Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Barack Blair or Tony Obama?

A contrarian blog by my cyberfriend Alex Fear raises the issue, as seen from Britain, that perhaps the canonization of St. Obama the Elephant Slayer has gone a bit too far. Alex, who is politically much too far to my right, goes so far as to suggest that Obama is our Tony Blair.

Funny, but I thought Blair was a British Bill Clinton, someone willing to draw on union support during elections, without batting an eyelash as he subsequently stabbed them in the back (need I spell out NAFTA and New Labour for you?).

Obama, in contrast, is probably the first president on record to win an election on the shoulders of millions of donors of no more than a few $30 checks -- rather than corporate and special interest "bundles" worth lots more. He agrees with labor, but doesn't owe them.

As for the many Clintonites in the new administration, the folks who in the past gave us no health reform, a regressive and pauperizing diminishment of public aid, without any real checks on corporate power, I am glad that they are ultimately not in charge. Obama appears to be unusually his own man.

An eloquent orator, he's also aware of the dire need to lower expectations, which is my explanation for his relatively flat inaugural speech. In sum, I see Obama as a very cool and controlled individual with a few very clear goals in mind who is a virtuoso in the art of persuasion and leadership.
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