Can Obama, or Anyone, Live Up to the H(y)ope?

Brown U. senior and Darfur activist Scott Warren had a piece in Saturday’s ProJo describing his recent visit to Kenya where he saw first-hand how much the Kenyan people love the idea of one of their own–Barack Obama–on the doorstep of becoming President of the U.S. The enthusiasm in Kenya may match or even exceed that in the U.S., but in both places, while Warren doesn’t quite put it this way (heh), Obama has succeeded in becoming an empty vessel of hope and change to be filled by whatever is needed. But Warren warns that this exuberance, this dependence on a man to make it all better for each person according to their own desire, is a dangerous thing:

Obama’s Kenyan supporters, not unlike much of his domestic constituency, often carry unrealistically high expectations, thinking that he can single-handedly cure AIDS, materially improve the lot of Kenyans and end economic inequality. Kenyans may be disappointed if their lives do not significantly improve after four years of an Obama White House.
The enthusiasm for Obama’s candidacy has intrigued many Americans, who marvel that Kenyans have named beers after him. This enthusiasm, however, carries real consequences. The American president is not only held responsible for peace in his own country, but also for stability around the globe. Obama’s excitement could generate unprecedented levels of international support for American policies. Heightened expectations, however, could lead to real disappointment.

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joe bernstein
joe bernstein
13 years ago

I think I said something to this effect in a previous reply.Obama comes to the voters as an unmolded smiling clay figure and lets them decide who he is-he will be whatever they imagine.Dangerous,but smart.

Greg
Greg
13 years ago

Yawn.
Here’s an idea for the contributors to this site…
Find people a single, compelling reason to support your candidate instead of desperately firing slings and arrows at the opposition. Just one. I haven’t seen you do it yet.
“Your guy sucks!” is what we’ve been hearing from the Left for the last eight years. And how well did it work for them in 2000? How about in 2004?

Citizen Critic
Citizen Critic
13 years ago

There were high hopes for Jimmy Carter too.

chuckR
chuckR
13 years ago

Greg
What would you suggest? Because he has no history of significant actions and accomplishments, you can’t judge Obama at all. Shouldn’t that be enough to disqualify him? Hell, this isn’t peewee soccer where nobody loses.

Phil
Phil
13 years ago

Greg
Good point. The republican right wingers here do not trust McCain. Fear and loathing of Obama is much more motivating for them. Get used to the useless flailing against the rip tide of the future by those who had been recently sunning themselves and thinking conservative control was going to last for one thousand years.

Greg
Greg
13 years ago

chuckR,
What do I suggest? Why don’t you read my first post again for the obvious answer to that? McCain has a decades-long history to reflect on. Show me something, anything, in his history that makes me think he’d be a Conservative standard-bearer. Bring me back to the fold. Convince me that he’ll be good for the country and the party.

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
13 years ago

I supported McCain in 2000.I trust him to deal effectively with our enemies because I think he is not afraid to make a decision and then commit enough resources to see it through.
I think McCain will appoint decent judges,particularly on SCOTUS.
I find McCain to have generally been an honest man,as much as one can be in the Beltway milieu.
McCain doesn’t promise a rose garden,he has a sense of humility that makes him realize he is just a man taking on a hard job.
I think McCain has proven beyond doubt that he won’t crack under pressure,which is why his “bad temper”is insignificant.

chuckR
chuckR
13 years ago

Greg
I cannot bring you back to the fold. McCain is the less objectionable candidate, not the more attractive one.
However, one of these two less than attractive candidates will appoint a few Supreme Court Justices. In Heller, a narrow majority found that the Second Amendment meant what it said. Next time? The First Amendment continues to be under attack and McCain was a leader in that effort with Feingold. Obama will be worse, either out of as yet undisclosed conviction or pliability in satisfying his constituencies. Fairness Doctrine, anyone? Maybe it will apply to blogs; how about Pat Crowley having a mandated counterpoint to each post here, on AR’s nickel? On RIF, they’d find a tame idiot who claimed an opposing viewpoint without actually having one and it would be declared Good. It wouldn’t go that far for a long time, but in this context, fairness is the opposite of freedom.
I got no arguments for you. Its like starving and having a choice between a plate of overcooked liver and onions and one with tofu. Yuck and double yuck.

Greg
Greg
13 years ago

Exactly. And after eating eight years of Republican shit, I’m ready to try something, ANYTHING, different.
I think just about anybody the Dems ran (With the exception of Hillary) would be a formidable opponent to the Republican this year. The fact that we nominated a wishy-washy RINO shows that even WE are no longer convinced of the Republican brand.

chuckR
chuckR
13 years ago

Greg
Here’s a persuasive endorsement for you:
http://beldar.blogs.com/beldarblog/2008/04/mccain_grump.jpg

Greg
Greg
13 years ago

Chuck,
So far that’s the best endorsement I’ve seen.

OldTimeLefty
13 years ago

Regarding experience, please read: Who said: “The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do at all, or cannot do so well, for themselves, in their separate and individual capacities.” A. Abraham Lincoln, B. Barack Obama Who promoted “a protective tariff, and a program of internal improvements for facilitating transportation.” A. Abraham Lincoln, B. Barack Obama Who asked for “grandiose project for constructing with state funds a network of railroads, highways, and canals.” A. Abraham Lincoln, B. Barack Obama If you answered A to all three you were correct. You should also note that “During his single term in Congress (1847–49), Lincoln, as the lone Whig from Illinois, gave little attention to legislative matters.” Although Lincoln did propose “a bill for the gradual and compensated emancipation of slaves in the District of Columbia, but, because it was to take effect only with the approval of the ‘free white citizens’ of the district, it displeased abolitionists as well as slave holders and never was seriously considered.” Lincoln voted to condemn Polk and the Mexican American War while also voting for supplies to carry it on. At the same time, he labored for the nomination and election of the war hero Zachary Taylor. Source for the above is The Encyclopedia Britannica. Now, I admire Lincoln as much as anyone, but his record before his presidency was relatively thin compared to the people he ran against who were: Stephen Douglas, Democrat Candidate, was U.S. Senator from Illinois, 1847 to 1861. “As chairman of the Committee on Territories, Douglas dominated the Senate in the 1850s. He was largely responsible for the Compromise of 1850 that apparently settled slavery issues. Douglas had much more experience than Lincoln. John Bell, Whig Candidate, was… Read more »

mac1
13 years ago

<>
It doesn’t matter what you cut and paste Oldy, your empty suit still has less experience than our Daffy Duck, Sheldon Whitehouse.

OldTimeLefty
13 years ago

Mac1,
What you call cut and paste is based upon historical fact. You have substituted invective for argument. Supply some facts and we may argue, otherwise keep your childish diatribe to yourself and try to act like a grown up.
OTL

JP
JP
13 years ago

“”Your guy sucks!” is what we’ve been hearing from the Left for the last eight years. And how well did it work for them in 2000? How about in 2004?”
How about 2006? When “George Bush sucks” worked for just about every candidate that evoked the slogan – most notably an empty suit named Sheldon Whitehouse.
Just sayin.

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