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View Full Version : Glen Loury has hellped me make up my mind on Obama


JackLifton
07-25-2008, 03:31 PM
Far and away the most interesting, most cogent, and most listener friendly discussions on your site are the McWhorter/Loury diavlogs. Even though I am a conservative, and I respect and admire John McWhorter I find myself often swayed by Glen Loury's reasoning in particular in the context of Loury's experience.

I have completely lost my respect for Obama and I understand why after listening to Loury's explanation of why he is disappointed by Obama's theatrics and rhetorical posturing, which he likens to that of Cornell West, all show and very little substance.

I understand why Larry Summers was disappointed in Cornell West, and I understand why so many of Hilary Clinton's supporters find it difficult to support Barack Obama.

graz
07-25-2008, 03:36 PM
I have completely lost my respect for Obama and I understand why after listening to Loury's explanation of why he is disappointed by Obama's theatrics and rhetorical posturing, which he likens to that of Cornell West, all show and very little substance.


Glenn Loury didn't at any point in this diavlog liken Obama to Cornell West.
It may be convenient for you to shorthand your criticisms of Obama by doing so, but that would not make your assertion correct.

AemJeff
07-25-2008, 03:45 PM
Far and away the most interesting, most cogent, and most listener friendly discussions on your site are the McWhorter/Loury diavlogs. Even though I am a conservative, and I respect and admire John McWhorter I find myself often swayed by Glen Loury's reasoning in particular in the context of Loury's experience.

I have completely lost my respect for Obama and I understand why after listening to Loury's explanation of why he is disappointed by Obama's theatrics and rhetorical posturing, which he likens to that of Cornell West, all show and very little substance.

I understand why Larry Summers was disappointed in Cornell West, and I understand why so many of Hilary Clinton's supporters find it difficult to support Barack Obama.

As a conservative, you've lost your respect for Obama and understand why others are disappointed by Cornell West and Hillary Clinton. I imagine these realizations have caused you a great deal of stress.

uncle ebeneezer
07-25-2008, 03:58 PM
And yet it is still my impression that at the end of the day, Glenn supports and intends to vote for Obama. Maybe the positive sentiments that Loury has bestowed on Obama should be considered too, if we're going to follow Glenn's lead.

bjkeefe
07-25-2008, 04:53 PM
The good thing to take away from Jack's post is that, finally, we have a conservative who respects the views of an Ivy League professor.

Don't tell you know who (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/member.php?u=44).

Thus Spoke Elvis
07-25-2008, 06:33 PM
I wouldn't go nearly so far as to say that I've "completely lost all respect" for Obama, but I definitely can sympathize with your sentiments. I'm probably not going to vote for Obama given that I'm to his right on most issues (though he's been trying to close that gap over the past few months), but there's a lot I like about the man. At the same time, I feel uneasy by the way he so easily makes many swoon, and I sometimes wonder how much substance there really is.

My reaction to his speech in Berlin exemplifies my mixed feelings towards the man. On one hand, I think it is an unquestionably great thing for an American a draw a crowd of that size in a foreign country, and to inspire so many foreigners to proudly wave an American flag. On the other hand, I thought the speech was dull and cliched, and I'm pretty uncomfortable with someone other than the President (whichever party he may belong to) acting as America's representative on an event of such a large scale (yes, I know that Obama stated that he was just speaking as an "American citizen," but the location and magnitude of the event made his speech carry much more significance). Style triumphed substance or protocol, and I'm not altogether comfortable with that, even if I'm not altogether opposed to it either.

uncle ebeneezer
07-25-2008, 06:52 PM
Thus, have you checked out Obama's website and his stated positions and proposed policies? I always wonder about the "substance" charge when A.) McCain seems to be far more lacking in substance (and knowledge) on any number of issues. And B.) I have read several accounts by senior congressmen and fellow legislators who remark favorably on Obama's grasp of the issues and his recognition of the numerous and sometimes conflicting details involved. I'm not trying to be snarky, I'm just honestly curious as to how substance is a concern for you with Obama but not McCain, when for me it's just the opposite. The fact that Obama is a good orator doesn't diminish his ability to make decisions, just like McCains oratory deficiencies don't mean that much either. I wonder if the fact that Obama has a certain amount of appeal (charisma, speeches, youth etc.) causes alot of people to question his substance when if they've actually listened to him, they wouldn't. I'm not accusing you of this per se. If you're views are to the right of Obama, well then there you have it. But on the question of substance, I wonder why more people aren't questioning that aspect of McCain. --Uncle Eb

Thus Spoke Elvis
07-25-2008, 07:11 PM
Couple things:

1.) Yes, I have seen Obama's website. It has a number of reasonably specific proposals (much more than McCain's website, for example). But so did John Edwards's webpage, and most people didn't think of him as some great policy wonk. Most of the time, I [U]do take Obama seriously, but every once in awhile, after listening to speeches of safe platitudes, I wonder how much substance is actually there.

