The Choice (But I've Been Touched)

But, last night, I was moved.  Not beyond words.  But by words.  Not by deeds and accomplishments.  But by rhetoric.  (There will be bamboozling, of course, but not to worry!)

I've been touched by the "bluesman from Chicago." I've been inspired by the "new synthetic mythology for a new kind of knowledge culture" which, the author writes, "may be the most powerful remobilization of historical and contemporary perspectives since the Popular Front movement of the 1930's."

Deeds and accomplishments -- like hard work -- are so yesterday. It is time to believe.  Because, these great minds tell us, that is all we NEED TO DO!  

You see, before last night, I did not know this:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usIn many ways, [Obama's] language recalls that of Walt Whitman whose Leaves of Grass sought to develop a synthetic construction of what America was like as a nation, linking together a range of individual experiences, memories, perspectives, sense impressions, to create a vision of the nation as one big organism. . .

A GIANT ORGANISM!  That's what I've really been yearning for!  And that was written by an M.I.T. professor (and that's his photo, and he looks very intellectual!), so it must be true.

This is Harry Jenkins, that brilliant professor at M.I.T., who moved me so tonight with his words -- words that match, in their clarity and detailed outline for the future of the United States government, foreign affairs, health care, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Department of the Interior, Department of Labor, Justice Department, military services, Pentagon, Congress, 50 governors in 50 states, hundreds of countries with billions of people, two wars, terrorism, the Israeli/Palestinian conflicts, the countries buying up United States companies, the massive credit card debt, the housing crisis, the infrastructure collapse (including, yech, sewers), the Department of Education and all those special needs kids, the college-age kids who can't afford to go to college, the moms and dads working two minimum-wage jobs, my friend Cheryl and her 700 fellow mill workers who've lost their jobs -- all that will be swept away, taken care of, CURED I TELL YOU!, by words like these:

In many ways, [Obama's] language recalls that of Walt Whitman whose Leaves of Grass sought to develop a synthetic construction of what America was like as a nation, linking together a range of individual experiences, memories, perspectives, sense impressions, to create a vision of the nation as one big organism. . . .

Obama is charting a map of the future by mobilizing what is most valuable, most precious in the nation's past. In doing so, he is constructing a shared mythology which speaks to us across historic divides in our national consciousness. Nothing could be further removed, say, than Edward's talk of 'Two Americas.' In Obama's version, there are at once many Americas, each self contradictory and refusing to be reduced to stereotypes, and one America, a collective intelligence ready to process all of that diversity and arrive at shared solutions to shared problems. . . .

Think of the speech as a mash-up of JFK, RFK, Ceasar Chavez, and Walt Whitman, delivered with the candences of Martin Luther King. Think of it as thus a new synthetic mythology for a new kind of knowledge culture. [It shows that I haven't been back to college in a while that I haven't got a f--king clue what that is, ignorant me.] It may be the most powerful remobilization of historical and contemporary perspectives since the Popular Front movement of the 1930's. . . . My hope is that Obama's rhetoric may evoke a similar response in future generations and in that sense, it will be, to use a word Obama likes to talk about, 'transformative.'

Harry Jenkins, MIT "Obama and the 'We' Generation February 18, 2008.

For you naysayers, I give you Stanley Crouch, who won a Genius Award, so it has to be true:

"Out of One, Many Rise to Believe Again"

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By susanunpc

Opponents want to dismiss that optimism as "false hope" because they think - or pretend to think - that Barack Obama represents no more than a charismatic political slogan that has even less value than one of the worthless products brilliantly hawked around the clock throughout our media.

Barack Obama is actually a bluesman from Chicago whose big stage is not in a nightclub or a concert hall but the huge national podium on which politics are argued. Obama knows that the blues always present the unvarnished problem and provide a solution through the rhythms and tones of engagement. It is, as the writer Albert Murray has observed, a music of confrontation, and it is presented in what amounts to a purification ritual.

Stanley Crouch, NY Daily News February 18, 2008

Obama is a bluesman!  He's creating a "music of confrontation." And that's a "purification ritual."

I get it now!

Don't you???

Hillary Clinton talks about being Commander in Chief!  

Gawd, that's so yesterday!

