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« Sound Advice on Obamania | Main | Moral Agency Sitting at the Top of the Empire »

February 16, 2008


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Finally got round to reading Blink by Malcolm Gladwell. He gives an entire chapter to the Warren Harding error:

They were behaving just like the voters did in the 1920 presidential election when they took one look at Warren Harding, jumped to a conclusion, and stopped thinking. ... their error gave them one of the worst US presidents ever.

Sen Obama certainly looks a lot like the first black president of the United States, at least as much as Harding looked like a generic US president. The continual demands that Obama be judged by different standards from other candidates tend to make the Warren Harding bell ring louder.

Well, I don't agree with that. You can make the right choice for the wrong reason, if in this case some of Obama's supporters are for him for the wrong reason. But Obama isn't Harding. Objective observers who have analyzed his personnel choices and his policy positions place him at a more conservative point on the spectrum than his supporters may believe, but he's hardly unfit for the job because of that. He's not of limited intelligence or education like Harding. And there is no reason to believe that he's being elevated to the job because of cronyism. No, malaprops and all, if there is a modern analogue to Harding, it's Bush.

I'm not suggesting Obama is Harding, (the Bush analagy is much truer, except that it would be hard to argue that Bush is a better president than Harding was) but the decision process that some of Obama's supporters have adopted seems to be a lot like the process Harding supporters used. It's even possible to find arguments that the change Obama proposes does not need analysing because Obama is change. That's mysticism, rather than politics.

I'm a white woman, and I can certainly understand the perspective related by Mrs. Noz above: The sexist attacks on Clinton irritate me as well.

I will happily vote for whichever one is nominated too. However, since it's not a toss-up for me -- I do see Obama as the better candidate -- I'm pulling for him to win the nomination.

You are right to express concern about the demonization going on with both sides. I'm worried about that too. But I'm hoping it's more a hotheaded blogger phenomenon than a general view.

Pretty much sums up my reaction. I'll vote for Obama if he wins, but only for the sake of the Supreme Court. Will I send him money? Probably not. Will I encourage readers to work for him? Probably not.

After all, I'm a middle-aged white woman who's been told to shut up and sit in the back of the bus. Yes, Mr. Kos!

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