neljapäev, veebruar 21, 2008

abraham obama fitzgerald roosevelt

I have been watching the Democratic presidential primaries from afar. Though I earlier said I would support the institutional candidates, Hillary Clinton and John McCain, if pressed, I ultimately decided that whoever won the Democratic primaries deserved to win, and whoever eventually lost deserved to lose.

At the moment, the loser is Hillary Clinton. And it's not just because of Obama's pretty words -- it's because her campaign looks like John Kerry's in 2004. Bill Clinton is Tereza Heinz Kerry, the tempestuous spouse. Campaign Manager Mark Penn is a combination of Mary Beth Cahill and Bob Shrum, the clueless Beltway insiders. And when challenged, Hillary the candidate is either too silent or too wonky -- Kerry in a nutshell. There's a great list of reasons for Hillary's losses here.

But what of Obama? As I wrote earlier, Americans believe in recurring motifs in their history. Or rather, American politicians believe in using myths about their predecessors to create the 'rendezvous with history' meme that is essential to any campaign. This does not happen in Estonia, though on occasion President Ilves' continental bowtie reminds me of Jaan Tõnisson's gentlemanly top hat.

But in America, the 'torch is passed' concept is central. Clinton resurrected Franklin Delano Roosevelt; George W. Bush preferred his cousin Teddy. Reagan, in a truly old school move, had Calvin Coolidge's portrait hung in his office. You see, as a person born in 1911, Reagan could actually remember Coolidge.

For Republicans, Reagan himself has become the new motif. Every Republican candidate must appear 'Reaganesque' to win the nomination. John McCain is 'Reaganesque' because he is old and he was endorsed by Sylvestor Stallone, whose series of Rambo and Rocky films in the 1980s pit the rugged American protagonist against commies and terrorists, the arch enemies of freedom.

For Democrats though, it's more difficult. Clinton brings to mind a stained dress, Carter the Iran hostage crisis, and Johnson the Vietnam body count. Democrats have to go all the way back to John Fitzegerald Kennedy to resurrect their 'rendezvous with [partisan] history.' Even DNC Chairman Howard Dean has been parading Harry Truman around in an effort to reconnect the Democratic Party to its elected forebears.

And so, for Obama, it is Kennedy, the youthful, exuberant, and short-lived American president who has been summoned for the purposes of presidential myth making. It was, after all, the powerful endorsement of both Sen. Edward Kennedy and Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, which finally gave Obama the veneer of establishment credibility.

But is Obama really a sunny and optimistic Kennedy? Or is he more a fire and brimstone Lincoln? Either way, there's some powerful myth making in the works as we speak and it could result in the eventual naming of new international airports and highways. Goodbye Honolulu International Airport, hello Barack H. Obama International Airport? An Obama victory might even result in the issuance some new currency, just so Americans can pay for goods with the audacity of hope. The wheels of American history are turning again. Stay tuned.

27 kommentaari:

erueestlane ütles ...

I'm no republican, but I feel like voting for McCain.

Giustino ütles ...

I have decided to adopt the same attitude towards the general election. If the American people want the septuagenarian, that's their choice.If they want the ambassador of hope, that's theirs as well. I am from New York. My vote doesn't count, because the Democratic nominee will always win.

erueestlane ütles ...

In fact, I even like Obama, but that name he has, sorry, that cancels him out.

Sounds like somebody from Abu's Kwikie-Mart.

Martasmimi ütles ...

erueestlane ütles...
I'm no republican, but I feel like voting for McCain.

Yeah..."more of the same McCain"
at least 4 more years of
"old white men"

Giustino ütles ...

That's actually a powerful rhetorical tool. I've heard people calling a McCain candidacy a "Bush third term."
Bush's approval rating is around 30 percent or lower. He's not a popular guy.

erueestlane ütles ...

I even like McCain's position on not pulling out from Iraq. In the end, it will be this endless war that will help keep the lights on in working-class america. People need to eat. So it is smart to have this little project going on.

Get more of them used to living in tents and to follow direct orders and they will stop boo-hooing about their puny foreclosed homes.

plasma-jack ütles ...

Clinton brings to mind a stained dress

Seriously - would you give the red button to a sexually satisfied person or to a sexually inhibited person? If the worst thing that you can say about Clinton is that he really likes women, then...

Andres ütles ...

I even like McCain's position on not pulling out from Iraq. In the end, it will be this endless war that will help keep the lights on in working-class america.

How do you figure? The war is costing the U.S. $275 million a day. I'm not sure how that helps middle America, sounds more like a mortgage on the future.

erueestlane ütles ...

Ah, not to worry. Bush just ordered that everybody get $600 dollars. So life is good. Everybody go out and buy a 32 inch LCD to watch more FOX TV.

Never mind that what has been spent in Iraq would make more than $100 grand per every Iraqi woman, man and child and counting.

What that means is that Americans are basically ready to eat "kartulikoored" as long as some camel-herders get their democracy.

