The Real Problem With Hope

In retrospect, I should have saw this coming.  If anything, the Mainstream Media is at least a de-nuancer, taking complex ideas and simplifying them for mass consumption.  The problem is, often times the nuance that is edited out is extremely important in having an actual grasp of the real issue at hand as opposed to the black and white version on display.

A clear example of this would be Barrack Obama’s politics of hope.  It has become vogue as of late for political tea leaf readers to pronounce that Barrack’s “politics of hope” style of campaigning will be his downfall as it prevents him from going on the offensive against frontrunner Hillary Clinton.

These political prognosticators cite his book when declaring that by his own words Obama is not allowed to go on the attack, but funnily enough, even Audacity of Hope does not go that far.  I know, actually read it several times.  The idea that hope politics prevents  you from going on the offensive is not by design, but instead a result of the nuance being removed from the technique helped along in part by Obama’s biggest opponent in the current election, Hillary Clinton.

For Hillary, this was a huge opening.  It has become pretty clear that Clinton’s tactic has been all along to reveal as little about herself as possible while at the same time portraying herself as the inevitable victor and therefore above the fray.  De-nuancing Obama’s campaign style was just a part of that.

But the reality of it is that the political style in part laid out in Audacity has no qualms with political attacks.  In fact Obama cedes that there are rigors of the campaign trail that are simply “part of the rough and tumble of modern politics.”  The idea is that substantive issues are fair game.  If your opponent is flat wrong on an issue, or if they have a clear history that shows they will be wrong on similar issues, you are more than justified in bringing that up in the rigors of campaign.

A clear cut example would be such.  Recently in one of the seemingly endless Democratic debates, Obama brought into question Hillary Clinton’s judgement on her vote in the Iraq war.  He took what was a bad vote, and used that to bring into question the quality of her judgement for future decisions, and you know something?  He wasn’t wrong.

For those of us who have been watching the war drum beating against Iran for a while now, it’s looked very much as though we’ve been taking a long, slow, tortuous march to war.  Just recently, Hillary Clinton voted for a resolution that labels the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization.  This is a huge situation which effectively places Iran under the jurisdiction of the GWOT, and despite new legislation that would seek to force Bush to go to Congress before bombing Iran (legislation I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for it to pass into law), makes very much a reality the likely possibility that we will engage in military action against the country within the next 8-10 months.

Obama called her on her judgement, and proving him right, Hillary has repeated her mistake on the Iraq war with Iran.

This is completely fair game.

What is not fair game in the politics of hope are the personal attacks, the swift boating, the whisper campaigns and the push polls.  On the campaign trail, you treat your opponents with respect, not kid gloves.  And once the election is won, it is not a matter of back and forth red vs. blue warfare, but insead compromises and debates to get the job done.

That was what Obama initially intended with his so-called Politics of Hope.  But from the onset, this has been twisted and turned to mean that he cannot attack ever, and to this degree, he truly now can’t.  Despite the intent, the Hillary and MSM de-nuancers have painted Barrack Obama into a corner wherein any attempts to cut into Hillary’s lead will make him seem like an outright hypocrite.

And that is the real problem with the politics of hope.  It calls for tough but decent politics, but expects everyone else to do the same.

3 Responses to “The Real Problem With Hope”

  1. mick says:

    I’d put it a different way: that the “politics of hope” calls for more from political campaigns and candidates than simple-minded, sound-bite sloganeering. Obviously, he’s asking too much.

  2. *sigh*


    I think anyone who has followed him as closely as I have expects him to be perfect, or even particularly liberal, we just think that if we can get him in office, he’ll do wonders for the political climate.

    We could be wrong, but sometimes you got to risk something, you, know?

  3. mick says:

    Look, I like the guy in a lot of ways, but don’t forget that altho he talks a good game, he’s the same pol who badgered Harold Ford about letting him into the DLC’s upper-level discussions. Maybe he did that hoping to change them, or maybe he just recognized where the power is in the Donkey party. If the former, dangerous naivete. If the latter, the mark of an opportunist who will play ball. Neither is particularly encouraging with respect to what we’re talking about.


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