December 10, 2007

Obama's "The One," says Oprah.

"Apathy is the attitude that disappointment is normal." That's a quote that stood out for me, listening to Oprah Winfrey introducing Barack Obama in South Carolina. I'm watching the video at that link and thinking about how well the familiar Oprah style translates into the political setting.

At first, Oprah sounds hoarse and yells too much, but she settles into things by saying "South Carolina" over and over, talking about her own southern roots, thickening her southern accent, and confessing that she's leaving her comfort zone — "stepping out of my pew." That's an image that combines her beloved TV show and her roots in southern religion. She deftly unites modern TV-pop psychology and old-time religion.

She eases into talking politics. She's never done this before. She's stayed away from politics. She's had apathy, she says, but now she's inspired. To say that is to unite psychology and religion and politics. She increases the sound of the southern preacher in her voice so it makes you start thinking of Martin Luther King just before she says, "You know, Dr. King dreamed the dream." The audience responds with a churchly "Yeah." But we don't have to merely dream anymore. "We get to vote that dream into reality." She still hasn't said the name "Barack Obama," but the listener is on edge expecting the invocation of the name. "The reason I support Barack Obama is because he speaks to the potential inside every one of us."

Thus she presents Obama as an embodiment of our political, religious, and psychological needs. I'm saying "our," even though the presentation is strongly aimed at black people, because I don't lose the sense that she is speaking to the country as a whole. She ends with an image from the old television movie "The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman," in which the ancient black woman is asking one young black person after another, "Are you The One?" This too combines the psychological, the political, and the religious — religious, because who is "The One" but the savior of mankind?

She tells us some people think that Barack Obama ought to wait. She equates that with the old message that black people ought to have waited for equality. In this rhetoric, to tell him he should wait feels racist. But Oprah never accuses anyone of racism. She never even mentions the name of the rival who wants us to think that she is ahead of him in line. Oprah keeps the positive message in front. This is inspirational. Barack Obama is The One, so allow him to emerge into his rightful place, and we will all be fulfilled, saved... and — why not? — well governed.

ADDED: The photo at the link — to the NYT — says a lot. Oprah and Michelle Obama are standing together under a sign that, cropped, reads "We can believe in." Barack Obama is pointing at them with an active gesture that makes me think he's using his miraculous powers to unite the two women — to unite us all. Believe!

108 comments:

ricpic said...

She's speaking to the country as a whole?

Puhleeze!

Paul Snively said...

Oprah speaking might remind me of Martin Luther King. Being Lutheran, reminding me of Martin Luther... eh... not so much. :-)

George said...

Great Politco report on the "Messainic rhetoric" at the Obama rallies....

He is Jesus.

"I do believe he's the one."--so says Oprah.

Meanwhile, in 1998, Huckabee bemoaned what it was like to be an Arkansas minister. What his congregation wanted was Oprah or, to be more precise....

"They wanted the captain of the Love Boat. They just wanted everybody to be happy. It was not about how many people were won to Christ or how many teens were pulled away from drugs or how many marriages were saved. Instead, it was about the seniors having a great trip going to watch the fall leaves change, the teen-agers going to a better summer camp than the church across town."

Poor Huckabee. Neither he nor Chuck Norris will ever be as entertaining as Oprah.

But here is Obama's weakness....“I believe in American exceptionalism,” he told [the NYT's Cohen], but not one based on “our military prowess or our economic dominance.”

Obama's weak and poor America will somehow also be "exceptional." Sure.

the wolf said...

If Obama were a Republican, Maureen Dowd would be excoriating the lot of them for all the religious fervor.

Palladian said...

I overwhelm as I approach you
Make your lungs hold breath inside!
Lovers break caresses for me
Love enhanced when I've gone by.

You'll feel me coming,
A new vibration.
From afar you'll see me,
I'm a sensation.

They worship me and all I touch,
Hazy eyed they catch my glance.
Pleasant shudders shake their senses,
My warm momentum throws their stance.

You'll feel me coming,
A new vibration.
From afar you'll see me,
I'm a sensation.

Soon you'll see me! Can't you feel me?
I'm coming...
Send your troubles dancing, I know the answer!
I'm coming...
I'm a sensation.

I leave a trail of rooted people
Mesmerized by just the sight,
The few I touch are now disciples
Love as One, I Am the Light...

peter hoh said...

re. the NYT photo: someone whould photoshop some lightning bolts as was done with Tom Cruise on Oprah's couch a while back.

I'm not surprised that Oprah kept it positive. I would be rather surprised if she were to go negative. With Obama, she has a good match for her approach.

EnigmatiCore said...

There is no spoon.

christopher said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
MadisonMan said...

I am uncomfortable with the blend of politics and messiah-ism. Having a messiah as a leader usually leads to bad things for the country.

You shouldn't look to a politician to solve the problems in your life. That's each person's job to do themselves.

Guesst said...

Being "inspiring" only matters to people who look to others for inspiration.

That probably isn't going to include the majority of Americans.

Pogo said...

Can I have a witness?

Sheepman said...

I jut watched the video of Obama's Columbia, SC speech at his website. This was the first time I've seen a whole speech of his - I was curious about the hoopla.

Not judging the content (there was little to judge) I'd say he is an above average political stump speaker, but not nearly as inspirational as a MLK,JFK, or RFK. I actually think his wife is a better speaker than him. (Perhaps being his wife does qualify her for being a senator).

Palladian said...

"I am uncomfortable with the blend of politics and messiah-ism. Having a messiah as a leader usually leads to bad things for the country.

You shouldn't look to a politician to solve the problems in your life. That's each person's job to do themselves."

Exactly. You get a Hallelujah! from me. The President is a manager. I don't want or need to be Inspired! by my country's manager.

Blue Moon said...

t

Paddy O. said...

The President is a manager. I don't want or need to be Inspired! by my country's manager.

But a candidate has to inspire in order to win an election. The person who can do the best job often isn't the person who can get the job.

That's why Huckabee is doing so well on the Republican side.

And why Fred, who has the best policy ideas, is not.

It'll be like the 1950s again with God-talk if Huckabee faces Obama in the election. Newdow will be crushed beneath the weight of civic religious oppression.

I can't wait until the year 2001 when religion will finally have been put behind us as irrational and when Science has solved all our problems. Heaven on earth, I tell you.

SteveR said...

Since when is anything as good as advertised? Given that it will fall short, do you want to ride it down?

Yes MM, people should fix their own problems to the extent they can and I would suggest that "apathy" is, for many people taking care of business. I have a lot of more important things to do than hitching onto a politician or a talk show host. Priorities not apathy, Oprah

Blue Moon said...

I say the following as a pretty conservative black man in his mid-30's who tries not to see race unless I have to, who has disdain for Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton running around telling me that Don Imus is keeping me down:

The Obama stuff works on me. I grew up listening to the stories of the CRM -- my parents had dogs and firehoses turned on them. They walked to Selma -- my rational mind tells me that one man can't make that much of a difference and yet listening to the story of MLK from people who were there makes me feel otherwise. I say this not arrogantly, but I really do not personally need the government for anything other than basic services, but when I hear Obama talk, I get that "Yeah, the government ought to solve these problems" feeling even though I "know" it cannot. Obama is "home," Obama is going to visit my parents and having my mother make my favorite food, Obama is reading my high school yearbook. I know I am "past" all that, but the more I think about his candidacy, especially during the primaries, the more I think that this is a phenomenon that he'll have in his favor. Already some black pols in S.C. are starting to re-examine their early support for Hillary.

Whoever said "there is no spoon" -- thanks for giving me a laugh this morning.

Trooper York said...

Superman: Listen, what do you hear?
Lois Lane: Nothing.
Superman: I hear everything. You wrote that the world doesn't need a savior, but everyday I hear people crying for one.
(Superman Returns, 2006)

christopher said...

Enjoy Bush's war, folks.

http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=3977702&page=1

And remember -- this is all being done in your name.

Fen said...

"You know, Dr. King dreamed the dream." The audience responds with a churchly "Yeah." But we don't have to merely dream anymore. "We get to vote that dream into reality." She still hasn't said the name "Barack Obama," but the listener is on edge expecting the invocation of the name. "The reason I support Barack Obama is because he speaks to the potential inside every one of us."

Ah yes, the Affirmative Action President, because thats worked SO well in the business community.

Hell, if you're a Fed, you can't even write up a black employee without risking a "racial" complaint. So I guess its time to extend that to the office of POTUS.

knoxwhirled said...

This makes me uncomfortable like watching the triumphant Clintons--and Bushes--rocking out to "Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow" did.

I think you're in a dangerous area if you get all pumped about a candidate... whether in the midst of a religious fervor or not. It's creepy.

Whoever ultimately wins--even if its your guy--they should always be viewed as the lesser of two evils.

Palladian said...

Kwistopher: Pay no attention to that man behind the Oprah!

I'd like to lock you in my shipping container of love, Kwissy!

Trooper York said...

Julia Baker: Did they tell you I'm colored?
Dr. Chegley: What color are you?
Julia Baker: Wh-hy, I'm Negro.
Dr. Chegley: Have you always been a Negro, or are you just trying to be fashionable?
(Julia, 1968)

Fen said...

christopher: Enjoy Bush's war, folks

Its America's war, idiot. Your own weasel Dems even voted to authorize it.

And yah, an employee of Haliburton claiming she was raped and that the company covered it up somehow invalidates the entire war effort? I guess we should have stopped the liberation of Europe from the Nazi at the first sign some civillian employee raped a Brit.

