that $150 million a month and grass-roots fundraising will give us is reasonable?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:38 PM on October 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


What is baffling about it? Behind the great speeches and rhetoric, we have a candidate who is weak on abortion rights, equivocates on gay rights, offers only modest health care reforms, and flirts with the religious right when politically convenient.

You're talking about McCain here, right?
posted by shiu mai baby at 12:42 PM on October 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well, no. If he were talking about McCain, it would be a candidate who is actively against abortion rights, unequivocally against gay rights, offers virtually no health care reforms, and makes breakfast in the morning for the religious right.

So, still, you pick your poison.

I accidentally wrote "poisson," which is different but perhaps no less apt.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 12:50 PM on October 23, 2008


KirkJobSluder, what form would this caution take, specifically? Should we pay attention to his policies, both stated and enacted, and make sure that they meet our standards? Should we watch to make sure that he turns out to be the president his campaign makes us believe he will be? Should we scrutinize him intensely, to see if he's a better choice for President than all the other alternatives?

We've done all that. Repeatedly. And I don't think there's anyone in this thread who's thinking that electing Obama as President means giving him the keys to the White House and going to sleep until his performance appraisal in the next election cycle.

So what is it you propose we do, exactly, specifically, that we're not already doing?

Or are you just looking to spread FUD?

'Cause that's what it looks like.
posted by MrVisible at 12:56 PM on October 23, 2008 [3 favorites]


MrVisible - I wouldn't read that into it - KirkJobSluder is more of a fan of general wetblanketry on any given subject, not some Rovian agent.
posted by Artw at 1:19 PM on October 23, 2008


MrVisible: KirkJobSluder, what form would this caution take, specifically? 1) Should we pay attention to his policies, both stated and enacted, and make sure that they meet our standards? 2) Should we watch to make sure that he turns out to be the president his campaign makes us believe he will be? 3) Should we scrutinize him intensely, to see if he's a better choice for President than all the other alternatives?

Numbers added for for reference. The problem here is that I'm seeing practically no serious discussion about #1. There is a lot of talk about how he is a great speaker, and how he's built a very effective campaign organization, but there's very little criticism going on about his actual proposed policy statements, what they would actually mean.

#2 is a bit of a problem, because ideally, I don't want for Obama to live up to his campaign promises of leadership from the center, bipartisan compromise and moderate reforms. I want for Obama to do the right thing, and doing the right thing at this point in time is going to require pissing some people off.

#3 can be a given, but voting for President is low-hanging fruit. Obama certainly is a better target for activism but certain key issues such as marriage equality, single-payer health care, and an inclusive ENDA look like they are going to be an uphill struggle even with him in office.

Or are you just looking to spread FUD?

Is it really FUD to pose a reality check to counter hyperbolic praise and inflated expectations?

Artw: MrVisible - I wouldn't read that into it - KirkJobSluder is more of a fan of general wetblanketry on any given subject, not some Rovian agent.

Ohh, I'll be happy to shower praise on things that I think strongly deserve them. Like cherry pie, which I'm still craving.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 1:39 PM on October 23, 2008


KirkJobSluder: Behind the great speeches and rhetoric, we have a candidate who is weak on abortion rights, equivocates on gay rights, offers only modest health care reforms, and flirts with the religious right when politically convenient.

Could you be more substantive on your problems with his stances? What you wrote is so vague that it does sound like FUD. To help, here's some info:
* abortion rights - NARAL & NRLC consider him 100% pro-choice
* gay rights
* health care
* religious right: I've got nothing here. He's apparently said the Christian Right has hijacked the faith, but that sounds like the opposite of what you said.

On preview: If you want info of his policies, this is a good start.
posted by Pronoiac at 1:50 PM on October 23, 2008


Would I like a president who was an atheist environmentalist who supported universal single payer healthcare, gay marriage, legalizing drugs and the a woman's right to choose? Hell, yeah!

If such a person was running for president today, would I still vote for Obama? Yes, because I would rather have Obama as president than mystery-ideal-candidate as not president.

We have the best candidate we've been offered in my lifetime and I'm not complaining. I'm loving it.

I also think that doing the right thing, at this time, is getting elected. Although I also realize the means/end thing does get complicated. But I also think doing the right thing once he is elected, will also mean being pragmatic and compromising in order to be more effective at doing good things.
posted by snofoam at 1:54 PM on October 23, 2008


Behind the great speeches and rhetoric, we have a candidate who is weak on abortion rights, equivocates on gay rights, offers only modest health care reforms, and flirts with the religious right when politically convenient.

Behind the unfounded generalizations, exaggerations and misrepresentations, we have a commenter with a lack of substantive information to back up their points and an apparent penchant for wetblanketry.
posted by snofoam at 1:58 PM on October 23, 2008


"...there's very little criticism going on about his actual proposed policy statements, what they would actually mean."

KirkJobSluder, either you're suggesting that in the most hotly contested race for the most powerful political position in the nation, there hasn't been any active analysis of the policies of the frontrunner, or you're suggesting that there hasn't been such substantive analysis here. In a thread dedicated to photos of the candidate.

The first is ridiculous. And so is the second; every single discussion doesn't have to recapitulate the analysis ongoing elsewhere.

Just because people aren't as cynical as you are doesn't mean they're ignorant. Or wrong. They're just not as cynical.

It leaves us more open to disappointment, and we realize that. We just think it's worth it to be able to hope for a while. Because sometimes, rarely, those hopes are realized.

And that's glorious.
posted by MrVisible at 2:04 PM on October 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Senator, are you or have you ever been pro-wet-blanketry?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:14 PM on October 23, 2008


“it tends to make people look past the fact that he voted to give the TelCos immunity for spying on you. Seriously, he hasn't let you down yet???”
- mattholomew

A: As opposed to what? All those politicians that never compromise? Poltics is the ART of compromise. You do it or you don’t get elected.
B: You’re wrong. That’s not how it went down. I don’t particularly feel like rehashing this entire thing - it’s on MeFi and easily searched.
C. You’re contradicting your own argument. Either one idolizes Obama and ignores him doing things they otherwise would oppose, or they’re let down by something he does because they believe in the thing more.
If it’s the latter then by definition, they don’t idolize him.

The only real problem is idolizing Obama such that it gets in the way of the principles one believes in and one hopes Obama will work towards.

If one expects perfect ideological alignment and agreement and zero compromise on every issue from a candidate - hell from anyone, that’s fanaticism.
And that’s a far sight worse than idolatry.

Speaking personally, Obama can’t let me down. I expect him to be the man that he is. The only variables, for me, are the Democratic party and the media.
(I know the Republicans are going to attack him. I’m not too worried. As I’ve said, I’ve seen the man fight. And some of you are seeing it as well.)