(And do you think that Harry Jenkins and Stanley Crouch give a shit about those generals, colonels, and privates in the military?  They're all SO 20th century.  The Pentagon?  We oughta turn it into a museum! We'll just talk to people, even our enemies, because that's all that's need NOW.)

COME ON, PEOPLE.  Reach out and touch him!  Touch his words!  He'll cure all that ails you and, wow, the entire world!

Credit must go to the "Is Barack Obama the Messiah?" blog site.

And just ignore these party poopers:

Audiology of Hope 360: Special Topics in Health Care Reform
by RonK Seattle
Wed Feb 20, 2008 at 06:34:51 PM PST

Hounds and FOXes come running in from right field when Obama's bandwagon cranks up its 120dB dog whistle Wurlitzer. His policy point man is an ivory tower free marketeer (and DLC's Senior Economist). His Social Security wingman is an avid privatizer.

The third horse in BO's domestic policy troika is health care maven David Cutler -- a technology optimist, of American Exceptionalist bent.

Do other countries do health care better?Irrelevant -- we're different.Expensive?We ought to spend a lot more.Patients Bill of Rights?Dead issue. Single payer?Dissed and dismissed in a single paragraph of his book.Insure the uninsured?Sure, but don't let that distract us from the real issues.Negotiate drug prices?Careful, you'll kill the Golden Goose!

Our review of Cutler's eccentric frame for health care reform not only decrypts Obama's call to the Right – it unearths the audacious belief system that animates our New Politickers' across-the-board hope of finessing every clash of interest, and "turning the page" on every hard choice.

Cutler, RonK writes, offers this free-enterprise system:

[Cutler:] "The real reason health-care reform has not succeeded is that it is rooted in a misconception of what health-care reform should accomplish." ... He envisions a system in which everyone could get insurance while free-market incentives would motivate health-care providers to be more effective as well as more efficient. Instead of suppressing the market by rationing care, restraining prices or regulating doctors, he wants to liberate it. ... Vouchers are a leap for a Democrat, but the idea is popular with conservatives. ... Stuart Butler of the Heritage Foundation prefers Cutler's universal model. ... Cutler's idea is to preserve the diversity of America's system while subsidizing people's access to it -- to let the G.E.'s and the HealthPartners of the world, and also the Mercks, continue to innovate.

Read all of RonK's "Audiology of Hope 360: Special Topics in Health Care Reform."

We shouldn't have to worry about his advisers and the specificity of his plans because we can all become one, and solve this all together, happily.  The rancour and interest of each group will fall away easily.  Everyone will love those plans from those conservative advisers because we're "all one" now and that is all it takes.

And do forgive RonK.  He's just one of those wonky lefties.  So yesterday.  Details, details, details.  

RonK hasn't been bamboozled.   And, you know, in a way that's really sad.  Come on, man!  This is a movement!  'course, movements used to be about voters' rights, workers' rights, decent working conditions, and the end to racial and sexual discrimination.  BUT NOW OUR MOVEMENT IS ABOUT ELECTING A GUY WHO WANTS TO BE PREZ!  Cuz he's the cool, bluesy guy.  I'm on so on board.


Tags: bamboozling, Barack Obama, Economy, Health care, Hillary Clinton, issues, policy (all tags)



Re: The Choice (But I've Been Touched)

As always, your thoughtful comments and any recommendations are most welcome.

by susanhu 2008-02-21 05:48AM | 0 recs
Thanks, Susan...

It's nice to see I'm not the only one who has yet to become addicted to the "hopium". I'm still looking for real substance here. I'm still looking for real solutions for health care, for our economy, for our planet, for our security. I "hope" more folks here are as well.

by atdleft 2008-02-21 05:55AM | 0 recs
Hope Addict Here...

I'm a hope addict.  I get up every morning jonesing for hope.  I gargle with it, shower with it, put hope on my breakfast cereal.  In the mid morning, instead of coffee, I drink hope.

Generally, I skip food for lunch.  I usually eat hope; put it in my kool-aid.  It goes in my car for better performance and fuel economy.  

I go to sleep at night with it resting on my pillow.  We cuddle together.

