The old Obama vs. the new Obama

Hillary Clinton beat Barack Obama by double digits in Pennsylvania. She seems to have the momentum now, though it will be nearly impossible for her to overcome Obama’s lead in delegates, which he racked up earlier in the campaign. Back then, he was a breath of fresh air, promising an end to ideological warfare, transcending race, and embodying a politics of hope. Lately he has been coming across as just another liberal politician. Racial divisiveness is back in politics, as is the old class warfare that Democrats always seem to want to wage and always seem to wage in a way that it backfires on them. Part of the problem may be the Clintons backing him into these corners. Also, now that he has become the candidate of choice of the party’s harder left, they may be affecting his rhetoric. But is there a way for Obama to get back to his original image?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Carl Vehse

    ‘Cause “image” is all that empty suit has.

  • Carl Vehse

    ‘Cause “image” is all that empty suit has.

  • Carl Vehse

    Here’s an original image of Obama he’s hoping voters forget – “The Friends of Barack Obama, Part 1″ (http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives2/2008/04/020358.php)

  • Carl Vehse

    Here’s an original image of Obama he’s hoping voters forget – “The Friends of Barack Obama, Part 1″ (http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives2/2008/04/020358.php)

  • Don S

    No, he can’t get back to his original image because the image was a romantic one enabled by the media and based on a sublime and seemingly intentional lack of knowledge of anything about Obama. Now that we know him, the saner ones among us realize that a man with ideas as radical as his cannot be taken seriously as a “unifier”.

  • Don S

    No, he can’t get back to his original image because the image was a romantic one enabled by the media and based on a sublime and seemingly intentional lack of knowledge of anything about Obama. Now that we know him, the saner ones among us realize that a man with ideas as radical as his cannot be taken seriously as a “unifier”.

  • Susan aka organshoes

    I’m sure the image remains untarnished to many of his true believers.
    But it’s called letting the cat out of the bag for good reason, because getting a cat back into a bag is next to impossible.
    He’s enjoying that Man Behind the Curtain status many of us Lutherans have become all too well-versed in lately. It’s really hard not to pay attention to him, once the curtain is down.
    Chalk that up as one of the few good things about this extended primary season. It’s given us lots of time to see many curtains removed and many cats turned loose.
    But he will retain a remnant, from among those of like mind and those of little mind for clarity or specifics.

  • Susan aka organshoes

    I’m sure the image remains untarnished to many of his true believers.
    But it’s called letting the cat out of the bag for good reason, because getting a cat back into a bag is next to impossible.
    He’s enjoying that Man Behind the Curtain status many of us Lutherans have become all too well-versed in lately. It’s really hard not to pay attention to him, once the curtain is down.
    Chalk that up as one of the few good things about this extended primary season. It’s given us lots of time to see many curtains removed and many cats turned loose.
    But he will retain a remnant, from among those of like mind and those of little mind for clarity or specifics.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Ooh, I and other Obama fans are less “sane” and of “little mind” for clarity or specifics! It’s a good thing you guys aren’t liberals, or those would be elitist, arrogant comments. But since you’re conservatives, I know that they’re meant in only the most Christian love you can muster.

    Remember: only mention the media in building up Obama. Do not mention that the media also has played up McCain — the media is liberal, it doesn’t do that. Do not mention that the media is currently tearing down Obama — the media is liberal, it doesn’t do that. The only thing tearing down Obama is rational judgment carried out in the purest fulfillment of the 8th commandment.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Ooh, I and other Obama fans are less “sane” and of “little mind” for clarity or specifics! It’s a good thing you guys aren’t liberals, or those would be elitist, arrogant comments. But since you’re conservatives, I know that they’re meant in only the most Christian love you can muster.

    Remember: only mention the media in building up Obama. Do not mention that the media also has played up McCain — the media is liberal, it doesn’t do that. Do not mention that the media is currently tearing down Obama — the media is liberal, it doesn’t do that. The only thing tearing down Obama is rational judgment carried out in the purest fulfillment of the 8th commandment.

  • Susan aka organshoes

    Please provide the specifics, then.
    Put that cat back into that bag.
    It’s not unreasonable to hope one’s political opponent is finally political toast; toasted by exposure, not by lies and dirty tricks.

