2.20.2008

Obama's Nothingness (Updated)

If Barack Obama is to be the Democratic nominee for president, the theme from those who oppose him is that despite his oratory skills he really possess nothing to back up his message. They claim he has no record, no experience and is too much of a Washington outsider to actually accomplish anything he says to the thousands upon thousands in attendance at his speeches. It's feel good talk that's going to let a lot of people down after he's elected. I've heard Rush Limbaugh mention it about three hundred times in two minutes. The same for the neocons at Fox News. McCain last night tried to relate the bleakness theory to Obama too by calling the Democratic front runner "eloquent" but "empty." And today Robert Samuelson has an op/ed in the Washington Post summing up the main talking points on the right about Obama's feel good nothingness. Essentially, the right is arguing, Obama's charisma is a delusion keeping us from actually addressing our problems or the changes that need to be made.

If Charisma was the only thing Obama possessed it would still be more than what we have had in the last seven years from George W. Bush. For almost a decade the GOP and its supporters have talked themselves in circles trying to defend our Grand Leader from his many mistakes on the war in Iraq, the slumping economy, his religion, his culture of corruption and his total incompetence on every issue he's touched. Those who call Obama a delusion lacking leadership are the very people who gave us George Bush.

Their main argument is that even with all of Bush's failures and misgivings he's still better than anything on the Democratic side. These are the very same people who have said for almost eight years that change in America is electing the son of a president who has never known a day of struggle in his whole life. That real change is having an Executive that is above the Constitution; a vice-president that gets to exempt himself from Congressional oversight by issuing unprecedented orders that he isn't part of the Executive Branch, unless it's his legislative function that's being investigated; that can spy on Americans without the mundane hassle of a warrant. That change, real change, is $3 gasoline, a devalued dollar, the phase out of Social Security and war without end. To them the grandest version of change humanly imaginable is the largest deficit in American history without a single veto from our Leader. These are the very same people who have told us to turn the other way, to look past Bush's faults and find comfort in his leadership that has brought about all these changes that we now enjoy. Change to them is not change to the rest of us. They are securely part of the 29% of Americans who approve of George Bush.

If it is charisma that creates the nothingness that takes this country away from the path we're on, then nothingness is what I want. Change to them is a world without Social Security. A world where social programs are gone and defense spending is the only function of government. It is a world, without any delusion mind you, where we can stay in Iraq for a 100 hundred years or any other country that we so choose. Because Obama lacks any of the qualities they so sought and defend in George Bush, they are very correct when saying Obama can't bring about change. To them Obama isn't the change they are wanting, the change they have thrived and relished in as they talk of splendid wars and unrestrained spending. All that would be gone if Obama is president. Their chickenhawk ideas, their two incumbent congressmen sitting in prison, their tax cuts for the wealthy, their warrantless spying all would be gone.

To them change is the enemy. A liberal, terrorist, un-American enemy totally embroidered in the nothingness of Obama. These are the very same people who live in a fantasy world where Jews can be perfected and Iraq had something to do with 9/11. The same fantasy world where Saddam smuggled his WMD into Syria and finding bin Laden isn't important. The exact same fantasy world where George Bush is a popular president and where there's no such thing as a war effort that includes anyone or anything outside of the military and their families; and the very same fantasy world where cutting taxes in a time of war, a war that is so important it's the struggle of a generation-- no the grandest struggle in all the history of humanity-- makes any sense whatsoever. These are the people who can look at real change and know they want no part of it because it would only crumble to pieces their make believe world which keeps them from facing any sort of reality whatsoever.

*Update:

For those concerned about a legislative record, you know that thing Republicans are saying presidents are required to have, which George Bush didn't and doesn't, and that thing neocons with a lot of help from Republicans are saying Barack Obama lacks. Well since I actually used to write legislation for Obama, I started digging through his hundreds of nonexistent bills. Then I discovered someone else had already done it for me. Hilzoy at Obsidian Wings has a nice rundown of Obama's accomplishments in the state senate and the US senate. Guess what? Hilzoy made the list long before the Obama supporters meltdown with Chris Matthews. A little digging by Matthews or any journalist, or curious blogger that thinks demanding a legislative record for a president is a little odd since our Grand Leader doesn't have one. And he's the greatest president to ever serve, so something must be up with that. Besides, if Obama doesn't have a record then how in the world did National Journal rank him as the most liberal senator to ever live?