Thanks for reminding me.  It's time for another HIT of SUBSTANCE.

by IowaCubs 2008-02-21 06:13AM | 0 recs
Yep, nothing like substance...

And really, it's much better when you get it from the source...

I guess that's why I don't feel such a need to rest on rhetorical gimmicks and flowery language of "hope" alone. ;-)

by atdleft 2008-02-21 06:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Yep, nothing like substance...

Exactly, why read the poor imitation when you have the real thing right there.


Hillary 08

by americanincanada 2008-02-21 07:19AM | 0 recs
Re: The Choice (But I've Been Touched)

By the way, the reason I mentioned SEWERS in my riff about policy above is that this month's Harpers has a fantastically fascinating article all about the major sewage problems in this country.  Yeah, it's wonky stuff, but the great writer makes it such a compelling read that I couldn't stop.

Go buy the magazine if you don't subscribe, and read it.  My daughter brought it to me in the hospital, and I read it all, then gave it to her and her BF, and told them about the must-read sewer article.

by susanhu 2008-02-21 06:06AM | 0 recs
This is supposed to be an attack?

I think we've been hoodwinked... bamboozled.

by IowaCubs 2008-02-21 05:49AM | 0 recs
No, it's supposed to be...

A REALITY CHECK. That's the whole point Susan's making.

by atdleft 2008-02-21 05:53AM | 0 recs
Re: No, it's supposed to be...

Yup. Real biting.  

Reality Check:

"And so my fellow Americans, in the words of my speechwriter Ted Sorenson, ask not what your country can do for you..."

by IowaCubs 2008-02-21 05:59AM | 0 recs

I think you're missing the point. Words are nice. Words are wonderful. But if not matched with action, words are meaningless.

by atdleft 2008-02-21 06:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Huh?

Read up, hopemongers... There really isn't anything of SUBSTANCE or relevance here.  Move along... take another hit of your hope bong.

What nonsense.

by IowaCubs 2008-02-21 06:25AM | 0 recs
Re: No, it's supposed to be...

True confession:  It was also a lot of fun.  I stared reading Jenkins and Crouch and was so appalled by their blather.  Oh lordy.  They deserve to be lampooned.

(Uh, I did write an extended paragraph on the real issues in this campaign. I know that policy and experience and competency are so yesterday but a few of us still care.)

by susanhu 2008-02-21 06:08AM | 0 recs
Re: The Choice (But I've Been Touched)

Do the things you quote have any substance? Can't see it, but then it is also a long time since I was in college. Thanks for this PerformanceArt post. Really shows us what's coming.

by DaleA 2008-02-21 05:53AM | 0 recs
Re: The Choice (But I've Been Touched)

Uh, you likely didn't read the diary.  Wherein I quote RonK on Obama's to-the-right winger economic advisers, and I also wrote an extended paragraph about the issues that make this election so critical.

But you're probably more busy getting the e-mails from the other Obama people -- oh no, Susanhu has a new diary up! We must GET HER! -- to stop and actually READ it.

by susanhu 2008-02-21 06:11AM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, it is a conspiracy

I myself just signed up for the VastObamaWingConspiracy emailing list. There are alerts every time susanhu makes a post.

Delusions of grandeur and delusions of persecution and conspiracy often go hand in hand.

by MGarvey 2008-02-21 08:20AM | 0 recs
Re: The Choice (But I've Been Touched)

Yes I read the diary Susan. And looked at the links to the babble for Obama. Thought they had no substance. Fine diary showing us the nothing that passes for Obama support. Really thought that the Obama stuff was performance art because no other alternative made any sense.

by DaleA 2008-02-21 08:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Glad I'm not touched

Wow...what a GREAT diary. Bamboozled indeed.

by americanincanada 2008-02-21 05:57AM | 0 recs
no worry

these things used to piss me off, lets talk about it  on march 5th.

by omar little 2008-02-21 06:03AM | 0 recs
Damned Intellectuals

I'll bet they drink Lattes, too.

by seand 2008-02-21 06:08AM | 0 recs
Hysterical rants?

Sorry, but I don't see that here. Susan wrote a very rational piece trying to move us beyond all the hysteria abounding in the race right now. But try looking at Daily Kos(obama) right now, and I'm sure you'll find a hysterical rant or 5 on their Rec List right now. ;-)

by atdleft 2008-02-21 06:10AM | 0 recs
Susan...isn't BLATHER a great word?

