Over at the Huffington Post, some whining is taking place. Nothing too out of the ordinary, of course, but this particular whining stuck out to me. Blogger Robert Creamer is crying that Obama is being vilified for being — sob! — inspirational!
It’s one thing for supporters of Hillary Clinton to make the case that her experience in Washington politics would make her a better president than Barack Obama. But it’s quite another to actually vilify Obama’s ability to inspire as a “cult of the personality” or “nothing but words.”
It is particularly disturbing when serious progressive writers who should know better repeat this attack on Obama’s inspirational abilities. It demonstrates a failure to grasp the principal lesson of the last thirty years of American politics.
In fact, it is precisely the absence of inspiration in progressive politics that has kept Progressives on the political defensive for decades.
That’s because to inspire people, Progressives have to appeal to something much more important than endless lists of policies and programs. To inspire people, Progressives have to appeal to our values and to our vision for the future.
This guy obviously hit the nail right on the head. The entire political establishment is vilifying Obama because he’s just so gosh darn inspirational!
Let’s stop playing in Fairy Tale Land and enter reality now.
Sadly enough for Mr. Creamer, no one is vilifying Obama’s ability to “inspire”. He’s vilified because he’s a junior politician with next to no experience and nothing substantial to say except pretty words to make people feel all warm and mushy inside. It’s nice to feel inspired and important, but the ability to do that does not a good President make. At least with Shrillary, we have an idea of what she stands for, what she would do as President (even though we hate what she stands for with a passion). Barack Obama is proving himself to be nothing but an empty suit. Sure, he’s eloquent. He seems like an intelligent guy. He can speak well and make people feel nice. But what is he really saying?
What Mr. Creamer, and many liberals, seem to be saying is that they desire style over substance — it’s change, and hope, and inspiration, over having real values, of having goals and a plan. It’s easy to say that you want to vote for a “future”, and for “hope”, but what does it mean??
Nothing. It means absolutely nothing. Saying you believe in “hope” is a ridiculously empty statement. This is why Obama is vilified so often; this is why he’s constantly being attacked. Everyone likes feeling inspired and hopeful, but those are not the qualifications needed for President for most Americans. Maybe he could head up the Departments of Hope and Change, which can be in a new federal building shaped like a heart, where he can sit around and think of ways to inspire people with empty, meaningless rhetoric. His entire role in the government can be finding new ways of feeding our emotions.
After all, emotion is 80% of liberalism, isn’t it?
To be the President of the United States, you need to be able to do something more than just inspire people and talk about abstract ideas using pretty words. When Obama grows up, and can be a big-boy politician, we’ll stop vilifying him for being an empty suit, and vilify him for his policies instead.