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Finally Getting The Whole "Hope And Change" Thing

It's taken a long, long, time, but I think I finally grasp just what the whole Obama "hope and change" thing is all about.

The people want change, and they hope that Obama can bring it.

They have to hope, because they don't have a hell of a lot else to base that on.

Obama has, over his career, held several positions of authority and influence. And in each case, he has followed the same pattern -- he plays it safe, keeping himself secure and kept his viability for the next level on the ladder.

He spent several years as a "community organizer." Well, as the saying goes, Jesus and Adolf Hitler were community organizers, Pilate and FDR were governors. It's all in what you do with those positions. Obama? Hard-pressed to see just what the hell he did in them.

Obama spent several years as a community organizer, and I'm not quite sure what he did during tha time. I feel fairly safe in saying, though, that it was probably not much of any great, lasting import, as it would be touted on his list of very thin accomplishments.

In the Illinois State Senate, Obama had a chance to effect change. One measure he championed -- over a union's protests, no less -- was a requirement that all police interrogations involving a capital murder case be videotaped. The police union fought that, but it passed anyway -- and good for Obama. It's a simple, common-sense measure that surprises the hell out of me when I found out it wasn't already established practice.

In a host of other issues, though, Obama did his level best to avoid controversy. His predilection for voting "present" is legendary, a privilege he evoked well over a hundred times during his tenure in the Illinois State Senate.

Now, there are times when such a vote is appropriate. The best example I can think of is when the legislator has a personal stake in the outcome, and voting could be considered an act of self -interest. For example, Senator Joe Biden voting for a credit-card-regulation bill when the backers of that measure have paid his son heftily to lobby for the bill's passage.

Whoops, bad example. Biden did just that. Lemme think of another one...

Anyway, by voting "present" on controversial issues, Obama got to say "I'm here, I'm paying attention, keep paying me" without actually rendering any service to his constituents. And that is a great disservice to the people who elected him -- he is, in essence, disenfranchising those people. They are entitled to express their views, to have their voice heard, through their duly elected representative -- and Obama simply refused to be that voice.

It's been widely noted that Chicago has some of the most corrupt politics in the nation. (A lot of people like to say "the most corrupt," but I would never dream of slighting the fine folks of Louisiana.) Obama literally met face to face with these vermin, on a practically daily basis, yet never once showed the slightest interest in backing any kind of meaningful reforms or taking stands against the worst of them.

Next, we have Obama's seven years on the board of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, four of them as head of the board. This group's stated goal was to improve the Chicago schools. Over its lifespan, the Challenge funneled over $100 million dollars into various programs and projects and initiatives -- and in the end, showed virtually no gains for all its efforts.

In the process, Obama was involved in deciding how that money would be apportioned out. Among the many choices the Project made was to give long-time Marxist, CAC member (and longtime crony of CAC founder Bill Ayers) Mike Klonsky got $175,000 for his "Small Schools Workshops" -- but the Algebra Project got nothing.

So here again Obama was in a position to bring about real change, and instead he achieved nothing -- except another check-mark on his resume'.

So, with all this on his record (or, more accurately, not on his record), why do people look to Obama to bring about some kind of great change?

Well, one theory I have is that they are tremendous believers in the theory that Obama's been saving up all his energy and resources for reforming for when he's president. He's hoarded all his efforts and carefully conserved it mightily, not letting a single bit of it sneak out before he can properly unleash it.

It's a stupid theory, but it's the only one that seems to fit: they Hope that he will finally, after all these skipped opportunities, bring about Change. That this lifelong embodiment of "go along to get along" will, once he achieves his ultimate goal, rip off his mask and reveal himself as the Great Reformer.

Nice hope. But it strikes me as a bad idea. "Hope" seems about as good a voting strategy as it is a birth control method. Especially when it's hope that is utterly ungrounded in anything resembling reality.

When it comes to contraception, years ago I carefully studied all the available choices and made a very studied and deliberate decision. "Hope" will never enter into the issue for me (except in the area of finding myself in situations where such matters are more than abstract). And when it comes to voting, I keep hope handy, but I also back it up with careful consideration and looking at the histories of the candidates and where they stand on the issues that matter most to me.

