Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Dr. Barack’s Traveling Salvation Show

E. J. Dionne, Jr. puts his finger on the stylistic differences between the Clinton and Obama campaigns. A snippet:

The larger difference between Clinton and Obama is in their respective theories of change. Implicit in the Clinton narrative, as she put it on the stump last weekend, is the idea that "making change is hard." Only someone with carefully laid plans and the toughness to go toe-to-toe with the Republicans in the daily and weekly Washington slog can hope to achieve reform.

Obama agrees to an extent. "I know how hard change is," he says. But he promises to transcend the old fights -- the liberation narrative again -- by building a "bottom-up" movement to create inexorable pressure for reform that would draw in even Republicans.

"Good intentions are not enough," he said in his Wilmington speech. They need to be "fortified with political will or political power." Obama marries a softer rhetorical line on Republicans with a more far-reaching and activist analysis of how change happens. He thus manages to go to Clinton’s right and left at the same time.

That’s why Obama is on the move in a way that worries Clinton’s lieutenants. She promises toughness, competence, clarity and experience in a year when many Democrats are seeking something closer to salvation.

One of the politicians who spoke before Obama at the rally, Delaware state Treasurer Jack Markell, cited the New Testament letter to the Hebrews in which Saint Paul spoke of "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." It was a revealing moment: While Clinton wages a campaign, Obama is preaching a revival.

Here, for what it’s worth, is the introductory speech Dionne cited in his last paragraph--a fine and "stirring" example of the religion of humanity Obama’s presence incites people to preach.

And here is yet another example of the pseudo-religious sentiment Obama inspires:

To support Obama, we must permit ourselves to feel hope, to acknowledge the possibility that we can aspire as a nation to be more than merely secure or predominant. We must allow ourselves to believe in Obama, not blindly or unquestioningly as we might believe in some demagogue or figurehead but as we believe in the comfort we take in our families, in the pleasure of good company, in the blessings of peace and liberty, in any thing that requires us to put our trust in the best part of ourselves and others. That kind of belief is a revolutionary act. It holds the power, in time, to overturn and repair all the damage that our fear has driven us to inflict on ourselves and the world.

Perhaps the election of Obama would be a good thing, because no one could live up to the worldly messianic hopes people have attached to him (which he’s done nothing to discourage). Boy, what a hangover that would be!

Discussions - 2 Comments

Then Obama is the Reagan-style candidate, with different politics. We on the Right have been looking for someone who would run like Reagan did, on ideology and Obama is that person. How depressing.

When RR ran we had great hopes for change. There was change, but not nearly as much as we had hoped. Was it Richard Scheiker, on taking over as Secretary of Health and Human Services, who said he could effect reform only one or two levels down because of the Civil Service. Those guys were in there forever and if they would not implement policy, too bad, they could not be replaced, either.

The difference, of course, is that those anti-conservative policy reformer types might be delighted to implement Obama-style change. Or maybe not. Bureaucrats can be conservative, as in preserving of the status quo, without being Conservative, can't they?

All right, Joe, you have convinced me. I'll vote for Obama and change so that when it all goes smash Republicans can say, "I told you so!" just like the drunk's nagging wife.

Or perhaps, Joe, the way Obama is setting up many a good American for that post-audacity hangover is the most compelling reason to oppose the man. To bring in Kate's point here, he's Reagan without the workable policy blue-prints.

And the Day after Hope, the Day the Obama Music Died, isn't going to be at all enjoyable for conservatives. Note this paragraph from Dionne: "But he promises to transcend the old fights -- the liberation narrative again -- by building a "bottom-up" movement to create inexorable pressure for reform that would draw in even Republicans." Now ask yourself, WHO is going to be bitterly blamed if the audacious need for reform does not draw in enough Republicans? Hillary looks at us conservatives in the eye, and essentially says, "I have to fight with you, wrangle for every damn thing I want given your regrettable hold over many Americans' hearts. It's hard work, and Obama has no idea." We know where we stand with Hillary--she has no hope for our conversion to righteousness. Obama reaches his hand out to Red America, even to conservative America. He seems like a good guy to us now, a guy we can respect in part because he appears to respect us in part. But when his narrative of hope collapses, he and others around him will be sorely tempted to blame it all on us. Maybe, Hillary is the lesser of two evils.

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