This cynicism b.s. doesn’t wash for me. Not just because of the acrimony, not just because it’s apparently the cool thing not to, y’know, care about stuff (passion, how gauche), but because there’s real work to be done.

All this “he let me down” crap is just an excuse to fail. Same deal with anti-intellectualism, all the ‘wannabe’ bullcrap.

If you’re looking for that, you’re looking outside yourself for things to get taken care of in the first place so when it doesn’t happen you can blame someone else and still think you’re cool.

Obama’s not going to take your garbage out. He’s not going to shovel your driveway. He’s not going to sit on your local school board or oversee your police department or volunteer to put out fires.

And he’s not going to set this country back on track. We’ve got to do that ourselves.
That’s life. You’ve got to get your own back. But most of us are hungry to do just that. Happy to do it. Like putting money in the bank. That’s his attraction.

Obama’s just not sucking the lifeblood out of us and telling us “you can’t” every time we turn around (see mrzarquon’s comments)

Far as I’m concerned everything else is gravy.

So I’m still voting for a lot of 3rd party candidates (this is Illinois, after all) but I’m voting for Obama for President.


“but why not George Washington? It seems far more apt”

Good point. That too. Although Washington didn’t have people who hated him - literally half the country - as deeply as Lincoln.
But I see the Washington thing too. Whatever the case, Obama has already made history.

“Behind the great speeches and rhetoric, we have a candidate who is weak on abortion rights, equivocates on gay rights, offers only modest health care reforms, and flirts with the religious right when politically convenient.”

No, we have a candidate who is not a fanatic and is inclusive of other viewpoints. Do the religious right not have a right to engage politically? Should the pro-life folks be marginalized and ignored so that they get frustrated with the political process and shoot abortion doctors and set fire to clinics?

I know it might sound bizarre that he talks to these people. Probably as bizarre as it sounds to rabid hawks that we have to talk to terrorists.
And its better if all sides are a bit apprehensive and mildly disappointed than if one group is radically marginalized and seeks extreme means to get their point across.

Everything you’ve said is indicative of that. He talks to people. He’s inclusive.
Sometimes that’s a slow process. But it’s a process that has to be worked through.

Or were you looking for a George Bush of the ‘liberal’s as though two wrongs make a right?
What’s most odious about Bush are his methods. One can argue to what degree his ideology (if indeed, his is not merely a show to sucker the rubes) plays in method, but there’s little question that even the most fanatic ideologue is harmless if his methods are tolerable. So too, even the most mild philosophy is untenable if it’s oppressive (e.g. Harrison Bergeron and egalitarianism).

So, Obama talks to ‘the enemy.’ Y’know, it’s worse than that even. He listens.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:17 PM on October 23, 2008 [9 favorites]


....and besides, what Obama OR McCain say they each would and wouldn't do if they were elected only means so much anyway, because no matter what, they have to go through Congress first -- Congress are the ones that do the nuts-and-bolts WRITING of the laws in the first place. So no president, at any time, before or since, is ever going to be able to deliver on campaign promises 100% exactly as they have laid them out for us during the campaign; they can say all they want, but all it takes is some butt-wipe Representative to be the swing vote in the House on some bill and their promises die.

But -- we KNOW this. Or at least we're SUPPOSED to know this (going by how closely people watch the Congressional races -- that is, not at all -- maybe we don't). And so I think a lot of people take a president's campaign promises as just what they are -- ideas, suggestions, and theories -- and we aren't expecting 100% accuracy in delivery because sometimes shit -- or, Congress -- just happens.

So I take all presidents' campaign promises with the subtext that "but this is the way I would be doing things if it were entirely up to me and while we're all dreaming I'd also like a pony". All I'm looking for is someone whose pipe dreams show the same kind of basic logic and priorities as me. I know Obama's not going to deliver 100% on his promises, because NO president CAN. So the tut-tutting about "well, aren't you going to be Miss Dissapointed" is falling flat because, well, that's always the way it works; the government is plain just set up that way.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:21 PM on October 23, 2008


Could you be more substantive on your problems with his stances? What you wrote is so vague that it does sound like FUD. To help, here's some info:

Abortion: Even on the links you posted, he equivocates in rhetoric in regards to key issues such as whether women have an absolute right to abortion, and abstinence education. His comment regarding late-term abortion shows a play to the middle. He has also said, "I believe that women should have some control over their bodies and themselves" and that the decision to have an abortion is "generally is one that a woman should make." Which leads one to wonder what forms of control women shouldn't have over their bodies, and when abortion is not a decision for a woman to make.

Gay rights: After the California Supreme Court decision, Obama's statement invoked a state's rights argument:
Barack Obama has always believed that same-sex couples should enjoy equal rights under the law, and he will continue to fight for civil unions as President. He respects the decision of the California Supreme Court, and continues to believe that states should make their own decisions when it comes to the issue of marriage.
His opposition statements to Prop. 8 in CA and 102 in AZ have been weak, and prefaced with a statement affirming the superiority of heterosexual marriage, proposing instead the civil unions language which courts MA, CA, and CN have rejected as an inferior legal solution.

Health care: Incremental reforms and tax cuts fall far short of the radical overhaul that our health system needs in order to provide minimal quality of care to all Americans.

Religious right: Quite often early in his campaign, he sought endorsements from anti-gay Christian ministers and congregations. Including Donnie McClurkin.

MrVisible: The first is ridiculous. And so is the second; every single discussion doesn't have to recapitulate the analysis ongoing elsewhere.

No, every thread doesn't have to recapitulate the same analysis. But a false statement does not become true because this is a photo thread.

MrVisible: Just because people aren't as cynical as you are doesn't mean they're ignorant. Or wrong. They're just not as cynical.

You see it as cynicsm. I see it as taking statements and actions made by Obama and his campaign at face value. Obama is not a champion of the American left. And he doesn't claim to be either. So why is he being hailed as such?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:39 PM on October 23, 2008


I’ve seen the man fight. And some of you are seeing it as well.

That's one of the neatest things. It's like he lets the other guy wear himself out, and he comes out the winner because he remains cool and rational.
posted by troybob at 2:48 PM on October 23, 2008


Would I like a president who was an atheist environmentalist who supported universal single payer healthcare, gay marriage, legalizing drugs and the a woman's right to choose? Hell, yeah!

Jack Layton would not be as good a President as you think.
posted by GuyZero at 2:48 PM on October 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


KirkJobSluder - also, I’d look to the Dems for the resistance to those issues.
Obama is either going to run the party or not.
If not - everything is going to be a negotiation and the ‘right thing’ might not get done.
If he does (and it’s, unfortunately for me because I dislike radical change, looking more and more like he will) then things will move fast. But he won’t step on people because that’s not his M.O.