Why are Leftists this stupid? Outcome-based education? No child left behind? Can I blame Bush for Christopher?

Palladian said...

knox, agreed! I'm scared of people who get "excited" about politicians. The "right" tend not to get as excited about their candidates, which of course invites the quip that they have nothing to get excited about. The "left" seem to look for people to get excited about. I suppose it is weirdly related to the "Messiah" thing, that the "left" is looking for someone to change everything, to transfigure our doomed nation into a cradle of shining progressivism. But I'm just generalizing. Most of my more "leftward" friends don't ever talk about politics at all, nor do they get "excited" about their candidates.

I did feel bad for a couple friends who had to spend months feigning excitement over John Kerry. Poor things, they tried.

christopher said...

Fen said...

Its America's war, idiot. Your own weasel Dems even voted to authorize it.


To their eternal shame, yes.

And yes, it's America's war -- that was my point. It's being waged in our name, to OUR eternal shame.

Hoosier Daddy said...

You shouldn't look to a politician to solve the problems in your life. That's each person's job to do themselves.

I would be careful saying things like that. People might think you’re one of those wing-nut conservatives. After all, if it takes a village to raise a child, it certainly will require the infinite power of the Federal Government to fix the more complex issues in an adult’s life.

Palladian said...

"OUR eternal shame."

Mmm, shame is HOT. Do you like to be shamed, Kwis? I think you do. Bitch, you're a whore!

rhhardin said...

Is the daytime TV audience ready for a black President?

Hoosier Daddy said...

And yes, it's America's war -- that was my point. It's being waged in our name, to OUR eternal shame.

You said it was Bush's War, not America's War.

I understand your not that quick but do try and keep.

garage mahal said...

Raped from both ends and thrown in a shipping container and ultimately without any legal recourse?

LOL!

Palladian is right, nothing get's me hot and bothered more than a rape story!

Palladian said...

"Palladian is right, nothing get's me hot and bothered more than a rape story!"

The sick thing is, you're probably telling the truth. Don't tell us that your heart didn't soar a little when you saw that nice & nasty Halliburton/Rape/Iraq story to rub in people's faces. Trolls like you and kwistopher get hard-ons for misery.

christopher said...

garage mahal said...

Palladian is right, nothing get's me hot and bothered more than a rape story!
10:52 AM


Palladian's a self-hating gay guy who still hasn't figured out that the Republican party wants him dead.

In other words, a very large idiot.

Tim said...

"And yes, it's America's war -- that was my point. It's being waged in our name, to OUR eternal shame."

That's an excellent summation of the Lunatic Left's worldview and explanation as to why they hate America - that it would be much better for all of to make the world safer for terrorists and other enemies of the United States. To ease their sense of shame, don't you know.

Palladian said...

I only get a hard-on for kwistopher. That combination of bitterness, stupidity, anger and pathetic misery is such a turn-on.

Oh yeah! Call me a Republican, bitch! You know I love that dirty talk!

Fen said...

christopher: It's being waged in our name, to OUR eternal shame.

No, don't fret. Its NOT being waged in your name. Your kind still want your decaf lattes and MTV and cheap oil economy, even if it means the arab world is condemned to suffer the oppression of tyranic despots and radical theocrats. We're not fighting this war on behalf of Vichy "Americans".

And no, I no longer question your patriotism.

christopher said...


Tim said...

That's an excellent summation of the Lunatic Left's worldview and explanation as to why they hate America - that it would be much better for all of to make the world safer for terrorists and other enemies of the United States. To ease their sense of shame, don't you know.


Yep, last time I looked it was the Lunatic Left whose CIA tortured a mentally ill guy with no operational info on terrorism.

In your name...

Fen said...

Palladian's a self-hating gay guy who still hasn't figured out that the Republican party wants him dead.

Thats just stupid. I worked for the RNC before I became an Independent. Former Marine with sniper training - I can reach out and touch you at 1200 yards.. but no one ever gave me the order to kill Palladian.

BTW, if we follow the Leftist narrative that Bush/GOP is fascist, how is it that you evaded capture? Why isn't NSA jamming your broadband access?

MadisonMan said...

Hoosier Daddy, there are too many dealbreakers with Conservatives for me, starting with the orgy of spending from 2001-2006, the huge entitlement program, ignoring science. There are dealbreakers with liberals as well, just not so many.

rhhardin said...

Limbaugh calls it an Obasm.

Palladian said...

So back to Oprabama... Does anyone else find her distasteful? I mean, she became a billionaire partially by being a misery vampire, getting people to "confess" things on air; to cry, sob, weep, engage in a televised catharsis between commercial breaks. She's responsible for giving 50% of the female population of America a complex.

Also, does anyone remember those "equal time" broadcast rules? How would that apply to someone with the television power of Oprah? Maybe she's not using her show to promote Obama, but I was curious if those rules are still enforced.

christopher said...

rhhardin said...

