Friday, February 08, 2008

Obama Cultists? Come again ...

Here's something for you condescending cynics. And you know who you are.

Read it and think.

And if you skip the link, watch this (and if you read the above and watched this clip there, watch it again here):

Cultist my a*s!


jeffrey said...

Christ, Huck, you mean I have to read something Andrew Sullivan wrote... and think about it too?

Okay okay... but not now I'm busy.

Eric said...

I think the claims of "emotionalism" over Obama stem from many people who listen to his speeches and get inspired about his candidacy without first reviewing his policy (which is easy to do, he is a very inspirational speaker and a very likeable fellow). The guy in this video has clearly done his homework, but he is also clearly an ideological match for Obama's brand of progressive values. I've met more than a few Obama supporters (including my mom) who just really really like the man, but couldn't tell you two things he wants to do. Likewise, there are a lot of conservatives who really really despise him without knowing a thing about his policy.

And let's be honest, Obama doesn't talk much about policy or even general ideology in his stump speeches. He talks about change and hope. In some ways it's refreshing to see a politician who isn't standing there reading off a laundry list of handouts to special interest groups, but it's also somewhat disconcerting to see a guy who can talk for 15 minutes without really saying anything... especially when you get on his website and see that he really wants to do a whole lot of things, most of which I disagree with.

In short, I just wish he'd talk about policy more. It would make me feel better about being condescending and cynical. ;-)

Huck said...

Hi, Jeffrey - Just be open-minded. Andrew Sullivan may be an unconventional conservative, but he's right on about Obama. My enthusiasm for Obama derives partly from his inspiration as a public speaker, but that's just the icing on the cake. I think his policies are arguably smart, well-conceived, and progressive. Just because there's some good icing on the cake doesn't make the cake not tasty without it.

Eric - At one level, you're right. Obama on the stump is pure inspiration. But that's what the stump is for -- to energize and inspire. And I'd say that the general message (of hope and change) tacked onto broad problem areas like poverty eradication, health care reform, etc., is not devoid of some substance. But below the big public speeches that he makes on election eve or at events like the Jefferson-Jackson dinner, are the local speeches like the one he gave at Tulane yesterday. And these speeches are chock full of specifics with regard to problems and policy initiatives. It's all there for the taking, and it's up to the individual to do the taking. That said, I can't say that I blame Obama for how he campaigns. It's smart politics and it works.

D-BB said...

Sullivan is saying exactly what he wants you to hear, that is, exactly what you want to believe.

Eric, that guy in that video did his homework??? Dude, I thought he was a plant at first but once he went in a bit deeper about Universal Healthcare, it is apparent he is as clueless.

Look, Obama has never been in the forefront for the recovery of the Gulf Coast. Actually, he has opposed or fail to vote in key bills to help us. His record speaks for itself. I am at a complete loss as to how anyone can support him who lives anywhere near the Gulf Coast of this country; especially those who live in Louisiana and Mississippi.

The good news, his demographics have never elected a president. Trust me, we will be spared this bull shitter. I just hope it’s by way of Hillary and not McCian but either way, both of them have overwhelmingly supported our recovery.

Huck, no offense and I still like you, ok?

bayoustjohndavid said...

Huck, how many times now (either here or in commnets on other blogs) have I seen you link to Bill Kristol's hip, gay, English friend Andrew Sullivan? Age, nationality and orientation are about the sgnificant differences I can see between the two. They're equally dishonest in their deranged Clinton hatred. Before he came out of the closet as a conservative, Sullivan did as much as editor of the suppposedly liberal New Republic to attack Clinton's health care initiative from the "left" as Kristol did from the right. Keep quoting Sullivan if you want to preach to the choir, but if you want to win converts, find somebody who isn't obviously either dishonest or insane.

Huck said...

bayoustjohndavid - I link to Andrew Sullivan often because I respect a lot of what he has to say. That doesn't mean I agree with everything he stands for. I most certainly don't. For instance, he's a war hawk and I'm an anti-war pacifist. We're about as far apart on the subject of war as two people can be. Also, along such lines of disagreement, I am with you on the absurd nature of Sullivan's Clinton hatred. He's way over the line in his visceral attacks on her and it's quite maddening to me, actually, because I have a certain admiration of Hillary and will vote for her in a heartbeat if she wins the nomination; but Sullivan's honest enough to admit that he suffers from Clinton Derangement Syndrome. He recognizes that it's extreme, but finds that he can't help himself. So be it.

As for your characterization of Sullivan as being Kritol's "hip, gay English friend," it seems to me that you yourself aren't being all that honest about Sullivan here. I haven't seen much friendliness between Kristol and Sullivan over the past 3-4 years.