Let me put it this way - if you’ve kept an eye on the race - McCain looks a lot more active. That’s because McCain’s a counterpuncher. Well, Obama’s a wrestler. It’s why he looks passive. But it’s not that he’s not moving. It’s that he’s exerting pressure. Just not explosively.

So you might get change, just not, probably, through the rapid force you intimate you’d like to see. I’m not saying you’re bad for not wanting it or anything. I think it’s long past due myself.
But his style is dynamic, not dogmatic.
(I’d think that’d be refreshing really) So you’re not going to get solid policy statements like: “We’re going to do ‘X’ no matter what.”

Ambiguity sucks on some of these things, I know.
But nothing makes an otherwise rational man look for a fight quicker than the thought that “those people are crazy and can’t be reasoned with.”

Y’know, you do have to convince your opponant to stop fighting in order to win. It’s not just about force. If you can do it without pissing them off - if you can make them see reason, or see that it’s in their best interest even - there’s a much better chance it will stick.
(Typically, I’ve been telling this to folks on the ‘right.’ Looks like I’ll be telling people on the ‘left’ again.)

Still - if it’s not a value that can stand on it’s own merits, perhaps it’s not worthwhile. (Although in the specific case of gay marriage, there’s little question discrimination against anyone is wrong. Might take some time to make that stick tho. Took a while with black folks, women, etc.)
I guess the (implicit) question then would be the same as I posed (far) above: Do you want it now, for yourself, or do you want it to stick?

What’d be terrible is a sort of stalemate between Obama and the rest of the party (Clintons seem to be coming over, but they’re still wildcards).

(The Republicans are a known quantity. Weighty perhaps, but y’know, just an obsticle. Like a big rock.)
posted by Smedleyman at 2:52 PM on October 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


I am completely taken aback at my own emotional response to these Obama pictures. I don't think I've ever felt the motivation to display a picture of any US political figure before (at least, not one that hasn't been Photoshopped for comedic effect), but these I want to print, frame, and hang in my office. Weird. Is this what being proud of your country feels like? It's like I'm experiencing feelings of patriotism in a whole new way, and I should break out into song or something. But apparently, Cindy McCain and the Republicans have always felt like this, so I guess I'm just late to the party.
posted by Dr. Zira at 3:09 PM on October 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


EmpressCallipygos: The problem as I see it is that the expectations are far exceeding what Obama has actually promised. It's not the case that Obama is promising a radical left-wing renaissance which will probably be blocked by congress. Instead, Obama has rather deliberately played to the middle offering only comfortable and safe reforms.

Smedleyman: That’s life. You’ve got to get your own back. But most of us are hungry to do just that. Happy to do it. Like putting money in the bank. That’s his attraction.

Why do you need Obama to do that? I marched on Washington when Obama was in Chicago. I did hours of educational work on GLBT rights during the 90s. Why is a Barak Obama necessary for you to get off your ass and do something?

Smedleyman: No, we have a candidate who is not a fanatic and is inclusive of other viewpoints. Do the religious right not have a right to engage politically? Should the pro-life folks be marginalized and ignored so that they get frustrated with the political process and shoot abortion doctors and set fire to clinics?

Two problems here.

The first is, I consider reproductive rights and marriage equality to be fundamental human rights. There is no moral room for compromise, just as there was no moral room to compromise in regards torture, segregation, or voting rights.

Secondly, Obama's equivocation on these issues do suggest that if a bill that compromised on either of those two rights came across his desk, and he found that compromise to be politically expedient, that bill could very well become law. It means that he may very well appoint a justice that might further undermine Roe vs. Wade, or establish a legal distinction between marriage and civil unions. It means that his appointees may not advocate for those rights to the full extent of their powers. (Remember what happened when we had Surgeon Generals who actually tried to promote comprehensive sex ed?)

Smedleyman: Obama’s a wrestler. It’s why he looks passive. But it’s not that he’s not moving. It’s that he’s exerting pressure. Just not explosively.

Well, I don't think that Obama is a closet leftist who is exerting subtle pressure that makes it look like he's in the middle of the road.

When Obama makes equivocal statements regarding reproductive and gay rights, I think it's because he honestly isn't committed to reproductive and gay rights.

Which is fine, Obama may in fact be the right person at the right time. I held my nose and voted. That's about all I feel compelled to do.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 3:22 PM on October 23, 2008


Why is a Barak Obama necessary for you to get off your ass and do something?

Perhaps I'm not reading the same thread, but I don't think that is the matter of contention.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:33 PM on October 23, 2008


Abortion: Even on the links you posted, he equivocates in rhetoric in regards to key issues such as whether women have an absolute right to abortion, and abstinence education. His comment regarding late-term abortion shows a play to the middle. He has also said, "I believe that women should have some control over their bodies and themselves" and that the decision to have an abortion is "generally is one that a woman should make." Which leads one to wonder what forms of control women shouldn't have over their bodies, and when abortion is not a decision for a woman to make.

Actually, his position on abortion is reflective of what I would venture the majority of Americans feel. You have the outliers on either end of the spectrum: on the far, far right you have those people who believe abortion is always wrong, regardless of the health of the mother and/or the circumstances that caused her to become pregnant, e.g., rape or incest. Then on the other end you have people who believe that a woman's right to terminate the pregnancy should be preserved until the second the child is born.

I think that the number of people who espouse either extreme are vastly outnumbered by the rest of America, whose beliefs fall somewhere in the middle. Obama's position on this issue speaks for itself. He is not a freaky right-winger who wants to control the bodies of women any more than he's someone who would be ok with terminating a pregnancy at 40 weeks. You lambaste Obama for "equivocating in rhetoric," but you forget that you're talking about a highly emotional, incredibly nuanced and complicated topic. Frankly, I'd rather have a candidate embrace the fact that the abortion debate is a gray area, because the implications of one who saw the issue in strict black and white terms (like, say, Sarah Palin does) is infinitely more terrifying.
posted by shiu mai baby at 3:34 PM on October 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Obama:
"A woman's ability to decide how many children to have and when, without interference from the government, is one of the most fundamental rights we possess. It is not just an issue of choice, but equality and opportunity for all women.

"I have consistently advocated for reproductive choice and will make preserving women's rights under Roe v. Wade a priority as President. I oppose any constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court's ruling in this case
.

"I believe we must work together to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies. I support legislation to expand access to contraception, health information, and preventative services to help reduce unintended pregnancies. That is why I co-sponsored the Prevention First Act of 2007, which will increase funding for family planning and comprehensive sex education that teaches both abstinence and safe sex methods. It will also end insurance discrimination against contraception, improve awareness about emergency contraception, and provide compassionate assistance to rape victims.

