Obama’s Main Lesson


With the inaugural address behind us, attention has now shifted to how President Obama is handling his first few days on the job. Since winning the November election, Obama has not appeared to need on the job training. His calm demeanor, his judicious choice of collaborators, and his expeditious handling of controversial issues like Gitmo and torture have all been embraced by the electorate. So much for the campaign rhetoric about inexperience.

What is most refreshing these days has a lot to do with how people around the world are responding to Obama. The cynicism that had infected voters’ perception of their politicians has given way to enthusiam and hope that something different is happening. In the last two days, I have spoken to an International Women’s Forum chapter and the recipients of Canadian Millenium fund scholarships. The reaction to Obama’s victory and inaugural address has been absolutely astonishing. Though their high expectations have been tempered by a sobering dose of realism, feelings of admiration and hope have pushed cynicism and skepticism to the background. People are using words like inspirational, respect, engagement and excitement to express what they feel. The noble side of politics is now in fashion.

This may be illusory and it may be temporary, but it could also be contagious. Young people are wanting to be part of the Obama movement. Even his inaugural address, the rhetoric of which may not have been memorable, has been dissected and is considered to be the roadmap for an ambitious and visionary presidency.

Much has been said in recent days about the qualities Obama imparted on the election: perseverence, audacity, technological know-how, and so on. But the main lesson we should retain from his success is that if you treat voters with respect and give them the hard facts, they will respond and they will want to be involved. That, more than anything else, is what has restored the nobility in politics.

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Obama’s Main Lesson

  1. I think the main lesson we should take from Obama’s win is pols should be as vague as possible, and have vacuous slogans, and people will project their hopes and desires onto the candidate which they can then ride to victory.

    • I believe it’s a little more complicated than that, jwl, but if your idea is reduce one’s advice to potential pols to its very essence, how about: When running against a doddering old fool and the ignorant twit he would have run things in his stead, you can count on them to send lots of business your way, as long as you don’t overplay your hand.

    • Well jwl, it didn’t work for Sarah Palin.

      • She wan’t running for president.

        • Oh, I think she was. Or was being run for president at any rate.

          Actually, I don’t really know what she was running for. And neither did she.

          • Right now she’s looking for an $11M book contract.

            I’d buy it ……. but only to see how a person who doesn’t read writes.

        • A new Republican ticket to bring us `back to the future`-jwl and sf. Or,in other words, sarah palin and sarah palin.
          republicans can do better-Frum and george will.

    • once again jwl shows his right wing , red neck ,conservative bias. what is wrong with showing respect. i am not a democrat but jwl `s way of thinking got us in the mess the US is in .

  2. Except that he wasn’t vague jwl. If you’d bothered to read his candidate website, he spelled out quite clearly what he was promising to do. I believe he made something like 700 or so promises at that website.

    Those ideas struck a far greater chord then Mccain’s, and he won. Simple as that.

    • I believe he made something like 700 or so promises at that website. Those ideas struck a far greater chord then Mccain’s, and he won. Simple as that.

      Haha. 700 promises!!! Quiz the average Obama supporter, and I bet they could accurately name maybe 3 out of those 700, tops, and probably 0 with any degree of detail. Ask them about Obama’s environmental policy, or his views on financial regulations, and they’d stare at you like you were from outer space. Ask them about how much they hate George W. Bush and they’d say “this much” and hold their hands apart as wide as possible.

      • What does that have to do with Obama?

        • Nothing, really. I’d have voted for him. I just think the idea that Obama won on the strength of his policies is pushing it somewhat..

    • Yeah, they went like this:
      1. a great economy
      2. houses for everyone
      3. lots of free stuff
      4. world peace
      5. no more oil
      6. hope
      7. change
      8. hope and change
      9. change and hope
      10. health care for everybody
      11. jobs for everybody
      12. more hope
      13. more change
      14. no more bad stuff happening
      15. everybody will like America from now on
      16. if you don’t like me, see 15
      17. why don’t you like me? I am a uniter
      18. not a divider
      19. unity
      20. hope
      21. change

      • 22. Re-education camps for Republicans.

        • That’s what sold me. “Hope, change” . . . whatever. But Richard Perle and John Yoo in jumpsuits reading Thomas Paine at gunpoint? Sold.

          • There’s a name we can never hear enough about ….. Tom Paine. But then, if anyone actually read him any more we’d all be hanging our heads in shame. And not only Americans.

  3. I don’t know about Obama’s lesson, but every other troubled coutnry should learn a lesson because even before he took office there was already a near miracle, not by Obama, but by all of America.

    Swiftboating was vanquished and hope and bipartisanship has broken out where before there was fear and cynicism. Some may be disappointed, but even if the hope only lasts a while that’s a pretty impressive result on its own. How can it be bad if Americans are optimistic? If they can gather by the hundreds of thousands and celebrate peacefully?

    • Obviously you’ve been talking only to Democrats.

      Maybe you failed to notice that there was a swing of just a few percentage points from the Republican side to the Democrat side in the vote.

      All this baloney about fear and cynicism chanign to hope and change – is just that: plain ol’ baloney.

      There was never any fear and cynicism, except from Democrats. There is no change in levels of bipartisanship.

      You are living in a dreamworld.

      • No fear? What are you talking about? For the last 8 years, all the rhetoric has been about keeping the population in fear- without fear, would Americans have been so willing to have their privacy invaded? Without fear, would Americas have supported the use of torture and having suspects imprisoned without due process? Without fear, would Americans have accepted the invasion of Afghanistan? Without fear, would some Americans have supported the preemptive strike on Iraq? Without fear, would Americans have voluntarily re-elected Bush & Cheney? If your answer is yes, then America is in lot more trouble than we thought.

        • Privacy invaded? Due process? Preemptive? You are also living in a dreamworld.

          You people think rhetoric like this is bipartisan? My goodness, this is quite a laugh.

          • What a joke you are, sf.

          • Good point yates, thanks for the contribution. We need more of your bipartisanship.

          • Sometimes reality has a bias, sf. Sorry.

        • If Kerry or Gore got in, fear would be rampant: fear of another terrorist attack.