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4 comments:

Lisa said...

Feel better now? ;)

He doesn't have a record or very many legislative accomplishments (at least not on the federal level) and I disagree with any right-winger who suggests that Obama is in fact a Washington outsider. As you know, I've never completely bought THAT argument. Tell me again about all this great experience Obama has that makes him more qualified to be president than George W. Bush.

Doesn't it bother you that Obama supporters can't point to any specifics when they are asked why they support him? He's running the Seinfeld campaign because that's the only difference between himself and Hillary Clinton.

No matter which party's nominee we elect in November, that person will not be anything like President Bush. John McCain certainly isn't. I don't think I have anything to apologize for in my evaluation of Bush's record, but my fellow Republicans can speak for themselves here.

Since when was Dubya a candidate of change? We didn't vote for George W. Bush because he was a candidate of change or because we thought he would reduce spending. We voted for him because of his social conservative views, and because we weren't all that crazy about Gore and Kerry.

I'm not defending Bush. I will leave that important task to Jaz and Kent. :)

Let's talk about these issues you raise here. If we do not reform our entitlements, including Social Security, they won't be around for us in the future. I don't hear any candidate, including on my side, who will even consider doing something like that. It also frustrates me that we throw more and more money at social programs without trying to fix them. As far as the $3 gas, of course the oil companies get a significant cut of that, but as I'm sure you know, one way to reduce the cost of oil is to increase supply -- and one way to do that is to drill in ANWR as well as to build more refineries. Does Obama want to do this?

It's all well and good to advocate long-term energy independence, but in the meantime, the cost of gas and the price of oil will keep going up if we don't take steps now to increase our own production of oil.

Bush will be gone in '09. It's a pity, if only because it inspires such passionate opposition in Democrats like you. :P This should no longer be about George W. Bush. He is done as President next January.

I oppose Obama because he is a liberal-- and because he proposes all this new government spending that he can't possibly pay for by getting us out of Iraq and repealing the Bush tax cuts. I oppose Obama because his foreign policy views are not very well-thought out for someone who we are considering making the Commander-in-Chief of our military.

I oppose Obama because he has as much faith and trust in the federal government to fix whatever ails the country as Hillary does. I'm not convinced that Barack Obama will be more fiscally responsible than Bush, although it's possible he will use the veto pen a bit more. It would be harder to do that if the Democrats send him an irresponsible spending bill. I'm also uncomfortable with this cult of personality that has appeared around Obama.

Michelle and Barack are not un-American. Michelle said something stupid, and the press is always there to point it out when that happens. Everybody claims to want change, hope, unity, and bipartisanship, but the party out of power always exaggerates how bad everything is in the country and tries to convince Americans of that. Are there domestic problems? Sure. But no matter how charismatic or bipartisan Barack is, it is also a fantasy to believe that he can fix all of those things by himself.

Barack Obama should be judged on his own merits. That's all Republicans are asking. Separate him from all the hype, all the fainting people and the folks with the raised lighters, and find out what kind of president he would make. That doesn't sound like an unreasonable request to me.

Chris Barr said...

I do feel better. No doubt about that ;)

Maybe it is a rant, but there is a lot of substance. I have no clue why someone must have a record or "legislative accomplishments" to be president. That argument doesn't even make sense. The president doesn't make legislation. He/she isn't a legislator. They are the Executive. They won't be making legislation. Bush never once has made a piece of legislation. He was a governor before becoming president. And governors aren't legislators either, especially in Texas.

Even if it was the case that presidents had to have a legislative record, which it isn't, Obama does have a record both federal and state. Again, more than George Bush ever had.

Bush has been a terrible president with a terrible record of fiscal irresponsibility, corruption, inflation, lost wages and big bloated government. You certainly have nothing to apologize for and certainly have no room to demand that a Democrat not do the same thing as the guy you voted for twice.

All the things that Republicans are saying about Obama in '08 are the very things they cheered about Bush in '00. You oppose Obama because you say his foreign policy views aren't very well thought out. Yet Bush couldn't even name the leaders of foreign countries while he was campaigning. You say you don't like Obama because he'll pull us out of Iraq all the while Bush campaigned against nation-building and for compassionate conservatism. You say you oppose Obama because he has too much faith in government when George Bush has expanded the role and size of government more than any president since FDR. The guy you voted for twice has created the largest expansion of the federal government and the largest deficit this country has ever seen. And now, now that a very viable Dem candidate is out there, the GOP doesn't want a president like the one they've touted as being led by God's right hand for the last 8 years.