"Finally, I support the enactment and enforcement of laws that help prevent violence, intimidation, and harassment directed at reproductive health providers and their patients."
From here.

Perhaps you and I have differing definitions of "equivocating"?
posted by shiu mai baby at 3:40 PM on October 23, 2008 [3 favorites]


For some balance, I really like this picture of Sarah Palin.
posted by gyc at 3:45 PM on October 23, 2008


shiu mai baby: Frankly, I'd rather have a candidate embrace the fact that the abortion debate is a gray area, because the implications of one who saw the issue in strict black and white terms (like, say, Sarah Palin does) is infinitely more terrifying.

Well, for some people the implications that the ability to make medical decisions may be arbitrarily suspended in some cases because it's a "gray area" are highly terrifying.

Which is sort of the point. You can hardly expect someone who cares about these issues with deep passion to be enthusiastic about a presidential candidate who equivocates about them.

Perhaps you and I have differing definitions of "equivocating"?

Well yes. I do consider it equivocating to through wholehearted support behind Roe in one statement, and then in another statement suggest that the full legal scope of Roe may be limited in certain undefined cases.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 3:49 PM on October 23, 2008


There may be an argument that Obama's support for Roe v. Wade is entirely compatible with his support of legislative criteria for the medical necessity of late-term abortion excluding psychological factors. If so, it's not obvious and it looks like he's saying two different things at two different times.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 4:03 PM on October 23, 2008


So wait, are you saying you wouldn't be satisfied with Obama's position on abortion unless he came out and said abortion should be 100% legal all the way up until the birth of the child? Seriously?
posted by shiu mai baby at 4:04 PM on October 23, 2008


THERE'S BARACK OBAMA!
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 4:07 PM on October 23, 2008


Because unless that's your criterion, I don't see how he could have a position that was more favorable to women than what he's stated. We have no medical consensus of when a fetus goes from "fetus" to "baby." Is it at the point of conception? When the heart forms? The moment it leaves the birth canal? We just don't know. Personally, the line for me is somewhere around the time that the fetus can survive outside the womb, but even then it's never an absolute issue.

I guess what I'm ineloquently trying to convey is that, short of making all abortions completely legal and the sole decision of the mother up until the moment of birth, it's a gray area and will continue to be so until our medical understanding of the human development process advances way past where it is now.
posted by shiu mai baby at 4:09 PM on October 23, 2008


I guess what I'm ineloquently trying to convey is that, short of making all abortions completely legal and the sole decision of the mother up until the moment of birth, it's a gray area and will continue to be so until our medical understanding of the human development process advances way past where it is now.

But there are no gray areas when everything is black or white, corporate shill or leftist hero, hero worship or complete dismissal. Nuances, who needs 'em?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:14 PM on October 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


shiu mai baby: So wait, are you saying you wouldn't be satisfied with Obama's position on abortion unless he came out and said abortion should be 100% legal all the way up until the birth of the child? Seriously?

I'm not going to say 100% legal. I find that Obama's suggestion that congress can define a priori which factors and conditions can and cannot be considered in determining medical justification for a late-term abortion to be a threat to Roe v. Wade. And you can't both say that one supports the full scope of Roe v. Wade and say that congress has the power to set the criteria for that decision.

I guess what I'm ineloquently trying to convey is that, short of making all abortions completely legal and the sole decision of the mother up until the moment of birth, it's a gray area and will continue to be so until our medical understanding of the human development process advances way past where it is now.

Of course it's a grey area. The question is, who gets to define medical necessity? Can congresscritters really make laws that encompass all the possible permutations of a complex deicsion of medial ethics? At the core of Roe v. Wade is the recognition that those decisions should be decided between a patient and her doctor, not the patient, her doctor and congress.

Marisa: But there are no gray areas when everything is black or white, corporate shill or leftist hero, hero worship or complete dismissal. Nuances, who needs 'em?

Who has called Obama a corporate shill, or completely dismissed him?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 4:24 PM on October 23, 2008


“Why is a Barak Obama necessary for you to get off your ass and do something?”

Because, as I said, you don’t have to spend time trying to figure out and/or fighting the Byzantine moves made by, for example, the Bush administration which repeatedly made government more opaque and inaccessible and discouraged involvement by a number of means. Government during the Clinton era was somewhat more accessible, but it wasn’t a “sure, c’mon in” sort of invitation Obama brings to the table.
And, as has been said above, he’s gotten many many people involved in the process who otherwise weren’t and wouldn’t be.
It’s swell you’re already engaged. But it’s telling that you mentioned engagement in the process because of your marginalization. A lot of folks feel alienated who don’t otherwise have a passionate cause to champion.
For me - the more people involved, the healthier the country and the better the dialogue.
It’s a simple fact that people need leadership. One can argue the merits of anarchy and motivation. Perhaps you or I don’t need prompting to be motivated to get involved. But not a lot of people can make that jump. Or see that they can.
So it takes leadership. And the kind of leadership is crucial. Obama is that kind of leader.

“There is no moral room for compromise, just as there was no moral room to compromise in regards torture, segregation, or voting rights.”

Yeah. I mentioned that. Albiet parenthetically. Compromise, no. Time? Yeah, maybe.

“Obama's equivocation on these issues do suggest that if a bill that compromised on either of those two rights came across his desk, and he found that compromise to be politically expedient, that bill could very well become law.”

Ok. What are you willing to give up to see those become law? Not ‘should.’ Not ‘could.’ You shouldn’t have to kiss ass or load something with pork to push a bill, but sometimes you do - so, from the other side, should he not compromise to get it pushed through?
That then comes down to what *you* value.
I’m not arguing that. His equivocation suggests to you he could do thus and so. I’m telling you that’s a function of his methodology, not his ideology.
If you want to debate whether where he stands on the issues is right for you, that’s a whole other thing. I’m a conservative. I think he’s not strong enough on the right to bear arms.
But I think he’s willing to negotiate and listen to reason so I’m willing to let that slide. Some other things, not so much. But those are matters that don’t hinge solely on him being president. Although I will cede that that is a strong influence. But again, method.


“Well, I don't think that Obama is a closet leftist who is exerting subtle pressure that makes it look like he's in the middle of the road.”

