Thursday, February 14, 2008

Conservatives and Obama

There's a meme floating around that Obama is nothing but a great talker. He gives great speeches, but how much content is there? I see the word "vague" attached to him. This is particularly true of conservatives. A conservative film blog that some friends of mine run, Libertas, had a post about this.

I think this is great. Why? Because they are underestimating him. Conservatives are making the same mistake about Obama that liberals made about Reagan. For years, I had no idea why people voted for Reagan. The man was a B-movie actor who could barely remember his own name. Why was this man President? I once saw an old clip of him, from the 60's, talking about defending America against communism. It was amazing - he was very articulate and passionate. I realized that he actually had thought about the issues and cared about them very deeply. By the time I heard him, he had his message down pat, and he was an old man, so I never saw the passion that had inspired so many people. But a couple of minutes of black and white footage changed an opinion that I had had for over 20 years.

This is the same mistake that conservatives are making now: they assume that Obama is just the same old liberal, with better speaking ability. What they don't appreciate is that behind the flowery rhetoric is years of thinking. Behind the passion on display is years of walking the streets, working hard, asking questions, debating. Why was Martin Luther King so effective when he said that he had a dream? Because he had it for his whole life. Why could Abraham Lincoln express the sorrow of a nation in a few sentences at Gettyburg? Because what he cared about was holding the country together, which he knew was worthwhile because he had spent so long thinking about it. And because he had spent so long working on it.

So I am happy to see conservatives dismiss Obama as an empty suit. Keep on underestimating him, folks! We'll see you in November.

1 comment:

Gwennegaia said...

You go, John! I agree......and like your approach......I was worried and disgusted at these comments.......laughing them off is better. Did you hear Obama's comment on 60 minutes......that in the beginning people complained that he sounded like a professor - where was the inspiring rhetoric we all heard at the 04 convention? He just smiled.........