Nice, nice, nice.

andres ütles ...

Justin I have admiration for your right wing politics with a human face. You believe in Hilarys tough experience and you campaigned for John Mccain. John Mccain is the tough symbol of warrior politician that America needs to stand up to Russians and Chinese and corruption at home. When I learned that you campaigned for Mccain and you are a Republican at heart I know we have a man of strong principal.

Doris ütles ...

once a person is older than 60 people should pay attention to their wisdom. Once they're past 70 you should look for signs of senility.

Kind of reminds me of the "gerontocracy" of the Soviet Union, some of the guys weere so ill that they were able to work only 2 hours a day and even that from the hospital. And then after the fourth one died within 2 years, they thought they could use someone a bit younger and put Gorbachev in the leading role...

Kristopher ütles ...

Get more of them used to living in tents and to follow direct orders and they will stop boo-hooing about their puny foreclosed homes.

Bet you 10 devalued dollars that by a second McCain term, there will be a tent city of mentally ill vets and protesters outside the White House, even bigger than it was in the Reagan years. Once you start living in a tent, it's hard to go back to straight life.

whose series of Rambo and Rocky films in the 1980s

Come on, Stallone is only now reaching his prime. And look at how Rambo has evolved from troubled loner to multifaceted maturity -- he was in a Zen monastery in III, wasn't he? And IV is bound to be just as relevant as Rocky's comeback.

Clinton brings to mind a stained dress

When I hear Reagan National Airport, I cringe, and I always opt for BWI or Dulles, but I don't think of Iran-Contra. When I hear Clinton's name, I don't necessarily think of the Lewinsky scandal.

Just wanted to note that.

Giustino ütles ...

When I hear Reagan National Airport, I cringe, and I always opt for BWI or Dulles, but I don't think of Iran-Contra. When I hear Clinton's name, I don't necessarily think of the Lewinsky scandal.

The reason Obama avoids the 'politics of personal destruction', is because the Clintons have already been destroyed many times over.

And I still call it National, which seems more appropriate to me.

erueestlane ütles ...

Kris, does your travel itinerary always reflect your political leanings?

erueestlane ütles ...

Watching Kosovo ... wondering, whether we could get a little nice war going on there once again. That would be neat. Russia is already threatening to use force agains U.N. This is starting to looking nicey-nicey-nicey.


Europe has been growing fat and slow lately. Time for some wholesale scale bloodletting, eh?

My crystal ball shows me images of tired troops marching in the muddy mountain roads, chanting a strangely sad and slow war song: "Leto svet, eto leto svet!"

Karla ütles ...

Just to float a thought: perhaps Obama is the first credible Third-Party candidate ever, something many thinking Americans have hankered after for a long time. Maybe that's a Good Thing?

"Mos anytime you see whitemen spose to fight each other an' you not white, well you know you got trouble, because they blah-blah loud about Democrat or Republican an' they huffin' an' puff about democracy someplace else but relentless, see, the deal come down evil on somebody don' have no shirt an' tie, somebody don' live in no whiteman house no whiteman country."
-June Jordan, Political Essays, "White Tuesday" (1989), on the 1984 U.S. presidential election.

Alex ütles ...

Ya know, I think if you're over 65 and running for president, you should have to announce your VP running mate at the same time you announce your candidacy.

Unfortunately, no one I wanted for president is in the race so I'll have to pick from what there is.

Maybe it's because Bush set the presidential bar so low, but I'm not going to lose any sleep over this election, no matter which of the three leftovers ends up President.

With McCain, at least you know what you're going to get. More so with him than the other two. Especially with regard to foreign policy. Whether you agree with him or not, he's the only one that has a very detailed foreign policy agenda. Not just Iraq, but across the board. He also isn't called a "maverick" for nothing. He is known for crossing party lines on issues and isn't a hardcore partisan. That's why the core Republican base doesn't like him. He does blurt out the most un-presidential things a lot and when he says "my friends" it irks me.

Obama we don't really know what we're going to get. That alone is appealing. He is also a great orator, that's for sure. And that skill goes a long way in politics. Bill Clinton was a good orator as well, and could convince you that shit smelled good. That does wonders for foreign relations, even if your actions are lacking. Not to say his foreign policy would be bad. I think he's smart enough to surround himself with quality people. I hope people like Bill Richardson find their way into Obama's cabinet if he wins. The president is really a manager, not a worker bee. They set the tone and then ask others for opinions & options on how to get things done.

As far as Clinton is concerned, to be honest, I find it harder to put a positive spin on her. She'd better than Bush has been though.

I have to say, living in Estonia really changes my view on who I would like to see as president. My choice is not necessarily the same as if I was living and raising my kids in the U.S., or even if we ever intended to live in the U.S. in the future.

I think it would be best for the country to see Obama & McCain duke it out for the top job. The contrast between the two is so very clear, that the decision should be a relatively easy one for most voters. I also think in that scenario, you'd see one candidate win with a clear majority, so hanging chads won't be an issue.

erueestlane ütles ...