Yeah, you missed the point there. I’d actually like Obama to be a little further right on some things. But again - there’s a difference between explosive force (which I’ll add is a method implicit to some degree in your argument) and slow pressure force.
The point again being method. It’s why McCain, and others, mistake him for being passive. Not any sort of subtle game plan on his part.
My argument is not that he lays back and lets an opponant wear himself out, I’m saying he builds his strength up, brings force to the table and puts you in a toehold while you’re swinging at him so he looks passive. And so -

“When Obama makes equivocal statements regarding reproductive and gay rights, I think it's because he honestly isn't committed to reproductive and gay rights.”

His statements like this stem more from method. Perhaps he isn’t committed. But even in areas he feels very strongly, he still opens up debate, includes and listens to his opponents, and doesn’t deal in dogma.

That said, I’m not addressing whether he actually does or does not support reproductive and gay rights (it’s been argued well elsewhere), I’m merely saying he’ll listen. And that I expect him to support a reasonable decision. As I myself find support for reproductive and gay rights reasonable, and as Obama is to the left of me, I presume he’ll make that kind of decision (a reasonable one) and support the issue.

And, I suspect, so do you since you voted for him. But it sounds like you want it now as opposed to waiting. Which, again, I’m not derogating, it’s perfectly understandable. But you can’t just knock people down and take what you want even if you are right. Hell, especially if.


(I myself vote with deliberation or I don’t vote for that candidate or don’t vote for that bit of the ticket.
For example here in Illinois, there are some democrats I agree with, some republicans, but for the most part a vote for a Democrat in cook county is a vote for the (corrupt) machine.
And the governor is gawd-awful. But this has given rise to a fanatic set of uncompromising Republicans who generally counter whatever any Democrat does on general principles. So (again generally there are a few specific candidates from either party I support) I don’t vote for either and vote green or on occasion libertarian depending on the position and the issues.
It’s worked pretty well for us. The Greens are pretty strong out here. As I value a variety of opinon more than I value ‘my’ side winning, I’m pretty happy to see it.
I’m more interested in changing the rules of the game long term than winning it on any given day. Maybe in 20-30 years we’ll have 4 or 5 parties in the U.S. Maybe more. I’d be happy with that even if everything else is on hold for a while.)
posted by Smedleyman at 4:27 PM on October 23, 2008


... when people are either consumers or revolutionaries ...
posted by wemayfreeze at 4:30 PM on October 23, 2008


Smedleyman: B: You’re wrong. That’s not how it went down. I don’t particularly feel like rehashing this entire thing - it’s on MeFi and easily searched.

Actually, I would say that's exactly how it went down. For reference, here's two MeFi threads about it from the time, and here's Glenn Greenwald's comment on the matter.

I understand the necessity of compromise in politics. The thing is, the word "compromise" implies both sides get something out of the deal. In this case, those in favor of civil liberties got absolutely nothing. It wasn't so much a compromise as, from a civil liberties standpoint, a complete capitulation. The "deal" was worse than what was there before- here's Glenn Greenwald on that. The Republicans were crowing about how they got more than they ever had thought possible after it passed.

Voting against it wouldn't have stopped it, no, but it would have made a statement, and Obama would have stayed true to his word. As it was, he broke a direct promise- he promised that he would filibuster any bill that contained telecom immunity. When it came up, he did not do so, and instead, voted for a bill that contained telecom immunity. And for what, exactly? It wasn't a popularity-winning "move to the center", as some apologists claimed. There wasn't some great silent majority that wanted to see this- as I recall, polls mostly revealed people weren't aware of the issue and leaned against it to the extent that they were. It didn't make the Republicans stop saying he would be soft on terror- they do that anyway, no matter what, and with that vote they could call him a flip-flopper, too. (and did, IIRC) There is simply no good justification for it that I can find, and every explanation for his vote I can think of lowers my opinion of him considerably. To say nothing of the fact that he broke a promise- there is no wiggle room there, that is exactly what he did. None of these things fit well with the image of him as a different kind of politician.

I don't think I'm being an unreasonable moral purist about this- I am voting for him, after all, given how completely atrocious the alternative is. It's just that, though I hope those who view him as a figure of greatness and as something much more than the typical Democratic politician are right, based on his own actions I simply do not believe it.
posted by a louis wain cat at 5:16 PM on October 23, 2008


Smedleyman: Because, as I said, you don’t have to spend time trying to figure out and/or fighting the Byzantine moves made by, for example, the Bush administration which repeatedly made government more opaque and inaccessible and discouraged involvement by a number of means. Government during the Clinton era was somewhat more accessible, but it wasn’t a “sure, c’mon in” sort of invitation Obama brings to the table.

Ohh, come on. Your city council meets probably one night a week. In three months of open meetings you can learn a heck of a lot about your local government. I'm willing to bet your statehouse has an open archive of bills in progress, and your state rep. a local office where you can get some more information. If party politics is your thing, I'm certain there's an office downtown in which you can show up, raise your hand, and get started. If party politics isn't your thing, I'm willing to bet that there is an environmentalist group, a gay rights group, and a feminist organization in your neck of the woods that has an ear to the legislative pipeline and will email you action alerts.

But it sounds like you want it now as opposed to waiting. Which, again, I’m not derogating, it’s perfectly understandable.

No, what I'm saying, under all this noise, is that you can't expect people who have significant differences of opinion with Obama on the basis of policy to be enthusiastic about what he brings to politics. That's it. You can't expect people to be enthusiastic when there are significant differences of opinion regarding policy. Significant differences of opinion regarding policy tends to squelch enthusiasm.

I don't expect, demand, or require Obama to do anything different. I only suggest a modicum of skepticism regarding what kinds of policy he really offers along with that brilliant leadership and that sexy voice.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:16 PM on October 23, 2008


Which, ok. To avoid being a total wet blanket, I'd much rather listen to Obama in my morning shower than McCain's strained whine. McCain always sounds to me like he's horribly constipated and straining.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:20 PM on October 23, 2008


At this point, I'll settle for someone who doesn't embarrass the crap outta me. It's been a while.
posted by heyho at 5:28 PM on October 23, 2008


This seems as good a place as any for me to say that what excited me about Obama in the first place was the way he invoked the memory of Martin Luther King in his early speeches; once he got the nomination, it feels more like a ploy, a tactic which, having had the desired effect, has been summarily abandoned, its usefulness spent.

I guess what I'm saying is I'd rather it were Martin Luther King running for president today, and not someone who would use King's good name--just as many Republicans might invoke the name of Ronald Reagan--in a cynical bid for public office. I'll still vote for Obama, but lamentably, without the wild enthusiasm with which I voted in the primaries.
posted by Restless Day at 5:35 PM on October 23, 2008


For some balance, I really like this picture of Sarah Palin.

Funny how whenever Sarah Palin is captured in a photo holding Trig, there's never been one that stands out with her, y'know, interacting with her baby. She's supposed to be the supermom, but mostly her kids seem like accessories to me.