Limbaugh calls it an Obasm.


Wow. That's the kind of rapier wit I thought had died out with the Algonquin Round Table.

Ann Althouse said...

Christopher: "Yet on this one, she wallows in exactly the same thing without a hint of irony."

Irony? Do you mean sarcasm? And is it my fault that you have a hard time getting hints?

Since you deal in insults, little man, you need to raise you game.

P. Rich said...

The O Message was pitched at Blacks and those whose choices are hormonally driven. The latter would include a majority of women, Althouse of course, and a large segment of the Left, with no mutual exclusivity among groups intended. For the rest of us, it's just cheap theater - like sitting on a stump and watching the chattering squirrels gather nuts.

Doyle said...

No one can make as big a show out of being unmoved as Ann.

"Look at me! Look at how unmoved I am! I'm not disparaging but God-DAMN I am the least moved person who ever saw or heard about this Obama-Oprah thing!"

Meade said...

Can we please get back to Hillary now?

Speaking of colors, I mistakenly called her blonde. I beg your eleventh-hour collective pardons. She isn't blonde; she's "buff-colored." Says so in today's Washington Post. So, she's just as colored as any of us, plus she can do a highly convincing southern accent and square dance to boot.

No, she isn't Jesus (yet), but she is a Methodist.

Verso said...

Oprah could be (sort of) Obama's Cheney. That is, his vice presidential candidate, but also an extremely talented manager and executive. The way Bush addressed his problem of lack of experience by selecting Cheney, Obama, too, could address his own lack of management and executive experience by selecting Oprah.

I know it will never happen, but I think it would be a dynamite ticket. Oprah would crush any opponent in a debate.

christopher said...


Ann Althouse said...

Since you deal in insults, little man, you need to raise you game.


"You obviously have a psycho-sexual problem that urges you to belittle a strong, successful woman who doesn't accept direction from men."

Who could top that howler?

Pogo said...

Oprah wants a national mommy, for whom Obama fills the void. All we need do is divest ourselves of our freedom, and we can be cradled by The One Who Saves Us.

This desire to immamentize the eschaton has arisen repeatedly, often with disastrous consequences, and never successfully. In christianity, it's considered a heresy, a key one, one that caused Jesus to rebuke Peter with "Get thee behind me, Satan". Oprah and Obama should both know this.

When did the Democrats become the party of infantilization? About 1970.
When did the Repulicans join them? About 1990.

What party is meant to deal with those apparently few voters that are adults?

George said...

Blue Moon--

Please, please don't vote for the man because

"Obama is going to visit my parents and having my mother make my favorite food, Obama is reading my high school yearbook."

It's a rough world out there. Got to elect the person who will keep the parents and the high school friends safe.....

Pogo said...

immanentize

Lawgiver said...

Whoever ultimately wins--even if its your guy--they should always be viewed as the lesser of two evils.

It seems to always be that way doesn't it?

I would love for Obama to win the nomination over Hillary simply for the entertainment value.


Listening to you, I get the music
Gazing at you, I get the heat
Following you, I climb the mountain
I get excitement at your feet.
Right behind you, I see the millions.

On you, I see the glory,
From you, I get opinions,
From you, I get the story.

See Me, Feel Me
The Who, 1969

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I am uncomfortable with the blend of politics and messiah-ism. Having a messiah as a leader usually leads to bad things for the country.

You shouldn't look to a politician to solve the problems in your life. That's each person's job to do themselves


Exactly what Madison Man said. I don't get this recent emphasis on religion. Mitt's Mormonism. Huckabee's Baptist leanings in his speeches. And now Obama is being hailed like he is the second coming of Christ.

What's up with this? It is scaring me. Is this a backlash and refuge from the rise of Muslim radical extremist? In any case this pandering and stumping with strident religious Christian overtones (not undertones)is worrisome and un-American. Yes, the Founding Fathers expressed their faith in GOD, however they were very careful not to define GOD/Deity as belonging to any one sect or brand of religion. Their GOD was non-denominational and they strongly denounced the idea of a Government sponsored and backed religion.

I'm Catholic, cafeteria style, and disagree with the recent militant secularism of society on all fronts sponsored by the ACLU and a minority of atheists. However, if I were Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, I would be very very worried right now about the path that our politics is taking.

Obama may be a fine man and possibly could be a President of the US, but he isn't a Messiah or the Saviour of the people. As MM said it is up to each of us to save ourselves. The President is an executive, manager, CEO of the government, not a preacher with a religious message.

I'm scared.

Trooper York said...

Fred 'Rerun' Stubbs: Ralph represents all that which is good, and pure - Ralph is a head... of lettuce.
Roger Thomas: You worship a HEAD OF LETTUCE?
(Whats Happening, 1976)

knoxwhirled said...

