A reader writes:
I was taken by your Feb. 27, 6:45 pm, blog post. Your compare-and-contrast among the Clinton model of politics, Reagan's, and Obama's was spot on. I hadn't thought of the parallel to competing approaches to gay rights until you mentioned it. But I think your point is much broader. I think the "core message" as you've stated it applies to the entire public policy agenda of this moment in history.
The Obama campaign's approach is so important for America right now as a viable solution to so many years of political gridlock and individual detachment from politics. Americans are good people. They really are willing to make sacrifices, roll up their sleeves, and tackle theirs and the world's toughest problems. But we know they will not do so if they have so many good reasons to distrust their leaders and the system that put them in power.
Obama has tapped into the popular vein in his campaign organization. He's already shown that with the right motivation and inspiration millions of us are ready to make small political donations. Millions have joined or rejoined a political process that alienated them much of their lives. Personally, I had made no financial contributions in a presidential campaign until 2008. Now, I'm making them every month and ready to knock on doors in Ohio. That's not because Obama is a messiah. It's because I see a country finally motivated to do something about our system.
Don't get me wrong. I'm a fan of James Madison, checks and balances, and federalism. Gridlock has its place as a check on the politics of the moment, on "mob rule", and on each powerful branch of government. But as a direct consequence of unchecked power on the current administration, special interest lobbying, and Democratic Party incompetence, our problems at home and in the world are now far too serious for the electorate to sit back and write checks to support Clinton's Washington-as-usual approach.
Waking up the electorate again, like my parents' generation did in the 1960s, I hope will get the fat cats' attention. Watching Super Delegates jump off of Hillary's sinking ship with increasing frequency makes me optimistic that the Obama movement is now seriously scaring those inside the beltway bubble.
My greatest hope is that what the Obama campaign is demonstrating in popular support, political cooperation, individual action, and personal responsibility will continue after his victory in November. It's our best and maybe only hope for tackling our toughest political problems.
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