I know I come from wierdo liberal-land where parents talk to and engage their kids from the moment they're born because it's good for their brains and such, it could be my expectations of parental involvment are set high. Maybe Sarah Palin does do this with Trig in private, but you have to figure that her life is pretty hectic right now and she is probably exhausted most of the time that she has alone with her kid. So you'd think that there would be a greater likelihood of a real connection happening in those spare moments that she finally gets to hold her baby and hang out, since they're few and far between. And instead she's checking one of her two blackberries.

I just think it's strange.
posted by brain cloud at 5:35 PM on October 23, 2008


Funny how whenever Sarah Palin is captured in a photo holding Trig, there's never been one that stands out with her, y'know, interacting with her baby.

You mean like this?
posted by gyc at 5:57 PM on October 23, 2008


You mean like this?

Heh - whaddaya know! I've never seen that photo. I certainly don't mind being proved wrong -- but honestly, that has to be the one and only snap I've seen of her fussing over that kid.
posted by brain cloud at 6:20 PM on October 23, 2008


Who has called Obama a corporate shill, or completely dismissed him?

When you go through great pains to re-state the obvious - that Obama isn't perfect - as if this is some blinding revelation, no matter how many times his own supporters here say "Yes, thank you, we know"? It sure does seem as though you lack a sense of nuance between "left wing hero" and "typical politician", and can't or won't see the difference between "admiration" and "hero worship". Just sayin', you're trying waaay too hard.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:23 PM on October 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


Marisa: When you go through great pains to re-state the obvious - that Obama isn't perfect - as if this is some blinding revelation, no matter how many times his own supporters here say "Yes, thank you, we know"? It sure does seem as though you lack a sense of nuance between "left wing hero" and "typical politician", and can't or won't see the difference between "admiration" and "hero worship". Just sayin', you're trying waaay too hard.

Except that it doesn't appear to be "obvious" to everyone participating in this discussion. shiu mai baby, MrVisible, and Pronoiac asked direct questions as to why some people might consider him a less than ideal candidate when it comes to abortion, gay rights, health care, and relationships with religious wingnuts.

Then there was Smedlyman's hypothesis that Obama is a closet leftist who is just playing to the middle as a form of political judo. Which may be true, but I'm unwilling to plan the next four years of activism around it.

And I apologize for not making it more clear, that I've been praising Obama for his skills as a grass-roots organizer, his inclusive speechwriting language, and his commitment to a 50-state strategy, even though I disagree with his equivocation on key issues, his centrist politics, and willingness to consort with anti-gay bigots. I had thought that it was clear that my criticisms of him are focused and specific. But apparently, I was not, and I apologize for any perceived lack of nuance and focus.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:36 PM on October 23, 2008


I disagree with his equivocation on key issues, his centrist politics, and willingness to consort with anti-gay bigots.

Honestly, if you had to choose, who do you believe would be more likely to have you executed by the federal government for being gay: Obama or Palin?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:19 PM on October 23, 2008


"Ohh, come on. Your city council meets probably one night a week. In three months of open meetings you can learn a heck of a lot about your local government."

Let's not make this personal shall we? I'm involved. In quite a few things.
The point there is that not everyone is and that some people need inspiration to be. Especially given the climate of recent years. I myself don't give them shit about it.

Hell, it's in the republican party interest to disenfranchise voters why the hell *wouldn't* they bring an atmosphere of exclusion to the table?

"No, what I'm saying, under all this noise, is that you can't expect people who have significant differences of opinion with Obama on the basis of policy to be enthusiastic about what he brings to politics. That's it."

And I've allowed for that. You're either arguing with me on method or you're not in opposition to my point. I'm telling you how - for example - Michael Jordan plays ball, his method, his style, how he plays the game. And I'm asserting that this is why so many people became Bulls fans.

I'm not telling you to like the Bulls, or Jordan, just that "look - this is how he moves left, this is how he jukes, this is what he does before he shoots."
You're arguing he should be in a different position or on another team and you'd be more for him if he were in your hometown.
As it is, if that's your point there's no argument to be had. Nothing you've said has substantially contradicted my position, and I'm not attacking yours. I'm just saying many people are fans not just because of the positions he takes but because of how he does things.
You have a difference of opinion with him. Ok. You value certain things more highly than others. Well, I can't argue that. It's your life and your decision to make.


"I don't think I'm being an unreasonable moral purist about this- I am voting for him, after all..."

Don't. Don't vote for him. If the telecom thing is so important to you - don't. Fucking. Vote for him.
Oh, but wait, you're a democrat. And you don't like the alternatives. Uh, huh. So it's ok for you to make concessions to your party and even though you might not like it, you vote for ...wait, that sounds familiar.

Since when is he not a politician?

And he's already great. Let's not take that away from him. Were Clinton in this position I would make the same argument that she is making history. Oh, I wouldn't support her, but I would respect the achievement.
I'd recognize the cultural milestone the country was reaching and I'd applaud it. That's all I see most folks doing here.

"here's Glenn Greenwald's comment on the matter."

What do you think I'm a fucking liberal? Greenwald's my authority and that's going to cut any ice with me?

You posted all this crap and you didn't read any of the counter arguments I had in mind apparently.
Hell, I said so myself that he's a dangerous man. The Lincoln comment alone - not that I expect anyone to actually read and absorb anything before sounding off.

Obama could be a son of a bitch. He could be at the helm at one of the worst eras in American history. That was coming whether it was Obama, McCain or Jesus running for the next 4 years. But even if he is a son of a bitch, he's the right son of a bitch.

Apparently most of the world feels that way as well.

All I see this "well, he's not perfect" crap as is hedging your bets. He starts screwing up I'll be first in line to (rhetorically) kick his ass.

It's not like I make any bones about supporting the Iraq war going in. I knew (that is *knew*) what I knew and most other folks watched the news, hated Bush and made up their own minds.
As it turns out what I *knew* turned out to be manufactured. Well, ok, I was wrong.

But it doesn't mean I'm not ever going to support anything ever again. Maybe I'm wrong about Obama and he's a complete Nazi. I doubt it.
As I said - I'm not exactly all on board with his platform, but I'm willing to make concessions because of the way he does things. I don't think I'm going to get handed this "your with us or against us" crap.
In part (and at worst) because he'll have vocal opposition in the Republicans (not strong tho, I expect them to get blown away next cycle as well).

Anyway, if we're speculating I suspect that the first black president - like the first female president - cannot fail. Like Jackie Robinson, he has to play at a high level or his failure will be vast. He can't get caught in a scandal, say, getting blown.

If he's not one of the best presidents of all time he will be remembered - despite whatever the actual reality - as one of the worst.

