February 3, 2008

"You know what charm is: a way of getting the answer yes without having asked any clear question."

Obama's appeal to Republicans.

The "charm" quote is from Albert Camus. (Does Camus warrant his own tag here on the Althouse blog? Click on it and see!)

Anyway, getting beyond the "charm" point, there's more (from this WaPo column by Peter Wehner): Republicans don't like the Clintons. (Let's ignore Ann Coulter's latest stunt to get FoxNews to aim cameras at her.) And why shouldn't Republicans want the President, if he/she is to be a Democrat, to be someone who offers to bring us together?

His biggest problem winning over conservatives and moderates is that he's a big liberal. Is that going to change? Wehner thinks it could, especially if Obama learns from... Bill Clinton.

41 comments:

Paddy O. said...

Is this something Obama showed while in the Senate? Or is this something, like Romney's conservatism, that we are just supposed to believe because he is using it as a campaign slogan.

Do we see evidence of unity and hope in his interactions with Republicans over that last years? What kind of inspiring leadership, across-the-aisle cooperation, and forward thinking positive proposals has Obama shown? Or is it just hope that people don't look past the speeches and at actions?

PatCA said...

"...someone who offers to bring us together?"

Why is that a good thing? In times like these, we need argument and discussion. God save us from another unified government!

It's only a fringe on both sides that is destructive. Most of us want the same things: prosperity, help for the needy, the spread of American values.

We'll never have the "answer" so let us go forward in disunity to preserve the republic and do the best we can. (Thank you, de Toqueville.)

JSF said...

From Nixon forward, Democrats have always been about criminalizing Conservatives or Republicans. They get to use hate speech with no reprecussions.

Senator Obama is a breath of fresh air. He says he diagrees with policy, not personality. If Obama is nominated, there will be "Obama Republicans" this election cycle.

Because, Democrats, you get more with being nice to someone you disagree with, than finding other Americans as the enemy.

rhhardin said...

Your velvet words of purple tint,
In France they would be famous,
Like all that belly-button lint,
From Kierkegaard and Camus.

Titan said...

Paddy O:

An example I like was putting cameras in police interrogation rooms. Civil libertarians and black leaders like the idea for obvious reasons. Police officers not so much. Obama worked with the police in Illinois and convinced them that cameras:

-Result in speedier trials, without the he said she said

-Prevent personal lawsuits against the officers by prisoners who say they were harshly interrogated

Cameras are now required by an Illinois state law sponsored by Obama, and the Illinois police have encouraged other states to do the same. I think it's an excellent example of convincing the other side instead of waging war on them.

Ben (The Tiger) said...

Bah, bipartisanship stops at the legislative waters' edge.

This is the example you are looking for, I think.

former law student said...

Bill Clinton ran an intellectually creative race whose ideas appealed to non-Democrats.

Then why did the Newties push their Contract with America? I'm pretty sure they considered Bill "A Chicken in Every Pot, and a Homo in Every Barracks" Clinton to be the Anti-Christ.

Democrats, you get more with being nice to someone you disagree with, than finding other Americans as the enemy.

Did Gingrich know this? How about Karl Rove? The only Republicans I know who reached across the aisle are the RINO Schwarzenegger (who had no choice with a Democrat-controlled legislature), and the political speech-suppressing McCain who found a kindred spirit in Feingold.

Jeff with one 'f' said...

In this case, big liberal = product of corrupt Chicago Democratic Party machine politics.

JSF said...

FLS,

But what Democrat has ever crossed the line to back Conservatives? Or even Conservative speech? Not the Clintons, they did a good job using their FBI files against them.

Not Pelosi, read the book, "Congressional Fight Club" and she has reneged on every promise made to Republicans.

Senator Reid? When has he ever reached out to the GOP?

