not very useful analogies, really

Hitchens accuses Obama of being another Dukakis… The comparison I always thought of was that Hillary/Obama were like Ted Kennedy / Carter in 1980, where Carter went on to be a somewhat weak though well-intentioned leader, and Kennedy went on to serve as a powerful senator who in retrospect many people wonder if he could have had a greater impact on history… but the ties to family and the implications of corruption were things democrats were eager to get away from. I just hope we don’t end up with another Reagan if Obama isn’t able to deliver on the “hope” he’s been selling.

Carter wrote a lot of books and had that religious connection, too, but it turned out he wasn’t really able to get the country behind him, even if in many ways he was a great man. He was just better at running a non-profit, in the end. Seems like so much of being president really does have to do with how the country feels about you, and though a lot of college students love Obama, what will matter is how the corn farmers and walmart workers and accountants and gas station attendants and electricians and retiring pharmacists think of him…

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3 Responses to “not very useful analogies, really”

  1. rushmc Says:

    I thought this was an EXCELLENT speech:

    I think the problem is not that Obama does not have policy intentions, but that the media is not reporting them.

  2. rushmc Says:

    Bah, wrong link. Here’s the correct one:

  3. drinkme Says:

    not a bad speech, or at least, the policy intentions seem ok, but I think the trouble is that he isn’t that great at laying out the problems, explaining in a personal way what the issues are, and displaying in an immediately graspable way what sort of response is necessary. The economic section especially was a mess. I mean, insofar as I understand economics, I don’t think I agree with his policy suggestions, but I’m not even sure I know what his policy suggestions were exactly, because he didn’t lay things out in a particularly straightforward and everyday sort of way; he used fairly technical and familiar language – we need “transparency” and “oversight” – but he didn’t really tell us exactly what that was going to mean.

    I went to an econ talk the other day by an econ professor who made economics seem straightforward and comprehensible; he explained the terms before using them, made the principles logical and understandable, and by the end I knew why he wanted to regulate leverage across the board and insert contracyclical provisions (and -not- increase so-called transparency, fwiw). It wasn’t just lingo or a list of 6 “that sounds smart” solutions. It actually made real live sense to me, so that I went, huh, interesting. Obama’s talk, for the most part, was lists of stuff that if I already knew things, I could agree or disagree, but if I didn’t know things, mostly I just had to assume he did.

    Some of the earlier parts of the speech were stronger – the cayman island example was exactly the sort of ‘huh interesting’ sort of provide information, then solution, kind of thing that I think a good speech should have. And the stuff about keeping programs that work and dropping programs that don’t was good… But the opening stuff about lobbyists should have told us more about how lobbying currently works, I think. And to be honest I’ve already forgotten a lot of what other proposals the speech included…

    I just watched “Primary Colors” last night and the speech in the factory about “I can’t lie to you, no one can reopen this factory, what we gotta do is put more into education so you guys can start working toward a new skill” is a great example of a great speech – because it explains -why- something has happened. It isn’t because the other guy is bad or only you want to help; it’s just that certain forces have pushed people toward a certain way of thinking or acting or this outcome, and since you recognize that, you can be the one to make the changes, because you see the -cause- properly, and aren’t fighting blindly.

    That’s why I liked Obama’s race speech – he seemed to understand the causes of racism in a deep enough way to fight them intelligently. But especially on economics, and even on policy/gov, I’m not convinced by this speech that he understands the causes, just that he can list some fighting moves we can try.

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