Barack Obama for President of Iowa

Antarcticiana's firm commitment to journalistic integrity and our unswerving dedication to presenting only the facts are, of course, known from one end of the world wide web to the other. You may read here about the "beauty" of a particular species of bird, or even the "superiority" of one sort of flooring to another, but we generally try to withhold judgement, always preferring that you, the informed reader, draw your own conclusions. We are all about empowering you; we leave polemics and politics to the blowhards, those puffers of hot, garlicky air who pollute the byways of the internet in such tedious abundance.

But lately the barrage of attention being paid to our humble blog has made us aware of the great power we have; power which must be used to do good, lest it go to waste, falling like ripe fruits from the trees to rot uneaten on the ground of the orchard. In short, we feel much like Bono; with so very many ears cocked in our direction, to remain silent seems to us an abdication of the grave responsibility you, the dear reader, have invested in us.

It is therefore, with pride, and a sense of urgency, that we end our long moratorium on the endorsement of political candidates with the announcement that we firmly and fully support Barack Obama in the upcoming Iowa caucuses.

Why Obama? And, having gone out on a limb and chosen a young, gangly, light-skinned black man whose name sounds scarily like "Osama," why hedge and endorse only for Iowa?

As to the latter question: the presidential elections are scheduled for November 4th, 2008. The Iowa caucuses for January 3rd of the same year, but only just. (Next year, by the way). Eleven months are a very long time. Significantly longer than a pregnancy, and we all know how long and trying those can be. Give or take a few weeks, in fact, this period represents a full one-quarter of a complete presidential term. This absurd state of affairs, which results in our electing a president who serves for all of two years before launching his re-election campaign, requires our discouragement. With such a vast span of time dividing the primaries from the actual election, Obama, despite being by far the youngest serious candidate, could well die of old age before the elections even take place. Or do something so stupid that we would be forced to withdraw our support. For the moment, Iowa. Then we'll see how things go.

So, why Barack? In six words: he is earnest, brilliant, and inexperienced. We live in a time when the so-called world's greatest democracy has been reduced to a two-party tyranny of rule by corporate interest. Fat old white men, some in blue diapers, some in red, all paid for by lobbyists, sit on either side of a great sandbox slinging handfuls of grit at one another. Why on earth would we want to elect as president someone who has demonstrated that they are adept at playing this game? Obama honestly seems to agree with us that things cannot go on this way. From here, his inexperience looks like a major benefit; he hasn't been at it long enough to have been corrupted and destroyed by the endless series of incremental, criminal, soul-destroying compromises reached daily between our elected leaders and their golf partners. Should we really prefer, for instance, a woman whose every decision appears to have been taken in the calculation (or miscalculation) of its political consequences, rather than any actual belief in the rightness of it?

Plus, Barack is a brother. He doesn't talk about it much, and he did go to Harvard, which doesn't play so great in the 'hood, but what I'm hearing is that he is actually a bro'. Almost fifty years after legislating racism out of existence, the contemporary attitude towards race in our country is one of denial. Today's solution to chronic black unemployment and resultant potential unrest, now known euphemistically as the divisions within our society, is an offer of two choices to the disenfranchised: incarceration or military service. Those who complain are reminded that they have just as many options open to them as anybody else, because back in the 1960s they became equal. It is about time we proved it.

Video link courtesy of ATLAS + the Balakrishnan dynasty.


Anonymous said...

If we are choosing candidates based upon political inexperience, I believe John Edwards has Obama beat. John Edwards may not be a brother or a Clinton, but he is the better candidate.

They say it's a cold world said...

It's funny you should mention this guy Edwards. A couple of people have sent me emails about him since the Obama endorsement. I'm going to have to look into that.

Austin said...

Well, you may want to look at Edwards, but don't look too long or too hard.

This is a man who spends $400 for a haircut--an amount greater than the monthly grocery bill of many of the families for whom he pretends to give "voice"--and then defines the ethical issue as a billing error. (It was an honest mistake that it was charged to a compaign account, rather than to his personal account!) To such moral opacity you can add the fact that this preacher of ecological modesty lives in a house the size of a small Marriott hotel. Stuff like this, if unchecked, threatens to give hypocrisy a bad name. In fact, Edwards perfectly exemplifies the twin evils you identify in your post: a party system that presents us with illusory "alternatives" and an ethos in which a politician's first (and often only) concern is election or re-election.

Anonymous said...



houston said...

Oh no! A $400 haircut!
Somebody please publish how much each candidate spends on his or her hair so I can vote accordingly.
Thank you, Austin, for bringing up the issues that really demand more attention!

Dallas said...

Fortuitously, the candidate with the worst haircut (i.e., the cheapest) is Kucinich, who really is the best candidate.

el paso said...

And don't forget RON PAUL, the only MAN on Earth who can save us from MONSTERS with his SOUND ECONOMIC THEORY.

They say it's a cold world said...

The morning of Friday January 4th my main man Obama is looking pretty good. My bookie is coming over for breakfast to bring me the huge piles of loot I won on this contest. I had ready money on Barack and even gave away 5 percentage points to buy my way into serious long odds, so you can bet I'll be headed out on a shopping spree this afternoon. The US economy, after all, is currently standing on the one quaking leg of consumer spending.

Austin said...

Congratulations to the icy Brooklynite on his political prescience. At this point it would be futile to debate with Houston the proposition that some vague correlation between a candidate’s noisy public positions and his private behavior might be desirable, even in the ethical wilderness known as “politics”. Despite the expensive coiffure Mr. Edwards had such a bad hair day on Thursday that we are unlikely to hear much more about him. He can go back to suing people for big bucks. My suggestion is that the focus now ought to be put on advancing a Democratic candidate who could actually win a general election—meaning one that includes such minor constituencies as fall outside the five boroughs of New York. That candidate would be Senator Obama, whose win in Iowa is among the more amazing and encouraging events in recent political memory,

Galveston said...

Mr. Austin:
Please retire the old haircut canard and bring up something substantial. One can put any life under the microscope of public scrutiny and find "hypocritical" positions, although your reliance on the haircut is laughable at best. (Now, if Edwards eats babies, THAT will definitely change my opinion of him.)
That said, I'll be putting my support behind Kucinich in the NY primary, but I can happily vote for Obama come next November--and it looks like I will if things continue in this vein.
I am relieved that Clinton seems to be losing steam. That's the one Dem candidate that I would have difficulty voting for in the general election.