Wednesday, December 05, 2007


Do you remember “Jimmy Who?” That was the way the media referred to the presidential candidacy of then nationally unknown Jimmy Carter. More or less in the same manner reference was made of the lack of experience of a young senator named John F. Kennedy. But besides being little known they had other things in common. Conditions for their elections were in their favor.

Tired of a long occupation of the White House by Republican presidents, the electorate looked for change, something new and refreshing. There also existed an undercurrent generational change and two recent unpopular wars in the background of the previous administrations.

In all polls, Hillary was ahead among Democrat candidates. That has changed. In Iowa Obama has gained ground, impressively surpassing Senator Clinton; at least he is at a tie. Yet, Hillary is still the favored one among African Americans. The “educational-welfare-Democratic Party complex” still rules there. Or it could be due to the fact that African Americans do not see a need to elect the first African American president since, as it used to be said, Bill Clinton was the first Black president of the U.S.

Enters Obama, almost bragging, justifiably to a certain point, that he did not support the military intervention in Iraq—although we hope he won’t want to drink from the cup of victory later. In this, at least, there is the appearance of consistency which contrasts with the rest of Democrat candidates. He also says that the generation of the 60s, a jab at Sen. Clinton, is burnt out and only offers more of the same, more of the stale and divisive politics.

For the generation of the 60s the upcoming presidential elections well may be the last opportunity to realize their dreams of a Woodstock society. But there is another generation that has grown under the influence of the intellectual extortion of political correctness, imposed on them by that same 60s generation, and is reacting by rebelling against the old generation by creating their own worldview, or rather non-worldview, or by being apathetic toward politics. Toward where a new generation is going to take the U.S. is the question in these elections.

But will Obama be capable of completely transcending the agendas of the 60s, which he now criticizes, or will he be captive to the generational politics of his party? ¿Can he lead us to a revitalization of our sense of individual self-reliance in the American character, or will he lead us to a continuation of the culture of plantation politics? Can he overcome the obstacles of the “educational-welfare-Democratic Party complex”?

¿What needs Obama in order to win? That depends on what Obama represents. The thing is that Obama is situated in a good historical junction at this moment, although I believe that not even his team knows it. Obama represents the success of the civil rights movement, but he does not represent the generation who fought that struggle. He represents the “American Dream” of immigrants but he is not an immigrant. He represents youth and new impetus, but he is tied to a stagnant political dynamic and language.

Obama needs to move to the center, not in the dishonest, opportunistic and triangulated manner of the Clintons but in an honest way. And that is possible because that is where most people are. The American electorate is manifesting tiredness with the heavy ideological cultural wars, the inefficiency of politicians in dealing with practical issues and yet this doesn’t mean that they have become socialists. The Democratic Party confusing the loud screeching of its fringe groups with the voice of the people assumed that the American people have manifested discontent and impatience with the pace of the Iraq involvement because they want defeat not victory.

But with the positive changes occurring in Iraq (including a recent request by the Iraqi government asking the U.S. to stay) Democrats are already leaving aside the Iraq bashing to concentrate on other issues. The struggle in the Democratic Party now is between the establishments of the old nomenclature of the 60s, the apparatchiks of feminism-Stalinism and the Clintonistas, and between others that tired of the “same old politics” look for change (Obama’s campaign theme). The latter are not so sure that they want a return to the White House of the finger-wagging president.

But in foreign affairs Obama is inexperienced and has expressed immaturity in his comments such as saying that he would invade Pakistan, or that he would negotiate directly with leaders hostile to the U.S. In that field Hillary takes the lead in spite of her contradictions. But Ted Sorensen, old time “Kennedyista”, has endorsed Obama saying that such inexperience is not so different from that of JFK, who according to Sorensen later demonstrated qualities of a great statesman.

Yet, is the Democratic Party ready for a return to a “Kennedyesque” posture in domestic and foreign policies? Strong fiscal rhetoric and strong pro national defense and promotion of democratic values abroad were trademarks of an idealistic generation under the leadership of JFK. Ted Sorensen may be correct; Obama’s candidacy does somehow resemble JFK’s. But to be more so it needs a foreign policy that does not lend moral support to international drug peddlers like Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez in the Black and inner city communities.

More and more parents of minority children are heard expressing concern and discontent with the “educational-welfare-Democratic Party complex”. Obama, due to his personal experience is well located to offer change in that establishment. That is why those who have questioned his racial makeup and have brought the issue of race forth are not the White electorate but the old establishment of the civil rights struggle. Ironically, the questioning of his “blackness” by the civil rights establishment may have been the best thing happening to him.

But the greatest challenge for Obama is not only to overcome the racial question. The problem is winning the Democrats over Hillary and the “Reagan Democrats” who left the party long time ago, since and because of the Clintons. Those that still linger, there, somewhere, are the ones Obama must conquer. However, there are others that, because of the way that the Democrat leadership has played politics with the life and blood of our soldiers and fellow citizens in Iraq, can never again vote Democrat. For them, not even promises under a new rhetoric will suffice.

As long as Obama continues to hang tight to the contradictions he won’t win. At least at this moment he doesn’t seem able to overcome those barriers. But he has the opportunity to at least, return the Democratic Party, or a good portion of it, back to its senses. To loosen the party from the grip of the unhinged and other similar beings alienated from reality, could be one good contribution that his presence in this race may achieve. At least he has done something the generation of the 60s hasn’t. He has admitted he did inhale.

As we have said before, the future of the U.S. is in the transmission of its values to a new national generation and to the generations of immigrants. Perhaps Obama will rise to the occasion or perhaps he will miss his time. Ironically, it seems that Obama would have better chances running as a moderate Republican than as a Democrat.

(Spanish translation)
Related news


Since the original posting of this op/ed the following news items have appeared which confirm the trends.

"Bill is every bit as black as Barack." "He's probably gone with more black women than Barack," --Andrew Young. Confirmation of the fissure in the African American community whether real "blackness" means being part of the "educational-welfare-Democratic Party-Civil Rights Establishment complex". AP story

Democrats equally balanced between Clinton and Obama.

Oprah Campaigns for Obama in SC and NH. "I'm sick of politics as usual," Winfrey said.

My views keep getting reconfirmed: A generational gap.