Friday, January 18, 2008

Obama... Reagan... MAKE IT STOP!

Every other week or so, at the most random times, I get the same inner monologue running through my head:

Hey! You! Stop over-analyzing, put some of these worrisome issues aside, and just support Barack Obama already? He has a message and voice that engages a large section of people, especially young people, including a lot of my friends and family. You even found out about him pretty early on in his rise, told all our friends about him, even made a T-Shirt of him several years back! He was even against the war! You still think that that issue should probably trump everything! Look, you may disagree with him on quite a few other things and you may completely disagree with his campaign's ethos that partisanship is the problem. But come on, he's probably the last person that stands between our country and President Hillary Clinton... I mean jeez, what more do you need to know than that? Just give up this John Edwards charade. He may be better on the issues, but he's not going to win! Just give in and support Obama already!

(End of narcissistic self-debating part of the post)

Well, every couple of weeks I have that argument, and most times, it comes close to being successful. But every time, without fail, something happens within a day or so that reminds me why I've been hesitant to support him.

Well, this week, with the Nevada caucuses coming up, I had that debate once again. And as has been the trend, I was once again pissed off when Obama decided to touch on one of my biggest pet peeves when discussing politics, the Ronald Reagan revisionist love fest:
I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not. He put us on a fundamentally different path because the country was ready for it. I think they felt like with all the excesses of the 1960s and 1970s and government had grown and grown but there wasn't much sense of accountability in terms of how it was operating. I think people, he just tapped into what people were already feeling, which was we want clarity we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing.

That string of republican buzz words at the end is probably the gets my bullshit sense going.

"The excesses of the 1960s and 1970s". "Big Government", "dynamism and entrepreneurship".

Again, I'm not saying that Obama liked Reagan, or supports similar policies, or supports the policies that words like the ones above allowed to exist; it's just that I don't understand why he needs to discuss Reagan's presidency in a way that echoes nonsense mythology surrounding him. And it's also not like any of those words above are necessarily inherently good or bad, its just that Reagan used those words to shove lots of "bad" down the throats of the American people during his time in office.

"Responding to the excesses of the 1960s and 1970" in Reagan's view meant:
Race baiting in the 1980 election, "welfare queens", attacks on a womans rights, attempting to get rid the civil rights act to name a few.

While "dynamism and entrepreneurship" sound well and good, in the Reagan doctrine they meant trickle down economics, tax cuts for the rich at the expense of the poor, union busting an unprecedented assault on organized labor.

I understand that Obama doesn't mean that stuff when he talks about Reagan, he's probably just saying this stuff in order woo independent voters by showing that a democrat can talk nicely about Ronald Reagan. I get why he's doing it. It just pisses me off, thats all.

And in the end, if things keep going the way they do, the Obama arguing side of me will win out when I realize that the top priority must be keeping someone with Hillary Clinton's Bush-Lite policies from winning the democratic nomination. But all this lofty talk of Ronald Reagan just pushed that decision back another week. Will somebody please call Shawn Kemp before this gets out of hand?

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