A Cautious Man
October 30, 2008
Tougher Than The Rest
It’s a little late in the game to be thinking about this, but what the heck. Given everything we now know, and have seen in this campaign, can we say that Senator Obama was the best choice as the Democratic nominee for President? In my humble opinion, “yes we can” say that. The main reason, I believe, is his consistent message and approach, and adherence to the positive aspects of his campaign.
Senator McCain and his supporters, whether politicians or right-wing pundits, have engaged in all sorts of nasty attacks. Would there have been as much attacking if the nominee was, say, Senator Clinton? I don’t see why there would not have been. All of the same old nonsense would have been recycled, for one. Remember, these are the people who managed to paint a decorated Vietnam veteran, John Kerry, as a phony if not a coward. Although it might not have been a big consideration during the primaries, the ability of the Democratic nominee to stand up to those tactics, to weather those attacks, is clearly an important qualification for being the standard-bearer. Senator Obama has shown that he has that ability.
In addition, we’ve seen that it doesn’t matter what the Democratic nominee actually says or believes – the right-wing attack machine is always ready to take a phrase or half of a position, and reinterpret it into a completely baseless attack. The “socialism” chant that’s become the basis for Senator McCain’s campaign is evidence of that. Senator Obama may suffer from a tendency to assume that he is having an adult conversation with reasonable people, forgetting that what he says will be sliced-and-diced and repackaged by the hate machine, but the same thing would have happened to whomever was heading the ticket. What may not have been the same, would be the presence of mind to push forward in a positive way, rebutting the attack machine not with similar nastiness, but showing a clear resolve and strength of character as a counterargument.
It’s only recently that I realized (maybe late in the game, but so what) that Senator Obama has been following the same steady course throughout his campaign. What some people have called his “No drama Obama” persona is really a consistent, certain attitude that he has presented, without veering off into new approaches or scrambling based on whatever happened to come up in the news. Look at last spring, when he declined to jump on the “suspend the gas tax” bandwagon, or the recent financial crisis. Compare this with Senator McCain, who has veered from issue to issue, and jumped on the most inane of talking points (see “Joe the Plumber”, or whoever or whatever he is). The contrast could not have been more stark, and this has only served to show Senator Obama in an even more positive light, imho.
And it’s not just the recent campaign. The brilliant and effective rejoinders to the offensive “real vs. fake” America arguments have their roots in Senator Obama’s introduction to the national stage, four years ago (as mentioned here previously). Senator Obama started on his road to this point by rejecting that sort of divisiveness, and by staying on that road he may have (one can only hope) helped to turn a page in our politics.
The greatest virtue of Senator Obama and his campaign is that he is offering himself as someone to vote for. All of the joking about the “Obamatic” infomercial last night aside, it is the case that he talked about reasons to vote for him, and did not engage in any attacks on (and certainly no distortions of the record of) Senator McCain. Throughout the long campaign, I think he has made the case that he has the right intentions, the right proposals, the right people behind him, and the right message to spread through the United States, and to the rest of the world.
That’s a reason for (can I say it?) “hope”.