Holding out for a citizen

Via Graham, this is a rather impressive collection of celebrities singing along to one of the most impressive speeches a politician has made in my lifetime.

I’m voting in the Democratic primary on Tuesday, which is the first election with national implications since 2001, when I moved up to Massachusetts, in which my vote might actually make a difference. I’m voting for Obama, but not because I think that we need some Great Leader to save us. I don’t think democracy works that way. Or at least, I don’t think democracy should work that way, if it’s working correctly. Democracy should depend on the rule of law, it should depend on institutions, and it should depend on frustrating, tortoise-slow bureaucracies that exhibit not a whit of common sense, but function in the aggregate to produce the most opportunity for the most people. Obama’s not going to deliver us. No one person, certainly not a politician, can make a country great, or save it from peril. Bonnie Tyler notwithstanding, heroes are for comic books and fascists.

The reason I’m voting for Obama is, quite simply, because I like what he’s telling the nation. I have problems with some of his policies, and I have no love whatsoever for his habit of adopting Republican tropes when trying to criticize Clinton on Social Security or health care. I’m wary of his economic team. But he’s running for President, not Personal Embodiment of the Legislative Majority, so I’m more concerned about foreign policy, and what he’ll do with the bully pulpit. As far as foreign policy goes, he seems just fine (and if I’m being completely truthful, I have to say that it would make me proud of my country’s place in the world again, after such a long, long time, to elect a black man President). As far as the bully pulpit goes, holy shit. I realistically don’t think I could ask for a better figurehead for my country, or for the political party that’s going to have to clean up the Republicans’ mess again. When I vote for Obama on Tuesday, it’s not going to be a vote for a savior. It’ll be a vote for a little of that hope he keeps talking about – not more, but pleasingly, surprisingly, not anything less, either.

UPDATE: Added some links for context.

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6 thoughts on “Holding out for a citizen

  1. Ananth

    I tell, for the first time in a long while I am thinking about voting for Democrat in the Fall. I have often said that I would take Obama over anyone in the republican field save John McCain, and even then I would really have to think about. I don’t agree with *any* of his policies, but I think there is something perhaps transformative about him, and he could go a long way towards fizing this red state/blue state crap as well as do wonders for this country along racial lines…

    However, I have a sneaking sensation that the Clinton machine is going to snatch bring Obama back to Earth, making just a man, in which case, I won’t have to really fret about who to vote for….

    Also, I would have pegged you to be more for Clinton giving your feminista tendencies, and I like how when Obama or Clinton attack each other its from the *republican* playbook. I don’t think Karl Rove is helping any of them….

  2. Tom

    “it should depend on frustrating, tortoise-slow bureaucracies that exhibit not a whit of common sense, but function in the aggregate to produce the most opportunity for the most people”

    Happy to help the cause.

  3. Steve

    I don’t agree with *any* of his policies, but I think there is something perhaps transformative about him, and he could go a long way towards fizing this red state/blue state crap as well as do wonders for this country along racial lines…

    Also, I would have pegged you to be more for Clinton giving your feminista tendencies

    I have a statement and a question. My statement is this: feminism does not mean women are better than men at all times. Just that women are people just like men, so check your privilege.

    My question is this: what of Obama’s policies are you not down with? I’m actually curious, ’cause he’s a total economic centrist, his foreign policy is pretty tame unless you love war at all times — anyway, I’d like to know what your policy preferences are, and how they differ with Obama, or align with McCain.

  4. Ananth

    He’s a democrat. He is going to raise taxes. He is going to propose new government services that have to paid for, which leads to more taxes. He is going to claim that most of the reasons government programs such are NCLB aren’t suceeding is because of not enough funds, but wont’ do anything to deal with the problem with the poeple (read unions) who are ineffiecient and wasting.

    Also, he is going to appoint judges to the supreme court who read the constitution to say what the wish or want it would say causing the problems of laws being defacto created by judges rather than going through the political process… (I am not advocating overturning roe per se, but it was a terrible legal decision based on the arguments in the decision)

    I am not all war all the time, though I think military action has it place. My problem with his foreign policy comes down to a this

    Presidents don’t lose wars, countries do. Whatever you think of how we got into Iraq. it is a fact that leaving Iraq in the circumstances it was in last year would have been claimed as a victory by Al Qaeda and made the US much less safe. Now, because the violence has been tamped down, at least leaving it can not be spun by Al Qaeda as military loss for the US. The US Leaving will would have more to do with impatience with the Iraqi government. The fact is, if we had done what Clinton or Obama wanted we would have left giving al qaeda a victory.

  5. Steve

    I’ll have more to say later, when I have time to be coherent, but how can Al Qaeda win a victory in a country they aren’t even really fighting in? I mean, the Sunni warlords don’t get the win? Ex-Baathists? Shiite militias? Why would you want to give Al Qaeda a mulligan like that? Seems counter-productive.

  6. Ananth

    Most of the violence in the past 2 years was caused by Al Qaeda in Iraq, specifically spurred on by the Golden Mosque attack. That triggered the low level Civil war with Sunni vs Shia violence. There was undoubtedly some violence against US troops by Internal Iraqi factions, but the large majority of it was attributial too Al Qaeda. The start of the surge and the Anbar Awakening, and having Sunni’s work with the US and Sadr and the shia militia’s at least disbanding for now left Al Qaeda all alone, and now they have basically been wiped out.

    AL Qaeda was in Iraq. They may not have been there at the start of the invasion, but they were definitely there afterwards, and were major accelerant of the violence in the country.

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