Friday, June 15, 2007

Beachwood Rebuttal

Steve Rhodes of The Beachwood Reporter e-mailed some thoughtful feedback in response to this post.
The problem for Obama is his branding as a different kind of politician, when in fact he has been exposed as a pretty ordinary Illinois Democrat whose record is nothing like his newly crafted national image. Every time he is caught being a hack like the rest of them, his supporters say "But they all do that." Then what is the rationale for Obama's campaign?

He is campaigning as a change agent with no record of being one; as an anti-war candidate who kept his mouth shut when he had a national stage and instead raised money for Joe Lieberman; as a grass-roots movement candidate in his e-mail solicitations while spending his time with the same corporate lobbyists and special interests in fundraising events he tries to keep from the public.

If Obama is merely guilty of being a pol, that makes his entire campaign a charade. But trying to fix his policy decisions to his image rather than the other way around makes him the most cynical exploiter of hope to further his own ambitions who has come down the pike for a long time. He is taking the permanent campaign to a new level.

It's beyond me how anyone can honestly look at Obama and see his fictionalized memoir, phone call to Tony Rezko to help him buy that house, not putting his stock in a blind trust while posing as the champion of ethics legislation, his mentors being Emil Jones, Rezko, and Joe Lieberman, his embrace of Dorothy Tillman and Todd Stroger, his reputation in Springfield for being lazy and aloof, his lackluster record as a U.S. senator, including keeping his mouth shut about the war, voting for the Mexican fence and against the credit card interest cap, and conclude that this is a messenger of hope who ought to be president of the United States and leader of free world because he seems likable, has a great smile, and gave a good speech (though [in my opinion] a speech full of nonsense) once.

Wanting everyone to get along is not a platform, it's a nostrum.

(You can publish this if you like - or not - my Blogger log-on is screwed up so I couldn't post it as a comment.)

Steve Rhodes
The Beachwood Reporter
Although Mr. Rhodes' argument has not convinced me -- I still stand by what I said -- he presents the best and most coherent argument against Obama's campaign that I have encountered* and all is grist for the mill.

And you don't have to agree with Steve on Obama -- I sure don't -- to appreciate the fact that The Beachwood Reporter's analysis of the Obama campaign press coverage -- meta-analysis or meta-meta-analysis? -- is top notch.

*Any perceived damning with faint praise is purely unintentional.

1 comment:

Rob said...

Oh, I dunno, I think Rhodes' read on Obama is a little facile. Maybe it's just a little too meta- for my tastes.

Have you noticed how Rhodes has started fetishizing guys like Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich? As if the fact that they can't win makes them somehow more authentic. Does Rhodes even care about, you know, actually getting good policy enacted?

Some of his specific charges here are vague, others are false. (Some are even true! Obama's endorsement of Todd Stroger was a sad day.) But he's just running down his laundry list, not making substantive points. For example, there are all sorts of good reasons to vote for a border fence, and I doubt Rhodes really advocates fully opening the border. The truth is he has no real interest in the issue itself; he just wants ammo for his preconceived Obama-is-a-hypocrite storyline.

"Wanting everyone to get along is not a platform." Well fine, but weighing divergent viewpoints certainly is a leadership style. After Bush's divisive, ideological presidency, it is probably the style best suited to the uphill battle of rebuilding America's image internationally.


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