“The president ate his Wheaties this morning.”
“Actually, the president had oatmeal this morning. He said it was something he’s always wanted to try.”
—The West Wing

Okay, so anybody who doesn’t know I’ve had my issues with Barack Obama and the Cult of Obama hasn’t been paying attention. But the truth is I’m looking for a reason to like him, I always have been, and when I get pissed off at him, it’s because he does things that embarrass me as a Democrat, things like telling me I’m not nice enough to religious bigots. I did listen to everybody who told me I was being stupid to write him off as a schmuck and decided to try to keep an open mind about him.

Went to see him speak in Harvey today (poverty- and corruption-ridden south suburb full of nice people getting screwed hard by all levels of government, for those of you who are not initiate in its wonders) and whoo, boy, was he on fire. He was pissed.

He smacked everybody around. The local mayor who hired his political cronies, the police chief under investigation for various offenses too lengthy to detail, ministers for liking the applause of their congregations. These people, by the way, were sitting not twenty feet away from him and he said this stuff to their faces. “We don’t need that kind of leadership,” he said, looking right at them. “You know what I’m talking about.”

He called out Bush, for spending billions in Baghdad and nothing at home, for saying we were going to eradicate poverty after Katrina and then letting NOLA evacuees continue to rot in trailers (yelling “They can’t come home!”).

I asked him about this point Atrios made and he said it is time to begin redeploying our troops. Said he’d been waiting to see if Bush was gonna work with the ISG and since he wasn’t, and was moving forward with this whole “surge” nonsense, he was gonna get a resolution slapped on him. Which wasn’t “bring them home now” so I wasn’t totally satisfied, but he did at least acknowledge the Friedman Unit issue.

So I’ve gone from disliking him back to “I don’t know.” I have a suspicion he’s decided not to run for president and that’s why he speaking so freely, but if he is running for president and he’s talking like this? I may have to rethink my mental exhaustion with his political celebrity and seeming immunity to his charms, which to tell you the truth is about 60 percent the fault of the political TV hairdos who kiss his ass like he’s Bono and never tell me why I should love him so much.

(Yes, I’m a fickle political whore who has previously declared her ’08 allegiance to Kerry, Edwards, Richardson, Eddie Izzard, a breakfast pastry, and whichever of Sigfried and Roy didn’t get chewed on by that tiger. I admit this and fully disclose it and I have no obligation whatsoever to be anything but honest about my uncertainty plus it’s all a freaking year away anyway. Generally my allegiance will be to whoever’s hitting hardest with the biggest chair around, so it’s gonna change a bit. If I have a hard and fast rule, that’s it.)

My column about the whole thing and my former and current colleagues’ work, including sound clips from the speech and photos, will be up here at some point later today if you want to read more.


18 thoughts on “Obamamania

  1. I heart Obama, and I think he sees he can do more as a VP this time through.
    A lot of people say “he’s a blank canvas” etc etc etc.
    There is a difference between seeing what you wish to see, and actually hearing what you’ve been waiting to hear.
    A, I think he really gets it.

  2. “I have a suspicion he’s decided not to run for president and that’s why he speaking so freely…”
    Ten minutes before I read this, CNN reported that Obama had taken some step towards running, or was about to take some step (I wasn’t really paying attention). I fully expect him to run.
    As for being undecided: It’s perfectly OK to be undecided this far out, we’re playing a pretty dynamic game at this point.

  3. It is certainly early for settling on the candidate of choice. It is not too early for evaluating those we might want to settle for. Obama fits that group very well, and if he is willing to speak out, forget being Centrist of the Year, and let us hear his full oratorical skills in practice, I think he will be the last man standing. Whomever the Democrats nominate, that person has a better than 50-50 chance of winning, so it should be someone who will at long last be a progressive and not a business centered centrist.

  4. Why don’t you like Obama? In Novemeber, when Congress passed the Torture Enablement and Habeus Corpus Revocation Act (aka the Military Commissions Act of 2006), Senator Slither said nothing about this patriotic action, illustrating his Liebermanian, bipartisan statemanship. Who would not vote for such a man?