And then y'all can wag your fingers and say "I told you so" because even though you voted for him, you held your noses.

And won't we all be happy then.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:28 PM on October 23, 2008


"Then there was Smedlyman's hypothesis that Obama is a closet leftist who is just playing to the middle as a form of political judo. Which may be true, but I'm unwilling to plan the next four years of activism around it."

I've been unclear or you've completely misread what I wrote.


More to the point - I like the one of him sitting there at the desk. You know those 'Bubba Keg' cups are damned handy.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:33 PM on October 23, 2008


Ah, sorry for all the verbage, I should have just linked this.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:54 PM on October 23, 2008


This thread has reminded me that one of the weirdest parts of this campaign has been the stigmatization of oratory. Suddenly we don't want politicians to talk about politics, act like politicos, or give a good speech? WTF?

And +1 times infinity to those who have pointed out that (shock! awe!) Obama's admirers are adults with decision-making capacities. The morons who think more than 50% of the country has been swayed with some MAJICK OBAMA LAZER can suck it.
posted by mynameisluka at 11:46 PM on October 23, 2008 [3 favorites]


It always seemed strange to me that McCain would base his attacks on "He's so popular! People like him so much! How could you vote for a man who inspires people so completely?!?".

I though that tactic had pretty much disappeared after the Palin pick. But then at the last debate it came back in such a weird way. He said something along the lines of "You see, this just goes to show the eloquence of my opponent."

For real? That's your best line of attack? You can no longer zing him for being popular, so your insult is that he speaks well? After everyone is tearing your running mate a new one over her inability to string words together to form a complete sentence, you demonize eloquence?
posted by team lowkey at 12:38 AM on October 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Don't. Don't vote for him. If the telecom thing is so important to you - don't. Fucking. Vote for him.
Oh, but wait, you're a democrat. And you don't like the alternatives. Uh, huh. So it's ok for you to make concessions to your party and even though you might not like it, you vote for ...wait, that sounds familiar.


Well, actually, I'm not a Democrat or even really a liberal myself anymore, and arguably it doesn't make sense for me to be voting at all given the more or less anarchist beliefs I hold. Suffice it to say that force of habit, utilitarian moral calculus, and desire to hinder the Republican Party keep me voting for Democrats, but yeah, maybe you're right. Nevertheless, I want the Republicans to pay for the past eight years badly enough that I'm pretty sure I'll be going out to the voting booth for at least this one last time- it's really a vote against them, rather than for the Democrats. It's a small thing, but the larger the popular vote total for the Democratic candidate, the more it drives home to the Republicans the consequences of what they've done. I don't think the small sacrifice of principle that represents really compares to Obama's telecom vote- for one thing, his vote carries a great deal more weight and importance than mine does, and for another, I never promised that I'd never vote for a Democrat.


What do you think I'm a fucking liberal? Greenwald's my authority and that's going to cut any ice with me?

You posted all this crap and you didn't read any of the counter arguments I had in mind apparently.


I think your first link was supposed to be something else, but I did indeed read the comment in your second link, and basically the argument there boils down to "we have no other choice." And I don't disagree with that at all- thus why I'm voting for him in the first place. It doesn't make the telecom thing in itself seem more justifiable, though.

Actually, though, I'm not sure we're really disagreeing on much, aside from the telecom thing, perhaps. I gather you don't agree with Greenwald's analysis, but you don't really say why- I don't think Greenwald's exactly a liberal by the American definition either, per se. You are right, of course, about the cultural milestone Obama represents (and that Hillary Clinton would have as well)- and yes, I should have given him credit for that much. For all my negative view of the American political system, that does represent something very positive. And yes, in that sense, I'd absolutely agree that he is already a figure of greatness. It's just that I'm not sure he's much of a departure as a politician, specifically. He is exceptionally intelligent and good at what he does, there is no doubt, and I don't want to give the impression I think otherwise- but when people think of greatness in the political sphere, they tend to imagine something truly transformative, something that ushers in a new era. And I think a lot of people are expecting just that from him, but though I hope I'm wrong, I seriously doubt that an Obama adminstration will be that- I think it's most likely going to be something not very different from what the Clinton administration was (though probably without the sex scandals, thankfully), and I think the telecom vote was a glaring indicator of this.

Something like the Clinton administration would, of course, be a great improvement over the past eight years, but hardly the great, transformative change that his campaign tries to invoke and that many seem to expect. (Mind you, it might seem like one after Bush, so perhaps I should be more sympathetic to the belief.) To the extent that people believe he will be the vehicle for such a thing, I think they are setting themselves up to be gravely disappointed. That's been my point in this thread, basically, and what I've been arguing against- if one's expectation is more just that he'll be a skilled and intelligent President and a typical Democrat in terms of policy (keeping in mind that the party leadership is far to the right of much of their base, and ultimately doesn't especially care what that base thinks), I think that's entirely reasonable.
posted by a louis wain cat at 2:23 AM on October 24, 2008


Blazecock Pileon: Honestly, if you had to choose, who do you believe would be more likely to have you executed by the federal government for being gay: Obama or Palin?

Nuance, it's good for breakfast.

As I've said above, I already chose, and it's reasonable to choose Obama over McCain on gay rights.

But his statements regarding marriage vs. civil unions strongly suggest to me that Obama is going to play it safe on those issues unless he gets some significant pressure to do the right thing. As I pointed out above, the Civil Rights act was shepherded through Congress by a White House willing to take political risks to do the right thing. That's the kind of leadership the gay rights movement needs right now, and I don't see that happening.

There is more to politics than voting, and Obama vs. McCain. This thread isn't about voting, it's about enthusiasm and the time, energy, and money that goes along with it.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 6:12 AM on October 24, 2008


a louis wain cat: ...if one's expectation is more just that he'll be a skilled and intelligent President and a typical Democrat in terms of policy...

That's my expectation, and I believe it's the expectation of many of the people posting here that they really like Obama. Personally, I find this enough to be really excited about an Obama presidency. No kool-aid drinking required.

And some of these photos are incredible. I love the one with the holes in the shoes.
posted by Orb at 6:41 AM on October 24, 2008


Did you know? Barack Obama is a powerful, not-so-quiet Fantasy Football partner, too.
posted by shiu mai baby at 7:05 AM on October 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


The problem as I see it is that the expectations are far exceeding what Obama has actually promised. It's not the case that Obama is promising a radical left-wing renaissance which will probably be blocked by congress. Instead, Obama has rather deliberately played to the middle offering only comfortable and safe reforms.

And...your problem with this is....what, exactly?

That some people -- and even in here, they're in the minority -- are getting carried away? That's human nature.

