Will We Still Love Him Tomorrow?

British humorist and political commentator Martin Lewis, writing at Huffpo today points out that change takes years to effect and will be rebuffed by the Republicans at every turn.

Assuming Obama wins, and the change his supporters expected doesn't materialize fast enough in our "I want it now" world, as it won't, Martin asks whether the young voters and others who turned to him for his message of change will still be with us when it's time for the 2010 and 2014 Congressional elections, or the 2012 presidential race, when Obama would have to run for re-election.

Will the beauty of Obama's inspirational poetry sustain millions of fickle first-time voters through the many, many harsh years that will come with the realities of governing? Especially years when there will be bitter and venal fights for change?

Inspiring the young and disaffected to vote is a noble undertaking. And Barack Obama deserves our utmost respect and appreciation for what he is achieving. He (and we) also needs to be sure that he is not inciting expectations that he - and indeed any president - is powerless to fulfill among millions of people who (foolishly) expect instant results. And who are known to turn on a dime when they don't get them...

I got to know Martin at the Aspen Comedy festival several years ago when we ended up attending several events together and shared a few meals. We stayed in touch by e-mail for a few years. He's smart and perceptive and today I think he makes good points.

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    If you get them involved early, they stay involved (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Geekesque on Mon Jan 07, 2008 at 01:51:51 PM EST
    I really, really, really don't see a downside to getting more people--especially young ones--involved in our political process and especially if they're voting on the Democratic side.

    Sitting Duck (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Jlvngstn on Mon Jan 07, 2008 at 03:55:22 PM EST
    Whoever the next president is, experienced or not, they are in for a crappy ride due to this administrations' policies.

    Where do we start?  Economy nearing recession. A war that CANNOT end well.  Whether we leave now or in 10 years, the warring factions are still going to fight for retention of power.  one trillion dollar deficit.  Sub-prime fallout.  pakistan getting worse before it gets better.  Putin's power grab.  

    How is any president going to fix the economy, get out of the war, employ all those veterans, establish national HC, help the ailing school system etc?

    this term is wrought with disaster.  Truthfully, i think whoever wins this cycle is 4 and out.  Americans are carrying way too much debt, ARM loans will increase putting less money into the overall economy and gov't will be hard pressed to invest in job creation because we will be forced to pay down the deficit or do like most Americans with personal debt -- pay the minimum and hope their financial situation changes.

    Clinton presided during the biggest economic boom in a century so it was easy to build a surplus.  Unless GREEN and the 3 r's take off like wildfire as an economic resource, how will the hole we are in get any less deep?

    Foreign policy will be complicated but the ebb and flow of hawks vs doves is consistent in most countries so a negotiator will be a welcome olive branch.  As far as i can tell, no sitting president has presided over a horrible economy and faired well because foreign policy was so strong (i.e., people hate us less).

    The limited powers of the president combined with enormous debt and lack of economic growth potential makes for Jimmy Carter redux.

    that is why (none / 0) (#19)
    by Judith on Mon Jan 07, 2008 at 03:57:59 PM EST
    I think Bloomberg needs to come in to this thing even if it is as somebody's VP.  He is another one who knows how to get things done....

    Bloomberg (none / 0) (#24)
    by Jlvngstn on Mon Jan 07, 2008 at 04:25:29 PM EST
    would have to recommend filing chapter 11 and start over economically....

    chapter 11 aint (none / 0) (#25)
    by Judith on Mon Jan 07, 2008 at 04:28:18 PM EST
    chapter 11 no more. :-(...only for corporations.

    Right on JL. (none / 0) (#31)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Jan 07, 2008 at 05:09:30 PM EST
    Who in their right mind would want to be Pres? Especially now? They should pick straws and the loser has to be POTUS. If they do a good job, we'll let 'em out early. Time off for good behavior.

    Ah well, I guess for some people power is it's own reward.


    I have no idea (none / 0) (#41)
    by Jlvngstn on Tue Jan 08, 2008 at 09:20:33 AM EST
    other than ego why someone would want this job today.  maybe i am wrong and there is an "easy" button for the woes we have but i simply do not see it.  I hate to say this but if we ever needed a fiscal conservative as POTUS, now is the time. Doesn't have to be a repub, just someone who balances their own checkbook i guess.  Then again, I am guessing that most of the candidates aren't writing too many personal checks and filling in their debit credit ledger on a regular basis.

