Hat Tip: Hot Air
> “It may be a smart and useful tactic to exploit this discontent but there really is no substance to it.” I’m kind of with Nathan on this one. He couldn’t exploit the discontent if it weren’t so great. Like it or not, Bush has shunned the voice of the people on some things. Now that may be his greatest strength, and perhaps (as many will say) we will only come to appreciate it in the future. But it doesn’t bode well in a democratic society when the president says, “I won’t listen to you.”So, although Barack’s promises are empty and his message lacks content, he has capitalized on something very real, public discontent with the present administration.
>I think that depends on what he means by “the people.” If he means the conglomeration of every human opinion without exception, then you’re right that such a thing is, on this side of glory, impossible. In that case he would be making a rather meager claim, namely that he is aware of the character of human social groupings but does not take undue pride in his working with human social groupings as they are.If on the other hand by “the people” he means general public opinions as measured by such instruments as opinion polls, then he seems to be making a claim counter to the common rhetorical trope that runs something like “governing by poll numbers.” In that case the claim makes a bit more sense. One can like it or not like it, but the opposition has a logic to it.In either case, my hunch is not that he claims to do the impossible but that he seems to be keying off of and positioning himself opposite to a rhetorical tendency not imagined but already present.
>”I think the upshot of the campaign slogans is that Obama wants to present himself as one who doesn’t take pride in ignoring the will of the people as Bush has” Alright so he still ignores the will of the people (like Jeff said you can’t please everyone) but it’s ok because many think he doesn’t take pride in it?
>Since politics can’t be other than rhetorical (whatever else that practice might include), I think that such a distinction is important, though. I think the upshot of the campaign slogans is that Obama wants to present himself as one who doesn’t take pride in ignoring the will of the people as Bush has appeared to do (largely through his surrogates in the media-that-don’t-call-themselves-media, but also from the horse’s mouth) with his “ignore the poll numbers” stance.I also anticipate that Obama is saving the bulk of his actual policy positions for the general election, when he can set them up against McCain rather than against Clinton. I imagine that you’re right that America stands a good chance of rejecting them, but in 2004, for instance, living in Georgia, which never gets presidential ads, I had little idea what Kerry’s policy positions were until the televised debates. Perhaps that’s my own shortcoming in the area of keeping up with federal politics, but it is the case.
>”…but in this case I think that whatever else is happening, the calls for a government that listens to the people is in response to some very particular rhetorical patterns coming out of Washington in the last few years.”I can appreciate that. But, as you said, this is what we’re talking about: rhetoric. It may be a smart and useful tactic to exploit this discontent but there really is no substance to it. Not that Obama is the only one who lacks substance behind the rhetoric. But, seriously, what does listening to the people mean? Not much. Which people? Not people like me. Apparently not people like the MoveOn.org, Cindy Sheehan types either because he’s not going to pull the troops out, for instance. The only people I can think of who he is listening to are those who expect and demand the government to provide for them whether it be this college scholarship he talks about, free health care, rebate checks, etc.
>Jeff,I think I know the answer to your query, but I will quote Men in Black for dramatic effect …”A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it.”
>What politician is going to say “I promise to not listen to the people!”? Give me a break.Isn’t that basically what Bush said in early 03 in response to the massive anti-Iraq-war protests, that he was going to invade maugre the people? As I remember, a repeated mantra of the AM radio folks (whose shows often play as I commute home from work) in the years between the invasion and the present day is that Bush’s greatness lay in his not basing his policies on “poll numbers,” which some folks seem to equate with the people who answer polls, and by extension people in general.You know me well, Jeff, that I vote for Republicans and Democrats and third parties, but in this case I think that whatever else is happening, the calls for a government that listens to the people is in response to some very particular rhetorical patterns coming out of Washington in the last few years.
>”Change” – um, aren’t we going to have change one way or the other? Or is Bush running again? Oh yeah, its change “you can believe in.” That’s right. “He wants to give the government back to the people, we wants to get everyone involved again.” – OK, let me ask this, why in the world weren’t you involved before? Who kept you from being involved? Are we talking about voting, caucusing, volunteering, contacting elected officials, rallys, marches? If so, what kept you from doing these things before? Or is he going to involve us in the government itself? Are we all going to be deputized as cabinet members? Do we all get a say in every decision he makes before he makes it? But he’s going to listen to us. Really? He’s going to listen to me? OK, Obama, lower taxes. What do you mean “no”? I thought you were going to listen to me. Still amazes me that so many folks are buying into this stuff. What politician is going to say “I promise to not listen to the people!”? Give me a break.
>You know … it is funnier after watching the video.;-)Good slooge. Clearly, an agent of CHANGE.
>This is CLASSIC!!!
>I’m guessing you didn’t watch the video. 🙂
>I’m guessing … ZERO?
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