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Hope with an Edge

My Dad wrote me an email today suggesting I take a look at David Brook’s column, When the Magic Fades, in the New York Times.  He wanted to know what I thought, so here it is:

In that article, which seems to be Brooks’s own attempt to fulfill a prophesy, he regurgitates the mainstream media’s insistence that Obama is all posture and no substance, all hope and no guts.  He calls him the “Hope Pope,” the “Changemaker,” “The Chosen One,” and the “High Deacon of Unity.”  He speaks of “what’s bound to be a national phenomenon: Obama Comedown Syndrome.”  

O.C.S., he says, will set in when people realize that Obama’s PAC is giving $698,000 to superdelegates, when they realize he is considering backing off his promise to abide by the public finance campaign-spending rules in the general election and when he fails to stand up to the lobbyists and the special interests in the Democratic party.

As I write, it doesn’t look like Wisconsin got the O.C.S. diagnosis in time.  No, they seem to have chosen, and chosen wisely.

My support for Obama has always been because he can use his power with words to mobilize the American people to get substantive change accomplished. I am happy that he is not afraid to play serious politics, Old School style.  He is not naive enough to believe you can get elected on a lot of talk of hope. He knows he needs to win over (which means buy off via legal contributions) all those with loyalties to the Clinton machine.

So, if I were advising him, I would tell him forget the promise he made about campaign contributions.  That was before the people of the US told him that they wanted to finance his campaign themselves via internet contributions to the tune of $36 million in January alone.  This is different from taking huge money from few people. So, I would tell him to say that he has decided to forego public financing because the promise he made previously was intended to ensure that big money special interest groups were out of the mix.  Obama’s money is not coming from special interests, but from hundreds of thousands of people giving a little at a time.  This accomplishes the same goal and leaves him free to out spend McCain by a lot.  

What I like about Obama is that he plays by new rules but is ready to respond with tenacity to old ways when needed. Meanwhile, Clinton’s tired negative strategy is falling on deaf ears.  McCain seems to be trying some of the same tricks–he says Obama is peddling empty promises, that he and his wife are unpatriotic, etc.–they have no idea what they are dealing with here.

Krugman and Brooks think Obama can’t play hardball. Watch him.

This is hope with a hard edge. 

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