Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Why Barack?

I’ve been noticing that we have elected a guy that Europeans have a hard time dismissing, even with their often lofty anti-American sentiments (hey, I’ve traveled).  Seems Barack could get elected over their own leaders, in their own countries, he’s so popular.

Yet, Europeans don’t expect miracles from him; they just like him and see him doing his best. I mean, he’s a nice person, and he’s obviously humbled by the trust of Americans; he’s not one of those politicians that live in their own special bubbles and say only what they’re ‘supposed to,’ not what they really mean (unless caught without knowing there’s a live microphone nearby.)   But, why sooo popular?

He has some cool characteristics, it’s not just that he’s not beholden to special interests, he’s not beholden to special friends (not sure about Tim though) and not beholden to special ideology.  Even though I disagree with some of what he’s proposed, I know he’s thinking and he’s thinking his policies will be workable and are our best options.  


Of course Barack has a special place in American politics – he’s followed George Bush, the very worst president in my lifetime.  That can’t hurt his popularity. I mean, every morning I wake up relieved George isn’t president anymore, and now that we (kind of) know where Cheney was (directing secret assassination teams), I know for sure what I once only suspected (those fools were nuts!!).  

Is that enough to account? Maybe, but Barack is also real, could that be it?

Wait, Bush was real – a real creep, and so was Cheney (real evil).  They may have been secretive but not much has been secret, they showed themselves (and still do). Barack and my new second favorite girl (after Hillary) Michelle are also real; real nice,  real humble, real smart, real good role models.  So, it’s not the real part.

Maybe it’s the romance – Barack and Michelle are in love and also like each other, and it shows. But, wait, Ronnie was in love with Nancy, and Europe didn’t love Ronnie (and neither did we, we just didn’t have the internet to show it).  


I think it’s that our political class is mainly embittered and nasty, which makes having a normal person as president a very big deal (and I add all the bitter nasty world leaders in this mix, there are few normal world leaders, imo), Having never developed social skills or behaved with dignity in elementary school, (or high school, or college, or law school), our political class grew up being disliked, and it made them nasty.  I think we elect people who as kids we wouldn’t play with, and they got even by getting into politics. I mean, what cool kid ever ran for office (after sixth grade)?

Did Newt have friends?  George was said to be popular, but he was mostly mean and drunk and feared for his practical jokes. He’s probably the most gratuitously insulting president in my lifetime, not just the very worst. Ronnie was affable, but weird. And he was an actor.  

There is also the question of wealth, but I’m not sure that’s the deciding factor. Sure, rich kids behave badly when they’re not taught any better, but Gore was nice, he was just weird, and he was rich. Barack isn’t even weird, isn’t that amazing (a not-weird president?).  

Now you may say that Bill Clinton was a great guy, and I agree and Europeans liked him too. His only failing to my mind was that he didn’t follow George the second.  

So, I’d like to propose to all the well adjusted kids in school, I mean the nice ones, who lend a helping hand and are nice to their friends, to consider going into politics.  And I’d like to propose to voters that we find out about the early childhood experiences of our presidential wanna-bees, cause it’s sure nice having a smart, psychologically normal, president who is only trying to do his best.    

And not just that, European leaders are listening to him and want him to like them back.  It’s obviously smart for Americans to elect popular people as presidents, cause whether or not it’s fair, popular people often get others to follow them.  I mean world popular, by the by, sometimes Americans like nasty stupid people in office (how else to explain Bush and Cheney), so we really do need to check in with the countries we want our president to be able to lead.  

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  1. set the bar low that my 1 year old could surpass…  but i think you nailed it here:

    Yet, Europeans don’t expect miracles from him; they just like him and see him doing his best.

    doing his best. and not for special interests, or uniquely specific groups – but his best for everyone as a responsible and good leader does.  after clinton lost, i woefully got on board – but never with love.  that changed on jan 20.

    i didn’t think it was possible – but i actually am swooning.  as each day passes i like the guy more and more.  hopefully – it will last….

  2. anna shane

    I hope the people get it, and demand responsible candidates from our parties.  Did you notice that Edwards crashed and burned, lucky for us he wasn’t our nominee, as well as Richardson?  Is no one thinking in Washington.

    We’re damn lucky Barack is as good as he is.  Our remaining two standing were two of the best we’ve ever seen, no thanks to our party or to our politicians. The pugs should be banned for putting up Palin, and the bent guy.  Such complete irresponsibility.  

    The world has a dearth of normal and competent leaders, let’s hope he tide has shifted.  In this big country there must be more talent than we’ve been shown.  

  3. It’s not idolatry. It isn’t the ‘cool black friend’ syndrome. It isn’t reverse racism or Ivy league elitism. Obama just comes across (unlike say, Burlesconi) as a honourable, intelligent, genuine and consensus seeking person. Now whether that is true or not (how easy is it to fake these things?) that’s the persona Americans have voted into office, and the Europeans love it.

    Sure, I think he’s pretty serious, somewhat intense and probably tired a lot of the time, under the surface. I’m sure the highest office is swelling his head a little, but that will be antidoted by the awesome responsibility. He and his wife look stunning and relatively youthful – though I think Barack has aged already. But he has a certain politeness, and wields his power, and implacable will, fairly gently. As the US is the policeman of the world, us citizens of the world quite like this kind of police chief.

