Does It Really Have To Be One Or The Other?

I’ll be dead honest, part of the reason why I’ve blogged so much on the substance vs. style attack against Obama is because it’s just gotten under my skin.  It would be one thing if Obama really didn’t have anything in the realms of substantive proposals, I could live with that.  I would be fine if people disagreed with him on the basis of his proposals, for instance, people who attacks his healthcare program are fully in their right to do so.  I may disagree with them, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

What has really put me on edge is this strange belief that because Obama can deliver a good speech, that’s all he can do.  Sully finally says what’s been bubbling up in the back of my mind for a while now:

Now the reason I balk at this is that I actually sat through a long Obama speech on taxes last year in Washington. I couldn’t get through the details there were so many. It bored the pants off me. The notion that Obama has not released details and specifics on economic policy is a fantasy. It’s a product of pundit laziness. The cocoon right seems to believe that because they haven’t done their homework, Obama hasn’t.

And because Obama actually inspires with oratory, they also assume he doesn’t have substance. The premise is that you cannot be inspiring and detailed at the same time. Two words: Why not?

What people fail to understand is that in politics, words are also substance.  The ability to inspire people is not inherently a dangerous phenomenon. It is sometimes critical to effective governance. Conservatives used to understand this. Perhaps Churchill’s greatest actual weapon was the English language. It did things no bureaucrat, soldier, armament, or policy could do. The core of Ronald Reagan’s success was his rhetorical ability to reach over the heads of the Washington process to the people who can force Washington to change: the American people. And I don’t recall conservatives decrying the rhetoric of hope reacting to George W. Bush’s inspired speeches after 9/11.

Look: flim-flam and emotional hysteria are dangerous things. There are moments when Obama’s rhetoric gets the better of his common sense. But the record shows that he also does have common sense – more common sense than Charles Krauthammer or me when it came to predicting the practical consequences of an Iraq occupation. And if a potential president has a head on his shoulders and is able to inspire millions, what on earth is wrong with that?

2 Responses to “Does It Really Have To Be One Or The Other?”

  1. Rob says:

    The big question; How much does his programs cost the Tax payers? Why would any one not want to give BIG corporation’s tax cuts they provide the jobs for the people. We give so much to everyone that they become reliant on the Government for thier basic needs. Socialized medicine is great in theory, but won’t work. Why should I pay for insurance for me and my family and my tax dollars go to thoes who dont want to pay for insurance. I dont even think its constitutional to use earned income taxes and give it to another person. Lets tap Alaska create a govt owned oil company charge $1.25 a gallon for gas and put .25 towards the deficet, use the nonviolent criminals and put them to work. People on welfare can pick up trash for cities if they don’t have a job and I also believe that wepeople on welfare should have to take urinalysis in order to get thier checks if they fail no money. Close the border with Mexico, state and federal should work hand in hand on deportations, they are ILLEGAL aliens meaning not LEGAL.

  2. Rob I’m not sure where you get your information, but “welfare” as such doesn’t exist. There is a federal program casually called Aid to Dependent Children. This program is directed toward poor women with usually two or more children with little in the way of job skills who has been abandoned by her husband – she may only use this program for a total of five years during her lifetime and she must work forty hours a week to get that supplemental income. The program’s goal is to make sure her children have food and shelter. The total amount of the federal budget for all so-called social programs is less then 3%. We do have well entrenched corporate/business welfare where the government gives money, grants, tax breaks, or other special favorable treatment. Public Citizen estimates for the year 2003 put annual corporate welfare handouts at 125 billion dollars – this is the equivalent of the total tax paid by 60 million Americans. Interesting chart here on where your tax dollars are going, http://www.federalbudget.com/

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