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Obama began by saying, as he often does, that people were always getting his name wrong, calling him “Alabama” or “Yo Mama. “The crowd roared with laughter….br> So, whether he is running to be a U.S. senator or the leader of the free world, whether the question is ethics in government or education, health care or Hezbollah, his solution is replacing our “cynicism” with “hope” so that we can overcome any challenge by working together. It’s enough to make somebody, well, cynical. But its appeal should not be underestimated. When Obama jokes about his name, the crowds still roar with laughter, and when he calls for replacing cynicism with hope, his flocks of supporters find it inspiring.
He went on, “People are always asking me, ‘Why, with these fancy degrees and a professorship, would you want to go into something dirty and nasty like politics?’ And my answer is, ‘We’ve got too much cynicism in this country, and we’re all in this together, and government expresses that.’”
I JUST THINK HE’S AMAZING,” said Beth Rennick of Richmond, who was first impressed with Obama when she saw him speak at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, where she was a delegate. Asked what she found so appealing, she rattled off a long list. “His mind. His charisma. His personality. His background. His passion. His emotion. His oration. His audacity — he likes that word.”
Rennick is not alone. Obama is a bigger draw on the campaign trail than any candidate in either party. “Everywhere we go we have been attracting these enormous crowds,” he likes to boast on the stump. “We had 20,000 people in Atlanta, 20,000 folks in Austin, Texas. Ten thousand people in Los Angeles. “In the first quarter, he blew away expectations by raising $23.5 million for the primary alone, beating out the vaunted political machine at the disposal of Hillary Clinton. He also had more than 100,000 donors, which was double the number reported by Hillary.
When Obama chats with people after campaign events, he looks at them intently, puts his arm around them, or even embraces them. “He’s just too good to be true!” I heard one grown woman gush after meeting him following an event in New Hampshire, which was not an atypical reaction.
Ann Coulter has written that “only white guilt could explain the insanely hyperbolic descriptions of Obama’s ‘eloquence.’ His speeches are a run-on string of embarrassing, sophomoric Hallmark bromides.” This general sense has been echoed throughout conservative blogs.
As much as his calls for “a new kind of politics” in which Americans overcome cynicism and find common ground sound like the empty platitudes of a phony politician, there is reason to think that in Obama’s case, he genuinely believes in bringing people together.
“I’ve worked with Senator Obama publicly, privately, and at 1 a.m. and six in the morning behind closed doors,” said Dillard of their years together in the Illinois state senate. “He is a genuinely nice man who cares greatly about overcoming obstacles on a variety of fronts. It’s not an act.”
Dillard described how Obama became one of the guys by playing cards and pickup basketball games, bumming cigarettes, and going out for drinks.
“He instantly got in playing poker with some of the old bulls of the state senate who came from all different walks of life, many of whom were skeptical, I’m sure,” he said. “When this University of Chicago professor and Harvard graduate walked in, their eyes rolled. But it didn’t take long for Obama to prove to all of his colleagues that he’s a pretty nice regular guy.”
Though the two had many disagreements, and despite the fact that Dillard considers Obama a “socialist” on health care, they were able to work together on ethics reform and a law that required the videotaping of interrogations in capital cases, and they remain friends.
Obama has maintained a solidly liberal voting record in the U.S. Senate, but has still sought to work with his Republican colleagues in Washington when possible. His views could not be more different from those of the staunch conservative Sen. Tom Coburn, but the two worked together on earmark transparency legislation.
“If Barack disagrees with you or thinks you haven’t done something appropriate he’s the kind of guy who’ll talk to you about it, “Coburn told New York magazine, “He’ll come up and reconcile: ‘I don’t think you were truthful about my bill.’I’ve seen him do that. On the Senate floor.”
Obama and Coburn have described each other as friends, and even their wives have hit it off. Despite their ideological incompatibility, Coburn sees Obama’s potential.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?