Tuesday, August 12, 2008

We Expected More

I just love Thomas Sowell. I totally agree with him on this one about Obama. I had similiar thoughts:

Many years ago, when I was a college student, I took a course from John Kenneth Galbraith. On the first day of class, Professor Galbraith gave a brilliant opening lecture, after which the students gave him a standing ovation.Galbraith kept on giving brilliant opening lectures the whole semester. But, instead of standing ovations, there were now dwindling numbers of students and some of them got up and walked out in the middle of his lectures.

Galbraith never got beyond the glittering generalities that marked his first lecture. After a while, the students got tired of not getting any real substance.

Senator Barack Obama’s campaign this year reminds me very much of that course from Professor Galbraith. Many people were ecstatic during the early primaries, as each state’s voters heard his glittering generalities for the first time.

When Obama made his speech in Iowa, this is what I wrote at the time:

I just watched Obama's speech after winning in Iowa.


It was one of the best political speeches I have heard In a long long time. It was inspiring and electric. When Obama is fired up, he delivers.

Thinking about that speech later as it became apparent that Obama was going to win the nomination, it got me worried. It was such an inspiring speech. He was so charismatic. I felt like his way with words would make people ignore his limited accomplishments. But as the days and months went by I became less worried, because I never heard that kind of speech from him again. He never got to that point of inspiration again.

Let's face it. Obama has been "evolving." He is rushing so fast to the center that I'm surprised he hasn't pulled something. Like any candidate before, this is understandable. But I think everyone expected more from this new kind of candidate. Not the same old, same old. I think Sowell agrees with me:

The kind of talk that won the votes — and the hearts — of the left-wing base of the Democratic party during the primaries may not be enough to carry the day with voters in the general election. So Senator Obama has been changing his tune or, as he puts it, “refining” his message.This was not the kind of “change” that the true believers among Obama’s supporters were expecting. So there has been some wavering among the faithful and some ups and downs in the polls.

Despite an impressive political machine and a huge image makeover this year to turn a decades-long, divisive grievance-promoting activist into someone who is supposed to unite us all and lead us into the promised land of “change,” little glimpses of the truth keep coming out.

The elitist sneers at people who believe in religion and who own guns, the Americans who don’t speak foreign languages, and the views of the “typical white person” are all like rays of light that show through the cracks in Obama’s carefully crafted image.

Therein lies the problem. We didn't expect Obama to "craft" an image. We figured he would shine his own special light. We didn't think he would back away from who he was. We figured he would stick to his principles and positions. But he has acted as any politician of the day would. He removes himself from any relationship that he thinks might hurt him in the polls. He has shown an astounding lack of loyalty. He ducks and dances around his shifting positions on issues like a boxer when the bell rings.

It's not that Obama is an empty suit. He isn't. He is intelligent and charismatic. He just hasn't worn a suit long enough to know who he really is and what he really believes in. It's obvious to me that he is listening to too many people trying to tell him who to be.

I'm not that worried anymore.

h/t BigDog