Saturday, January 26, 2008
Boy, was I wrong. Sorry. Well, at least I got it out of my system.

OK! You may now pile on.

posted by Zentronix @ 5:18 PM   7 comments links to this post


At 1/26/08, 6:44 PM, Anonymous ComingHome said...

wel Jeff, this is Paul Richardson (the cat working on the film about the early history of black surfers) so how you been ?

We've been down in monterey for the last two years and now it is time to return to my beloved Oakland.

As for your prediction, well ,we are all glad you are wrong

At 1/27/08, 10:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man, way to be completely f-ing WRONG. [points and laughs]

J/K. On a more serious note the question to B-rock's supporters re his economic team seems to have gone unanswered.

I've gotta step in here and defend his poor debate style, though. He hasn't learned the art of the soundbite and that makes me like him. His pre-campaign interviews are evidence of someone carefully weighing issues on many sides before speaking. It took a few minutes, but it lent a gravity to his words that has been missing of late on the campaign trail, where I get the feeling that he's forcing himself into a role of a lite-handed demagogue. The initial quality of hesitation intrigued me because it differentiated him from most other politicians. He's, at heart, an academic, and I'm pretty biased on that particular POV.

I'm also of the opinion that debates of this format aren't terribly useful anyway given that they are mostly soundbites.

Other than debate, Obama's lack of substantive facetime in head-to-head national politics also means that he sometimes can't control what appears to be a deeply dry and sarcastic and condescending sense of humor: e.g., "you're likeable enough".

In terms of general political speechifying, I was never terribly impressed w/ Obama. I thought he was better than average but the 2004 DNC speech was not great. This time around, I've been more convinced by Edwards' campaigning.

That being said, Obama's SC victory speech was the best campaign speech I've heard so far in this cycle. Angry, purposeful, but also optimistic. And it managed to include observations about American societal divisions that are usually difficult to translate into normal, non-combative language. Academics can't seem to let go of those abstractions.

At 1/28/08, 10:22 AM, Blogger Zentronix said...

paul... sup! holla when you're back. love to link.

anonymous... yeah, i think i'm getting impatient with the lack of agendafying. at some point, you go, if not now then when? this i think is one of bill clinton's correct criticisms.

it's interesting about his speaking/debate/presentation thing... the piece i did in vibe last summer asked the question what happens when things get hot.

my first reax were to be worried about him looking shrill when responding to hillary, and not able to make his points.

the whole thing about the debates is that it's become about making the point, as opposed to those points themselves. so we talk about the aesthetics of how he makes his point, rather than the points.

in the sense of making points, edwards and to a lesser extent hillary have him beat hands down on domestic policy. obama still has not figured out a way to be substantive here, the way he was earlier in the year on foreign policy. to me that's a bad sign. it's either an obfuscation or it's a lack of policy.

there is one other possibility that progressives hang on to without speaking openly about it, which is that obama is coding or covering his agenda so he can slip it past people. it's as if being progressive is no longer about offering a vision, but about, like george w. bush did, trojan-horsing it behind a smile. it's about getting your people mobilized to vote for you, crossing over, then when in office, revealing yourself to be the radical you really are.

if you ask me, that's even more cynical than being billary right now.

as a progressive (for lack of a more descriptive term because who knows what it means to be progressive anymore) who will vote and remains uncommitted right now, i'd much rather know that obama is honestly and openly shifting ever rightward as this election goes on. don't insult my intelligence by trying to disguise what it is you're about. that's not being real.

At 1/29/08, 5:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jeff is turning into the male version of Joan Walsh over at Salon. Worrying.

At 1/29/08, 5:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is Jeff actually accusing Obama of being a "bad debater" on purpose. Wow.

Obama is better leaving these far left types behind. They are the polar opposite of the right wing nutjobs, neither are good for the country.

Its their way or the high way. How selfish.

As I said before, that Reagan comment by Obama pizzed of a lot of progressives.

And Jeffs comment that Obama is trying to sneak his radicalism into the white house by distracting the voting block from his real self? if that is true, doesnt it show progressives to be more about "shouting about the cause" than "the cause" itself?

Again, unbelievably selfish.

SMH at Jeff.

At 1/31/08, 9:37 AM, Anonymous Paula said...

Er, since this is turning into an actual "debate", I guess I better de-anon (#1) myself.

I'm not expecting politicians to speak any kind of truth on the campaign trail. It's just a way to get elected, after all. I kind of agree that progressives' problem with getting people into high office is the desire for ideological purity. This, in turn, leads to a lot of infighting among lefty-types who disagree on what kinds of issues should be represented by one candidate, or between those far lefties who want complete ideological commitment and those who just want to cut off the next Republican at the pass by electing the most moderate politician the Dem party can force on them. I don't know who's right here, but I also know that when I get out of the the academy and teh internets, people are far less ideological and are far more likely to accept the right-wing frames that have dominated American life: personal responsibility, consumer capitalism as social good, the meritocracy, etc, etc. just because they sound like "common sense". Progressives, post-Kerry, always talked about how we needed better ways to shift the narrative by coming up with better ones of our own, considering that the Republicans had managed to turn a stagnating economy and a mishandled war into a debate about "values". At this point, we have all the facts and the policy at our side, but unless we have the narrative we will still lose.

Re Obama: I don't have proof that Obama is in fact a closet progressive, I only have his record -- some of which is cool (prison reform, ethics reform) some of which is not (said centrist econ advisers). If he makes it to office I expect he'll be more cautious than rebellious. But what I can't deny is his numbers, as it were. A lot of them (young people, independents) are probably yet to be settled into a political mold and if Obama as a center-left candidate is the one who forced them out of apathy, then activists on the left need to seize the opportunity to get a piece of the action instead of dismissing it. I don't know how, but it needs to be done. Those people can be turned into an engine of accountability that may yet keep Obama honest if he decides to slip into the other direction. Because he IS in fact a neophyte, and with a very long time frame for political ambitions ahead of him and, I suspect, without too many deep ties to DC establishment, he may yet be swayed by his "real" constituents ahead of Washington special interests -- provided that those constituents can be persuaded to keep an eye on him in office.

At 1/31/08, 12:05 PM, Blogger Zentronix said...

To the head-shaker above, you obviously misread me. But be real: ain't politics about being selfish?

I'm not eager to split hairs. But I also want to know what I'm getting.

Paula, I agree and that's the "hope" part.

Like you, I'm a realist on voting. I can tolerate a certain amount of dissonance to get a certain amount of consonance.

BTW I recommend as a great resource on the candidates' stances on issues of poverty. Thanks to Latoya Peterson for the link...


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