I guess I'm just funny that way.


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Comments (34)

This is what McCain needs t... (Below threshold)

This is what McCain needs to exploit over the next few weeks. Show that Obama has been a defender of the status quo, and willingly blind to corruption.

Obama's attacks have been nasty and personal...now McCain can show that Obama is far from the agent of 'change' and possessor of 'superior judgement'.

Chicago has the most succes... (Below threshold)

Chicago has the most successful corruption in the US. Both Louisiana and New Jersey are probably 'more' corrupt, but they get caught a hell of a lot more often as well.

The only change that is rea... (Below threshold)

The only change that is real so far is, that no president has been black.

Here is what Obama had to s... (Below threshold)

Here is what Obama had to say on the subject:

"I am new enough on the national political scene that I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political sripes project their own views. As such, I am bound to disappoint some, if not all of them."

Obama's technique of "change" is the blank screen and so it was with Deval Patrick, the Governor of Massachusetts, who by no coincidence, also employed David Axelrod. Axelrod should be given credit for both the technique and the word tracks.

<a href="http://reformedvil... (Below threshold)

Hussein O'Bunko, in a nutshell.

Hope for him and his pocketbook. Change for the worse for the rest of us.

Jay writes:<blockquo... (Below threshold)

Jay writes:

Obama spent several years as a community organizer, and I'm not quite sure what he did during that time. I feel fairly safe in saying, though, that it was probably not much of any great, lasting import

Now that is some impressive hackery. You are openly admitting that you know NOTHING about his work as a community organiser, but you just know he didn't achieve anything.

Watching the shit you've shovelled for the McCain campaign recently has been really painful. I used to have respect for your thoughts and writing Jay Tea, but after the past few days it's gone, along with the last shred of John McCain's dignity and honour.

KapowUh, ummmmmm, ... (Below threshold)


Uh, ummmmmm, well, there is a bit of a problem with our accusation. Have you read Audacity of Hope, by B. H. Obama?

Un, if you haven't read his book, then obviously you are unaware that he went back to school, specifically Harvard Law School, because he was feed up with NOT making a difference or getting anything done. I guess I could go get my copy so as to give you the page number, but what the heck, support Barack, buy his book and read it.

Ok, now he gets in office. Want me to send you to where the pictures are posted of the REAL differences he made after he got elected?

Please don't discredit your guy by posting bogus accusations. There is plenty of fake stuff out there against all candidates for you to vent on, depending on which one you want to believe and which ones strike you as somebody's imagination.

kapow - "Now that is so... (Below threshold)

kapow - "Now that is some impressive hackery. You are openly admitting that you know NOTHING about his work as a community organiser, but you just know he didn't achieve anything."

So fill us all in kapow, educate us.

Surely by taking the opposite stance you have you know more than you're telling (right?), so give, list his accomplishments achieved while a Chi-Town hustler....oops I mean Chi-Town community organizer.

Here's your chance to shine kapow.

I used to have res... (Below threshold)
I used to have respect for your thoughts and writing Jay Tea, but after the past few days it's gone, along with the last shred of John McCain's dignity and honour.

The only dignity and honor that have left McCain are what you imagined with your emotional comment. Guilt trips aren't going to change opinions of what is obvious, especially when you refuse to display that you "know something" about a candidate's work. You can't deny the content of what is written, so you have to "lose respect" and feel "pain" instead. That is your own self-devised dead end.

With the media paving his p... (Below threshold)

With the media paving his path, we would have learned something of his success as a community organizer by now if there were anything of substance to report.

Oh, I am so ashamed and mor... (Below threshold)

Oh, I am so ashamed and mortified by what Kapow (or was it Crockett? Or Hulabaloo? Or Woop woop/Swoop? Trainee con? I get them mixed up) said. Please, the obvious/geek/fizzlepop, tell me what Obama did as a community organizer that I am unaware of, so my blighted ignorance will be lifted.

This is what happens when you draw too much attention to yourself, Zelsdork Ragshit. When you say something like "I used to have respect for your thoughts and writing Jay Tea, but after the past few days it's gone, along with the last shred of John McCain's dignity and honour," and I say to myself "self, that doesn't match up with my recollections" and I go and review all the comments you made -- and discover that you've used at least 20 different identities to post comments under.

