As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Obama I Want

This video from 2003 is why progressive friends of mine in Chicago (where I lived for a couple years) were so excited about Barack Obama.

"He's an unabashed liberal," my friends said.

At one level this was a partisan union crowd with Rep. Danny Davis, and you have to expect some red meat (he was trying to win a primary). But this Obama is not the one on display in this election. The new one is inspiring and hopeful and thoughtful and willing to parry accusations against him and even make a few of his own. But somewhere down the line, he decided that the ferocity and steadfastness on display in that little clip wouldn't work as a national candidate. Ultimately, I think the fire hasn't been extinguished, but it's been subdued to an extent.

There's a theory that a black candidate running for national office can't show that side of him, that he'll be painted as angry and divisive. Obama appears to have bought into that somewhat. But the Republicans have a great deal of paint, and all of it the same color. They ALWAYS smear their opponent. Obama's being charged as un-American and elitist in a series of increasingly outrageous e-mail smears. This guy on display in 2003 would be considered a lot of things, maybe, but certainly not elitist. That looks like Paul Wellstone speaking in that clip. I don't get that out of medium cool Obama. Not that this guy is bad; he's smooth and self-assured and humorous. Here's a good example. I like the guy.

He's not totally reflecting a public that's 85% wrong track, though. That guy is in the above clip. Chris Bowers is telling me that the race is tied and McCain may be slightly favored at the moment. That's probably true; of course, he's still never broken 45% in any national poll. I think in order to truly mirror the sentiment out in the country and reinforce his message of change, we need a re-appearance of this guy. Maybe in Ohio. Maybe in Pennsylvania. Maybe at the DNC.

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