There’s been a lot of yap about Obama’s slogans of “change” and “hope.” Didn’t we go through this once before?
By way of maha, I came across this post by Niall Stanage\:
But one important sentence near the end of her [Clinton’s] reply was largely overlooked: “We don’t need to be raising the false hopes of our country about what can be delivered.”
She sounded the same note again towards the debate’s end. When Obama began speaking about people’s feeling of being frozen out of politics, and about the need to bring those people back into a “working majority” for change, Clinton interjected.
“Can we just have a sort of a reality break for a minute?” she asked contemptuously.
This kind of calculated attempt to encourage cynicism now seems to be the best the former First Lady has to offer.
Granted, there’s something ironic about the spouse of the Man from Hope decrying “false hopes.” But this might explain the extraordinary support for Obama among younger voters (I’ve read 57% for Obama, but I can’t find the link). If you’re 29, you were twelve or thirteen years old during the Clinton 1992 campaign, and if you’re 18, you were two. While that cohort might remember the Clinton presidency, I don’t think most of them remember the Clinton campaign. There was a lot of inspiring rhetoric, most of which was pretty vague on specifics, and which was then jettisoned during the first couple of years of his presidency.
I think many voters who aren’t in this age cohort (including the Mad Biologist) are somewhat suspicious of being burned again. Unlike Stanage, I don’t think that’s “cynicism” on my part (although it might be on Clinton’s part) but realism combined with a bit of buyer’s remorse.
Obama’s record isn’t strong enough for a sane person not suffering from total memory loss to want to be reassured (and Oprah’s word doesn’t cut it….).
You don’t have to be able to remember the first Clinton campaign to find all this talk of “change” utterly risible. “Change” was also one of Bush’s main buzzowords in his first campaign.It has the advantage of appealing to anyone who is dissatisfied about any aspect of the current regime without necessarily offering anything explicit in return. I don’t blame Obama for playing the game, but US electoral politics is a pretty silly game.