  5. Hmm. How about if I say, I don’t like him because he’s being pushed at me? He may be a fine person. He may be a great politician. But he doesn’t make the music in my heart run over. He doesn’t make me want to vote for him. He doesn’t make me think he really gets it.
    I like Gore. I like Edwards. I love Wes Clark. Some combination of those three really ought to be the ticket. Why? Gore gets that we’re destroying the planet. Edwards gets that we already damn nearly destroyed the point of the nation. Clark’s a first-water defense hardcore SOB with a damn fine record. And, unfortunately, Howard Dean’s gotten too fond of hitting people with the whole damn truck, so if he runs again some asshole will shoot him in the name of “patriotism”.

  6. I see, for the moment, Edwards setting the tone, and now Obama following (rather than taking the Hillary tack of not even making an appearance after Bush’s “surge” speech, but just releasing an announcement).
    I like it. As for Obama…we’ll see. But the direction he’s being pushed in (and the GOP response, which is McCain & Giuliani and “If you like Bush, you’ll love us!”) is good.

  7. I cannot tell you how happy I am with your new design. The old one took forever to load and drove me crazy.
    I guess I’m like a lot of people who want to like Obama but he keeps doing things that irritate me. His speeches often sound good but they are really kinda boring to read and don’t say much. I don’t suppose I’d hate voting for him if he wins the primary, but I think we actually do have better choices. I want a real leader, and Obama hasn’t really been showing any leadership, has he? We shall see…

  8. I’ve liked Obama since he ran for the Senate. I do get frustrated when he gets timid in his denouncing something or someone but, I also realize that he is at times speaking for the party and the senate dems and so has to be careful. I have learned when he is speaking his thoughts or when he is the spokesman.
    I have reasons not to like the other candidates. I personally think Edwards is the one who is too puffed up. Just not by the media but, by the blogs that swoon at his poster like little teen girls.
    I especially dislike it when they give him a pass then trash Obama for the same thing. Or when Obama says something and they trash him but, Edwards turns around (and more times than not has swiped the talking point from someone, mostly Obama) and the blogs swoon.
    They make the media’s liking of Obama look like a cool look over.

  9. Obama is smart enough, wise enough, to know when he’s being set up, like Hilary, by a cynical media.

  10. If Eddie Izzard runs, the Constitution should be amended to allow him to serve.
    I’m just sayin’.
    As far as Obama goes, I like him better than Edwards, but that’s not saying much. I nearly crawled through the teevee to strangle him on Leno, letting Jay get away with the whole “they weren’t working on Monday” BS. Argh.
    The thing that has irked me most about the last two presidential campaigns is that they seemed like those goddamned DVD packages where they’re shrink-wrapped, put in a big plastic bubble, then shrink-wrapped again, then have little seals over the plastic case. Whatever’s inside may be worth seeing, but I’ll never know, because I’ve thrown the stupid thing in the fireplace after fifteen minutes of wrestling with the stupid packaging!
    You can’t please everyone. And trying to do so simply makes you look fake and stupid. We’re smarter than that. If you’re going to say something that might be controversial, say it proudly. If it’s wrong, we’ll tell you. Then come out and say, “Know what? I was wrong. I’ve learned from that mistake. That’s something you haven’t seen in the past eight years, isn’t it?”
    And I love the new digs. But I’m pining for the little thumbnails in the corner for the different categories. I know they probably slowed the load for some, but I always thought they were a cool addition. Just putting in my 2 cents for future upgrades.

  11. Obama’s smarter than just about any of them. I don’t know if he’ll get as good a chance in one or two more cycles, which might make him a more seasoned, not quite so glamorous candidate . . .
    He has pointed out that he was 99th in Senate seniority, which doesn’t leave a lot of room for grand gestures.
    I dunno either, but I’m going to watch close.

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