FLS, do try to stay relevent to the times. And why must Consrervatives always reach out to Democrats? What responsibility does the Left have to bi-partisanship?

former law student said...

re: Obama's record of bipartisanship, Chicago machine politics,etc.:
http://www.harpers.org/archive/2006/11/0081275

jef: as a classic Lakefront Liberal and "goo-goo" reformer (Think Abner Mikva, or Paul Douglas) Obama was the product of corrupt Chicago Democratic Party machine politics only in the sense that John McCain was the product of the Hanoi Hilton -- as something to fight at every turn.

jsf: I merely pointed out that the partisan pot is pointing out the kettle's partisanship. If the partisan pot wants to take another turn, fine.

Ron said...

You have to wonder if were holding Hillary's lack of wit and charm unfairly against her...Like you have to be Oscar Wilde or something...

rhhardin said...

Guys' reaction to Obama's yes we can .

Added disparagement by news bunny at the end.

George said...

Here's the link to former law's Harper's article...

"...Obama has delivered for his constituents—for social activists, but also for business groups whose demands are invariably more costly....Ethanol...survives only because members of Congress from farm states, whether liberal or conservative, have for decades managed to win billions of dollars in federal subsidies to underwrite its production. It is not, of course, family farmers who primarily benefit from the program but rather the agribusiness giants such as Illinois-based Aventine Renewable Energy and Archer Daniels Midland (for which ethanol accounts for just 5 percent of its sales but an estimated 23 percent of its profits). Ethanol production, as Tad Patzek of UC Berkeley’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering wrote in a report this year, is based on “the massive transfer of money from the collective pocket of the U.S. taxpayers to the transnational agricultural cartel.”

Since arriving on Capitol Hill, Obama has been as assiduous as any member of Congress in promoting ethanol. He has introduced a number of measures that benefit the industry—such as the “Obama Amendment” that offered oil companies a 50 percent tax credit for building stations that offer E85 fuel—and voted for the corporate-welfare-laden 2005 energy bill, which offered billions in subsidies to ethanol producers...

Ah, the Senator from the Great State of Ethanol...

Paddy O. said...

Titan, great example. Thanks for sharing it.

Of course, now I'm remember that being able to work with the other side was one of the top arguments for Bush when he ran in 2000. Didn't they even trot out Democrats from the Texas legislature who were supporting Bush? Maybe there's a change that happens when a person goes from a state to national politics.

ricpic said...

When you wish upon a star.....you get shpilkas.

Simon said...

A commenter at Poligazette hit the nail on the head yesterday: Obama's interest (whether he admits it in as many words or not) is "in uniting the Democratic party, not the country - ... lefties tend to think that once the left prevails, everyone else will see the wisdom of their plans (so perhaps he really believes that those goals are one in the same, because if he unites the left then the right will eventually have to fall in line.)
... [W]hen he says we all have to give a bit, but then in the same speech talks about how awful Republicans have been- isn’t he really asking everyone on the left to give a bit, to unite against their common enemy, the right?"

Simon said...

former law student said...
"['Democrats, you get more with being nice to someone you disagree with, than finding other Americans as the enemy?'] Did Gingrich know this? How about Karl Rove?"

Did they succeed? I would argue that they both failed. They succeeded to an extent, but it seems to me that a significant amount of the Contract with America is as valid as a platform today as it was in 1994 precisely because provisions either couldn't be passed or didn't stick.

Simon said...

Oh, and the answer to the question - "What is at the core of Obama's appeal?" - is obvious: people want to be lied to. People want a pony, and they like someone who makes them feel like s/he'll give them one. Subconsciously, they know it's a lie, so they subconsciously choose not to look too deeply.

rcocean said...

Obama lost me with his last love-in debate with Hillary. I couldn't tell them apart except that Hillary seemed more conservative.

I assumed Obama was more of a populist/anti-corporate democrat but the debate showed he's just as much of a corporate globalist as Hillary. You see according to Obama massive illegal and legal immigration actually *helps* poor blacks. Huh? And drivers license's for illegals are a good thing. Double Huh?