Sadly, it was apparent a long time ago that there are a LOT of democrats who pump their fist triumphantly when anything bad happens that has to do with Iraq, even peripherally. They purport to be horrified at stories like de palma's pathetic "Redacted" or this halliburton thing, but the glee is unmistakable. They can't wait pin it on their political opponents.

Look for an increased number of these stories as actual military progress continues to improve. They will have to keep the bad news coming somehow.

Blue Moon said...

Dust Bunny Queen:

What are you scared of? A President, even one being spoken of as a Messiah can only do so much. Is it that you are scared of specific policies, or just the general rising tone of born again sentiment in this country. I am one of those "born again" types -- but I worry that too many people have embraced a triumphalist view of Christianity that is counter to the words of Jesus. These people are going to be awfully disappointed.

Palladian said...

"I know it will never happen, but I think it would be a dynamite ticket. Oprah would crush any opponent in a debate."

That's a terrifying thought.

Guacamommy said...

Yes, Palladian, count me among those who are baffled by the Oprah phenomenon. I watched Oprah in my 20s, and I thought she was entertaining, but then the thing began to morph from entertainment into a kind of worship -- buy what Oprah buys, read what Oprah reads, wear what Oprah wears, and now this: vote for who Oprah votes for. What the hell??? Why? Why should I care anything about what she says? What special powers of discernment does she possess? I have seen the opening shots of her show a few times in the last couple of years, and when the camera pans across that sea of fanatical faces in her audience, I just feel a little queasy. Blegh.

JohnTaylor88 said...

Best Althouse post ever.

EnigmatiCore said...

"Oprah would crush any opponent in a debate."

If Oprah crushes her enemies, would we still hear the lamentation of the women?

Paul Zrimsek said...

If Oprah crushes her enemies, would we still hear the lamentation of the women?

Once Oprah has crushed her enemies, that's the only thing we'll ever hear from then on.

Hoosier Daddy said...

K Trooper, I think I got the money quote for this topic.

Coleman: Would you like a sip of whiskey?
Billy Ray Valentine: I do not drink, it is against my religion!
Coleman: Religion is a good thing I say, taken in moderation.
(Trading Places, 1983)

Daryl said...

This desire to immamentize the eschaton

A vote for Obama is a vote to imamanize the eschaton

Hoosier Daddy said...

If Oprah crushes her enemies, would we still hear the lamentation of the women?

Yes but it would be on the Dr. Phil show.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

What are you scared of? A President, even one being spoken of as a Messiah can only do so much. Is it that you are scared of specific policies, or just the general rising tone of born again sentiment in this country

I'm scared that the wheels have fallen off of the trolley of rational thought. Pandering to emotion, fanaticism, religious predjudices plunges us into the cesspool of uneducated, unthinking, unquestioning, mob mentality. This is evident in the Middle East with the rise of the radical Muslims. We saw the same things in the repressive Calvinist era where we burned people as witches and heretics. We saw the same unreasoning mob followers in Hitler's Germany. Religion doesn't necessarily have to be Deist driven....witness the new religion of Global Warming.

People have abandoned reason, thoughtfulness and principled resistance to emotional rhetoric and have embraced the easier path of becoming fanatic followers. When you blindly follow someone, watch out!!... they may be leading you over a cliff.

The religious overtones of Obama, Romey and especially Huckabee's campaigns are worrying because it is a cult of personality with no real close inspection of the principles and motiviations behind the personality. Nevermind that man behind the curtain....just watch the big flashy light show.

I think the cliff's edge is very close right now.

EnigmatiCore said...

Neon lights, a nobel prize
The mirror speaks, the reflection lies
You don't have to follow me
Only you can set me free

Jeff with one 'f' said...

Magic Negro time!

Michael said...

Speaking of messianic politicians and their pseudo-religions, Al Gore is on c-span preaching to the choir while picking up his nobel prize in anti-americanism.

MadisonMan said...

Speaking of messianic politicians and their pseudo-religions, Scooter Libby dropped his appeal. Now he's a convicted felon 'til Bush pardons him, then he's a pardoned convicted felon.

knoxwhirled said...

Al Gore is on c-span preaching to the choir while picking up his nobel prize

Running around with the jet set, burning up fossil fuels by the truckload, then paying *himself* through his own carbon offset investment company hardly qualifies as good deeds. What a grade A twat he is.

knoxwhirled said...

Don't worry, I'm paying offsets to the feminists for saying "twat"

Skyler said...

There is likely nothing that I would agree with Barack Obama about poliitcally, philosophically, or theologically.

But I would say that he at least appears to be genuine in what he says and what he does.

I'll take that any day over the massive corruption of the ruling dynasties of Bush/Clinton/Bush/Clinton.

I don't think I would vote for the man, no matter what. But I would feel like at least my country wasn't being sold down the road to foreign communists by a Clinton, or played for saps by an elite country club by a Bush.