And so appropriate at this time.

Maybe there's a whole diary on blather!  I know there's plenty of material available.

by Shazone 2008-02-21 06:45AM | 0 recs
Re: The Choice (But I've Been Touched)

Great diary. I am so pissed at all the parents who let their 18 year olds talk them into voting for a candidate. I get the feel good moment, we're all so excited, we can caucus together, sentiment. But, I expect parents, especially the congressman Obama supporter who ultimately said he was for Obama because his kids were...well, I expect them to talk about the solemnity of elections and the seriousness of the job of Commander in Chief, and the right of every individual to make their own choice. You know, democrats, we're pro-choice.

by seattlegonz 2008-02-21 06:45AM | 0 recs
Re: The Choice (But I've Been Touched)

"Barack Obama is actually a bluesman from Chicago..."--Stanley Crouch.

Er, no, Stanley, Barack Obama is the half-Kenyan son of a Kenyan civil servant and a Kansan mother.

Thanks for the excellent intervention Susanhu.

by superetendar 2008-02-21 07:15AM | 0 recs
Re: The Choice (But I've Been Touched)

So if your parents are of different nationalities/ethnicities, it means you can't be from Chicago? Or presumably American even?  Wow, I always thought of myself as American but I guess since my father is from another country I don't qualify.      

by gobacktotexas 2008-02-21 09:32AM | 0 recs
Social Security

You are going after Obama for having connections to a social security privatizer?  I think Hillary has a more significant connection.

How Monica Lewinsky Saved Social Security

On the account of members of Clinton's secret White House team, mandated to map out the privatization path for Social Security, they had got as far down the road as fine-tuning the account numbers for Social Security accounts now released to the captious mercies of Wall Street. But in 1998 the Lewinsky scandal burst upon the President, and as the months sped by and impeachment swelled from a remote specter to a looming reality, Clinton's polls told him that his only hope was to nourish the widespread popular dislike for the hoity-toity elites intoning Clinton's death warrant.

In an instant Clinton spun on the dime and became Social Security's mighty champion, coining the slogan "Save Social Security First".

by labor nrrd 2008-02-21 07:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Social Security

you are talking about Bill's presidency. his, him, him, his, and him

That has got nothing to do with Hillary since Obama's supporters already dismissed the relevance of her experience in the White House since it was limited only the tea parties.

by JoeySky18 2008-02-21 08:12AM | 0 recs
Realize that

Person wrote that one of Obama's advisors is in favor of social security privatization.

I wrote that Hillary Clinton has a closer connection.  Did not write that this was Hillary's position, didn't even do the stupid "Will they deny my charge" that bloggers like to make.  I am saying that she has an important advisor who was very close to actually privatizing social security.

If Obama's advisor view is relevant, so is Clinton's.  If you are saying that Bill Clinton will not be a more important and closer advisor than this other person, fair point.

by labor nrrd 2008-02-21 08:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Social Security

Also despite your belief that people who support Obama are a cult and share all views, I do not dismiss Clinton's experience in the white house.. I do think that her campaign over-sells with teh "35 experience" argument, but she def has a lot of experience).   I also agree that all of Bill's positions are not hers, but a lot are.

by labor nrrd 2008-02-21 08:21AM | 0 recs
Forgive my father for I have sin

I don't understand the new message of change and hope.  I want food on the table.  Hope doesn't taste as nice.

by JoeySky18 2008-02-21 08:14AM | 0 recs
what the hell is this

this is nothing more than a rant.

oh, right, you're a fan of Taylor Marsh.  i guess lying and ranting is right up your ally.


by fightinfilipino 2008-02-21 08:52AM | 0 recs
Re: The Choice (But I've Been Touched)

You can find a million new ways to say that Obama is all rhetoric and no substance, but that doesn't make it any truer than the first time that someone without the will to look into it said the same thing.  

by freedom78 2008-02-21 09:14AM | 0 recs

Why does it come as a complete shock to people that Obama carries greater appeal than Clinton? 'Experience' hasn't been much of a political winner for us. Mondale, Kerry and Gore had experience. Experience is rarely what wins elections.

