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Obama backgrounder….

Today’s New York TImes has a a front page piece that offers an interesting picture of Barack Obama’s political rise in Chicago — and the style he developed there. What emerges is a picture of an intelligent political novice who turned into a politically savvy operator.

One of the highlighted quotes from the article comes from Rashid Khalidi: “People think he’s a saint. He’s not. He’s a politician.” Although perhaps meant as a criticism of Obama, the line is actually both a good summary of the lessons to be drawn from the article and a damn good reason for backing him for the presidency. No doubt we would like to elect saints to political office, but assuming that is unlikely (and probably undesirable — the arrogance of power driven by egomania is sufficiently dangerous; an individual convinced of his or her saintliness would be catastrophic!), a politician with the intellectual capacity to be reflective and the skills of a political mediator is exactly what we might need.

Although I tend to assume a “keep them guessing” posture when it comes to my political leanings (if for no other reason than it keeps my students baffled about some of my comments in class), it should be clear that I am an Obama supporter at this point — and have been a regular (if small) contributor for some months now. That said, although I am fascinated by his charismatic style and his stands on many issues, what really attracts me is his well-honed political savvy and what promises to be a very different and very intresting presidency — if we are lucky and wise enough to make it happen….



Another article in this AM’s NY Times reinforces my argument of the need for the pragmatic, bridge-building style that Obama would bring to the presidency. In the short Magazine piece, William Galston and Pietro Nivola present the case that the political geography of the US reflects a much more polarized landscape than two decades ago. Read in conjunction with the Obama backgrounder and one can see the benefits….

Finally, my daughter just sent me a link to the Saturday Night Live “Message from Hillary” skit that opened their show last night. Funny….

May 11th, 2008 Posted by | accountabilitybloke | no comments