    Be careful what we wish for, 5 years is an eternity no doubt, but i see the next pres being one and out and most likely we will flip back right....


    Obama (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by Grandmother on Mon Jan 07, 2008 at 05:00:45 PM EST
    Obama needs to start making "change" in the club where he already has membership.  He needs to go to the Senate and show the country how to effectuate his style of "change."  He needs to get the Republicans to "come together" and support Democratic legislation regarding healthcare, energy and Iraq. He needs to get a couple Republicans to cross over and support SCHIP and override Bush's veto.

    Obama should be standing tall with Harry Reid and making impassioned speeches on the floor the Senate agains the war.  He needs to show the rest of Congress and the country how he can "do it."  He shouldn't wait until he becomes President; he has the power now (according to him)and he knows how to do it.

    Or is Obama willing to throw the Dems under the bus and let them be defeated this year because they have not lived up to their promises when they received a majority in 2006?  Is he going to stand by with his pixie dust hidden under his coat until he becomes President and then he'll show us.

    Or is it that Obama really can't/won't stand up and change the Senate because after all he is only human.

    yes indeed (none / 0) (#32)
    by Judith on Mon Jan 07, 2008 at 05:13:52 PM EST
    I made a similar comment last night so I am pleased to see you write it so much better here.

    I think the answer is he is keeping his rhetoric general to bring in people who probably would nbot go for an actual Democratic agenda.  And that's why some GOP members dont mind him.


    not getting it (none / 0) (#39)
    by Jgarza on Mon Jan 07, 2008 at 07:22:55 PM EST
    Obama needs to start making "change" in the club where he already has membership.  He needs to go to the Senate and show the country how to effectuate his style of "change."  He needs to get the Republicans to "come together" and support Democratic legislation regarding healthcare, energy and Iraq. He needs to get a couple Republicans to cross over and support SCHIP and override Bush's veto.

    Because it is not about Republicans in Washington, it is about getting people who normally vote for them to vote for him, and coming to Washington with a mandate.  Guess what the ideals of the democratic party appeal to most of America, but if all you do is fight people not voting on your side, they never come to your side, even if you move your position closer to(or even to the right of) them.


    he must be... (none / 0) (#1)
    by andreww on Mon Jan 07, 2008 at 01:51:09 PM EST
    talking about our "false hopes"

    hope tomorrow? (none / 0) (#2)
    by NYMARJ on Mon Jan 07, 2008 at 01:51:29 PM EST
    Several days ago I wrote a comment along those lines at Openleft.  Too much belief in generic hope and everybody just getting along.  When it doesn't happen quickly people will get disaffected and I feared we would lose them from the political process forever.  Two indicative stories of political confusion - Interview on Lehrer one day before Iowa, person cannot decide between Obama and Huckabee - definately change - but no political policy idea.  Read about one Obama supporter who could not decide why Obama and Clinton could not be bipartisan and just get along with one another - obviously the person had no idea what the term bipartisan  meant.

    I think I am going to be ill... (none / 0) (#5)
    by Molly Bloom on Mon Jan 07, 2008 at 02:18:47 PM EST
    I recognize his comments (none / 0) (#4)
    by Judith on Mon Jan 07, 2008 at 02:18:25 PM EST
    I made a few very similar myself here yesterday.  Nice to know others feel the same kind of discomfort and use humor to express it.

    I pointed out the old Rita Hayworth line about her saying men went to bed with her thinking she was her famous character "Gilda" and then woke up with reality.

    There is Vanity Fair online only interview with Michelle Obama which lead me to this line of thought.

    Obama LOVE grows in Iowa (none / 0) (#6)
    by Aaron on Mon Jan 07, 2008 at 02:20:27 PM EST
    Iowans rush to jump on the Obama bandwagon

    Today, 01/07/08 ...

    Obama defeats McCain by 17 points. (+12)
    Obama defeats Huckabee by 23 points. (+13)
    Obama defeats Romney by 26 points. (+12)
    Obama defeats Giuliani by 40 points. (+19)

    Today, 01/07/08 ...

