Friday, December 29, 2006

The field fills out

With all the attention on who is and who isn't running for president these days, particularly with the announcement from John Edwards that he would again seek the office in 2008, I started to take a look at some of the (possible) candidates out there. And, in doing so, I was reminded that, as of now, I'm still an Obama man.

Case in point ... his remarks at the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Awards Ceremony from this November.

It’s the timidity of politics that’s holding us back right now – the politics of can’t-do and oh-well. An energy crisis that jeopardizes our security and our economy? No magic wand to fix it, we’re told. Thousands of jobs vanishing overseas? It’s actually healthier for the economy that way. Three days late to the worst natural disaster in American history? Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.

And of course, if nothing can be done to solve the problems we face, if we have no collective responsibility to look out for one another, then the next logical step is to give everyone one big refund on their government – divvy it up into individual tax breaks, hand ‘em out, and encourage everyone to go buy their own health care, their own retirement plan, their own child care, their own schools, their own roads, their own levees…

We know this as the Ownership Society. But in our past there has been another term for it – Social Darwinism – every man or women for him or herself. It allows us to say to those whose health care or tuition may rise faster than they can afford – tough luck. It allows us to say to the child who was born into poverty – pull yourself up by your bootstraps. It let’s us say to the workers who lose their job when the factory shuts down – you’re on your own.

But there is a problem. It won’t work. It ignores our history. Yes, our greatness as a nation has depended on individual initiative, on a belief in the free market. But it has also depended on our sense of mutual regard for each other, the idea that everybody has a stake in the country, that we’re all in it together and everybody’s got a shot at opportunity.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

...and after we nominate Obama, I'd like to suggest Doug Haines for our Vice Presidential nominee. After all, with jmac's logic, you only have to win a competitive state senate race in order to be able to run for President. So Haines should be able to fill jmac's criteria for VP easily.

11:49 AM  
Blogger Jmac said...

Let's keep in mind what happened the last time the Democratic Party nominating a candidate who was 'electable' and had 'gone through the scrutiny of public campaigning' ...

Heaven forbid you actually believe in the candidate.

12:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I didn't care about experience and I wanted someone who I absolutely believed in, I'd nominate myself.

12:58 PM  
Blogger Xon said...

But we have to play in the real world, anonymous. The choice is not between someone who we "absolutely believe in" (such that we can only nominate ourself, for who do we know better?) but who is a total unelectable neophyte on the one hand, and someone who is a grizzled veteran who knows how to push all the buttons of the system on the other.

I'm sure JMac has disagreements with Obama on this or that: he doesn't see himself supporting Obama because he and Obama are exactly alike. Rather, JMac thinks that Obama is an inspiring figure who has his priorities straight on a number of issues. And when there's a lack of experience at pulling all the levers under the desk, inspiration can overcometh much. But, at the same time, you do need to stand some chance of winning, but I don't know why you are so sure that Obama doesn't have that chance.

1:06 PM  
Blogger Jmac said...

I think Xon hit it on the head. To be sure, I've got some disagreements with Obama on some things (his recent, more hawkish stance toward Iran's nuclear program is one example ... and I'm a rather hawkish Democrat), but I think you're overselling what you think can sell compared with what has the potential to inspire.

Am I a tad biased? Sure. Obama is the first candidate I have ever experienced that makes me feel true inspiration ... perhaps in the way that FDR or Kennedy or, for some of other ideological stripes, Reagan, made people feel.

I really, really like John Edwards. I like his vision and I like his optimism. But I connect with Obama's vision and his beliefs.

Since we're discussing experience, who do you think possesses the necessary experience to win?

2:05 PM  
Blogger Nicki said...

I just blogged on this -- www.casadenicki.blogspot.com

I'm an Edwards grrrl, I guess, inasmuch as I'm an anything grrrrrl. I like Obama, I like Hillary Clinton, and I liked John Kerry. But I don't love any of them, and I think John Edwards is a whole lot more electable.

12:19 AM  

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