Lambert on Obama – the Obligatory Reading of the Day

When I put up a bunch of good election-related links about Iowa caucuses and the impending New Hampshire primaries last night, I have no idea how I missed this fantastic post by Lambert that everyone is apparently talking about. Right on. Much more elaborate and detailed and well-documented than this (a year ago), and more up-to-date than this (right after the 2004 election), but essentially the same argument and it is correct.
Obamamania reminds me of Deanomania from four years ago – what is important to the young-uns is the excitement of being a part of the revolution, not the understanding of political landscape, electoral politics, economics, or even where the candidate even stands on these things. That generation is four years older and wiser now (and hugely in the Edwards camp this time around). But the new kids are naive and went for the wrong guy again.
Update: It is interesting to look at the parallels between two separate debates, both of which invoke the Overton Window: there is one about atheism, where “appeasers” work well in the trenches, holding hands, slowly pulling people over to the Good Side, and the “Vocal Atheists” who move the Overton Window in public – the media, books, blogs. Both have a role to play, but also get in each others’ way sometimes.
The other debate is in politics, where Obama is the appeaser (and thus can do well in one-to-one retail politics on the ground), and Edwards is the one who pulls the Overton Window in public. If only MSM would not completely black him out! But this is why he wins the blogosphere hands down.
Unfortunately, after the election is over and one needs to start governing, people you deal with are not nice Iowan Republicans, but the Washington Republican animals, where appeasement does not work and there is no way to elicit any compromise. You need a tough guy for that – a political equivalent of Dawkins, not Collins, and this year that is only Edwards.

13 responses to “Lambert on Obama – the Obligatory Reading of the Day

  1. Thanks very much for the link! I think the Obama Fan Base is a good deal more organized than the Deaniacs were (maybe due to social networking sites like FaceBook and/or Obama’s community organizing skills). All credit to them for that. But principles matter, too…. At least in political economy as I would like to see it practiced.
    One thing I do know: The narrative that Obama’s picking conservatives and moderates is flat out wrong based on data. I’ll try to have a post up soon.

  2. The left base of the party is backing Edwards but the youth and the center are aligning around Obama. Would you rather have a candidate who is more faithful to your issues (Edwards) or one who is more likely to win in November (Obama)?

  3. Well, the idea that the center — whatever that vacuous term might mean — is a question of fact, is it not? One that perhaps needs to be addressed.
    Nice to see the OBF monitoring the threads, though. Impresssive.

  4. Hasty posting:
    … that the center … is breaking toward Obama is what I meant to type. Sorry.
    Say, what happens after the election might be important, too, right? At least for anyone who remembers 2000 and 2008. Check it out.

  5. The MSM completely blacks him out???
    Try finding Kucinich coverage, Bora.

  6. I agree, it’s worse for some other candidates. They should have been covered more. But now the campaign is over and the elections actually started and voters are starting to have their say. If anything, MSM follows the horse-race. But Edwards came 2nd in Iowa and still a blackout?

  7. One thing I think Obama has over Edwards (based on tonight’s NH debate) is that Edwards seems to say that government needs to fix all the problems people have, whereas Obama involves the people in part of the solution. While, in both cases, these are just words the idea that people can’t help themselves will not resonate well with many people. However, Obama’s “of the people, by the people, for the people” approach will resonate better. I was a Kucinich supporter (although I realize that boat has sailed), and am not definitively in Obama’s camp, although I am gravitating that way.

  8. I don’t get the Edwards fandom. And after the events of the past two days, ditto the Obamamania.
    We all have grand visions for making sweeping changes. Some have the ability to articulate those grand visions with great emotion. Their place is the pulpit. There’s a big difference between persuading voters and persuading other leaders and politicians.
    There are now just two Democratic candidates in the running who have accomplished something on the national level besides furthering their own careers: not Obama, and certainly not Edwards, whose campaign style is strikingly reminiscent of BushCo circa 1999.
    But really, politics aside – I find it incredibly interesting that here, in the world of science where Evidence Reigns Supreme, theory and lofty rhetoric finds any support whatsoever. And when I say “interesting”, I mean “interesting”: it’s not a challenge to defend any of the candidates.

  9. But the new kids are naive and went for the wrong guy again.

    I agree with you (and Lambert and Krugman) that Obama’s language is worrisome, but Bora, please don’t diss Dean. He was the first Democrat to really push an agenda of change. He stuck his neck out while all the other Dems (Edwards included) tolled the party line. Unlike what most pundits are saying, I’m not happy with any of the Democratic candidates this time around.

  10. I am not dissing Dean. There were legitimate reasons for supporting him and some of the old veterans of politics supported him. What I implied is that tons of youngsters supported him for wrong reasons – not because they liked his policies, but because they liked getting a high out of being in a revolution.

  11. One of many reasons I think Obama is going to have such an impact when he’s elected is technologically modernizing the way our government works. More here:

  12. thanks for the link to the Overton Window. makes sense to me. as for John Edwards, i’d like to see him get a fighting chance. but even if John Edwards is the most logical choice for president, it’s almost impossible for even the blogosphere to beat corporate media.
    i think it’s the same reasoning why Christopher Hitchens is realistically right when he admitted that in the current zeitgeist, they (New Atheists) are on the losing side, politically, and on the winning side, intellectually.