Saturday, January 30, 2010

Politicus

Yesterday, coming home form work, I finally got to hear Conan O'Brien's farewell speech. I had read it beforehand, but hadn't realized the emotional impact it had. How it communicated dignity and integrity. I have loved Conan since I stayed up late to watch his debut. Listening to his good-bye, I felt this weird pang of what I felt during the Obama campaign. Does that make sense? Not that Conan is a political force or the face of a movement. Certainly I never felt that Obama was either. But that it was someone who understood the goodness in the hearts of most of the people of my generation and the generations that surround it. The way people rallied around Conan, and candidate Obama, seemed more like us rallying around ourselves, and I liked that. Friday I started to long for it again on the political front. And then today, President Obama went out and did me a solid. In a month where I have been waiting for him to cut loose Geithner and Summers and Bernanke, and recapture the spirit of populism that Republicans are attempting to fake, he had sadly disappointed to me. But. But. He did turn up at the Republican Retreat in B'More and turned it from a mere retreat into a full-scale clusterfuck. President Obama walked into a room full of hundreds of people who have made their bones painting him as a Manchurian candidate. He responded by making them look like a gym of petty junior high students. How will teleprompter quips fly now? How will they fly when Mr. Obama broke down their questions by presenting their arguments better than they could and then describing why they wouldn't work. I especially enjoyed how he pointed out that saying that you "have ideas" isn't the same the same as having actual working ideas. Of course, the President was much calmer in the situation then I would have been, but to his credit his approach probably played better. I would have had trouble biting my tongue as the gentle lady from Tennessee repeatedly referred to the "Democrat Party." Really grown up that. And then went on to make little sense about why she didn't like health care. It really appeared as if the Republican argument was "Why don't you get behind Republican policies 100%? It is only natural. We could support that." They looked like the lost party that, deep down, under the costume parties and parade float politics, they really are.

4 comments:

The Morholt said...

I totally missed the speech and Q&A at the republican caucus. Thanks for pointing them out. I hope they got enough coverage in the US to make a difference. Most the commentary I've seen from folks on the internet has been from the sorts of people who would say Obama was a foreign born socialist antichrist even if unemployment were at 0%, the banks had paid back 100% and he had invented ghost radio so that Lincoln, TR, and Nixon could all register their approval. But it was the sort of encounter that showed he had a mastery of the details of finance and foreign policy, an intelligence in unscripted situations, and a non-radical agenda that any rational person who wasn't on the far-right fringe would have to respect.

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attempting to silence the voices in my head.