I am constantly surrounded by Barack Obama supporters. His supporters are attracted to his masterful oratory skills and his words of change and hope. Barack Obama is definitely a gifted politician. When he initially entered the race, I was extremely intrigued by him. He was the fresh and hip new politican in the sea of older faces. After the debacle called the Bush presidency, the yearning for change is strong. There is no one who wants a change more than I do. Obama’s message of change was thus attractive. He said he would bring everyone together and bring change. That sounded absolutely wonderful. However, I am also a realist. So I wanted to know how he was going to this. And he never answers this in his speeches. He diagnoses the problem and comes up with a solution full of platitudes and cliches. However, where is the substance? Where’s the beef? It’s one thing to say you hope for change, it’s another thing to make it happen. Beyond the nice words, what is this young senator from Illinois specifically going to do to bring all of us together? What substantive things will he do to better the lives of people? Will he compromise his values to create consensus? These are things I would like to know, but he refuses to answer in the midst of the platitudes. I don’t mind occasional fluff because it sounds nice to the ears. But in the end, what I want is substance and depth. In today’s culture, we worship celebrities. Barack Obama is a rock star attracting huge crowds of people, enthralled by him. He’s the trendy choice of the upper middle class, white collar, intellectual elites. However, when I sift through the fluff, the celebrity status, and the trendiness, I am not jumping on the Obama bandwagon just yet.
If Barack Obama becomes the Democratic nominee, I will support him enthusiastically. Until then, I am a Hillary Clinton supporter.
“Perhaps Hillary played the same trick on her critics that her husband, Bill, did in his epic State of the Union addresses that went on and on about one specific policy after another. Those speeches often got bad reviews but good poll ratings. At one campaign stop last week, as Hillary Clinton droned on learnedly about health care, family and medical leave, and global warming, a colleague in the press section leaned over to dismiss her for offering nothing but ‘a laundry list of wonkery.’
But especially for less well-off voters, the specific things government can do to relieve a few of their burdens may be more important than Obama’s soaring and prophetic rhetoric that moved the young and the affluent. To eat some of my own words, maybe prose wins elections after all.”
-E.J. Dionne – columnist for the Washington Post