Sunday, February 18, 2007
Obama's Young Idealists
There's been alot of coverage lately of Barack Obama's appeal among young voters, who have used Facebook and other online social networking tools to organize themselves in unprecedented numbers and with surprising speed. (Almost 280,000 members of one online group within a month of its formation.) And it occured to me that this might pose some problems for him down the line.
Why? Well, he's building his campaign on a rhetoric of hope and a new way of doing politics. Both of which usually refer to progressive/radical policies, and both of which tend to attract either older idealists who have been disillusioned with the political process (I'd throw myself in that category), or younger ones not yet familiar with it. And I think what we're seeing here is obviously an example of the latter.
Only trouble is, Obama's new way of doing politics, ie. consensus-building, tends to result in relatively risk-averse policy. Which, so far, is what I've seen from him. (I don't think his Iraq plan, given the current political climate, qualifies as anything earth-shattering.) So what's going to happen to the kids when they realize that Obama is not the crusading progressive his preacher cadences make him out to be?
My hunch is he's positioning himself in relation to Clinton and Edwards. But it's Kucinich who stands to steal his thunder.