Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 11:57:21 AM EST
It was Matt Taibbi who first identified the real problem with Barack Obama, that he is a largely self-satisfied exponent of the status quo. Jerome's recent (and necessary) evisceration of his foreign policy statements only underlines the fact that, should Obama become US President, nothing much will change. Not on the foreign policy front, and, especially, not on the domestic front.
But it has to. More than any other western economy, the US is in trouble. Big Trouble. And an incoming President will, in 2009, face a country that requires many drastic interventions across all parts of the economy just to stabilize it, let alone improve it for the majority of its citizens. Yet neither of the likely winners of the Democratic Party nomination want to address the issues, preferring feel-good, "Morning-in-America" type messages.
Progressives don't expect anything from Republicans, indeed Cheney has taught them well that he can outdo their imaginations on Constitutional depravity by a country mile. Yet this has only served to increase the burden of expectation that will be put on any incoming Democrat to sweep the stables clean and change things for the better. Or at least stop them getting worse.
And that is where a real problem is building. They know who Hilary is, they know she's a Republican-lite triangulator who may tinker at the edges but who has no concept of root and branch change. But if she gets the nomination she will probably stop things getting worse and they will live with that.
But it's different for Obama, they believe in him: And he can't deliver on those expectations; nobody really could, but he won't even try. Items already announced, such as a bigger military really will make things worse. And where do progressives go then ? It isn't despair that hurts; you can live without expectations. It's hope that will break you, every time.
Fran noted at the Paris meeting that ET-ers are mostly all of "an age", not necessarily how many growth rings are in our heads, but a seen-it-all-before, won't-get-fooled-again attitude that looks at politicians with a hard-eyed reality. It was her observation that, conversely, Obama supporters, those who truly bought "the audacity of hope", are the ones who are most fired with enthusiasm and are consequently the ones must susceptible to disillusion.
Maybe I'll be wrong and Obama will confound our Old-Europe cynicism, but if he doesn't then it may be the progressives, the one real hope for America, who disintegrate under the burden of disappointment. And that, not another failed Presidency, will be the real disaster for America