Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Why I'm still for Team Obama

As someone who plays with nuance all the time, the actual effect of rhetoric on politics means a lot to me. Specifically, though, it isn't just the content of a speech but the tone that is important; very rarely in US politics will I support a statement that draws its inspiration from anger or an US vs. Them mentality. That was awful during the Bush years and the Clinton years, and does not seem terribly worthwhile now.

Of course, I'm still playing for a team here. Broadly, it's the left, and more specifically it is the policy of a sane left. Not a compromising, mid-90s centrist left, but a left that is both self-assured in the correctness of its view while not being overbearing about it. It is nice to see these sentiments echoed in an analysis of Obama:
Democratic partisans think the enemy is vicious and must be met with uncompromising force. That's exactly how conservative foreign policy hawks feel about the world. Unsurprisingly, the right-wing foreign policy critique of Obama today sounds eerily like the partisan Democratic critique of Obama during the primary...

This is a perfect summation of Obama's strategy. It does not presuppose that his adversaries are people of goodwill who can be reasoned with. Rather, it assumes that, by demonstrating his own goodwill and interest in accord, Obama can win over a portion of his adversaries' constituents as well as third parties. Obama thinks he can move moderate Muslim opinion, pressure bad actors like Iran to negotiate, and, if Iran fails to comply, encourage other countries to isolate it. The strategy works whether or not Iran makes a reasonable agreement.
The full article is here, and is about 10 paragraphs. Well worth reading, and a welcome break from the angry echo chamber that is most politics on the internet.

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