Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
What makes Obama successful is a combination of personal charisma and the illusion of personal involvement. In Obama's campaign it's only an illusion, because knocking on doors won't give people a say in policy. He's converting a hunger for citizen participation into grunt work. But he's not promising that he's going to listen to the people who are doing that work.

You know, I find that political involvement in the UK boils down to the same thing: "come down to <obscure place> to canvass for <obscure candidate> and help us win the by-election". I somehow find the idea of knocking on doors of people I don't know and are not even my neighbours to ask them to vote for someone I know close to nothing about other than they are members of my same party strangely unappealing.

Of course, political involvement in Spain where we don't have single-seat constituencies but party lists is even poorer around elections - though we seem to have a thriving culture of public demonstrations. The problem with that one is that when it gets too big it gets coopted by the politicians. When there are massive demonstrations after a deadly attack by ETA and government representatives are at the front of it, it makes you wonder who the government is appealing to... themselves?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 1st, 2008 at 04:39:35 AM EST
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