Friday, February 06, 2009

Just weeks after the Grand Catharsis..

Looking back, it seems to me that the Obama election/inauguration combined elements from recent UK experience, specifically the tears-a-thon of the Diana funeral and also the Blair election triumph, both in 1997.

I remember feeling at odds with almost everyone the day of the Diana burial. I decided to make a trip to the laundrette (landromat for American readers). I spent the afternoon dry-eyed, in the company of a hairy man full of conspiracy theories. Better that than glued to the box synthesising emotions out of the air.

The idea that every now and again, a society takes the closest thing at hand to collectively emote its repulsion for the old was demonstrated a few months earlier that year, with 'new' Labour and Tony Blair coming to power. People of the centre and the left (the majority of the population) allowed emotions buried in millions of stomachs to rise to the throat and out of the mouth with a roar: at last they (the Tories) were gone! Who in the UK can forget Blair's walk to the South Bank, to the tune of Things Can Only Get Better?

In the same way, Obama enabled Amerians (and everyone elsewhere) to celebrate the end of Bush. The idea of a new dawn is buried deep in the modern pysche in Europe and America: the renewal ritual. CNN's post-inauguration The Daily Show was a brilliant augury for a recalibrated reality: Jon Stewart talking through snippets of Obama and Bush patched together, with both men uttering precisely the same platitudes about freedom and the American people etc. There was something uncanny about the repetition of the same phrases (so much for the whizz-kid speechwriter).

Could we have known the honeymoon would be over so quickly, with the very first package the new guys tried to push through Capitol Hill? All we have heard in the past few days is the cacaphony of thirty thousand Beltway lobbyists getting in on the Stimulus train, as Dashcle walks away from the station. For a brilliant Op-Ed on the Moment of Disappointment, click here.


Mogaji 3:36 pm  

I really think the GOP might be the problem. They lauded the stimulus bill at first, then turned around to bash it. They just might be playing politics with the crisis to raise points for themselves in preparation for the next electoral season. Granted Obama is taking some worrisome steps, I do not think the GOP or any of these journalists/oped writers/experts raising objections have the answer either.

Anonymous,  6:46 pm  

Charles Krauthammer?! you're posting that partisan hack's work as brilliant. he has offered no ideas at this time of crisis and simply plays the opposition to the democrats. his piece, like those of his ideology, has offered no way out of the tanking economy.

Fred 8:37 pm  

Haha, of course the GOP is the problem, Mogaji. They're always the problem, regardless of the problem, whatever the problem, however the problem. {{roll eyes}}

I still can't grasp the significance of Obama's election beyond the patently obvious. First because he's as crooked as a barrel of snakes--never forget he's a Chicago politician--and will always do what's in his best interest, shaped and modified by public opinion. Secondly because most of those who voted for him don't actually know who he is and what he stands for. Except he's solidly in the "Change" camp, whatever the fuck that means.

That almost none of his campaign promises can be carried forth to fruition and not deal a death blow to American security doesn't surprise me and neither should it you all.

Fred (who's looking forward to 2012)

dapxin 1:44 am  

wPost ftw!

Olu,  9:58 pm  

For Fred & co.

The Obama phenomenon is understandable really. Look around you. His campaign machine just had to tap into the zeitgeist and ride away. An Obama voter didn't have to "KNOW" they just had to "BELIEVE".How do you compete with that ?

Lets face it: the GOP didn't have a prayer in this election.Crony capitalism,religious dogma and cynicism of the highest order did them in (what else do you call the selection of Sarah Palin ??)

Clinton may have set the ball rolling, but the economy bottomed out ON THEIR WATCH.There is no denying that.

Now the Dems are in and poised to make the same mistakes. The cycle continues.

Anonymous,  7:25 pm  

fred and co are simply aking conclusory statements. statements made about obama that have been shown to be unfounded. even criticising those that voted for him, like they are airhead or something.

i'd likem some proof that he is crooked and will do and say anything that is in his best interest. give us examples please

Anonymous,  8:56 pm  

"CNN's post-inauguration The Daily Show was a brilliant augury for a recalibrated reality: Jon Stewart talking through snippets of Obama and Bush patched together......"

John Stewart also said on that show: "Let it go!"

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