Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Rick Moran on the Obama Phenomenon

Rick Moran compares the Obama Phenomenon a "cotton candy candidacy" meaning the Obama campaign sure looks and tates great but is not particularly filling or healthy. Well, I would agree with the not very healthy for America statement, but I have to admit, Obama has done what needs to be done to win campaigns--make fewer mistakes than your opponents. He is spanking Hillary Clinton all over and people are loving it.
There is no doubt that the Obama Phenomenon is real. The voters are wild for change. They are tired of wars abroad and wars in Congress at home and they yearn for someone who can ride into Washington on a white horse and bring unity and peace to the country.

In a very real sense, the American people want a “Return to normalcy” – the platform offered by then presidential candidate Warren Harding in 1920 where, after the upheavals of World War I and the bitter fight over the US participating in the League of Nations, the American people chose to put their heads in the sand and ignore the rest of the world, concentrating instead on getting drunk on bathtub gin and having sex with flappers.

Mickey Kaus first wrote about this impulse for a return to what some might consider a 9/10 world, something I believed the Democrats would try to do in this election cycle. In fact, Hillary Clinton rejected this theme and Obama embraced it. Look who is winning. (links in original omitted)
. The problem with a "return to 9/10" is that we can't go back in history. Hillary Clinton has tried to do that with a campaing based in part on her husband's 1996 campaign and it has not been very successful.

Of course there is every reason for people to long for the days when terrorism was a concern for people "over there" and not on the front door of our economic and political houses. But I have to disagree with Moran's assessment of people's desires. Sure, we would like to not have terrorism be a concern, but the fact of the matter is that most people accept that as part of life now. Obama does not and has not closed a blind eye to the troubles in the world, but he has also been projecting an aura of confidence in America and in his ability to find a solution. People like that confidence, they like that hope and that is why they like Obama.

The problem for the GOP candidates is that none of them have taken on this mantle of a hopeful outlook, a positive belief in the ability of America and Americans themselves to make a change. If one of them did and did so based on solid conservative (not hard right, but common sense conservativism) you would see them rocket to the top of the polls. The nice thing about the GOP race is that it is still wide open. Huckabee won in Iowa thanks to the evangelicals. McCain looks like he will win in New Hampshire, but Romney might get competitive in South Carolina where Huckabee is leading on what is probably a very solid Iowa bounce. So we have time in the GOP race, but Obama looks like he is poised to run the table in the early states and Clinton will have to hitch her hopes to Tsunami Tuesday.

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