And the first thing I am finding on my ‘return’ is more and more reason(s) to feel let down by Obama (already!), and to turn instead to the scintillating Green Party nominee for U.S. Pres, black former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney. Check her our speaking on video, and you’ll see what I mean:
McKinney is the real deal. Meanwhile, Obama seems to have opted over the last several weeks more and more for a Clinton (!) -style ‘triangulation’ approach. On gun control, on Israel and ‘national security’… on a a raft of key issues, he is running to the Right in classic ‘New Democrat’ fashion, and seems afraid to stand up for his values, his record – for what a majority of the U.S. people want.
This could be fatal to him. People – including many activists, young people, enthusiasts abroad such as myself and many other radical and Green bloggers and thinkers in Britain — flocked to Obama because he actually seemed to believe in something, to have a rhetorical style that echoed the best of predecessors such as Martin Luther King … and because he seemed to be taking seriously taking the fight to the Republicans. See for example my earlier enthusiastic post:
All that ‘fight’ seems to have left him. But Obama will lose — and one of the reasons why is that his supporters will start leaving in droves — if he takes the lily-livered centrist approach that saw Kerry fail in 2004.
Has Obama’s team stopped learning from George Lakoff? Has Obama failed to take in the key messages of Drew Westen’s essential book: http://www.thepoliticalbrain.com/videos.php [or http://www.publicaffairsbooks.com/publicaffairsbooks-cgi-bin/display?book=9781586484255 ]?
What Westen teaches us in ‘The Political Brain’ — a book which all readers of ‘Rupert’s Read’ should read! — is that there is no way to achieve lasting political and electoral success without appealing to and activating the values and emotions of one’s target audience. One cannot win through policy-wonkery and purely ‘rational’ debate. One cannot win by simply ‘staying positive’ no matter what the provocation. …One has to lead. And one has to take the fight to the other side.
If Obama persists in his centrist strategy, he will lose and he will deserve to lose. And meanwhile he will have burnt all the new political capital that the Democrats had from seeming to have someone and something at last to believe in again.
We want back the Obama who opposed the Republican estate tax cuts (scroll down a bit in http://www.rockridgenation.org/blog/archive/2007/05/29/thinking-points-discussion-of-chapter-8-part-1-the-art-of-arguments to see this). We want back the Obama who gave that great ‘More perfect union’ speech, pointing a way beyond racism in America: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWe7wTVbLUU . We want back the Obama who seemed the true heir to Howard Dean, to Martin Luther King, to Franklin Roosevelt.
But there has been little sign of him of late. And if this goes on, absurdly, McCain will win.
Unless Obama recovers himself as a leader, unless we see clear real evidence of his commitment to radical and sensible policies to lead a way forward for his country and for the world on environmental issues, on taxation, on peace with Iran, and so forth, then we should abandon him now.
I am proud to be a supporter of Cynthia McKinney (http://uk.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=4BFAD71E67D10CE3 ). The Green Party’s Presidential nominee this time is very strong indeed. If the U.S.A. were really a democracy, then she would be allowed into the televised Presidential debates — and by God she would give McCain and Obama a run for their money…