Abandon Text!

W. H. Auden once said: "Poems are not finished; they are abandoned." I have been abandoning writing projects for many years, since only the pressure of deadline and high expectations ever got me to finish, or even start, anything of merit. This blog is an attempt to create a more consistent, self-directed writing habit. Hopefully a direction and voice will emerge.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Republicans for Barack Obama?

NPR aired a story last night on the political phenom Barack Obama, the freshman senator from Illinois who is swiftly gaining support as a "dream candidate" for the 2008 presidential election. I've been watching Obama for a while, now, ever since he gave the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. I was not the only one to notice that he sounded like a Republican. In fact, he sounded an awful lot like the Republicans who have become disillusioned with their leadership and who, while not exactly deserting the cause, sat on their hands and let the Dems retake Congress. That is to say, he sounded a lot like me.

When I read Obama's public rhetoric, I am increasingly impressed for both his subtlety and his candor. At some celebrity roast, Obama said something to the effect of, "Democrats have been criticized for standing for nothing. That, of course, is not true. Democrats will stand for anything." I cannot for the life of me remember another Democrat who was willing to publicly lampoon his own party, on exactly the points that are so sensitive to them, and do it so lightly and with such confidence. It was a play straight from George W., who was always willing to laugh at his own gaffes, infuriating the Democrats who could not for the life of themselves understand why he wasn't more ashamed.

Obama also gets props for talking openly about his religious faith, which will carry him farther with the Red states than most Democrats are willing to admit. He has not done so with much fanfare, either, which conveys his absolute sincerity. The Reverend Al Sharpton and Reverend Jesse Jackson (sarcasm dripping from the titles) never evinced as much honest faith in God as this man. He is undermining the very religious and racial divisions so many Democrats labored to create for their own advantage.

So, without reservation, I can say: I like the guy. The only remaining question is: what kind of president would he be? His legislative record is light, probably deliberately so. Everyone agrees that, for Presidential aspirants, it's best to have all the authority of public office without the baggage of real hard-fought positions. And I would hate to be seduced by a politician strictly for his charm and grace, as so many were with Bill Clinton. But if his record bears scrutiny, I would be willing to get behind him. I might even register as a Democrat, just to have one more opportunity to vote against Hillary Clinton.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home