Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Obama : Hopeless?

In “Barack Obama’s nouvelle vague,” Salon’s Walter Shapiro interviews an Iowan who says, “‘[A]fter hearing Obama today, I’m in awe‘.” Shapiro himself says, “We know he’s a ‘hope monger’, but the rest of Obama’s unconventional message is elusive.” Most of Obama’s support comes from the very young, 40% from independents, and 5% from Republicans. (Taylor Marsh dissects this odd grouping here and here.)

I stopped being “in awe” of candidates a long time ago. I don’t want a symbol. I don’t think any candidate is above the fray, nor can be — and probably shouldn’t be. I’m left cold by “elusive” messages. I just want the one who does the work and knows her stuff. And, I’ll tell you, if I were for Obama, I’d be feeling very uncomfortable about reports like these:

Let’s see: Forty-five percent of Obama’s support comes from non-Democrats. And a bedrock Democratic group, labor, is royally pissed at Obama — as are (I’ve been told) the worker bees and leaders of Iowa’s Democratic party who are very worried about his use of GOP talking points on Social Security and more. Then we have more and more writers pointing out the “mendacity” (a polite word for “lie”) in Obama’s speeches and in his advertisements.

Have you heard any other Democratic candidate — any of them — pull a “Harry and Louise” GOP-like attack in a false, smear-laden ad defending his or her health care plan? I need to ask this: Do any of those awe-struck non-Democrats supporting him even know who Harry and Louise are, or why that history matters?

Real Democrats know better than to fall for those kinds of tactics. But those 40% independents and 5% Republicans who want to vote for Obama? How can we know about them? What have they bothered to learn? Or are they in a state of rapture, not worried about those Democratic bedrock constituencies and issues?

And where do I begin to tell you? I can’t quote from every one of those important reports above. But you can read them. And you must. Then you must tell others about what you’ve read. Before it’s too late.

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