You're disappointed in me? Oddly enough, I'm disappointed in me, too -- that I let you get away with doing that for so long.

Hang it up, doc -- you're as much of an expert on politics as I am on mouse phosphoglucose isomerase.


Oh, and for the record, I c... (Below threshold)

Oh, and for the record, I can't find any evidence that "kapow" had any respect whatsoever for anyone... even himself.


JT - "Oh, and for the r... (Below threshold)

JT - "Oh, and for the record, I can't find any evidence that "kapow" had any respect whatsoever for anyone... even himself."

Watch out JT, the sockpuppets will unite, unionize and do something.

What that could be I haven't clue #1 but feel assured with all those phony names they could gain a butt load of union dues. (and give them to obamasmessiah)

"mouse phosphoglucos... (Below threshold)

"mouse phosphoglucose isomerase."


Don't worry if you don't ge... (Below threshold)

Don't worry if you don't get that reference, Larry... you're not the target demographic. That demographic consists of one.

And marc, I'm fairly certain that kapow does belong to a very specific union... but it's not one that has a lot of political clout. No, he belongs to an industry that has its own power, in some ways even more insidious and harmful than the labor unions.


Oh, now see? Now I'm mad. ... (Below threshold)

Oh, now see? Now I'm mad. Kapow, you phony creep.

JT - "No, he belongs to... (Below threshold)

JT - "No, he belongs to an industry that has its own power, in some ways even more insidious and harmful than the labor unions."

The mythical Celtic Dragons?

Hammertime!... (Below threshold)


I do have a question though... (Below threshold)

I do have a question though. If I remember correctly, Zelsdorf Ragshaft (sp?) was definitely no Kapow. Does he have a split personality? Or was that not to whom you were referring with "Zelsdork Ragshit"? I'm corn-fused.

You're quite right, Oyster ... (Below threshold)

You're quite right, Oyster -- our little guest was mocking our own Zelsdorf Ragshaft III's name (which even of those who appreciate him have to admit is a bit redundant). Apparently on April 4, 2007, the real Zelsdorf irritated our little pet sock puppeteer ("DRGSMBSCFLUK," to use some more code that only one person might be able to understand) to the point where he made the sophomoric insult of a name. Hardly fresh, as it caused Zelsdorf to invoke both his father and grandfather, Zelsdorf Senior and Junior.

Yes, I'm just littering these comments with cryptic references. Don't like it? Sorry, Charles. Just call it a tampa tantrum.


As far as reform goes, he i... (Below threshold)

As far as reform goes, he is a moderate, and he knows it. Look at his FISA bill and excuse for voting for it - you can't have change too quickly, basically. Another example is his health care plan, which he also readily admits to being a stepping stone rather than an actual reformation. (Still, laughable that McCain would claim 'change' on his platform)

That being said, your friendly troll commenting earlier had a point. The schilling you do for McCain is rather shameful. You make compelling arguments occasionally and you once had an independent voice, but reading you is about as useful as watching Hannity or Rove now - you've sunk so low as to be a hack.

jp2, That was lame... (Below threshold)


That was lame, incredibly lame. Can't change too soon? Well, hell then; let's wait another 4 years to elect him. If not, 8.

You know of any community organizing achievements from the messiah?

He doesn't have my vote, Bi... (Below threshold)

He doesn't have my vote, Bird, so you're going after the wrong guy.

You make compellin... (Below threshold)
You make compelling arguments occasionally and you once had an independent voice

Like you have ever said what those are and what an independent really is. You don't have to not vote for either Obama or McCain to be an independent, jp2. You don't even have to like the candidate you are voting for.

What compelling arguments have you observed, jp2? Any that you can recollect? What post by Jay, date and time, and what did you find compelling with an independent voice about it?

Yeah, he'd rather a gradual... (Below threshold)

Yeah, he'd rather a gradual "change" to socialism and appeasement. So we won't notice it. You know, like gas prices. They just went up too fast. I can believe it when jp2 says Obama doesn't have his vote. Because believe it or not, he's not far enough left for jp2.

so you're going af... (Below threshold)
so you're going after the wrong guy.