P. Rich said...

MoveOn.org has endorsed Obama.

Alan said...

Hillary seemed more authoritarian to me in the last debate. But I guess that could be construed as conservative.

In the last debate they both said they agreed on 95% of everything. The five percent they didn't agree on, Obama seemed to worry about the unintended consequences of Hillary's plans. Because of that, Obama came across as more conservative. But then, we are talking about liberal causes. :)

Alan said...

Simon, those who love to be lied to are Hillary voters and Republican voters.

Simon said...

Alan - oh, killer rejoinder. "No, you're the ones who like to be lied to!" It's a new kind of politics, I'm told.

Alan said...

Ha ha, Simon. Republicans supposedly vote for limited and less intrusive government....

Yeah, and Hillary is as honest as they come. That's why everyone predicts her to be Nixon in a pant suit. Albeit without Nixon's foreign policy acumen.

Palladian said...

Someone to claim us, someone to follow...

Someone to shame us, some brave Apollo...

Someone to fool us, someone like you...

We want you Big Brother, Big Brother

rhhardin said...

I have a theory that there are people with absolute nothing in the mental compartments labelled government and economics.

Who knows what they think about.

dave in boca said...

Volkspolizei Gauleiter Hillary needn't worry about charm. That's why she employs every dirty trick and victim scam in the books.

She's the anti-charm candidate.

Mrs. Penelope Crabtree said...

Where's Maxine? It's been over 12 hours since we last heard from her.

Goodness, I hope she didn't drown in a bowl of her chicken soup...the poor dear.

Penelope

Mrs. Josephine Snopes said...

Oh, didn't you know?, Penelope....

Maxine goes out on Saturday nights.

She never misses a "Date Night".

She's very busy. Because she was out so late last night, galavanting around, it takes her awhile to repair the damage.

Josephine

Stephen Snell said...

Camus sucks. "Exactly," some twit answered when I complained that "The Stranger" was pointless. Uh, okay.

Penelope, thanks for the reimnder of the guy on Mary Hartman who drowned in his chicken soup (I imply nothing regarding the charmless Maxine, but urge you to draw any and all inferences).

Maxine Weiss said...

I don't "galavant".

The truth is, I've been very busy engaging in self-flagellation.

Love,
Maxine

Palladian said...

From the various embarrassing messes you've made around here lately, I'd say you've been engaged in self-immolation.

You're all burned up Mr. Maxine.

Maxine Weiss said...

Evidently, Theo Boehm thinks I'm just grand:

" "Maxine" and her friends are the emanations of someone clever and and convinced of his own superiority. This person overplayed his hand with the fortunate elder child character,"----Theo Boehm

(You mean to tell me, I'm actually practicing restraint? Apparently, I'm holding back, according to Theo )

amba said...

Hello, someone said on one of the talk shows this morning (it was a long time ago) that Obama's "#1 liberal in the Senate" rating was nonsense, that it came from a Republican propaganda source and that it came out just now as an attempt to discredit him for the campaign.

Simon said...

amba said...
"Hello, someone said on one of the talk shows this morning (it was a long time ago) that Obama's "#1 liberal in the Senate" rating was nonsense, that it came from a Republican propaganda source and that it came out just now as an attempt to discredit him for the campaign."

It came from the National Journal, not exactly a bastion of conservative Republicans - and what would Freud say about liberals who think that calling someone a liberal is a slanderous attempt to discredit that person?

Doug said...

Simon, Alan's "killer rejoinder" wasn't really that much dumber than the comment that prompted it.

I mean, we get it already: You're The Cynical Guy Who Thinks Everybody In Politics Sucks. The really ironic thing is, as someone who goes on and on about what he's against but has never really articulated anything he's for, you sound a lot like those Democrats in 2004 who were (rightly) criticized for not having any kind of platform other than Bush Sucks.

