Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The New President

I have to say that I've been enjoying the inauguration coverage, which has been making me think about the journey getting here. I've always believed that Barack Obama would be president, and that he would be president this year. Even when he supposedly had no shot, when he was supposedly running for Vice President, I knew that there would be some way that things would fall into place to make this happen.

I was attracted to his life story, but I definitely fell in love after reading The Audacity of Hope. It wasn't as good as his first book, which I read later, but it made Obama out to be a guy who was thoughtful, reasonable, who understood what needed to be done. After a while, after looking at the offerings, I determined that Obama simply had to be president. Not a perfect candidate, to be sure, but I sensed from him the makings of a great statesman. I never got that from anyone else: Edwards was a hairdo. Clinton would have probably been more competent than Bush, but she had a nagging Bush-like tendency to appeal to the worst in people instead of the best. Clinton's act might have worked better in 2004, but Americans have come to believe that Bush broke America and that renewal is necessary. Clinton offered a restoration of sorts, and continuity in some areas, like political style. But she didn't really offer a new way forward. I think she'll be a fine Secretary of State, because she is very smart. She is not, and never was, a leader. History is not a vision. Obama had vision. And the Republicans had nothing. They gleefully proceeded down the path to annhilation, and the one man who might have been of presidential timber--John McCain--turned out to be unworthy of the office, perhaps even more so than George W. Bush.

Obama was the only choice, really. He was the only one who offered renewal, who offered the possibility of a new page. He'll certainly have his shot, and I think it's too early to say that we've seen that new page yet. But it has to be pretty terrifying to be a conservative right now: they're facing an actual liberal leader instead of a hack, while all they have in their leadership are hacks. The next two years ought to be interesting.

The Man, The Myth, The Bio

East Bay, California, United States
Problem: I have lots of opinions on politics and culture that I need to vent. If I do not do this I will wind up muttering to myself, and that's only like one or two steps away from being a hobo. Solution: I write two blogs. A political blog that has some evident sympathies (pro-Obama, mostly liberal though I dissent on some issues, like guns and trade) and a culture blog that does, well, cultural essays in a more long-form manner. My particular thing is taking overrated things (movies, mostly, but other things too) down a peg and putting underrated things up a peg. I'm sort of the court of last resort, and I tend to focus on more obscure cultural phenomena.