Sunday, January 27, 2008

Slowly, the New MIndset Comes Around

Nothing Says Peace Like A Church in Winter
Originally uploaded by bridgeportseasoning.

First: few things instill greater fear than Andy Rooney in HD.

I've been pimping that Andrew Sullivan article in the December Atlantic Monthly that frames the Obama candidacy in terms of generational impact. And, for the most part, it's been largely ignored by the Beltway cognoscenti, probably because to admit that the Obama campaign is resonating with younger voters who until now never wanted anything to do with the political process would be an indictment on the politics of the past twenty-five years, of which they were conspirators.

It seems that, slowly, more pundits, politicos and others are coming around to see the Obama campaign as possibly the one of hope to bridge the divisive rhetoric of modern politics. Obama just picked up the endorsement of Caroline Kennedy, and later this week, Ted Kennedy will endorse Obama. I pointed this out to Kevin, who brushed it off as not as meaningful as I thought it was. But considering that these are the daughter and brother of the last presidential candidates who truly affected a generational shift in politics.

In this week's New Yorker, George Packer points out that the message of hope is the main issue that truly separates the Clinton and Obama campaigns. And while Clinton, with her long history of advocacy, is emphasizing change in incremental steps, Obama's message is one of inspiration. Or, to use Clinton's commencement address from Wellesley, Obama is "practic(ing) politics as the art of making what appears to be impossible possible." Packer goes on to quote two associates close to the Clinton administration. One of them, Greg Craig, served on Bill Clinton's legal defense team during his impeachment trial, and is supporting Obama. His reasoning? "I don't discount the possibility of (Hillary) being able to inspire me. But she hasn't in the past, and Obama has."

The other is Robert Reich, who served as Treasury Secretary under Bill Clinton during his first term, who makes the comparison of Obama to Robert Kennedy. Reich also maintains a blog, and while he was noncommittal in the Packer piece, Bill Clinton's overboard attacks of Obama in South Carolina may have been enough to propel him to endorse Obama.

While much of the talk of Obama's convincing win in South Carolina is centered on how African Americans rallied around him in the wake of Bill Clinton's barrage, what isn't being reported on as much is Obama's support from younger voters, who his campaign's been mobilizing in droves throughout the country. It doesn't matter to them that Clinton has the edge in experience, and even that is a risible notion if you throw politics in the mix. There's a lot to be said about finding someone who speaks for you. Barack Obama is, at the very least, giving voice to those people, and making Hillary work harder than she expected for her own Manifest Destiny.

No comments: