Obama had an impressive run last night. I suspect he’ll be able to capitalize on the momentum factor in the weeks ahead. It’ll be interesting to watch. As he said last night: “We’re the one’s we’ve been looking for!” — an old Hopi Indian phrase. People are beginning to believe he just might be right. “Yes, we can!”
Maryland and Washington, D.C. are up to bat very soon, as is Virginia (Nov. 12). The TV spots have been running for days.
Since South Carolina, Hillary appears reluctant to use the traditional Clinton “break the kneecap with a ten pound hammer” style politics. Perhaps the Clinton team feels they’ve been outed in that department. Yet that’s her strength — nasty politics. Hmmmmm! One wonders. Maybe Obama has already begun to change her? Where’s that fire breathing dragon? Has her brand of politics taken a hit? Is she a victim of her own “politics of fear”?
Pat Buchanan this morning said McCain would make Cheney look like Ghandi! Rather poignant statement. McCain has a big ego and temper. From an advisor’s perspective, I would take that to mean he’d soon become isolated in the White House. Not good for McCain. Not good for America.
Obama seems willing and able to exchange ideas and strategies. To me, that’s everything. The secret of compromise is that it allows dialogue to enrich the final concrete outcome. Inability to compromise indicates a detachment, an abstraction, from reality. Ideological politics reduces everything it touches to ideological engagement. Problems remain unresolved. Passions dominate.
Ideological politics is what we’ve been living with since McGovern took over the Democratic party and the Fundamentalists took over the Republican Party beginning with the rise of Newt Gingrich. Hopefully, the pragmatic center is seeing its own resurrection. I’d like to see the day when the terms “conservative” and “liberal” have died a peaceful death. For too long they have been mere slogans overburdened with emotive content. Intrinsically, both terms are meaningless. Let’s once again address problems pragmatically and do it against the backdrop of a sound vision for America.
I wrote the following a couple years ago:
” … Kennedy’s presidency stands apart from all others since. The core of his leadership was not managerial. Nor was it entombed in the wooden world of policy. Unlike any president since FDR, JFK’s style of governance was profoundly charismatic and inspirational. He used his authority to summon heroic forces from the spiritual depths of ordinary citizens and to unleash therefrom a symphonic chorus of unique creative acts who common purpose was to tame the soul and alleviate the great challenges facing mankind.”
This is what Obama is doing.
The great problems facing America today cannot be alleviated as mere functions of policy. Policy cannot effectively address the challenges of homelessness, or substance abuse, or violence, or rampant hedonism, or ideological idolatry, or America’s fractured relations with the world. Nor will policy address the twin challenges of poverty and inequity. These challenges can be met effectively only by the energies of individuals reaching out and forging relations with one another in the pursuit of a common purpose. Fifty years of failed policy has made us cynical. But concerted effort in the pursuit of the common good can accomplish many of the dreams we seek to realize.
Policy has been tried for a half century and found wanting. Today there is a great need for inspiration and leadership — and a grand chorus of national harmony.