Moreover, experience doesn't mean everything to a lot of you either. If it does, why weren't you all rallying behind Joe Biden or Chris Dodd? Both have significantly more experience in elected office than Hillary. So lets dispense with the hand wringing over Hillary's vaunted experience.

People feel lousy about the way things are going in America. Its cheap and its mostly fluff, but people simply want to feel good about something again. Obama offers that high.

Also, does anyone honestly think vote for the war hasn't played a big role in a loss of support? Democrats were looking for a credible alternative to Hillary and believe they would one when Obama won Iowa. John Edwards, who renounced his war vote, would have filled the same void had he won Iowa. Her AUMF vote is the difference between her winning the nomination and not.

p.s: Its worth noting Obama has served in elected office for 11 years compared to Hillary's seven.

by crazymoloch 2008-02-21 09:35AM | 0 recs
Re: The Choice (But I've Been Touched)

This is an old debating trick: Find something odious, strange or silly from someone linked to who you want to criticize and then act as if that defines the candidate.

Anyone can do this with any candidate, but it isn't intellectually honest.

by mainelib 2008-02-21 09:37AM | 0 recs
Re: The Choice (But I've Been Touched)

A GIANT ORGANISM!  That's what I've really been yearning for!

You know, when I first read this, I swear I thought it said, "A GIANT ORGASM." And thought, well, that would explain a lot.

"Organism," not so much!

by OtherLisa 2008-02-21 10:22AM | 0 recs
Guess what else Obama will copy

Obama has studied Bill Clinton's run for office in 1992 and borrowed a few ideas like his whole "hope" (I still believe in a place called hope) theme and his whole idea about not fighting the old battles (taken from Clinton's "3rd way").

Bill Clinton got NAFTA passed against Hillary's advice as documented in Carl Bernstein's last book. The Republicans couldn't get it done. I believe you Obama will pass many things that the Republicans couldn't get done like schood vouchers, new nuclear power plants, etc.

He will be far less succesful than Bill Clinton was in terms of the economy.

As for all of his new spending plans, forget about it. He will inherit a fiscal nightmare with interest rates and inflation soaring. The deficits will soon be a big issue again. They always are when a Dem is president.

He will inherit two wars and a rarely talked about, but increasingly obvious cold war with Russia as they are now a police state with a dictator intent on expanding Russia's influence. China will test Mr. Hope.

Unemployment will keep ticking up, especially in the inner cities. Who will get the blame? Congress? The President? Do the Republicans make a comeback as soon as 2012? Yes, yes, and yes.

So, wouldn't Hillary face exactly the same thing? Yes, but...

The Clinton's understand the need to balance fiscal responsibility and the country's needs for investment. She would invest in the country, but do it in the context of a long-term balaced budget. If you do not send a signal that we are getting our financial house in order, you will be crushed by much higher interest rates.

The Clinton's have often absorbed short-term pain for long-term gain (witness Bill's first economic package). He raised taxed on virtually everyone, mostly the wealthy but he still got raked over the coals. Tough to do but it worked. Dem's lost their job and Clinton's approval ratings were in the tank but the country soon floorished.

I don't see where Obama has any pain in his programs. His strategy might get him to the finish line first, but what will be waiting for him when he gets there?

Obama says he will tell us what we need to know instead of what we want to hear, so let me hear it. Where is the shared sacrafice? We are in deep shit as a nation and all I've heard from him are empty platitudes.

by mmorang 2008-02-21 11:23AM | 0 recs
Re: The Choice (But I've Been Touched)

Deeds and accomplishments -- like hard work -- are so yesterday. It is time to believe.

Obama successfully passed more bills and amendments than Hillary since entering Congress, and it wasn't close. He also chose the hard work path to the nomination - contesting every state, opening field offices and getting out the vote instead of paying $33M to consultants.

The idea that Obama doesn't work hard or accomplish things is a talking point not based in reality. A straw man, if you will; he has been set up as the "change" candidate as if he offers nothing but an idea, but in fact, his hard work is evident in his public, private, and political life.

by mattw 2008-02-21 11:49AM | 0 recs


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