Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Hilzoy, Yglesias on Obama

These little notes will be lost in the blizzard of punditry now pouring out everywhere, but I'm keeping them because they find an echo in my own thoughts...

Hilzoy's post makes me want to cry with pain and joy.

I suppose I live a sheltered life, but for some reason it hadn't crossed my mind that many African-Americans would think not just that it was very hard for a black man to win the nomination, but that it was impossible. But once it did, I found it horrible and heartbreaking, all the more so because, on reflection, I thought it was a perfectly reasonable thing to think. (At least in its milder form -- 'he can't win' -- as opposed to the more ominous 'they won't let him win.')

I thought: it is awful that people should think that no one who looks like them could possibly be nominated by a major party; that any candidate who looks like them has to be "some kind of stunt"; that if they tell their children that maybe they'll grow up to be President some day, they believe, in their heart of hearts, that they are lying. That should never, ever be true. Not in our country.

When Barack Obama won Iowa, the ground beneath that fear began to crack. Now it has been blown apart, in the only way it could have been. And whatever any of us think about this race, or Senator Obama, that is cause for celebration; as is the fact that it turned out not to be true.

Just... damn.

And Matthew Yglasias waxes optimistic.
See my tagline! HOO-wah!!

...Obama thinks it's possible to accomplish things in the world. He thinks the United States faces a lot of serious international challenges, but doesn't see them as primarily driven by menacing and implacable foes. Obama thinks that a combination of visionary leadership and shrewd bargaining can greatly improve our ability to tackle key priorities without any great expenditure of our resources.

All in all, the pessimist in me sees it as an approach to politics designed to set us up for a hard fall when it fails... ...of course sometimes the pessimists are right, but unless you sometimes assume they're wrong then nothing's ever going to happen.

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