I think he could go a long way towards quelling the extreme partisan bickering going on. I'd fight every socialist, er, excuse me, progressive policy he stands for, but at least we'd be having an honest disagreement, not a war between political machines.

But perhaps I'm being naive.

essaybee said...

Palladian said: "she became a billionaire partially by being a misery vampire, getting people to "confess" things on air; to cry, sob, weep, engage in a televised catharsis between commercial breaks. "

That is not an accurate description of Oprah's show. I was a housewife for 10 years and watched her a few times a week during most of that time. Her show is more like a self-help book and the emphasis is on learning how to be a better person, and occasionally about how to find jeans that fit.

Synova said...

Apathy is a political and social blessing. People can afford to be disengaged because by and large they feel secure and content.

Why would anyone prefer the opposite?

People romanticize the good old days of activism and protest but ignore the reality of it. Those early abolitionists or those in the civil rights movement or those suffragettes protested in the face of real threats, unlike "activists" today who whine if someone sets a contrary message up across the street or hurts their feelings by calling them names.

Students are protesting in Iran.

Students have been protesting in Venezuela.

People can be apathetic about electing a black man because *things have changed* from the days of civil rights marches.

I really don't think we'd want those days back again just so people would stop being apathetic.

Pogo said...

Part of the apathy today however is destructive. The federal government has, over time, negated the powers of state and local governments. Before 1950 or so, especially outside of the 10 largest cities, adults still actively engaged in civic duties, participating in local elections, volunteering, and serving in elected office as well.

It used to be common practice for citizens to both lead and be led. Now we are only led. We are no longer citizens, but subjects. We don't participate, we plead our special interests. We whine and wheedle.

And we do not vote. And we do not run. I have less fondness for apathy for that reason, even though it does, as you point out, suggest suffucient bread and circuses to suppress any revolutionary zealotry.

PatCA said...

It will be interesting to see if this trannslates into votes. I think a few of the inspired people are gonna wake up soon feeling like they have a bad hangover.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

That is not an accurate description of Oprah's show. I was a housewife for 10 years and watched her a few times a week during most of that time. Her show is more like a self-help book and the emphasis is on learning how to be a better person, and occasionally about how to find jeans that fit.

I'm a working woman and have never seen Oprah's show once on television.....ever. I have read about her generosity and her school in Africa. So what gives her the mandate from above to declare that Obama is THE ONE? (one what?) Is it her massive credentials in economic theory, political science, global history... or is it that he's black, she's black and that should suffice. More people watch South Park than Oprha... should we let Cartman, Stan and Kenny make decisions for us who we should choose for President? Makes about as much sense.

What exactly is Obama's campaign platform. For that matter of fact what is the campaign platform of ANY of these Bozos? Instead of being curious about this of information, the public is foaming at the mouth about the personalities(good and bad), their clothing, hair or lack of hair, and the religious affiliations (or non affiliation) of the candidates. Things that should have no bearing who we elect as leaders.

Personality/charisma can be a bad thing. Hilter was very charismatic. Basing your governmental leaders on religious affilitation or a litmus test on religious issues is just as dangerous.
http://youtube.com/watch?v=qyQjiXSlU_w

If this triviality is what people focus on, we deserve the inept and corrupt government that we have had for years and we deserve to go down in flames as a country.

Blue Moon said...

DBQ:

What do you want the public to focus on? The issue that has dominated the Bush presidency is one that we did not anticipate in 2000. Do we even know the right questions to ask? Is it enough that we get to know someone so we feel confident that the can handle "it" -- whatever "it" is?

Pogo said...

What do you want the public to focus on?

How about details on Obama's plans to raise taxes?

christopher said...

If this triviality is what people focus on, we deserve the inept and corrupt government that we have had for years and we deserve to go down in flames as a country.

Refresh my memory...who was it that obsessed about Hillary and onion rings?

The name is on the tip of my tongue, but I just can't place it...

rishigajria said...

Maureen Dowd's column is hilarious. Everyone should read it. Especially the "I am a religious fanatic just like you" line.

essaybee said...

Blue Moon said: "What do you want the public to focus on? The issue that has dominated the Bush presidency is one that we did not anticipate in 2000. Do we even know the right questions to ask? Is it enough that we get to know someone so we feel confident that the can handle "it" -- whatever "it" is?"

It's true that it's really hard to know what qualities we need to look for in a president. What good are the right policies if the prresident can't get things through congress, and what good is great managerial skill if one stupid policy makes the economy tank?

The thing I worry about is that Obama is being set up for failure. He's young and inexpereinced, he's never been an administrator, he has no foreign policy experience. Almost the same problems exist with Hillary.

If either one is elected, then we face the prospect of the first black or female president being a miserable failure.

I'd really prefer that the first black or female president be someone with a better chance of success. The economy is pretty strong - so odds are that it will regress to the mean and we'll have a recession and the next president will take the blame.

