Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Mr. Obama May be On His Way to the Nomination and the White House

by Norman Markowitz

I used to like the old Frank Capra movies, steeped in romantic individualism in which the good little guys speak for the people and win. Longfellow Deeds. Jefferson Smith. People with corny names doing great things. As a good Marxist, though, a realized that they were escapist fantasies, even if reactionaries generally hated them and progressives loved them.

Life isn't a Frank Capra movie, but Barack Obama as he continues his campaign is becoming a Frank Capra hero, winning over working people with his vision and hopes for them. Even the cynical old pols and those who write like cynical old pols are beginning to take notice because Obama continues to win and to draw huge numbers of voters into the political process. In Wisconsin, a state with both a strong progressive labor and agricultural tradition which produced the Progressive party of the Robert La Follette and his sons, perhaps the most successful third party at the state level in the 20th century, and reactionary anti-labor, xenophobic Kulak minded forces that produced Joe McCarthy, Obama won a decisive victory tonight over Hillary Clinton.

Obama is winning against a system which was largely put in place to nominate Hillary Clinton. He is winning among white and black voters, among young voters and in Wisconsin in greater numbers among older female voters. He is winning because voters are seeing in him a leader who will advance change, not a market researcher telling them in this market and that market what he thinks they want to hear so he or she can sell himself to them and then get back to the backrooms and do real political business.

That is what Hillary Clinton is telling them over and over again--I am the one with the experience the connections, I can close the deals because I get it, I know what the business is about. The voters are telling her over and over again that she doesn't really get it--that they don't see her kind of experience as a solution. but as was said in her youth and mine, a part of the problem.

It isn't over of course, but Obama, the better candidate, has clearly up to this time established himself as the candidate with significantly broader mass support.

Don't expect John McCain to campaign as a hero from a Frank Capra movie, though. Expect him to run as John Wayne in both Fort Apache and the Sands of Iwo Jima for his Republican friends, and Buck Turgidson (played by a much better actor than Wayne or McCain's hero, Ronald Reagan, George C. Scott) in Dr. Strangelove to the rest of us.


T.C. said...

Hillary Clinton can still pull it off. And she has good policies for workers and for their families

Jaded Prole said...

If I was to make predictions, I'd predict that Obama will get the votes but McCain will get the presidency.

Anonymous said...

t.c. is right that Clinton can still pull it off, but I would trust Obama, given his background as a community organizer, civil rights lawyer, much more than Clinton when it comes to fighting for and implementing policies for working people and their families. As for Jaded Prole's comments, McCain will be carrying a lot of very bad baggage, both his own and the Republican administration's in the campaign.
We shouldn't underestimate the ability to the working class to understand and defeat their enemies, or, as the first and best Republican president(he didn't really have much competition) Abraham Lincoln said, you can fool all of the people some of the time, some of the people, all of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time." the Republicans have been fooling and depoliticizing large numbers of people(with the help of Bill Clinton style DLC Democrats) for a very long time. At this point, I think that the election is the Democrats to lose, which they can of course, given the disasters the Republicans have created, and Obama is by far the stronger of the two candidates.
Norman Markowitz

Anonymous said...

I had coffee this morning with some Republican acquaintances and they are all going to cross over into the Democratic Party primary and vote for Obama. They view him as the weaker candidate and fear that Hillary could defeat McCain. In the general election, they will of course vote for McCain. Also, the older Democrats will vote for Hillary in the primary and some may back away from Obama in the general election given some of the irresponsible statements of Michelle Obama, e.g., she may not back Hillary, etc... I will vote for Hillary in the primary or whoever the Democratic nominee is because I'm afraid of who McCain would place on the Supreme Court and the federal bench. But, I'm afraid that McCain may win. Just one footnote, had Wisconsin had a straight party vote and not allowed Republican and independent crossovers, Hillary would have won.

HoustonBlue said...

To last anon:

As a Texan you know then that primaries there are open, but the caucus is closed to Republican, right? And the caucus plays as big if not bigger role in selection of delegates.

You know that right?