Its Not the Economy, Stupid
February 21, 2008
Republicans dont get it. Rush Limbaugh doesnt get
it. Even Hillary Clinton doesnt get it. They can define
Barack Obama as an empty suit from now until November, but it
will fall on deaf ears to his supporters who are absolutely gaga
for his oratorical skills.
Clinton revels in describing Obama as a blank canvas where we
the voters are eager to paint our own policy picture onto him.
She may argue the folly of supporting someone with what little
we know about him, but the obvious retort would have Obama loyalists
wondering about those who support a candidate with all that we
do know about her.
Our seemingly superficial attraction for this charismatic guy
has more depth and substance than his detractors would want to
admit. A savvy electorate knows that a politicians positions
begin as a wish list. Turning campaign promises into reality is
often an exercise in executive promises that simply cannot be
kept, because there are two other branches of government that
hold the president in check.
But Obama supporters believe that he has the best expertise and
negotiating ability and finesse to accomplish more with his verbal
skills than anyone weve come across in decades.
Nevertheless, Obamas opponents still fear that our frenetic
enthusiasm for this gifted speaker is a shallow determinant for
judging the competence of our next president.
But words do matter. Whether original or borrowed from his friends,
we accord him full credit for the words he chooses. His powerful,
uplifting cadence invites us to actually listen. For too many
of us, its the first time we havent pushed the mute
button on a political ad.
Obama has already proven the power of words. His invigorating
delivery of words is what propels millions to register to vote,
to campaign for him, to make donations, and to suffer bad weather
to stand in line to vote for him in staggeringly record numbers.
His ability to rouse so many people from their apathetic stupor
is proof enough that he may be on to something never seen before.
If we can get off our couch for him, then maybe we can get up
to help ourselves and each other too. Consider the following:
Clinton says she has solutions for us.
Obama says we will need to be part of the solution.
Clinton asks for your vote.
Obama asks us to join a movement.
Clinton appeals to the victim mentality.
Obama encourages us to be proactive.
Clinton paints us as weak and in need of her leadership.
Obama tells us were stronger than we think.
Clinton warns that only she can pull us from the dark ages of
our sorry lives.
Obama encourages us to participate in our own renaissance revival.
Obama asks us for more than our money and our vote. A large part
of his inspirational message is that we also have a job to do.
Even if this is all only a clever political ploy, its working,
and we can only assume that if he can sway millions, then he probably
can be a force to reckon with in congress, and on the world stage.
This must be why we turn up the volume when we see Senator Obama
on the screen. Senator Clinton keeps reminding us that shell
be ready from Day One, but were beginning to tune out her
relentlessly angry, uninspiring, woe-is-us rhetoric. Words matter.
Words - and how they are arranged and spoken - matter.
Yes they do.
Illinois Senator Barack Obama