  • Susan aka organshoes

    Please provide the specifics, then.
    Put that cat back into that bag.
    It’s not unreasonable to hope one’s political opponent is finally political toast; toasted by exposure, not by lies and dirty tricks.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Susan (@6), I doubt you or anyone, much less our host, actually wants me to write down here every policy espoused by Obama. So please go to the issues section of Obama’s Web site, click on each issue, and then come back and tell me if you didn’t find any. I’m not saying there won’t be boilerplate or wishy-washy statements in there — there are (not that Obama is alone in this).

    And again, “toasted by exposure” … from the media.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Susan (@6), I doubt you or anyone, much less our host, actually wants me to write down here every policy espoused by Obama. So please go to the issues section of Obama’s Web site, click on each issue, and then come back and tell me if you didn’t find any. I’m not saying there won’t be boilerplate or wishy-washy statements in there — there are (not that Obama is alone in this).

    And again, “toasted by exposure” … from the media.

  • Jack Kilcrease

    It’s impossible to get his original image back for two major reasons.

    1. He was a breathe of fresh air because he was an unknown quantity. In other words, it’s like when you start dating a new girl and you think that she’s perfect in every way or at least close and every moment is magical. Then reality sets in. Yes, she may have some nice qualities, but she has some rather significant flaws- like all of us. Now there’s two options at this point. First you can break up or two the real relationship can begin. Obama has now shown himself not to be the perfect guy that eveyone thought he was. Actually, he’s a whole lot more politically inept than pundits thought he originally was. Like, he has not handled a single ganfle or scandals well. Also, he’s extremely naive on several levels.

    2. Obama is a liberal- a fairly orthodox liberal. Wow, who would have expected that Ivy league trained, law prof. would be liberal? I’m shocked. But I digress. So, first, he can’t claim anymore to be the big transcendent figure (there is no such thing- everyone has an ideology). Furthermore, liberals have a hard time of wining the presidency. Like we haven’t had a liberal president since LBJ. This has alot to do with their inept choice of taking radical positions on social issues (like abortion and gay rights) which alienated people in their old coaliation (like Catholics and Southerners) and demographic shifts (Sunbelt, etc.). The Democrats win when they choose moderate southern governors. Even Bill Richardson would have been a great choice. I mean he won the Nobel prize and everyone thinks he was a great governor. Why not him? I mean it really comes down to identity politics and an endless fight between two one term senators who have no accomplishments other than giving one speech at the Democratic convention and being the first lady? You’ve got to be kidding me.

    McCain will kill Obama in the general election for the same reasos the the Democrats have lost 7 out of the last 10 elections. And after the Republicans giving the US the most unpopular presidency in American history. George Will is right, the secret weapon of the Republican party is the Democratic party.

  • Jack Kilcrease

    It’s impossible to get his original image back for two major reasons.

    1. He was a breathe of fresh air because he was an unknown quantity. In other words, it’s like when you start dating a new girl and you think that she’s perfect in every way or at least close and every moment is magical. Then reality sets in. Yes, she may have some nice qualities, but she has some rather significant flaws- like all of us. Now there’s two options at this point. First you can break up or two the real relationship can begin. Obama has now shown himself not to be the perfect guy that eveyone thought he was. Actually, he’s a whole lot more politically inept than pundits thought he originally was. Like, he has not handled a single ganfle or scandals well. Also, he’s extremely naive on several levels.

    2. Obama is a liberal- a fairly orthodox liberal. Wow, who would have expected that Ivy league trained, law prof. would be liberal? I’m shocked. But I digress. So, first, he can’t claim anymore to be the big transcendent figure (there is no such thing- everyone has an ideology). Furthermore, liberals have a hard time of wining the presidency. Like we haven’t had a liberal president since LBJ. This has alot to do with their inept choice of taking radical positions on social issues (like abortion and gay rights) which alienated people in their old coaliation (like Catholics and Southerners) and demographic shifts (Sunbelt, etc.). The Democrats win when they choose moderate southern governors. Even Bill Richardson would have been a great choice. I mean he won the Nobel prize and everyone thinks he was a great governor. Why not him? I mean it really comes down to identity politics and an endless fight between two one term senators who have no accomplishments other than giving one speech at the Democratic convention and being the first lady? You’ve got to be kidding me.

    McCain will kill Obama in the general election for the same reasos the the Democrats have lost 7 out of the last 10 elections. And after the Republicans giving the US the most unpopular presidency in American history. George Will is right, the secret weapon of the Republican party is the Democratic party.

