Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Sermon Saga - Why I Fear Disillusionment with Obama

Let's get one thing clear up front - I am 100% behind the Democratic nominee for President, be it Clinton or Obama. I believe either will be an effective president, and can begin the process of rebuilding our country's standing domestically and internationally after the debacle of the past 7 3/4 years. I lean toward Clinton, but that is solely because of my opinion that she is the more likely to win the general election.

The past week demonstrates that Obama's support is like a cumulus cloud - impressive to see, but vaporous in nature.

It all started with reports about his pastor and "spiritual advisor" of his campaign spouting off with racially charged negativity more fitting on a joke blog than on a pulpit. Obama fumbled his first responses to the criticism, and it blossomed into a full-blown media event, complete with incendiary video and hand-wringing right-wingers shocked, simply shocked, that a black man could find something to criticize in this enlightened land.

It was all so stupid and manufactured. Republicans get in bed with people who claim God launched Katrina as a terrorist attack on us, and nobody raises an eyebrow. But if a loud, scary black preacher says something to provoke some thought and wake up the back pews, we have ourselves a genuine crisis.

But, sadly enough, it's working. For the first time in a month, Clinton has a statistically significant lead over Obama in national polls. Closer to home, the flap has caused Obama's margin of loss to McCain to mushroom from 6% to 14%.

The point is that when we are able to look at Obama as a fresh-faced, energetic symbol of our hopes and dreams for a new America, he's a winner. But when he turns out to be a real person with crazy friends and questionable decisions, his support dissipates rapidly. If people are supporting Obama because of an illusion that he will single-handedly transform us into a united, peace-loving, tolerant nation, I can assure you that the Republicans will supply us with plenty of DISillusion before November.

If a little videotape of a preacher caused an 8% swing in Obama's performance in Missouri, what will be left after Karl Rove gets finished with him?

And what will that do to the Democratic party's gains in Missouri?

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Blogger Xavier Onassis said...

Hillary is far more vulnerable to "disillusionment" than Obama.

"The National Archives on Wednesday released more than 11,000 pages of Sen. Hillary Clinton's schedule when she was first lady."

What this does is remind people that despite her claims of being an "experienced leader", she was actually just the First Lady. She wasn't the President.

Being the wife of a plumber, doesn't make you an experienced and skilled plumber.

And then there is this:

"Clinton in White House during Monica Lewinsky encounters."

A lot of people will say, "Oh yeah...I remember that. Things got really ugly for a long time. We don't want THAT again."

Lastly, in a weary country clamoring for "change", please explain to me how replacing yet another Bush with yet another Clinton represents anything remotely approaching "change".

For the last 2 decades the White House has only been occupied by a Clinton or a Bush.

There are people will be voting for the very first time who have never known a President who wasn't a Clinton or a Bush.

People want CHANGE. Not more of the same. We can't take anymore of the same. Because business as usual just ain't working.

3/20/2008 9:08 AM  
Blogger KC Sponge said...

Eight percent. I'll take the eight percent to have been given a chance to see Obama at his greatest, in the face of what is most putrid about our political system and those who want to conquer it at any cost. The disillusionment that you should fear is not that people are being tricked into thinking he's going to single-handedly change this nation into a place where we all eat horses and poop butterflies - but that this guy is simply a politico with a good speech writer riding the wave of liberal kumbaya and that this movement is just going to go away. If Hillary wins the ticket and the election goes however it goes - we will not back down in our insistence for change. For bringing our country back to a place where we can rally around someone as a country - not because he has our views, not because his policy decisions make us weak in the knees, not because what he is saying is what beats in our hearts when we feel the most patriotic - but because he is asking us to come together, come out of our comfort zones to cross those scary lines, look at each other as people and not red marks or blue, asking us to ask each other what we need - what we want - what we fear. He is asking us to be a democratic nation. He is not asking us to bunker down and be ready to fight all those other silly people who don't understand what you are trying to do. Because you know what, those silly people are Americans, too. And all of us have a right to feel pride in our president, to feel that he is going to look after my rights as a human and a citizen of this country no matter what side of the ballot I lay my pen, to feel like we matter in the political scheme and that our lives, that are being affected by the stupid, ridiculous games that are played every day in Washington - and not just our votes - are what matters to those shaking our hands and smiling for our cameras.
We won't get that with McCain, we won't get that with Clinton. My hope lies with Obama, not because he speaks well, or because it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy to vote for a black man, or because I identify with his American story - but because this is what he talks about in his speeches, this is what is key in his message, this is what I have been longing to hear from someone - from anyone, from anywhere. His are the speeches that little kids make when they play politician in their rooms, his are the speeches that win over college campuses, his are the speeches that are penned to move crowds and make them rise from their seats - not just in ovation but to take action, his are the speeches many others wish they could make but are advised to do otherwise in order to remain political and deliver the 'right' message - because that's how you win in politics today.

