May 7, 2008

Obama--Attraction and Repulsion

Blogging has been very light, as I've been preoccupied with business and personal matters. It's time, though, after the Indiana and NC primaries, to muse some more about Barack Obama, now the likely candidate and very possibly, after years of GOP fecklessness and in a troubled economy, our next President--with a comfortable majority in Congress.

I've got to confess that although I don't share most of his views, I like the guy. Perhaps it's that he's the most eloquent political figure we've had in a long time (since King, Kennedy, FDR, Huey Long?), and eloquence is something I admire. Perhaps it's that he seems more reflective than the average pol, something we need after the endless wonkish blather of Clinton and the lateral-/s/-laced blubberings of W. Perhaps it's that I find Hillary horribly grating. Even her improved oratorical style does not prevent her from uttering the same nostrums, laundry lists and clichés that annoyed me in the first place.

Despite my personal attraction to the guy, some things give me pause--the messianic cult around him, the skimpiness of content in his early campaign, and the leftist tilt he often shows when he does take policy positions. Sometimes something better shines through--for example, the wisdom of his opposition to the demagogic gas tax holiday McCain proposed and Hillary embraced.

In two areas he gives me pause. First, although he opposed the war in Iraq (easy enough for an Illinois state senator from South Side Chicago) and seems willing to negotiate with our adversaries, I don't know that he's eschewed interventionism in concept; he will be an interventionist with a humanitarian twist, perhaps. Leathernecks, welcome to Darfur.

It's also pretty clear that by reflex or instinct, he's a statist--a Nanny Stater who wants to use government to improve s morally, a centralizer who wants to regulate more and spend more, and an egalitarian who wants to soak the rich (if only a bit) to help the poor (at least in concept). He expresses these notions in conciliatory fashion. The Clintons are policy triangulators; Obama's a stylistic triangulator.

All of this rings my political alarm bells, but then, although there's much to admire in John McCain, he rings bells, too, and some of the same ones.

We are doomed, it seems, to live in an interesting political year, and perhaps an interesting quadrennium.

Obama, McCain, Bob Barr. Hmm. Stay tuned.

1 comment:

TK said...

Well, I, too, quite like the guy--and I don't particularly fret that he's got drummed up such emotional support; it's been a long, hard road. A moment of hope. The Messianic cult--that's the burden of the other party, isn't it? Its madness so entrenched in the ranks that nobody even shakes a fist at it anymore.

What to do...