from the nation: Nonetheless, Obama has a signal accomplishment to his credit, a substantial one, which may change the shape of politics. If elected he will be the first to enter the office without financial backing from the major business, industrial or professional groups with their PACs, their contribution bundlers and lobbyists. That first day, which Hillary Clinton has made famous, will find Obama not owing a thing to the big money pressure groups. You would have to go back a century and a half to name an incoming president with so few debts to repay.
Obama's base of a million or more individual contributors has made him a free man, politically speaking. If his accomplishment is not a one-off feat--if it is something that others can replicate--then he will, with a bow to Howard Dean, have changed the financial basis of presidential politics in the United States. That alone ought to put Obama in the history books, assuming that what he has done establishes a pattern and is not a unique feat, never to be repeated.
Entering the White House free of the usual obligations is not enough to enable President Obama to carry out the changes he hints at in his campaign. Having no favors to repay gets him started but the groups he did not have solicit for money will still have the power to checkmate him in Congress through their campaign contributions, mailings and advertising. Obama could end up a politically isolated President who will not be able "to turn the page," as he often puts it.
His page-turning has to do with an approach foreign to conventional politicians. Obama's speeches are peppered with references to governing from the bottom up, as contrasted to Hillary Clinton, who would govern from the top down. More than health plans or NAFTA or who was against the war first, it is this difference in thinking that most divides the two figures.
The difference is exemplified in Clinton's saying "...Dr. King's dream began to be realized when President Lyndon Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, when he was able to get [it] through Congress.... The power of that dream became real in people's lives because we had a president who said, 'We are going to do it,' and actually got it accomplished."
She was unjustly attacked for dissing King. Nevertheless, with those words Clinton showed how top-down people think. They believe that President Johnson got the law passed, although a bottom-up person would tell her that it was the people, tens of thousands of them, marching, protesting and being beaten over the head, who generated the political pressure which forced the act through Congress. If the credit goes to anyone, it goes to the people whom Martin Luther King Jr., led across the bridge in Selma, Alabama. read more cause it's good.
Saturday, March 08, 2008
Obama Would Be First Un-Beholden President
this story from the nation tells how obama would be the first president to actually represent the people. read on