Why Obama Will Fail
Pardon me while I get political here again, but I'm finding the Democratic race to be fascinating on the energetic perspective.
Obama lost last night to Clinton in the Pennsylvania primary. Considering that he was the "front runner," he had oodles of money to spend, and the math will make it hard for Hillary to beat him, why didn't he easily take Pennsylvania?
Some vocal, angry Obama fans have put this down to a single, ugly word: racism. A post on Daily Kos about Obama's loss was filled with insulting, negative comments about people who voted for Clinton. Besides being "racist," these voters were labeled as uneducated, ignorant, and buying into the mainstream media (even though Obama has actually gotten more favorable press all along, except for the past few weeks due to his own screw-ups).
What's fascinating to me is how these comments echo the "bitter" sentiment that Obama himself expressed in San Francisco recently. The message behind Obama's comment, as well as the comments of his supporters, suggest an elitism, an arrogance, and an utter contempt for those who do not vote his way.
Noooo, it couldn't possibly be that people have voted for Hillary because they just like her outright or think she's a better candidate. No, she wins because of racism (never mind the fact that his wins are heavily dependent on blacks voting for the black candidate at the expense of the white one). I guess choosing by race is only OK when it favors you.
Now, don't get me wrong. Politics is a dirty business, and the Clintons are really good at playing hard ball. But in the times I have poked around the Internet, I have found the Clinton supporters to be generally positive, saying that they'd vote for Obama in a pinch, and they rarely insult Obama supporters by suggesting that they are stupid or racist.
Many Obama supporters, on the other hand, are filled with such vitriol against Clinton and the people who support her, you have to wonder whether they're secretly Republicans in disguise. I actually had a client of mine forward me a crazy email by Obama supporters accusing Clinton of the most amazing conspiracies. And these are Democrats doing this, against another Democrat!
Much of the rhetoric these Obama fans use against the Clintons is the same rhetoric used by the neo-cons when they went after Bill Clinton in the 90s with a vengeance, trying to find any way possible to topple his presidency. It was finally Monica Lewinsky that turned out to be Bill's Achilles heel, but those of us informed Democrats who were old enough back then will never forget the vicious, constant attacks against the Clintons during those years.
So it is absolutely astonishing to me to hear professed Democrats using the very same words and negative statements about Hillary as the neo-cons used against her husband 10 years ago.
And here's the problem: Obama claims to be about change and not about politics as usual. Yet, his comments and those of many of his supporters suggest an elitist attitude against the average American. When Obama wins, it's a sign that Americans have woken up (remember what Obama's wife said about finally having hope in America now thanks to his successful candidacy), but when he fails, it is due to the stupidity of uneducated Americans who are religious out of fear, racist because they are old, and brainwashed by the media.
Ironically, his angry supporters are expressing the very hatred that they charge against others. Obama himself negated his populist message when he insinuated that Americans have to cling to religion because they don't have anything better to do with their negative emotions.
You cannot win an election on superiority and arrogance, however. You can't insult the very people you want to vote your way, and then expect that they will come to their senses thanks to your insults. I was much more positive on Obama until I started reading comments on The Huffington Post by other Democrats railing against Hillary like she was the anti-Christ. Any positive feelings I had for Obama were destroyed by his very supporters, because by insulting Hillary supporters they insulted me personally.
I'm not stupid and uneducated. I personally want Clinton to win not only because I think she is smarter and has more substance than Obama, but because I think she's more centrist and therefore is more electable. Obama is simply too liberal, and the reason why he is not electable has much less to do with the color of his skin and everything to do with his appeal to college liberals.
I was a college liberal once. Young, eager, and marching around with picket signs at the drop of a hat. I still consider myself liberal, but 16 years out of college have tempered my youthful enthusiasm and anger and given me a more balanced perspective. I understand that America is more moderate, and it needs a moderate president. But some angry young liberals do not understand this, and in their zeal to get their chosen one to get elected, they are actively pushing away more moderate Democrats with their misdirected anger.
Anger will not win a presidential campaign. You cannot have a message of hope on the surface that covers a cancer of elitism and hatred boiling underneath.
Obama may win the Democratic nomination, but for him to go all the way and become President, he and his supporters need to stop looking down on the other half of the party. While Clinton has been more than gracious in offering her hand to Obama, Obama has historically snubbed her. He could perhaps stop her campaign by offering Hillary a VP spot on his ticket, but I suspect he has not even entertained this...and once again, this feels to me like an energy of arrogance and anger on his part.
I will not be happy to have four more years of a Republican in office. But I'm not hopeful that Obama can win a general election, especially if these negative energies continue. While Obama cannot control the zeal of his supporters, he does set the tone for them through his words and actions. Obama can possibly turn the tide here, if he stops being so arrogant and overly confident, and expresses some humility and gratitude towards the average American that he would be serving as President. He and his campaign also need to rein in his more angry supporters and encourage them to speak more positively instead of negatively.
Otherwise, if you insult the very people you want to vote for you, you will lose.