So many people are placing their hope in Obama to be "the one" that I'm afraid that they will be really let down when he turns out to be a mere mortal. And it's not just blacks who are pinning a lot of hope on him, there are plenty of white people who see an Obama presidency as THE sign that things are better and racism is over.

EnigmatiCore said...

"Personality/charisma can be a bad thing. Hilter was very charismatic."

Was it his mustache that did it for you?

(Oh no, you did not just really try the "Obama might just be another Hitler. He just might be!" gambit, did you?)

Guesst said...

How does voting for Oprahma mean: "We get to vote that dream [MLK's dream] into reality."?

The existential reality of someone who travels by private jet halfway across the country each week to get her eyebrows waxed?

jeff said...

"Wow. That's the kind of rapier wit I thought had died out with the Algonquin Round Table."

At least the third time you've gone to that particular well. Any idea of what it was?

Synova said...

I didn't read that as an implication that Obama might be Hitler, just an extreme example that charisma isn't a fool proof guide.

Although, it might be entertaining to spin it that way. If we're really bored.

christopher said...

eff said...

"Wow. That's the kind of rapier wit I thought had died out with the Algonquin Round Table."

At least the third time you've gone to that particular well. Any idea of what it was?


And yet it's still funnier than anything you've ever posted.

I wonder why that is...

Thanks for counting, BTW.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Pogo saidWe whine and wheedle. And we do not vote. And we do not run.

You have a good point but then again, considering the microscope that these people are put under, who but the completely power hungry or narcissistic would place themselves and their families under that kind of scrutiny?

Hell some extra curricular sex escapade 20 years ago, DUI or a close relative whose a drunk/addict/convict may not sink a campaign but it certainly will steer away more than a few otherwise qualified people who would probably make a meaningful contribution in government. We all have skeletons which we keep to ourselves but we insist on poking in other people's closets too much.

I thought Clinton getting hummers from a fat chick was his problem not mine to the extent he wasn't selling the country short while he as chasing thongs. That's why I could care less if Rudy had 9 wives or was a jerk to any of them. I want a President who will lead the nation to greatness and do what is in the best interests of the American people. If he likes fuzzy animals and is a good husband well thats nice too. I want a leader not a saint.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

What do you want the public to focus on?

I would like to see serious (not 30 second sound bites) discussion from the candidates on

Economic policy
How are we to continue to fund Social Security.

Entitlement programs that are the majority of the Federal budget.

Tax plans from the candidates with real evidence of why they feel that their plan is better.

Reformation of the IRS draconian rules.

Spending cuts and spending increases they favor.

What tax increases or decreases do the consider for industry and business and how do they envision that would affect the current trends of outsourcing to 3rd world nations our manufacturing and technical bases.

How much control of the economy of the US should the Federal Reserve have?

Immigration and border security
What is their plan to deal with border security.

What is their plan to deal with the millions of illegal aliens? Amnesty? Drivers Licenses? Entitlement Programs.

What is their plan to deal with LEGAL immigration?

International Issues
Now I know the candidates can't be too specific here because they could be interfering in current negotiations....but

What is their plan for Iraq and the war there.

How would they envision the US role in a probably nuclear Middle East?

How do they feel about NAFTA. Open borders with Canada and Mexico.

Energy
How do they plan to address the energy needs of the US. Nuclear, Alternative energy, using our own oil, coal and gas resources. Tax credits for new production? Easing of environmental restrictions and hurdles or increasing those restrictions.

What trade agreements can they propose with our sources of energy.

What about Chavez and the rest of South America as an energy and economic trading partner?

Those are just a few. I didn't even touch on some domestic issues

What I don't want to hear from the candidates are the Oprah type questions. What's your favorite vegetable? Wow... he likes broccoli... I'm voting for HIM. Favorite bible passage. Song they like best. Am I going to vote for someone becuase they like a certain kind of music? I would freaking hope not. What is their position on abortion. That isn't the decision of the President except that he/she can recommend judges who might be called on to rule on future cases and who would be part of a larger judicial system.

IT'S all crap we hear now. Nothing of subtance.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

(Oh no, you did not just really try the "Obama might just be another Hitler. He just might be!" gambit, did you?)

Of course not. I was merely pointing out that electing some one "because" they have charisma can lead to some bad things when you don't examine their core beliefs. I'm not just talking about Obama here, even though he is currently getting the second coming of the Messiah treatment from Oprah. I mean all the candidates. Wow.. Edwards has nice hair. Gee...Hillary is a strong woman and look how nice her last suit was that she was wearing fitted her. Oh... Thompson has a nice speaking voice. Mitt has such a nice family. So on and so on. So superficial.

TROBlog said...

Enjoy Bush's war, folks.

Ohh, I am. I love a good war . . . especially when we are winning it despite cowardly left-wingers.

Get some.

christopher said...

TROBlog said...