To cross the T on Obama - there already is one eloquent and highly educated black man running a country. Although America is making good strides becoming one, it is still not, at least yet like Zimbabwe. So let's keep him out of the office.

I work with the Federal Government in DC. I can see what can happen if you let "them" infest everything. It's not pretty.

Karla ütles ...

Steady on, eru-Klansman! Cut some eyeholes into that white pillowcase you're wearing over your head and read some of your own earlier comments above. What brought on the sudden access of bile - d'you buy some bad shit last night or what?
Oh, and which Federal Government are you working for?
;P

Giustino ütles ...

America may have once tolerated that kind of blatant racism; it perhaps still does. But things have changed too. Imus got fired for his 'nappy hoes' incident. George Allen lost his senate race because he called an Indian-American kid from Fairfax County a 'macacca.'

There is no point to continuing the division of America on basis of 'race' -- Obama is living proof as he had an African father and a mother from Kansas.

To the young people of America, who have grown up side by side with kids named "Barack" and never worried about it, these divisions seem as absurd as separate water fountains.

erueestlane ütles ...

Baltant racism? What is this? I see a flyer on the wall at the Dept of Commerce last week, posted by B.I.G. (Blacks in Government) inviting the members to a catered lunch and lecture. Imagine "Whites in Government"?

I see black racism every day. I see how the contracting is being done. (Do you knwo what A-8 means?) You are so naive if you think I have lost my marbles and I that am talking some right wing racist rubbish. (By the way, none of this I would EVER say in public, let alone under my own name)

It is easy not to be racist when you are not faced with the problem. Nobody in Iceland is racist for example. Nobody in the Maldives has anything against Russians either. Right?

Come to think of it, racism is normal. Why are you married to a white woman if you are not a racist?

It is that simple. Klansman? Yea right. Like a contrarian and malcontent like me would ever join some sort of movement or party or subject myself to somebody's ideology and crackpot teachings. Communism, fascism, racism, catholicism, sounds like all the same crap for me.

Ridiciculous.

Just read this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Mugabe

and this:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/23/AR2008022302304.html

and then this:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/28/AR2007122802492.html

Never mind, it will take forever to explain it. Give it time.

One day, when you've had enough, yoou'll agree with me.

I am no more of a racist than the any regular black guy rooting for "brothers".

Racism is part of evolution. Birds and the bees do it. If they didn't, there won't be any birds or bees. Everybody is racist. Everybody has to be.

Racist. Yea right. Leidis alles solvangu. :-)

In NY state ütles ...

"Bush's approval rating is around 30 percent or lower. He's not a popular guy."


Bush's approval rating just hit 19% approval rating this past week. He broke the floor of recorded polling. So far Truman was 22% in 1952.

But if he is so unpopular, why has been able to get his way legislatively since the 2006 elections? Not only why are the Democrats caving, but why are all the Republicans toeing the line? What is his power base if not the will of the people? And what does that say about the state of the Republic in the USA?

Alex ütles ...

Imus got fired for his 'nappy hoes' incident. George Allen lost his senate race because he called an Indian-American kid from Fairfax County a 'macacca.'

Don't forget Dog the Bounty Hunter. He's getting his show back though. Having the most popular show on A&E helped I'm sure.

Kristopher ütles ...

Kris, does your travel itinerary always reflect your political leanings?

My travel itinerary is completely based on the colour of the country on political maps. I refuse to go to any green country, for example, but it would take forever to explain. Just let it be known that there are plenty of people like me where I work, except of course for the ones who aren't.

erueestlane ütles ...

Allow me to offer another annoying and wildly inconvenient and out of the mainstream brain dropping here.

And tell me that I am wrong.

OMK. The short of it is - Obama's gonna win. It is just as inevitable as was W's winning way back when. It will all come down to American political correctness and nothing else.

Telle me, who would dare to call an imbecile and imbecile without being accused of insensitivity?

The ultimate result? That's how you get a dyslexic underachiever back-padded and cheered on into presidency. He has no idea that he is an idiot. Nobody has ever told him so. Do you really think little W ever heard a dsicouraging word in his life? Who would have uttered it? His frightened nanny? His private school teacher? Some maverick board member at his dad's oil company? Dick Cheney?

Now Obama. He's no dummy. He saw that. And he's gonna play the system like a grand piano. He knows. Who's gonna stand and criticize him wihtout being called a klansman? Right. Nobody.

Roll out the red carpet.

Next thing, get ready for a lesbian, muslim, handicapped, recovering drug-addict with a serious Turret-syndrome to take the office.

And Americans will all cheer like a bunch of 5th graders as usual, little flags, balloons, confetti and all ...

Blah.

erueestlane ütles ...

As you can see from my typoes I am a dyslexic too. No presidential aspirations. Yet.

Karla ütles ...

Hey, me too! Let's stick together, under the banner: DYSLEXICS OF THE WORLD, UNTIE!