Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Thoughts on the president-elect

David Seaton's News Links
Reading many of the comments about Obama's victory, it seems that the principal object of this election has been for Americans to "feel good" about themselves.

Is Obama some sort of Prozac... like Reagan?

What is he actually going to do?

During the long, long campaign, his positions changed a lot from month to month. Many of Obama's supporters found this "re-positioning" much to be admired.

His website is filled with detailed position papers, but, wonky, campaign position papers are never very indicative of what people are going to finally do under fire. That is what people were talking about, when they talked about "experience", not so much the the candidate's experience in office, but the voter's experience of the candidate, while he was in office.

Since, before entering the Senate a couple of years ago, Obama had never held major office, the only meaningful track record he has with which to predict how he will administrate the affairs of the world's most powerful nation is his campaign.

As a campaigner, Obama has proved to be a very calm, prudent even cautious, very methodical person, one who takes decisions after much consideration and balancing all the advice he is given.

This is all very encouraging, however, things are moving very fast in the world right now and I fear that they could be moving much too fast for such methodical consideration. I'm reminded of what Jack Dempsey said about a very intelligent opponent: "He is a very smart fighter; when he's fighting he is thinking all the time. But, all the time he was thinking I was hitting him."

Any skeptic, unimpressed by Obama's flimsy credentials, ran and will run the risk of being called a racist, obsessed with the color of the President-Elect's skin color.

I would like to be totally clear on this point:

The very best thing about Barack Obama is the color of his skin, any fears I may have about him have to do much more to do with the "white" part of him. The opportunism, the cunning, the opaqueness.

No matter: whoever he is, we are going to get to know him very well now.

If Barack Obama had taken office when Bill Clinton did, I am sure he would have done a much better job than Bubba and obviously nobody could have done worse than Bush.

Now, inheriting the mess both his immediate predecessor's have made, I think his first two years are going to be hellish beyond belief; after that it might be too late.

I said that his color is the best thing about him and I meant it. What America has done, is doing, and despite Obama, will continue to do to black people, oppresses my heart. That they have at least a few days or months off from their hell is something that should make even a marble statue cry with tender tears of joy.

And so I must declare heartily that I am truly happy for all African-Americans today. Especially, I'm happy for the very elderly black people, those who have lived long, hard lives to see this day: those old people who have lived through so much fear and humiliation. Their joy is beautiful to behold and to meditate on.

Also, if they are lucky enough to be "called home" anytime soon, before the disintegration of America's economy and power that Bush has brought about is blamed on their brother (something that their life experience will have made them all too familiar with), then this is indeed their blessed day. DS


bailey alexander said...

Americans have such a unique sense of time; impatient, in need of instant gratification, retaliation, reactionary.

The Russians have done well to wait, watch, weight all the consequences and listen. It's proved canny and convenient re their ability to position themselves.

I certainly comprehend Putin's hand has been strong; energy, and all their natural resources, much of which has yet to be tapped, help, certo, but I'd like to see an American president wait, watch, weigh all the consequences, shut the fuck up and listen for once.

I'm tired of all the blustering, feigned bravado, etc.

Piano, piano.

As Flaubert suggests, no such thing as truth, only perception.

Anonymous said...

Hi David:
Just wanted to say how much I admire your writing and perspective, as depressed as it makes me sometimes!

Los Angeles

Stephanie said...

Yes, it's morning again in America.

I'm happy for African-Americans, and my fingers are crossed for the country.

Some Republicans are looking to Obama to protect them from the lefties, while the lefties look to Obama for payback. Some think he's moderate, others think he's a lefty in moderate's clothing.

In other words, no one knows anything and we're about to find out. At least Obama has an enormous amount of international and domestic good will to draw upon and a fawning press. We'll see.

David Seaton's Newslinks said...

Thanks Jim!

Informed Reader said...

I'm happy to find a kindred soul with a healthy dose of skepticism and couldn't thank you more. For the past two days, I've encountered "irrational exuberance" in politics, the kind that brought down Wall St. to its knees (Paulson too :)) earlier this year.

I'm not sure if you had a chance to watch Bill Moyers Journal recently as you are living overseas, so I would like to bring this excellent interview (Andrew Bacevich) to your notice.

You also might be interested in this foreign policy discussion of a Obama presidency.

David Seaton's Newslinks said...

Dear Informed,
Thank you so much for your kind words and interesting links.