Nobody's going after a guy with no substance in his schilling for himself. Are you a writer, jp2? You find it so easy to criticize what you can't match or surpass.

jp2Watching Rove s... (Below threshold)


Watching Rove should be required. That man is scary smart. After all, he was the engineer for Bush's two, count them any way you like, TWO, or 2 or whatever, victories over the nominees of the Democratic party. Of course the Democrats helped him by nominating lightweights. They did it again this cycle. A Clinton/Obama ticket would have been nearly unbeatable.

But, as usual, the Dems stood in a circle to hold their firing squad drill with real bullets.

And of course, when they lose, they will blame everyone except themselves. Well, except for the realists, who won't say anything except in private. This year, they have most of the media in their pocket, tons of money, a disenchanted public, control of Congresss and a partridge in a pear tree. So what do they do?

They nominate a sweet talker instead of a doer, a guy most folks don't relate with very well. This is the first real contest Obama has been in except for the one he lost early on. And it shows.

Jay:Ok, fruitcake ... (Below threshold)


Ok, fruitcake or whatever disguise he is using this post is a Teacher. What is not to like about Obama if you are a Chicago teacher? An elementary school day in Chicago is 5 hours and 45 minutes. For that and whatever after hours they have to spend grading, a teacher earns about $43K to start and those on the high end will make nearly $100K a year. This for working what, 181 days a year of 5.45 hour days? Of course he likes Obama, who was endorsed by the Chicago Teachers Union.

As always, follow the money. Obama talks about kids not getting a good education, then does exactly nothing to better it.

"Watching Rove should be re... (Below threshold)

"Watching Rove should be required. That man is scary smart."

Smart, yeah. I don't think he's a genius or anything though, just an asshole. Someone who gets lower than a snake's belly to win. (implying McCain had an illegitimate black child, painting war heroes as cowards, stealing stationary and printing fake fliers, planting fake bugs, using gays as wedge issues, releasing Plame's name...)

Besides, what good does it do anyone to watch him? You know what he is going to say - support the party...blah blah blah. Even when wrong, support the party. Ask JT about it.


jp2, using a Jon Stewart co... (Below threshold)

jp2, using a Jon Stewart comedic "take" on the news with snippets and interpretations by Stewart isn't going to tell people enough about Rove. What do you believe an independent is, and why would you find Jay sometimes compelling when you can't say when those times are. You wouldn't be reading his entries if you didn't want to. Which party do you support? Are you a democrat or a socialist?

I do not appreciate the bef... (Below threshold)
Zelsdorf Ragshaft III:

I do not appreciate the befouling of my name Jay Tea. I use the best logic I am capable of to try to edify those who are fooled by the lie that is B. Hussein Obama. Those who back Obama are either unable or unwilling to state Obama's accomplishments. Obama is the best example of what an empty suit is. His association with Ayers, Wright, Rezko and adherance to principles espoused by Saul Alinski are hidden from the voting public. Why? Not one person from his past, unlike McCain and Palin, has stepped forward to speak up for this man. It is like he has lived in isolation for most of his life. No one can verify anything this conman has to say. He speaks of reform like he has done some but, alas, he has not. Unlike his opponent not only has Obama not reformed anything, he has never authored any legislation. One must wonder why the MSM would want to foist this Marxist on the United States.

Jesus was not a "community ... (Below threshold)

Jesus was not a "community organizer."

I know it didn't originate with you, Jay, but it's utterly ridiculous and completely misrepresents Jesus Christ.

My husband cracked me up th... (Below threshold)

My husband cracked me up this morning when he said, "No. Jesus was no community organizer, but he WAS a maverick."

Re. Chicago's Annenberg Cha... (Below threshold)

Re. Chicago's Annenberg Challenge, you mention that the Small Schools Workshop getting funded--but not the Algebra Project. Did you counter-pose these two for a reason? Did you know that the Algebra Project was founded by Robert Moses, another '60s radical? Did you know that Mike Klonsky helped bring the Algebra Project into Chicago and wrote many articles about Moses while he was writing for Catalyst Magazine? Why would you support the Algebra Project getting funded?






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