Enjoy Bush's war, folks.

Ohh, I am. I love a good war . . . especially when we are winning it despite cowardly left-wingers.

Get some.


No doubt posted from a bunker in Baghdad. Kudos, my warrior friend!!!!

downtownlad said...

The economy is pretty strong essaybee

Oh man. People who only watch Fox News really are living in a bubble . . .

Trooper York said...

Gentle Ben was never happy in the show. He had worked hard to get out of the ghetto and he couldn’t understand why he couldn’t run the show the way he wanted. First they took the wrong guy from Gunsmoke, who wants Dennis Weaver when you could get Burt Reynolds? Then they took the wrong Howard kid. No Opie, only dopie. But still and all he was very popular until he got involved in politics. He started going to protest marches and sit-ins. He marched in Selma and Bull Conner almost made him into a fur coat. He felt that it was important to show solidarity. But it was the sixties and times were different. They cancelled the show when he endorsed Shirley Chisholm for president. CBS felt that they couldn’t let their TV stars get involved in politics, it made too many enemies.
(Ricou Browning & John Florea, Gentle Ben, The E True Hollywood Story)

Shan said...

Ann, Oprah gave largely the same speech in Iowa, where the audience was non-black. Do you think you're seeing racial overtones here because of the audience?

Shan said...

Apologies, the question above is incorrect: Oprah did specifically refer to Martin Luther King in SC, but not in Iowa, part of what the pundits are calling an explicit appeal to black voters by Obama.

Synova said...

"No doubt posted from a bunker in Baghdad. Kudos, my warrior friend!!!!"

Because it's entirely different if a soldier advocates immoral war than if someone else does, right Chrissy?

I wonder if you realize just how often people lie to you.

christopher said...

Synova said...

"No doubt posted from a bunker in Baghdad. Kudos, my warrior friend!!!!"

Because it's entirely different if a soldier advocates immoral war than if someone else does, right Chrissy?


No, because it's funny when some craven idiot eating cheetos in his mommy's basement says "I love a good war . . . especially when we are winning it despite cowardly left-wingers."

The "we" is priceless. As if he is responsible for our victory in some way...

rcocean said...

Oprah drove that pompous, left-wing, drama Queen Phil Donahue off the air. That's why I'll always love her.

And unlike that phony @*#&* Rosie, Oprah really is the Queen of Nice.

So, you go Girl!

peter hoh said...

I remember a billboard from early in Oprah's career. It asked, "Had your 'Phil' with ordinary talk shows?"

Cedarford said...

christopher: It's being waged in our name, to OUR eternal shame.

Relax, Christopher. I doubt any Euro or any American for that matter considers you a regular American or thinks anything is done in your name.

==================
This election could be between Pastor Huckster and the Magic Negro.

The followers of Huckster think is is a direct path to God, while the followers of Obama think he IS God.

I wonder if there have been reports of the Huckster's willingness to travel to the Middle East to mass convert the towel-wearers to Baptism, or if the crippled and lame walk again if the Black Messiah lays hands on them.

Gary Rosen said...

The last post is obviously a faker pretending to be C-fudd:

1) It is not interminably long and pompous

2) No gratuitous Jew-baiting, as he engaged in when addressing Obama on Belmont Club, the fine blog he has been hooted off of for his sweaty, compulsive antisemitism.

Hoosier Daddy said...

The "we" is priceless. As if he is responsible for our victory in some way...

Well since you're one of the Not in My Name group, it's safe to assume you're not one of the we, white man.

So if only those who are actually fighting are solely responsible and have a say in it, you should really STFU about the whole topic as you are contributing nothing to the effort. Since majority of the fighting men and women believe in the mission and support it, they alone have the moral authority to have a say in it.

Fen said...

DBQ: International Issues
Now I know the candidates can't be too specific here because they could be interfering in current negotiations....but


Reformation of multilateral institutions like the UN, or a parallel venue if thats not possible. Those who champion the use of "soft" power need to step up to the plate - Euro diplomacy is broken, as are Human Rights Cmte's with Sudan/Iran/Korea as the chair, etc. Weak and feckless diplomacy has caused more war than anything else. We're heading into the age of WMD proliferation - create an effective structure to deal with that or consign yourself to more war.

Same with Geneva, International Law, Kyoto, etc. Equal protection under the law or we won't be bound by it. I'm tired of ivory tower lawyers passing rules that no one but America is expected to abide by.

christopher said...

Since majority of the fighting men and women believe in the mission and support it, they alone have the moral authority to have a say in it.

Oh, blow it out your ass, Fen. Recent polls show the military and their families are every bit as disenchanted with Bush and his infernal war as the rest of the public.

christopher said...

Sorry Fen,-- what I meant was, blow it out your ass Hoosier Daddy.

Oprah's Things said...

I just hope people research the issues and make a decision on their own even if Oprah says Obama's The One.

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