  • Carl Vehse

    Regarding Obama’s new/old image, this week, in her column “You don’t need a weatherman to know which candidate blows”, Ann Coulter observes a (relatively) positive aspect to Obama’s ability in picking friends:

    “So repellent are Bill Clinton’s friends (to the extent that a sociopathic sex offender with a narcissistic disorder can actually experience friendship in the conventional sense) that B. Hussein Obama’s association with a raving racist reverend and a former member of the Weather Underground hasn’t caused as much damage as it should.

    “On one hand, Obama pals around with terrorists. On the other hand, Hillary pals around with James Carville. Advantage: Obama.”

  • Carl Vehse

    Regarding Obama’s new/old image, this week, in her column “You don’t need a weatherman to know which candidate blows”, Ann Coulter observes a (relatively) positive aspect to Obama’s ability in picking friends:

    “So repellent are Bill Clinton’s friends (to the extent that a sociopathic sex offender with a narcissistic disorder can actually experience friendship in the conventional sense) that B. Hussein Obama’s association with a raving racist reverend and a former member of the Weather Underground hasn’t caused as much damage as it should.

    “On one hand, Obama pals around with terrorists. On the other hand, Hillary pals around with James Carville. Advantage: Obama.”

  • Susan aka organshoes

    Trouble with that original ‘message’: it’s not covered up by these distractions, but exposed by them, because there was no message there. Just words.
    Those of us on the right are all too familiar with what a liberal means when he asks us to come together, and we knew it when the words first came from his mouth. It means we shut up. Otherwise, we’ll be painted as we’re painted now: we’re dividers and roadblocks, and now we’re racists.
    It’s not a desire for unity, but for only one side.
    Anyone who thinks otherwise either agrees with the side Obama represents (meaning: is a liberal), or believes in the tooth fairy.

  • Susan aka organshoes

    Trouble with that original ‘message’: it’s not covered up by these distractions, but exposed by them, because there was no message there. Just words.
    Those of us on the right are all too familiar with what a liberal means when he asks us to come together, and we knew it when the words first came from his mouth. It means we shut up. Otherwise, we’ll be painted as we’re painted now: we’re dividers and roadblocks, and now we’re racists.
    It’s not a desire for unity, but for only one side.
    Anyone who thinks otherwise either agrees with the side Obama represents (meaning: is a liberal), or believes in the tooth fairy.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Susan, I’ll agree with your comment elsewhere that you are repeating yourself. You said (@10) that Obama’s message is “not covered up by these distractions, but exposed by them, because there was no message there.” You’ve made this point repeatedly, but did you bother to look at the specifics on Obama’s Web site that you asked for (@6)?

    You don’t seem open to considering anything about the man, save for a very few things that the media has focused on, some of which even McCain has seemed to repudiate recently (or at least their inclusion in a North Carolina GOP ad).

    “Those of us on the right are all too familiar with what a liberal means when he asks us to come together. … It means we shut up.” It’s hardly fair to complain that you’re not being listened to if this is how you treat any liberal: all the same, not one of them interested in listening. Can you point to anything Obama has said that would back up your broad smear here? Or do I just have to rely on your intuition?

    And who in the world is painting the “we” you refer to (whoever that might be) as “racists”? The whole point of this Jeremiah Wright thing is to paint Obama as a racist. I thought liberals were supposed to be the ones with the victim complex.

    “It’s not a desire for unity, but for only one side.” If you honestly believe this only applies to liberals or Democrats, I strongly urge you review American history from 2001-2006.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Susan, I’ll agree with your comment elsewhere that you are repeating yourself. You said (@10) that Obama’s message is “not covered up by these distractions, but exposed by them, because there was no message there.” You’ve made this point repeatedly, but did you bother to look at the specifics on Obama’s Web site that you asked for (@6)?

    You don’t seem open to considering anything about the man, save for a very few things that the media has focused on, some of which even McCain has seemed to repudiate recently (or at least their inclusion in a North Carolina GOP ad).

    “Those of us on the right are all too familiar with what a liberal means when he asks us to come together. … It means we shut up.” It’s hardly fair to complain that you’re not being listened to if this is how you treat any liberal: all the same, not one of them interested in listening. Can you point to anything Obama has said that would back up your broad smear here? Or do I just have to rely on your intuition?

    And who in the world is painting the “we” you refer to (whoever that might be) as “racists”? The whole point of this Jeremiah Wright thing is to paint Obama as a racist. I thought liberals were supposed to be the ones with the victim complex.

    “It’s not a desire for unity, but for only one side.” If you honestly believe this only applies to liberals or Democrats, I strongly urge you review American history from 2001-2006.


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