In the end, nothing you've said here has had any more substance than what Obama has said -- but at least he's fun to listen to. What's your excuse?

Alan said...

Yeah, Obama is the more liberal candidate. Of course, he's not the one who wants to assert monetary policy by freezing interest rates for five years. That would be the more "conservative" candidate, Hillary. He's not the one who wants to force everyone into government healthcare coverage. That would be the more "conservative" candidate, Hillary. Some voters may even assert that Hillary's plans are dumb because they don't account for unintended consequences. Obama has those concerns. Which makes him the more "liberal" candidate. Upside down is right side up.

Simon said...

Doug said...
"[W]e get it already: You're The Cynical Guy Who Thinks Everybody In Politics Sucks."

I don't think everyone in politics sucks. I think that everyone in politics are politicians, and the most dangerous politicians are those like Obama who have plainly not grasped the lessons of public choice theory and insist on presenting themselves as post-partisan.

"The really ironic thing is, as someone who goes on and on about what he's against but has never really articulated anything he's for, you sound a lot like those Democrats in 2004 who were (rightly) criticized for not having any kind of platform other than Bush Sucks."

I'm not running for office, so it's not my burden to lay out in detail the kind of administration I'd run. I'm perfectly to talk about what sort of policy agenda I'd like to see, but this isn't my blog so I'm limited to what's germane to the subject at hand. I'll say this much: it's probably faster to just refer you to Gingrich's book - apart from the chapters on religion judges, which I'd add some caveats to, there's very little in terms of policy that he lays out there that I wouldn't subscribe to. In very, very general terms, I'm for appointing (to use Easterbrook's term) legalists - that is, formalists, textualists, legal process school, and so forth - to the federal judiciary, tapering the federal government's activities and spending (in particular I want to hear a candidate's roadmap for eliminating entitlement spending by 2020 - I certainly don't want to be told we're going to increase it), I'm for eliminating as much taxation as possible (I thought Thompson phrased this very well: "a dollar belongs in the pocket of the person who earns it, unless the government has a compelling reason why it can use it better"), I'm for regulation when regulation helps the market and against it when it doesn't; I'm for Ted Olson as AG, I'm for John Bolton as Secretary of State, and I'm for a robust military that we can and do use to further our interests when necessary.

Lastly I think it's laughable to suggest that what I put forward here is as insubstantial as Obama's vapid schtick - you can disagree with what I say (as I'm sure you will), but let's not play make believe.

Doug said...

Well, vapid is as vapid does, Simon, and while "people want to be lied to" certainly has the makings of a spot-on H.L. Mencken impression -- you could even take that on the road! -- it certainly doesn't amount to a substantial criticism of Obama's positions. Yeah, I know, you've said over and over again that he doesn't have any positions, but we both know that isn't true; all that is is laziness, the idea that simply denying the existence of any positions frees you from any responsibility to deal with them directly. That's the real "make-believe" here, and it's far more vapid than anything that's come out of Sen. Obama's mouth over the course of this campaign.

Simon said...

Doug, perhaps if he actually talked about his policies, that'd be a stronger criticism. But he doesn't, and if he did, he'd have been DOA. The criticisms of his policies are boilerplate and uninteresting because his policies are boilerplate and uninteresting. What's vapid and distressing is the way he presents himself on the trail as a post-partisan who purports to be seeking compromise when that's self-evidently untrue.

Doug said...

Once again, you're trafficking in nothing more than take-it-for-granted assumptions. He doesn't talk about his policies? He did at the last event I went to. "If he did, he'd have been DOA"? An assumption you seem to want to portray as fact. "Self-evidently untrue"? All that demonstrates to me is that you don't know what "self-evident" means. Look, I understand, you don't like the guy, and that's fine. Different strokes for different folks. But your repeated insistence on trying to dress up "I don't like him" as actual, substantive political discourse only makes you look silly.