Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Vote for Alanis/Avril/Miley?

by Ken Houghton

Bob Herbert calls him "a rock star," apparently without irony. Patrick has endorsed him.

They appear to do so for opposite reasons. Patrick:
[Obama]’s not an insurgent; he’s the standardbearer for a faction of the country’s political elite. I believe that, on balance, this particular faction happens to comprise many of the the smartest and most conscientious individuals from within that elite. So I’m supporting Obama and his train, people like Samantha Power and Robert Malley and Lawrence Lessig, just as a peasant might cheer for an aristocratic faction made up of reasonably decent individuals against other factions made up of out-and-out thugs. Not because the peasant doesn’t know the game is rigged, or doesn’t have the wit to imagine a better world. But because incremental change matters, and because the right incremental changes can lead, like water flowing downhill, to bigger and more profound ones.

Also, while I am a radical in analysis, I am an incrementalist in practice, because life is short.

against Herbert:
The easiest way to understand what is going on is to step across the generational divide. The realists tend to be older and come out of a political and racial experience that is often completely alien to Mr. Obama’s most fervent supporters, who tend to be younger.

During a series of interviews on the campus of Stanford University, students expressed great interest in the election but seemed unconcerned with such factors as Mr. Obama’s race or perceived electability....

A handful of interviews on a college campus is hardly a scientific survey. But well-educated young people are the distilled version of Mr. Obama’s supporters, and it’s a fact that younger people in the U.S. have had it with the bitterness, divisiveness and ineffectiveness that make government and politics in their eyes seem so unsavory....

They are not parsing the differences between the Clinton and Obama health proposals....

They are just fed up with the status quo, and they want change. And they’ve found a rock star who embodies their desire [emphases mine].

So the people who followed Christina, Britney, Justin, and Apple's daddy are now The ObamaNation. And the Ivy-educated New York Times reporter Herbert (several years before Obama, but the same school) speaks in terms of "generational divide," while Patrick who has made his way without that networking opportunity, recognizes that Obama's "not an insurgent."

UPDATE: I confused Bob Herbert with Bob Klapisch. My mistake, and thank you to my Loyal Reader for the quick update.

Patrick notes the Possibility That Entices:,
I think [Obama] can beat McCain and sweep more Democrats, and more progressive Democrats, into power with him. I think it’s no accident that he’s been endorsed by so many elected Democrats in red states like Kansas, Arizona, and North Dakota. It’s not because he’s secretly a conservative, it’s because they know they’ll do better with him on top of the ticket.

I hope he's correct. I think it's no accident that he's been endorsed by those people because they're prepping for Heath Shuler in 2020.

But his health care position scares me—and probably a lot of other traditional voters,* even if Kevin Quinn and other one-issue voters are willing to give him a pass on the most important budget issue of the next four-plus years.

Maybe the synthesis comes from this article in today's Metro, which solidified my vote for Obama's opponent:
Rachel Schneider stood in front of Trader Joe’s handing out fliers for Barack Obama and reminding people to vote today.

"You can tell who the Hillary supporters are," the 19-year-old NYU student said. "They’re old white women."

Obama’s talk of change has captured many young people’s imaginations, and he’s drawing first-time voters like few politicians have done before.

"I would like someone more liberal than Barack," Schneider said, "but he inspires people who don’t care about politics to care, and that’s important."

It's nice to see that the "soccer moms" don't count any more. And we can hope the "inspired" remain so—but that is rarely the way to bet.

Vote early and often. Join me in hoping for the best.

*That his wife appears to be closer to Sherry Palmer than Laura Bush—or Hillary Clinton also doesn't help.**

**Don't tell me about her "correction"; in the real world, she won't get that chance if her husband is the nominee. See Lance for an expansion of that thought.

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