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Back in the Fall of 2006 Harper's published Obama Inc. A Washington Machine.

http://www.harpers.org/...

The article is worth another look as obama has now emerged as a Democratic front runner.  The article examines where out party is today and where its future may lie. Obama is the media's "starry eyed Idealist" right now. He's also the celebrity candidate who within two years in the Senate stands on the verge of the leadership of the party. Harper's gently points out a few uncomfortable realities about the man and the myth. What is the dollar value of this starry eyed idealist?

Brand Obama had campus cred, he organized poor communities in Chicago, he was a Neighbourhood Leader.  He is also the New Coke. He is iObama, Eco Bama Obama-lite, Cherry Obama, Lean Obama and Obamaty for Humanity:

The senator was running a bit late; but when he finally glided into the auditorium, escorted by an assortment of aides, he was greeted by a tremendous swell of applause as he took to the stage. Dressed in a brown jacket and red tie, Obama approached the podium, flanked by two giant screens enlarging his image, and began a softly spoken but compelling speech that recalled his own days, after his graduation in 1983 from Columbia University, as a community organizer in poor neighborhoods of Chicago. "You’ll have boundless opportunities when you graduate," he told the students, "and it’s very easy to just take that diploma, forget about all this progressive-politics stuff, and go chasing after the big house and the large salary and the nice suits and all the other things that our money culture says you should buy. But I hope you don’t get off that easy. There’s nothing wrong with making money, but focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a poverty of ambition."

He's not against making a buck, that would be too easy. Making money is easy apparently.  But he wants you to give to charity in time or money, he's his brother's keeper. You should be like him and not show a poverty of spirit:

Obama complained of an American culture that "discourages empathy," in which those in power blame poverty on people who are "lazy or weak of spirit" and believe that "innocent people being slaughtered and expelled from their homes halfway around the world are somebody else’s problem." He urged the assembled activists to ignore those voices, "not because you have an obligation to those who are less fortunate than you, although I think you do have that obligation . . . but primarily because you have that obligation to yourself. Because our individual salvation depends on collective salvation. It’s only when you hitch yourself up to something bigger than yourself that you realize your true potential."

Obama is credible, he fought poverty, so should you. You Kids should also concern yourself with innocents slaughtered and expelled from their homes...you are obliged, it also makes you more human:

It was a rousing speech, and Obama is probably the only member of Congress who could have delivered it with any conviction or credibility. When he left the stage and headed toward the hotel exit, he was trailed by a pack of autograph seekers, picture takers, and glad-handers

Why are they so excited? How does he keep his face straight? what could be the thing that motivates them to such adulation? He's like a pop star right? A cool celebrity politician Here it is--

EcoBama is the Green Candidate, he wants to get rid of Gasoline:

Despite its audience and ostensible subject matter, however, Obama’s speech had contained just a single call for political action. This was when he had introduced Mark Pike, a law student who then came bounding across the stage in a green one-piece mechanic’s outfit. As part of a campaign called "Kick the Oil Habit," Pike was to depart directly from the conference and drive from Washington to Los Angeles in a "flex-fuel" vehicle. "Give it up for Mark!" Obama had urged the crowd, noting that Pike would be refueling only at gas stations that offer E85—which Obama touts as "a clean, renewable, and domestically produced alternative fuel."

Also the Ethanol candidate:

Although the senator did not elaborate, E85 is so called because it is 85 percent ethanol, a product whose profits accrue to a small group of corporate corn growers led by Illinois-headquartered Archer Daniels Midland. Not surprisingly, agribusiness is a primary advocate of E85, as are such automobile manufacturers as Ford, which donated Pike’s car. The automakers love E85 because it allows them to look environmentally correct ("Live Green, Go Yellow," goes GM’s advertising pitch for the fuel) while producing vehicles, mostly highly profitable and fuel-guzzling SUV and pickup models, that can run on regular gasoline as well as on E85. Since producing most domestic ethanol requires large amounts of fossil fuel, and regular gasoline provides about 30 percent more mileage per gallon than E85, it’s arguably preferable from a conservation standpoint to drive a standard gasoline car rather than a flex-fuel vehicle. Obama had essentially marshaled his twenty minutes of undeniably moving oratory to plump for the classic pork-barrel cause of every Midwestern politician

Patrobama. In addition to his Green bona fides He's also America's candidate he is not revolutionary he is a reformer with results just like the founders:

Hence he is playing not only to voters in Illinois—a reliably Democratic and generally liberal state—but to the broader national audience, as well as to the Democratic Party establishment, the Washington media, and large political donors. Perhaps for this reason, Obama has taken an approach to his policymaking that is notably cautious and nonconfrontational. "Since the founding, the American political tradition has been reformist, not revolutionary," he told me during an interview at his office on Capitol Hill this summer. "What that means is that for a political leader to get things done, he or she ideally should be ahead of the curve, but not too far ahead. I want to push the envelope but make sure I have enough folks with me that I’m not rendered politically impotent."

Lottobama. Very good at mixed metaphor, cliche and truism as well. Not a revolutionary but a reformer but which way will he reform:

The question, though, is just how effective—let alone reformist—Obama’s approach can be in a Washington grown hostile to reform and those who advocate it. After a quarter century when the Democratic Party to which he belongs has moved steadily to the right, and the political system in general has become thoroughly dominated by the corporate perspective, the first requirement of electoral success is now the ability to raise staggering sums of money. For Barack Obama, this means that mounting a successful career, especially one that may include a run for the presidency, cannot even be attempted without the kind of compromising and horse trading that may, in fact, render him impotent.

