I like Barack Obama. I really do. I honestly believe that he is sincere in his desire to create a new politics that makes a sharp break with the past. However, events this week demonstrate that while he is making progress in some areas, he is still a captive of both the stale ideas of the past and the power hungry Washington establishment. Three actions demonstrate this:
This week, Jesse Jackson said that he wanted to cut off Obama’s cajones for “talking down to black people”. I suspect that the Reverend Jackson was actually angry because he is finally coming to the realization that his own time has and come and gone. Barack Obama has indeed made a sharp break with the leadership of Jackson / Sharpton era. Obama is more inclusive and pragmatic than those who profited politically and economically from dividing the country. This is a good thing for our future.
Barack Obama also dredged up the tired old idea of creating a national service program. Americans are already the most generous people on earth. We donate a lot of our free time to volunteer in our schools, churches and charitable organizations. In addition, many school boards have already mandated that students perform volunteer work as a requirement for graduation. So, why in God’s name do we need a federal program? When is this kind of nonsense ever going to end???
And the Ugly
Sadly, Barack Obama also demonstrated conclusively this week that there isn’t a dime’s worth of difference between him and Bush / McCain when it comes to civil liberties. He showed this by voting for the horrifying Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which allows the administration to spy on Americans’ electronic communications without cause and judicial oversight.
My guess is that Obama will lose a bunch of support to Bob Barr and Ralph Nader over the FISA vote alone, as well as he should.