Even if everything the GOP is saying about Obama were true, which it isn't, it's the very same things Bush has given this country. Obama is much more capable and competent than to expect the same sorry policies as Bush.

They know Obama will bring change, and their make believe world where legislative records, fiscal responsibility, competent leadership, small government and no corruption are all qualities tried and proven by George Bush will crumble away.

I have no problems separating Obama from the hype. By all means do it. And when they do it, they'll see that Obama is a vast change from the last 8 years, does have a legislative record-- not that that matters, and has the experience necessary to be president. At least more experience than George Bush had, and we've already covered there's nothing to apologize about from George Bush.

Always fun Lisa, thanks for reading. And it looks like those Mets are going to be real contenders this year. As for the Cardinals it's going to be so sad.

Lisa said...

Maybe I should have asked about executive experience instead. Fair point. Isn't it possible for you to separate your criticism of Bush from what makes Barack the right man to be President?

Again, I didn't vote for Bush because he was fiscally responsible or because I thought he was a limited government guy. So it didn't shock me that he was neither of those things. Nothing Bush has done is acceptable to you, so you're setting a rather low bar for your guy here. To be an improvement over George W. Bush, Barack wouldn't have to do much at all.

You keep putting all Republicans in the same box, and this is frustrating to me. Some of us do see where he's failed, and have pointed that out more than a few times. But let's switch this just to Obama's strengths as a potential President. If I was going to vote for Obama, I would want someone who knows the names of foreign heads of state. Does he? Who are his foreign policy advisors? Would I feel comfortable with those people in his cabinet helping him navigate that important issue?

You know very well that 9/11 changed the mindset of the Bush administration. You can agree or disagree with it, but at the time, the public supported the administration on Iraq and Afghanistan. This included Democrats. Now we can all critique the execution of both wars, but no President begins his term in office with the intent of getting the country into war.

Back to Barack...

Don't you think that his proposed spending requires a lot of money, and will also lead to higher taxes and more federal bureaucracy? What's more fiscally responsible about that? I'm aware of his work on earmarks, and commend him for that, but I'm not convinced Barack's the right guy on spending.

I'll say it again. John McCain is not George W. Bush. He would be a significant change over Dubya. John McCain is more fiscally conservative. He is less socially conservative. He has a record of fighting pork and earmarks. He will keep moving farther to the right, but socons (especially evangelicals) will remain skeptical.

Is Barack a change over George W. Bush? Yes. Is he much of a change over other Democrats? Not really. He believes the same things Hillary does, except he's always opposed the war. The only difference he has with Hillary (other than Iraq) is his personality.

I am hopeful (if I may temporarily steal that word from Barack) that the Johan Santana acquistion will work out much better than the Glavine signing. He always wanted to be in Atlanta. You could tell by how badly he pitched against them when the games still mattered. But yes, the Mets will be an improved team this year. Sorry about the Cards.

Chris said...

I'm not setting the bar low for Obama at all. I'm only saying that everything Republicans are making up about Obama especially concerning his lack of a record, and none of which I believe to be true, are the very things they praised and voted for in George Bush. All Obama, or anyone, would have to do is show up and formulate a sentence and they would be doing a better job than Bush has done. If the bar is set low, it's the Republicans who have put it there.

"If I was going to vote for Obama, I would want someone who knows the names of foreign heads of state." So in order to vote for Obama, he would have to know the names of foreign leaders, but in order to vote for Bush he wouldn't have to? I would bet everything I have that Obama knows the names, and is much more schooled in foreign policy than George Bush ever was or is. I'm not trying to get anyone to vote for Obama here, especially any Republican. I'm only pointing out that saying Obama doesn't have a legislative record and thus not qualified to be president is a ridiculous argument for any Republican to make.

What are Obama's spending proposals that you mention? Getting us out of Iraq would save enough money to pay for any spending program. There is absolutely nothing fiscally, or morally, responsible about staying in Iraq, which is what chickenhawk Republicans want, and need in order to survive-- the very basis of my post.

Santana is a huge pickup. The Cards just signed some dude who was mentioned in the Mitchell Report. They are always so smart in the off season acquisitions, not.