December 18, 2007

Obama Is Not the Great Democratic Hope

Clint Reilly, a columnist or writer of whom I've never heard (but so what?) opines the following:

In Washington, it is not just individual office holders or parties or programs that must be changed. Barack Obama’s magnetic message strikes a responsive chord with citizens who are repulsed by the growing gap between the high promise of democracy and the mediocre accomplishments of our democratic government. But Barack Obama, like Bob Matsui, faces a day of reckoning. If he becomes the Democratic nominee, Obama will have to embrace the very Washington establishment he campaigned against to mobilize the resources needed to win a general election.

He makes a point I ponder on occasion which is that while I like Obama, I always keep in mind that he has flaws and limitations. He's a liberal democrat, which means that his policy prescriptions on a variety of social and fiscal issues I'm not going to care for. He's done things I found disappointing, like his pandering to the gay community during the SC gospel tour controversy created by Donnie McClurkins participation. His campaign has never issued a substantive response regarding the Dunbar Village rape. I've not liked his debate performances on several occasions. So the guy has places where he does not do so well.

My point being that Obama is going to disappoint. He's going to disappoint black people who want him to champion a variety of grievances, and he's not going to do that. He's going to disappoint democrats who want him to end the war, because he will find it more difficult to do than he may think. And as Clint points out, he is likely not going to be this massive agent of change, because he's going to have deal with Washington establishment and he is a part of that for all of his outsider rhetoric. Now, he is less so, because he has spent less time there, but he is not running to dismantle the system, he wants to reform it. So the cynic in me says "don't get carried away with Obama fever". He's not a phenomenon, he isn't a historic leader like King (yet). In some respects, he is clearly untested and we don't really know how he will perform when the burden of being "the Decider" is upon his shoulders. He is not the Great Democratic Hope.