Regardless, I'm not asking anyone to be a Sullivan fan, but to read what he has written about Obama, to think on it, and to respond to it. Either Sullivan's arguments make sense and stand on their own, or they don't. If you have anything to say on that, I'm all ears. If you can't engage Sullivan's arguments on their own merits, then it seems to me that you only want a particular kind of preaching yourself. That indicates to me that you aren't interested in being converted. Fine. The fact is that I'm not trying to convert you or anyone. I'm just trying to defend my support for Obama from the malicious and completely unfounded charge of mindless cultism. And what Andrew Sullivan has written pretty much captures much of what I would say constitutes my support for Obama. It's based on a rational and careful study of his position on the issues. The fact that Obama also is a damn fine speaker that inspires me is, as I said earlier, icing on the cake.

Huck said...

d-bb - Sullivan is not saying exactly what I want to believe, but is simply reflecting much of what I already do believe. And it's simply not true that Obama isn't committed to the rebuilding of the Gulf Coast. He has consistently voted to support funding for Gulf Coast relief efforts. The few times when he cast a vote that went against an appropriation for Gulf Coast relief assistance, as far as I can tell, was when it was attached to larger defense appropriations for the Iraq/Afghanistan Wars without any definite withdrawal deadline.

I won't be too disappointed if Hillary gets the nomination, and will have no problems voting for her; but my support for Obama is not because of what anybody says, but because of what my own measured and researched evaluation of the candidates and their positions on the issues.

D-BB said...

Never mind Huck, it appears me and BubaBayou are on the same page.

Because of that, I now hate me. I will be overdosing on some prescription drugs tonight just before bed time. So long mi amigo. Paz mi hermano.

bayoustjohndavid said...

Ordinarily, I'd shy away from ad hominem attacks -- unless it's a pundit that can be counted on to a knee-jerk negative reaction to a politician or political party. In Sullivan's case, he has a fifteen year record (going back to health care reform in 1993) of slanted portrayal of proposals and statements by Bill and/or Hillary Clinton. Because of that, quoting Sullivan is pointless if trying to win over people who've followed politics for any length of time. Even when Sullivan writes something that seems persuasive, you know that you have to suspend judgment until you perform a fact check and critical analysis. The gay, hip friend was a joke about one of Bill Clinton's stupider statements, but I do think that being openly gay if Sullivan nonpartisan status that he wouldn't otherwise have. No matter how Kristol and Sullivan feel about each other personally, they're mirror images. Bill kristol led the attack that torpedoed what should have been Clinton's big achievement on the right, Sullivan led it on the left -- at least in the opinion journals. Same thing in the Bush administration, not just in the invasion of Iraq, but he also helped fan the patriotic jingoism that led to the patriotic act -- whatever reservations he might have expressed later.

To me the most important thing about Obama's speech at Tulane was what he left out -- none of the reports say anything about him mentioning catastrophe insurance. I've gone from leaning toward Obama to no longer having a preference. After Mass., I'm no longer even sure which candidate is more electable. Probably Obama, because if it's Clinton, NBC and MSNBC will make FOX really seem fair and balanced.

Huck said...

bayoustjohndavid - But if you do any research on Obama's plans for dealing with catastrophe's, including catastrophic insurance, you would discover this:

"Provide an Insurance Backstop: The damage caused by catastrophic hurricanes and other natural disasters over the past few years makes clear that we need a paradigm shift in how the Federal government responds to major emergencies. Rather than only stepping in after the fact with expensive clean-ups and financial bailouts, the Federal government should work with the insurance industry before the next major disaster to set up an efficient catastrophe insurance "backstop" that protects both homeowners and business owners against catastrophic loss. Barack Obama will create a National Catastrophe Insurance Reserve that would be funded by private insurers contributing a portion of the premiums they collect from policyholders. Such a framework would neither distort the insurance market nor discourage risk avoidance and risk mitigation investments because insurers would not be forced out of high-risk markets for fear of bankruptcy in the event of a disaster. With this program in place, disaster victims would no longer have to depend solely on taxpayer-funded federal disaster aid loans. It has been estimated that a properly managed fund could save homeowners $11.6 billion on annual insurance premiums."

The above comes from the following document:

As Andrew Sullivan says, and I agree with him, Obama's critics and skeptics tend to react in knee-jerk fashion to Obama's speeches, which reaction itself is grounded less in reason and more in emotion. And, in doing so, such skeptics and cynics assume that his inspirational rhetoric is symbolic of an absence of detailed policy. That couldn't be further from the truth. You want Obama's position on catastrophic insurance, read his written plans. One can't say everything in a 30 minute speech, but that doesn't mean it isn't a part of his agenda. Now you might have issues with Obama's plan, but he certainly has one. And that should be what we look at beyond what he says in speeches. I love to hear the man talk and I find him very inspiring, but I'm not so foolish or gullible so as to think he is only his speeches. I support Obama not just because of his inspiring oratory, but because there is something concrete behind the inspiration.

bayoustjohndavid said...

Glad to hear it -- about catastrophe insurance.

Sullivan lecturing on knee-jerk negative reactions? Actually, it's not that funny -- his reactions can't always be said to be knee-jerk, it takes alittle time to think up that the kind of distortions he pulls, and has been been pulling for fifteen years.