A great man once said, "Politics is inherently stupid." That great man was me.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Barack Obama is many things, but he's certainly not stupid. He knows that there is a huge appetite for change in the United States, and he knows that if he wants to sit in the oval office he has to ride it as long as he can. Towards that end, his campaign has largely been lofty concepts, rather than solid ideas or policy.
Ask any Democrat (or liberal Canadian) what Obama stands for. You'll hear nothing but two simple words: hope and change. But beyond that, what does he have to offer? He's already stated that believes in the failed policy of negotiation with the West's sworn enemies, a policy that was proven absolutely useless under the Clinton administration. Remember the handshake between Arafat and Rabin? Both are long dead and gone, and radical groups like Hamas and Hezbollah that have sworn to destroy Israel are stronger than ever. North Korea is still a global pariah with it's finger on the trigger.
In fact, the only thing that has been shown to work with America's enemies is a dose of the carrot with a strong helping of the stick. When President Bush declared "you're either with us or you're against us," Libya and Pakistan got the message and started to behave. Saddam Hussein was finally dealt with, and efforts to build a nation in Iraq are finally ongoing with signs of success, though much work still remains to be done. Clearly, you have to show the bully that you can hit back. Any schoolyard kid knows that.
Back to Obama. More than anything, I think he's naive about many things (the previous example included). But I don't think his bleatings of "hope and change," and "changing the way Washington works," are a product of his naivety. He knows (or should) after four years in the Senate that you can't change the way Washington works - and if he doesn't, he's an idiot. But he's very cunningly decided that the average American doesn't know that. He knows that they are hungry for a fresh direction and bored and tired of the war in Iraq. So, he's wisely decided to exploit that. Hope and Change - you want it, you'll get it. It makes for a good campaign slogan - after all, it worked for Jimmy Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes To Washington. For Americans nostalgic for the imagined peace of the 1990's, it sells well.
But this isn't a Hollywood movie - it's real life, and there are no end credits where everything is settled and all the loose ends are tied up. If Obama becomes president, all will not be well again. America will still have it's enemies, enemies that have hated it long before George W. Bush came on the scene (to think terrorists hate the USA because of Bush is a fallacy. They were planning the 9/11 attacks during the Clinton years, to make up for not destroying the World Trade Center the first time [also under Clinton]). Anti-Americanism existed long before Bush, and I should know - America and Americans used to get my goat as a child, before I started critically evaluating things for myself.
The only change we'll see under Obama is that the president of the United States will be unprepared and unwilling to confront it's enemies and that will spell disaster for the western world.
Obama can deliver speech after speech about changing the way Washington works, but anyone who seriously believes that is nothing more than a simpleton. He is a politician, and in order to survive you have to play the game. It's as simple as that. For those of you who still disagree, please turn your attention to Exhibit A:
Of course she never got an answer - he didn't have one. It's classic Obama, and classic politician. Stick to the script. Hope and Change. Don't answer questions. Shake hands. Remember to smile!
He'll try to ride this campaign strategy all the way to the White House, but don't kid yourself - Obama, like all of the others before him, will be no different.
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