2.) As I've written on a few occassions (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showpost.php?p=80159&postcount=8), I don't think McCain has a very impressive intellect. But his positions are closer to mine, so I'm still going to be more inclined to vote for him than a guy who I disagree with. I'm still not convinced I'll vote for McCain only because the disparity between the intellectual talent of the two candidates seems so significant.

3.) I don't think Obama has to win people like me over to win this election. It's going to be a blow-out, so none of my concerns really matter.

bjkeefe
07-25-2008, 09:10 PM
I don't think Obama has to win people like me over to win this election. It's going to be a blow-out, so none of my concerns really matter.

Hah! Don't think you're going to lull us to sleep with that trap!

But seriously, I don't think it's going to be a blow-out. And even if we don't get your vote, I'd like to think we could win you over, at least a little bit. There are too many problems to be solved that won't be if it's 51 pulling one way and 49 the other.

(Don't mean to sound presumptuous with the "we." Couldn't think of how else to say, compactly, "those of us who support Obama and generally think he's got a better grasp of the issues and ideas about how to approach them.)

TwinSwords
08-04-2008, 07:05 PM
I feel uneasy by the way he so easily makes many swoon
Did you feel uneasy about the way Bush made people swoon? I don't know if you were living in the United States in 2004, but Bush's campaign rallies had the appearance of cult festivals. Frenzied worship characterized the crowd reaction to Bush at every one of his public appearances, most notably the Republican National Convention.

Many of his followers, possibly millions, believed he was a divine manifestation of God's will, personally hand-picked by the divinity to lead America. Bush suggested as much himself in his first inaugural address.

Any of that bother you?



I sometimes wonder how much substance there really is.
Did you ever wonder that about Bush?


[McCain's] positions are closer to mine, so I'm still going to be more inclined to vote for him than a guy who I disagree with
Right. It's not about swooning or substance. It's about ideology.



.

Thus Spoke Elvis
08-05-2008, 02:09 PM
Say what you will about the man's policies, but Bush in 2004 ran on his record, and the response he elicited from many supporters was on account of this. People didn't respond passionately to Bush because of a speech, but because they supported his policies (let me also note that the zeal for Bush in 2004 was far more intense than it was in 2000).

In the case of Obama, I'm afraid that in many cases it's the opposite. The man gives a speech addressing broad themes of "hope," "change," etc., and people impute upon him whatever political beliefs they want. Is Obama a moderate or a progressive? Does he think withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq is necessary regardless of the security situation in Iraq? Does he support free trade or fair trade? I've heard different supporters answer these questions much differently. Because Obama lacks an extensive record, it's hard to say who is correct (just look at the disagreement on this board between likely Obama supporters as to what he believes in).

The Obama and Bush phenomenons are different. In the case of Obama, there is a question as to whether the emperor has any clothes. In the case of Bush, the fact that the emperor had clothing was unquestionable; the only dispute was between those who thought the clothes looked great and those who thought they were godawful.

bjkeefe
08-05-2008, 04:21 PM
Say what you will about the man's policies, but Bush in 2004 ran on his record, and the response he elicited from many supporters was on account of this. People didn't respond passionately to Bush because of a speech, but because they supported his policies (let me also note that the zeal for Bush in 2004 was far more intense than it was in 2000).


Nah. I disagree. Mostly, he ran on a program of fear. His campaign and the 527s spent the bulk of their time spreading FUD about Kerry, not talking about issues or boasting about their accomplishments. I grant that some fraction of his votes came from people who were happy with him for, say, his tax policies, his faith, his tough-guy approach to foreign policy, or whatever, but I really do think most of his support came from people who didn't think Kerry could do the job against turrur.

Thus Spoke Elvis
08-05-2008, 04:35 PM
I grant that some fraction of his votes came from people who were happy with him for, say, his tax policies, his faith, his tough-guy approach to foreign policy, or whatever, but I really do think most of his support came from people who didn't think Kerry could do the job against turrur.