    I’ve known America long enough to know the gentleness, hospitality and great humour of its people. But there is in some aspects of American life (I won’t even mention guns here – oops) a kind of elevation of ruthlessness and macho which goes in an opposite direction. Of course there are great pioneering traditions of settlers and lone gunmen carving out the country, but that’s a myth now – as distant from your country’s traditions as my country’s imperial domination of a quarter of the globe. I don’t elevate that memory, and I’m surprised when modern Americans still tip their hat (and no cattle) to the cowboy myth.

    Bush and many other republicans (and some democrats) have fed on that myth, and what goes with it – a willingness to bend to law, have a shoot out, unilateral last stand acts.  It ranges in US culture from right to left – from the Alama to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. But the expression of this gung ho spirit in such a powerful and well armed nation has caused concern amongst foes (and allies) alike. The expression of this domination of nature has caused concern for countries (like most of Europe) which have reduced their carbon emissions. And the expression of cowboy traditions in the business world has given some of us an image of corporate raiders.

    Most Europeans are desperate to love America. Many Americans (despite or because of their European heritage) delight in disabusing them of that possibility. Though I step in to argue against it all the time, I can’t tell you how many times, among intelligent or ordinary people in the street across Europe, distrust and dislike of Americans has been expressed

    The ne plus ultra of this exploitation of the cowboy myth was of course George W – i.e. the scion of one of the most Waspish east coast influential foreign travelling families. Obama is an antidote to this. Perhaps the biggest antidote you could imagine. Forget race, forget background, forget upbringing for a moment, he just represents so much of the outward looking, intelligent, articulate and vibrant modern America whose products we still buy in abundance, whose films we watch, software and tech we buy, and whose politics has enthralled us for the last two years.  

  4. Jjc2008

    are “regular” people.   Both came from decent families and I suspect they were the kids in class that teachers liked, other kids liked, and were both academic achievers but still liked to play and have fun.

    I also think Bill was probably like that too.   I always admired that Bill overcame some rotten circumstances (alcoholic father) and I suspect Barack had to overcome some issues around being biracial.    They succeeded in spite of circumstances and in spite of not having the “pedigree and money” of family (and those things can also be negative as well as positive).

    Hillary, I always suspected, was the well liked but more serious girl who you admired but you know was probably not going to sneak out of the dorm to attend a keg party.  I could be wrong.  But Hillary, like Michelle, was always, I believe ahead of the curve when it comes to achievement.  

    George W, to me, was every obnoxious frat boy I met. I went to the parties, and knew they could be fun but instinctively I did not trust them.  Guys like W, despite their un-achieving dullness, looked their noses down at people like me…..who got into college despite our lack of connections, and despite our poverty.  I always felt that people like W thought the rest of us were invading their place by going to college even though our parents never got to even finish high school.

    One thing I hope comes out of this. I hope the Hillary and/or Clinton haters from the left have their eyes opened.  Bill made mistakes as president but I don’t believe it was because he was trying to sell out the American people.  I believe Bill and Hillary learned the hard way that once in office things are not so easy. I believe Barack and Michelle are learning this.  I hope people start to understand there is a reason people in office become pragmatic…that democracy requires compromise, and sometimes getting small changes and going forward a little is better than going backward or not moving at all.  W set back things terribly…

    from Reagan on, the “center” had moved to the right. I do believe the Clinton administration, despite some blunders, did get the center moving to the left…..and that the Obama administration can move left even more.  But I do not think he can move things to the left as fast as some want.


    They have the right combination of humility, personality, compassion, intelligence and charisma (which IMO is a combination of the other characteristics).  That combination doesn’t come along that often but it explains Obama’s meteoric rise to the top.

    The first time I saw him speak I thought “This guy is special.  He should be President.” He seems to have had that affect in Congress which is why Dick Durbin drafted him to run for President.  And now the rest of the world has gotten to know him and they see what we see.  This guy is special.

    And the more we have gotten to know Michelle, the more we see what Barack saw in her.  She’s special too in her own way.

  6. I haven’t been there in a long time (and I’m not going now), but it would take a lot to be worse than TD’s Madhouse.  They were talking about How to Arm Oneself for the Coming Revolution just a week or so ago…

  7. HappyinVT

    request for a dismissal of Jewel v NSA.  While I don’t understand it all, it is the first time I’ve been truly disheartened by the administration’s actions.

    Because, getting back to the diary’s actual content, I do believe that Obama is a decent, caring man who essentially wants the same things I do.  I’ve never been involved in politics and don’t know nearly enough to advise the president on staffing or policy issues.  I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt because he is thoughtful and intelligent (versus unintellectual and arrogant).  I also cannot think of anyone I’d rather have as president, even with his faults.

    His relationship with Michelle and the way he speaks about his mother and grandmother and the girls says alot about him as well.  He just seems genuine and real.  He has also been consistent.  I went back and listened to his 2004 DNC speech and read a diary he wrote in 2005 on DKos (and don’t forget the two books he wrote).  It is remarkable how little he has changed over the years.  In fact, anyone who is surprised by what the president has done is deluding themselves (specifically with regard to his tone toward the Republicans and the faith-based initiatives).

    But I’ll let someone who says it better than me say it….(if you haven’t seen it there’s some “dirty” words in it)

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