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Glued to the TV

Tuesday, January 08, 2008 by Dave Winer.

A picture named ohRudyIsntThisAFunPlace.jpgFor the last 24 hours or so I've been glued to the TV, watching MSNBC, Fox and CNN, listening to the pundits and campaign flacks, reading various articles on the web, and thinking a lot about what is happening. I'm glad I'm not at CES or in New Hampshire, I didn't want to miss this process, as I did in 2000 when I was in Europe during Iowa and New Hampshire, another period of a couple of weeks when things changed a lot. Permalink to this paragraph

At this point there's absolutely no doubt that the candidacy of Barack Obama is a movement. Whether it's like Martin Luther King or JFK, I can't say -- I am not old enough to remember those (I remember their deaths, but nothing else about them).  Permalink to this paragraph

So if it's a movement, what is it about? Permalink to this paragraph

I think it's this -- there are a lot of Democrats and independents and even quite a few Republicans who feel that the Bush II presidency has been a disaster because of the war we started, the incompetent response to Katrina, the trampling of the Constitution, the cynicism, secrecy and arrogance of the government.  Permalink to this paragraph

A picture named lostCause.jpgBut it's not fair to just blame the Republicans, the Democrats must be punished too -- for their complicity. Hillary Clinton and John Edwards voted for the resolution authorizing the war. Neither of them spoke out against it as we were going to war. I do remember those times, and had they spoken out they would have been crucified, but when you're running for President that doesn't excuse you. While many of us didn't stand up and object either, we now have to choose someone to lead us, and we're not going with someone who compromised when it came to our national honor (the war), our homes (Katrina), and the integrity of our political system (the Constitution).  Permalink to this paragraph

In a normal year, the Edwards plea to fight special interests would be welcome and enough, even radical, but in 2008 it is not radical enough. True, the war was started because both parties are owned by the defense industry, Edwards claims he doesn't receive their money, implying that Clinton does (and Obama?). The hypocrisy of Support the Troops really translates into Pay off the Defense Contractors. We must place part of the blame for the Iraq debacle on the defense contractors, who fund all our politicians, of both parties. Permalink to this paragraph

So Obama may not in fact be the leader we're looking for, but the voters of New Hampshire and Iowa have annointed him anyway. He may have waffled on whether he would have voted to support the war, but it may have been, as he says, not wanting to make trouble for Kerry and Edwards in 2004. He may have received money from the defense industry, if so, that had better stop right now.  Permalink to this paragraph

Obama, like Carter in 1976, may be our pennance for having re-elected Bush in 2004. We're taking the medicine we deserve for having been crazy enough to re-elect someone who was so bad for us. The only president of the past even remotely in Bush's league was Nixon, who we followed with a smiling preacher who didn't accept the ways of Washington. We didn't like him either, it turns out. ;-> Permalink to this paragraph

A picture named grandpa.gifObama is also, apparently, the medicine that the 20-somethings are forcing the elders to take. I confessed to a friend that my discomfort with Obama comes not only from not trusting his record, but also what it says about me. If elected, he will be the first President who is younger than I am. Thus begins yet another step in the long decline. As I said the other day, our choice of president is someone who most closely validates our view of ourselves relative to the country and the world. Obama is dissonant to me, because in my mind, the President is older than me. Maybe not any more. Permalink to this paragraph

We could do worse, much. And maybe those who say that Obama is easy prey for Karl Rove and his brothers, lurking in the shadows, waiting for someone to work for, are right. Maybe for that reason those of us who will vote Democratic this time should hope for McCain over Romney or Giuliani. It's hard to imagine McCain using the tactics of the Swift Boaters, but hard to imagine the others not using them. Huckabee? Interestingly he says the Republicans shouldn't be so quick to attack Obama, because he represents something good about the people. That is a refreshing idea -- a political leader focusing on the wants of the people. I still think Huckabee may be the first DIY candidate, the first one who embraces the 21st Century VRM model for co-existing with your customers (pols call it their "base.") Even Obama isn't so eloquent about the people. Permalink to this paragraph

This week things are changing. Things were pretty bad before, so change must be good, right?? ;-> Permalink to this paragraph


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A picture named dave.jpgDave Winer, 53, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.

"The protoblogger." - NY Times.

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