But Twinswords and I were discussing the kinds of people who zealously supported Bush in 2004 and with those who strongly back Obama in 2008. The category of people who strongly supported Bush were those who strongly agreed with his policies on national security and/or the economy. The swing voters who were more ambivalent in their support for Bush chose him because they didn't know what exactly Kerry would do in Iraq and elsewhere, whereas they at least knew where Bush stood.

bjkeefe
08-05-2008, 04:51 PM
Elvis:

Point taken, but I still don't think Bush spent much of his time in 2004 running on his record, and to the extent that he did, it was all in the context of "I've prevented another 9/11," quickly followed by the suggestion that Kerry wouldn't.

That's really the only part that I was disagreeing with.

TwinSwords
08-06-2008, 12:58 AM
Say what you will about the man's policies, but Bush in 2004 ran on his record, and the response he elicited from many supporters was on account of this. People didn't respond passionately to Bush because of a speech, but because they supported his policies (let me also note that the zeal for Bush in 2004 was far more intense than it was in 2000).

In the case of Obama, I'm afraid that in many cases it's the opposite. The man gives a speech addressing broad themes of "hope," "change," etc., and people impute upon him whatever political beliefs they want. Is Obama a moderate or a progressive? Does he think withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq is necessary regardless of the security situation in Iraq? Does he support free trade or fair trade? I've heard different supporters answer these questions much differently. Because Obama lacks an extensive record, it's hard to say who is correct (just look at the disagreement on this board between likely Obama supporters as to what he believes in).
Okay, fine, but this is a whole 'nother class of complaint from where you started, with "swooning." What you wrote above has nothing to do with swooning.

The phenomenon you are describing above is true of every politician, especially ones with short careers and a limited public record. In 2000, a lot of people believed Bush would be an internationalist in the mold of his father, despite his hot rhetoric to the contrary. They were in for a rude awakening once he took office and started insulting all of our allies. A lot of people thought Clinton's "free trade" stance was posturing to help him get elected, and that once in office, he would never stab the Democratic Party base in the back by passing NAFTA. Many people supported both Alito and Roberts on the theory that they were moderates, not radical extremists. We now know those expectations were folly. A lot of people have all sorts of wild fantasies about John McCain, too, believing that he is secretly pro-life, secretly tolerant of gays, a maverick who stands up to special interests and lobbyists.

Are there naive people who have unrealistic and unfounded expectations of Obama? Of course. And that makes him just like every other politician.

Heck, I'd even bet you were shocked by how Bush turned out. Could you have ever guessed he would be such an incompetent failure?

Thus Spoke Elvis
08-08-2008, 02:07 PM
It's undoubtedly true that every successful politician has his share of supporters with naive and unfounded expectations of the candidate. My comment about Obama has to with the degree to which his support comes from this type of person.

I haven't seen this level of fervent support for a presidential candidate in my lifetime. What concerns me is that a whole lot of these fervent supporters don't really know what the man believes, but because he gives a good speech and he's not Bush they assume that he reflects their own position on Iraq, the economy, or whatever else.

As I've said before, the thing I dislike most about the Obama phenomenon is some of his supporters, not the man himself.

bjkeefe
08-08-2008, 02:24 PM
I haven't seen this level of fervent support for a presidential candidate in my lifetime.

Weren't you alive from 1980-1988?

Thus Spoke Elvis
08-08-2008, 05:58 PM
Weren't you alive from 1980-1988?

I wasn't around for the 1980 election, so I can't compare. Reagan definitely had a fervent following as time went on, but people were reacting to both the speeches andthe results. With Obama, it's mainly been the former.

bjkeefe
08-08-2008, 11:47 PM
... andthe results.

Not going there. We'd be farther apart on this one than the abortion issue.

JonIrenicus
01-27-2009, 01:29 AM
Far and away the most interesting, most cogent, and most listener friendly discussions on your site are the McWhorter/Loury diavlogs. Even though I am a conservative, and I respect and admire John McWhorter I find myself often swayed by Glen Loury's reasoning in particular in the context of Loury's experience.

I have completely lost my respect for Obama and I understand why after listening to Loury's explanation of why he is disappointed by Obama's theatrics and rhetorical posturing, which he likens to that of Cornell West, all show and very little substance.

I understand why Larry Summers was disappointed in Cornell West, and I understand why so many of Hilary Clinton's supporters find it difficult to support Barack Obama.


I guess I am a thread necromancer. But the idea of West being all show and no substance is something I have been screaming at the tv screen for years when he appears on bill mahers show or Tavis Smileys show on pbs. He is like a milder version of the ULTIMATE all talk no substance creature in Michael Eric Dyson (shudders at that mans capacity to use Soooooo many words to say so little ).