You know what - I'll take tomorrow.

3/20/2008 9:16 AM  
Blogger les said...

Obama's failing may be his expectation that voters will think. His speech in response to the "scary black preacher" attacks may be the best talk on race I've ever heard from a politician; but if all people can get to is sound bites, it probably doesn't work. But if you really care about down ticket support (Missouri and Kansas both), you better be hoping for Obama to win; neither of us is part of Hillary's 50%+1 strategy, that has so effectively divided America for the last 8 years.

3/20/2008 9:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yada yada change change yada yada.

You realize you're full of it, don't you, Mr. Onassis? People say they want change, but MCCAIN, for Christ's sake, is beating both of them. Nobody really wants change, but they like to say they do. And there's no way they want to change to "Blame America BArack".

Let me prove my point. Let's look at the effect that the document release will have on Hillary, and compare it to the nonsense about the preacher. There won't be a change in Hillary's numbers, because it's all old, very old, very boring, news. We know her warts, and most of us are okay with them.

But let's find a video of a preacher that doesn't even show BArack oBAma in the audience, and the numbers go down faster than a $4300 whore.

Wait till they find a video of him doing crack.

3/20/2008 9:22 AM  
Anonymous travel said...

No question, one of the best speeches on race I have ever heard IF you took Rev. Wright out of the equation and IF a political future didn't depend on it. And, when I looked in Obama's eyes and just his whole demeanor, I believe he meant what he said but I also saw something else. I saw regret. I wonder if he will be there this coming Easter Sunday or the next or next or will he wait until the furor has died down so it's politically safe for him to do so.

I'm not going to vote for Obama because I don't agree with him on a lot of things, but I want to see if he really means what he said during his speech. I want to see him walk into that church with his head held high, in front of you, me and the rest of the world because if he doesn't, if he conveniently "has to be in Pennsylvania" or something like that, it will tell me a lot about him as a person.

3/20/2008 11:11 AM  
Anonymous travel said...

damn, left a few words out of the sentence above:

"I wonder if he will be there at his church this coming Easter Sunday..."

3/20/2008 11:14 AM  
Anonymous MoxieMamaKC said...

GREAT post, Dan. I want a Democrat in office, but I'm not crazy about Hillary and I just don't get Barack Obama.

His whole campaign is vaporous. He has the cult of personality but I'm just worried his doesn't yet have the political experience to pull us out of the mess (that's only getting worse) that 8 years of George Bush has put us in.

No matter who gets elected, I don't envy them the task of turning things around.

3/20/2008 11:42 AM  
Anonymous mainstream said...


I often wonder and fear that this may be the case.

I'm a big fan of Obama. He's smart and he surrounds himself with smart people (pastors notwithstanding).

I voted for Obama, but I think that he is very vulnerable. The concept of McCain at face value makes him the safety/crossover candidate. (The reality is far different.)

Obama is, unfortunately, vulnerable and I honestly don't know if he can do it.

I just don't know.

3/20/2008 2:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan - You conspicuously neglected to mention Obama's speech on race. His speech is the most productive and honest speech on the subject in decades. And this is exactly why I support the guy. He does not shy away from the most controversial and divisive issues (can you get any more controversial than race?). He tackles these issues head-on, and offers a new framework to address them.

Obama is the antithesis of Bush. Now more than ever, we need an honest leader w/ fresh ideas and perspectives. What we do not need is a continuation of the status quo - Hillary is the status quo.

If you are happy w/ the trajectory of this country, vote for Hillary. If you believe, as I do, that our country can do better, support Obama.

3/20/2008 5:39 PM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

well said, anon.

However, we Obama supporters need more than good words and hope. Obama is going have to play much rougher. I think we've found that just being postive dosn't work against the Republicans, and Hillary.

3/20/2008 7:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mainstream -

I agree Obama will have to play rougher in order to win the primary and general. And I believe his campaign aides will convince him to do just that.

But the race speech hopefully showed us all something about the type of president that Obama would be. The speech was not just good rhetoric (though it was certainly that); the speech sought to change how we talk about race. It injected a level of honesty and empathy into our dialogue about this issue. This man has the capacity to really change America for the better. These types of leaders are rare - we can't let this opportunity go.

3/20/2008 8:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We know her warts, and most of us are okay with them.

That depends, are they genital?

3/22/2008 6:16 PM  

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