Centrobama. He's bipartisan, a uniter not a divider, he sees the mote in his own eye and see's pork in the other. he wants to bring the whole nation to the prime rib BBQ:

I asked Obama a question about pork-barrel spending. Did he feel pressure to deliver federal money for home-state interests? "Pork is in the eye of the beholder," he said. "The recipients don’t tend to think it’s pork, especially if it’s a great public-works project." He said he felt "pretty good" about projects he had sought in last year’s transportation bill and "unashamed" about getting them in. House Speaker Dennis Hastert had praised Obama for his efforts in helping win Illinois its $6.2 billion in the massive, earmarklarded 2005 transportation bill. (Illinois’s most extravagant project funded by the bill was the Prairie Parkway, a controversial regional highway that would run through Hastert’s district and, in fact, has significantly increased the value of real estate he owns along the proposed route.)

Bloggobama. He'a a uniter not a divider, denny Hastert liked him a lot: (did Obama mention that?)

Obama said that the "blogger community," which by now is shorthand for liberal Democrats, gets frustrated with him because they think he’s too willing to compromise with Republicans. "My argument," he says, "is that a polarized electorate plays to the advantage of those who want to dismantle government. Karl Rove can afford to win with 51 percent of the vote. They’re not trying to reform health care. They are content with an electorate that is cynical about government. Progressives have a harder job. They need a big enough majority to initiate bold proposals."

Optimobama. To Initiate bold proposals we need to stop being cynical. We musn't draw sharp distinctions and lines we will not cross. He isn't Jackson or Sharpton, he doesn't make you angry when he pushes his centrism: (thanks for not pissing me off when you disagree with me Obama. did he mention he doesn't 'polarize'?)

That event marked his entry into a well-established Washington ritual—the gauntlet of fund-raising parties and meet-and-greets through which potential stars are vetted by fixers, donors, and lobbyists. Gregory Craig, an attorney with Williams & Connolly and a longtime Democratic figure who, as special counsel in the White House, had coordinated Bill Clinton’s impeachment defense, met Obama that night. "I liked his sense of humor and the confidence he had discussing national issues, especially as a state senator," Craig recalled of the event. "You felt excited to be in his presence." Another thing that Craig liked about Obama was that he’s not seen as a "polarizer," like such traditional African-American leaders as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. "He gets respect from his adversaries because of the way he treats them," Craig said. "He doesn’t try to be all things to all people, but he has a way of taking positions you don’t like without making you angry."

Placebobama. He is the  Low Income Housing candidate too, and we will be hearing more about this issue no doubt.  Some call it Real Estate Speculation! oh and ADM like him too:(ADM support all those wonderful informative Sunday political shows! Very civic minded firm. ADM funded nice shows like Cokie, Brinkley, Donaldson)

And indeed Obama has delivered for his constituents—for social activists, but also for business groups whose demands are invariably more costly. Although this is not the place to review the full history of ethanol, it’s beyond dispute that it survives only because members of Congress from farm states, whether liberal or conservative, have for decades managed to win billions of dollars in federal subsidies to underwrite its production. It is not, of course, family farmers who primarily benefit from the program but rather the agribusiness giants such as Illinois-based Aventine Renewable Energy and Archer Daniels Midland (for which ethanol accounts for just 5 percent of its sales but an estimated 23 percent of its profits). Ethanol production, as Tad Patzek of UC Berkeley’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering wrote in a report this year, is based on "the massive transfer of money from the collective pocket of the U.S. taxpayers to the transnational agricultural cartel."

Cartelobama. He's a great fund raiser, did I mention that, he advocated for low cost housing, he's smiley he doesn't anger you when he brings about a new politics er...

Today, money has all but wrung such dissent from the Senate. Campaigns have grown increasingly costly; in 2004 it took an average of more than $7 million to run for a Senate seat. As Carl Wagner, a Democratic political strategist who first came to Washington in 1970, remarked to me, the Senate today is a fundamentally different institution than it was then. "Senators were creatures of their states and reflected the cultures of their states," he said. "Today they are creatures of the people who pay for their multimillion-dollar advertising campaigns. Representative democracy has largely been taken off the table. It’s reminiscent of the 1880s and 1890s, when senators were chosen by state legislatures who were owned by the railroads and the banks." Accordingly, as corporate money has grown increasingly important to candidates, we have seen the rise of the smothering K Street culture and the revolving door that feeds it—not just lobbyists themselves but an entire interconnected world of campaign consultants, public-relations agencies, pollsters, and media strategists.

Obamart: Money meet Reform. Reform meet Money.

All of this has forged a political culture that is intrinsically hostile to reform. On condition of anonymity, one Washington lobbyist I spoke with was willing to point out the obvious: that big donors would not be helping out Obama if they didn’t see him as a "player." The lobbyist added: "What’s the dollar value of a starry-eyed idealist?"

Admittedly the writer has a view of Obama that suggests he is an empty suit. But I disagree. Obviously Obama is a player. But what is he up to?

Obama is a conduit for delivering  hopeful ideals and idealistic people to advertizing and marketing firms. This process repackages these ideas and people into a commodity. Obama has an unerring sense for recognizing power in the form of the corporate lobby. At the ward, precinct, county, city, state, national  and multinational level he feeds and gives power what it craves: credibility.  

speaking of credibility:

http://www.youtube.com/...

It's an advert for Obama Genuine Draft.

Originally posted to Salo on Thu Jun 14, 2007 at 10:51 PM PDT.

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