Even as a Republican, I like Obama. I think he’s a nice guy. He provides a sharp contrast to his opponent Hillary Clinton and to the presumptive Republican nominee John McCain, both Washington insiders. Barack Obama is indeed a fresh face with a message of hope, optimism, unity, and not much else. What is different about Barack Obama is that he has mixed the attacks on President Bush with the soaring rhetoric and optimism of the Huckster. There’s more than one spoonful of sugar in what Barack’s dishin’ out. In fact, I’m not sure that everything his supporters are taking right now is a legal substance. I joke about this, but how else can you explain the brainless fanaticism by some of his followers(who are enjoying the music while ignoring the lyrics)? May I remind the groupies out front with their raised lighters and massive cardboard signs that we are not electing a rock star? Doesn’t the substance matter with Democratic candidates?
All the comparisons fall short of the mark. Barack Obama is no JFK. He doesn’t have JFK’s political or military experience, and no one has ever accused him of fiscal conservatism (even though he should be given some credit for the attempts at earmark reform). He’s certainly not Ronald Reagan. Obama has too much faith in the usefulness of government to solve the country’s problems. He’s also no Bill Clinton. He has the charisma, but none of the weaknesses of the 42nd president, and that’s a strong point in his favor as far as being the right guy for the Dems this year.
There is one comparison that would be somewhat accurate. It involves another man who was selected to sell the old, failed policies of his party by watering down its hard left origins. That man was former British PM Tony Blair. He too was a talented speaker and salesman. The problem was that Labour had always been a hard-left party, and the reason that Labour had spent so many years in the political wilderness was because people didn’t buy into their socialist policies once they became part of the working class. (They also had various non-photogenic types trying to sell Old Labour, and somehow this brilliant strategy failed…) Then Tony Blair came along, and the party recognized his talent and rhetorical skills, and elevated him to be the face of the party. This was a brilliant move on their part, and with a few tweaks in the wording, the Brits bought into this re-packaged version known as New Labour, and voted the Labour party into power in 1997 with Blair as the new PM.
What the old guard in the Labour party failed to realize is that Blair would actually change the rules. That’s not what the party bargained for. They wanted to do everything the same way, and to hold on to the old, failed policies that had lost them numerous elections. New Labour was just an act for the cameras to win an election, as far as they were concerned. But they were wrong.
Here’s where I’m going with this history lesson — Barack Obama is the Democrats’ Tony Blair. He is the chosen one to sell the failed policies and strategies of the Democratic party, because he is a better salesman for the party than Hillary is. Unfortunately, he completely buys into the whole Democrat platform. There’s not a dime’s worth of difference between his policies and Hillary’s. There are several assets he has. He is a fresh face, as we are constantly reminded by the mediots, with no baggage and no damning paper trail of controversial opinions/votes. It is also refreshingly new to have a credible African-American with a great shot at becoming our next President, but this cannot be the only reason to vote for Obama. We must also look at what he believes, and the policies he would advocate while in the Oval Office.
If Obama wins the Democratic nomination, I predict that the honeymoon with him will soon be over. McCain has already started attacking him on substance and experience. While the nomination of Barack Obama would put a new face on the Democratic party, at the end of the day, it’s still the Democratic party with the same old complaints they have every four years — and the same old failed policies.