Grappling with the Obama Reality

For people like me — young, college-educated and politically independent “millenials” — Barack Obama was and stilll remains the college-professor-we-wished-became-president, who actually became president of the United States. His “Yes, We Can” campaign tagline and exhortation for young ones to enter public service resonated strongly, but much to the surprise of those who know my politics, I was rooting for Hilary Clinton in the Democratic primaries. It wasn’t so much a vote against Obama than a vote for Mrs Clinton. We all know who won.

Sure, there were concerns over baggage from her husband’s presidency, but she also had the experience and the verve to negotiate the murky waters of Congressional politics, an important aspect of legislative strategy. I thought Obama could have done with some more political experience as either Hillary’s vice-president or Secretary of State, which would then prepare him for a run in 2016. After all, he’s much younger than Hillary. If there were anybody more equipped to clean up the mess created by a spoilt brat who didn’t know better and allowed two wily old foxes to hijack his presidency, it was perhaps a strong and smart motherly figure who would be able to stand up to the egos that dot politics. Simply put, America needs to be rehabilitated.

Those same friends thought I was cynical for thinking that, but politics is cynical. You have to fight cynical with cynical and then somehow rise above that. Not many political progressives are capable of that because they usually get lynched by the GOP for their politics, which are easily cast as “limp” and “gutless” and therefore “bad for America” by their more hawkish opponents. Both Obama and Hillary want to rise above that, but I wasn’t sure if Obama had what it takes to move beyond cynical hell. I was enthralled by the idea of an Obama presidency, but I wasn’t too hot about the reality of it.

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