That some people are voting for him anyway, even though he's only "slightly to the left" instead of "left-wing radical"? Well...chacon a son gout, right?

That he's NOT a left-wing radical? Well...again, chacon a son gout, and if a real leftwing revolutionary is what you seek, there are other options if that's who you want to vote for (I can put you in touch with a friend of mine from the Green Party whom I'm sure would be MORE than happy to tell you ALL about Cynthia McKinney).

So it looks like, if you boil this down, that you're annoyed by the fact that some people are....er....acting like people. Not much you can do about that.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:31 AM on October 24, 2008


“ Actually, though, I'm not sure we're really disagreeing on much, aside from the telecom thing, perhaps. I gather you don't agree with Greenwald's analysis, but you don't really say why- I don't think Greenwald's exactly a liberal by the American definition either, per se.”

My apologies for that. I think my presumption was that Greenwald was used as sort of an icon there. As an appeal to authority. Not that this is what you did, but it’s how it appeared to me.
Which, in retrospect, is where I think the problem is.
I think you’re right, we’re not too really in disagreement. But my point - which unfortunately I took as read given the context of the FPP - is one of symbolism. Obama as symbol.

Yours, and others, is one of practical matters, which I attempted to address, but not exactly counter per se.

“I'd absolutely agree that he is already a figure of greatness. It's just that I'm not sure he's much of a departure as a politician, specifically”

Is where the rubber hits the road. I think we can agree - within reason - on both, I happen to feel he is a departure as a politician, but he is, still, a politician. But that’s a matter of taste really - in terms of what’s tolerable, not on principle.

I think where the symbolism and methodology I’ve been arguing does clash with Obama the politician is here on transformative change:

“That's been my point in this thread, basically, and what I've been arguing against- if one's expectation is more just that he'll be a skilled and intelligent President and a typical Democrat in terms of policy...”

I think, to some degree, he’s not going to be in charge of the transformative change part. I fully agree that we don’t need Obama per se to do it, but the reality is people often need someone to spark it.
This is where Obama comes in. I don’t expect him to be the best politician ever, or an MLK (who wasn’t perfect either) or some such.
Indeed, I could stand for him to be a little further right on some things (gun rights, f’rinstance).

But sometimes you get dealt a wildcard. I think substantial transformative change is going to happen. It’s always people who do these things for good or ill. Obama is really just going to set the tone and step back as the country charges into the next era (for good or ill).
Given the time and the events that are unfolding - the wars, the economy, the old guard finally losing power and/or dying off - etc etc. If folks can’t tell this is a crucial moment in history they’re blind and deaf.

The only difference between McCain and whomever his opposition was going to be is that McCain would try to delay the change for 4 more years at least.
Look at 9/11 - that was an absolutely transformative moment in history - people wanted to come together and do - something. Did anything really change? No. In fact it became even more rigidly locked into a pattern. That’s because Bushco didn’t let it happen.

As it is now - we’re at another cusp in history. Clinton might have done well. She’s not to my taste, and I think the Dems would be in lockstep (whether they liked it or not) with whatever agenda she had in mind.
But we have this basically ‘new’ guy who is not only not beholden to old party politics he’s absolutely brilliant in side stepping them (the way he came up in Chicago is a singular event. Unique in history. Chicago doesn’t want nobody that nobody sent, see? But he punched right through that in unprescedented fashion. Didn’t even get touched by the one thing that maybe could have nailed him, the Tony Resko thing. But you can’t screw an innocent man. Oh, you can insinuate. But he was clean. And he wasn’t connected to the machine and didn’t owe anyone so he could say ‘Go to hell’ and not a damn thing anyone could say to that)
And he has had no real choice - given he was facing the Clintons who were party heavyweights - but to go to grassroots to raise money. And that created a new base.

He represents a new order - whatever his actual base ideology. Which again, is arguable, but not what I’m saying.
He’s just a politician. But I think the part of him that is will, indeed must, make way for the part of him that is a symbol.
Like I said, people will demand it of him. He will have this greatness thrust upon him like Jackie Robinson. He won’t be allowed to fail.

I guess the point being - his greatness - what we expect of him, isn’t contingent on him really. It’s on us. He’s just the current symbol of it.

Remains to be seen whether we let ourselves down.

I can’t stress that last point enough. In part because it’s his message. But also because the method by which he’s gained/is gaining office is so grassroots and so dependent on the motivation of the folks involved.

I think any of the issues folks mentioned here have a far far better chance of succeeding now than ever before, simply because - again whatever Obama’s politics - the way he does things is open house.
So it’s all on us. He’s just a symbol.

Only way he can truly betray us is if he closes all that down. And that’s possible (Villiens ye are, and villiens ye shall remain), but throughtout his entire history, that’s not how he does things. And it’s not how he’s succeeded.
And it’s very very hard to change your core reflexes, especially if they’ve been successful.
(Hell, I’ve spent years trying to train lethality out of myself. It’s not easy.)

So even if he turns out to be far different on issues than you or I are comfortable with, he’s going to yield to reason or practical necessity.
And not only because of the crystalization of how he’s come to power and his basic psychology, but because he’s valuable only as a symbol. Were he not a symbol, if he did not accept that path and wanted to do be more of an ideologue, he would not have gotten anywhere near as far as he has.

Which has been the foundation of why I will vote for him since day one, even though, I too, don’t fully align with him on issues.
(With Clinton - I don’t align, but I see radical differences in the structure of her administration, Kerry too. Gore - different story.)
I’m not voting for the man, I’m voting for what I expect the country to do with him in office.
For me - although I disliked him voting for the revised telecom bill - it satisfied what my expectations of him were. I don’t expect him to wield the bully pulpit, I expect him to play ball. And given that the grassroots are his base, that’s who I expect him to bend to.

So, if you do want to get something done, now’s the time to organize and do it and have a better chance of seeing it bear fruit.
Exactly because he is a symbol.
If he stops being that then he is just another politician and he’s going to go down in flames and it’s going to take the country quite a while to heal. Because so much hope *is* invested in him. Rightly or not.
He’s got to be more. But I think he’s going to be.
If I’m wrong I’ll admit it. But let’s look at it at the end of 4 years.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:21 PM on October 24, 2008 [5 favorites]


YES WE CONE.
posted by sparkletone at 2:26 AM on October 26, 2008


Well and plainly said, Smedleyman, and that's a hard combo to roll. Thanks.

Mr Obama's going to win this thing. Hope. Holy shit. But he's the foot, not the doorway. This is a beginning, not an end.

Please: let's seize this moment, and see if we can avoid fucking it up, for a change. I'd like to die unangry. Man, I'd sure like that.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:14 AM on October 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


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