    McCain defeats Clinton by 4 points (within the margin of sampling error). (-1)
    Huckabee and Clinton tie. (+1)
    Clinton defeats Romney by 8 points. (+3)
    Clinton defeats Giuliani by 16 points. (+5)

    Can you say landslide Democratic victory folks?  I knew you could.  :-)

    the topic is (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Jan 07, 2008 at 02:31:41 PM EST
    will those supporting Obama stick with Democrats in the next elections if the promised change doesn't occur fast enough.

    Your last several comments have been off-topic and Obama rah-rah posts. There are plenty of posts on polls here for you to tout Obama's newest numbers. You can also start your own pro-Obama blog. Please don't hijack the conversation here.


    I think it's sad... (none / 0) (#15)
    by Aaron on Mon Jan 07, 2008 at 03:40:23 PM EST
    ...that you're looking ahead to the failure of the Obama presidency, and we haven't an even gotten through the New Hampshire primary for this election.

    It looks too much like sour grapes, coming from someone who claims to be a Democrat and a progressive.  It's as if you feel that since the candidate you support isn't doing well, then the cause of progressive liberalism is somehow lost.  I think that's a very narrow view Jeralyn.

    Regardless of what some would have you believe, Barack Obama is a progressive Democrat, and all Democrats, Republicans and independents have a vested interest in seeing him succeed if he becomes president, because his success is our success, the success of the United States of America.

    I urge you to try and see beyond your belief in one particular candidate, try to embrace a wider vision, as I believe many Americans who support, Barack Obama are trying to do.

    The campaign for the Democratic nomination is by no means over, but should it go Obama's way, perhaps Clinton supporters should consider moderating their criticism and confining it to the issues at hand as opposed to extrapolating as to what might or might not happen during an Obama presidency, and maybe Hillary will still wind up in the White House in the vice presidents seat.

    That would make you happy wouldn't it? Or are you entirely unwilling to make compromises?


    it is called (none / 0) (#21)
    by Judith on Mon Jan 07, 2008 at 04:11:19 PM EST
    being a rational observer and questioner.  That is what rsponsibility is about.  

    I dont buy a house without having an engineer check it out from top to bottom - why the heck would I vote with less information that I can ask for?

    Why are you so scared of questions?


    Here's the answer (none / 0) (#27)
    by Aaron on Mon Jan 07, 2008 at 04:50:29 PM EST
    Yes, and I looked up all the information that you posted here about Obama's record about a year ago.  Some of it I agreed with, and some of it I don't.  I am an informed voter, and questions are my allies.

    Here's an answer to your question about what Obama will do when he becomes president, right from his mouth.

    Barack Obama speaking in New Hampshire.

    [I know there are some of my worthy opponents who will say, "Well, Obama's right about change but we need the anger and hotter rhetoric and not negotiating . . . you can't compromise with these folks. We can just beat them."

    Listen, I understand the source of anger. The insurance companies, the drug companies, they do not want to relinquish their power. Oil companies, they're happy with the status quo. Folks in Washington, the insiders, they don't want the outsiders, of course they're going to resist change.

    But when I talk about reaching out to people, it's based on this understanding: that if you know who you are, if you know what you believe, if you know what you care about, if you know who you're fighting for, those are principles that cannot be compromised. And you can afford to reach out across the aisle. . . .

    And some folks won't listen and some folks won't want to cooperate . . . but here's the thing. If you start off with an agreeable attitude, then you might be able to pick off some folks, you might be able to recruit the independents into the fold. . . . That's how you get a working majority for change. . . . That's the politics of addition, not the politics of division.

    And if you've got a working majority, if the American people are behind you, then you can fear no man. You can walk into a room with a sunny disposition, you can smile and say "Yes sir," "No sir," "Yes maam," and "No maam," and if they don't agree with you, you've got the votes, and you will beat them. And you can do it with a smile on your face. . . . We are happy warriors for change.]

    Obama's Smiley Face


    this is posted (none / 0) (#29)
    by Judith on Mon Jan 07, 2008 at 04:59:47 PM EST
    as a response to me - the way it is indented but I think you mean it for Jeralyn.

    So feel free to ignore me.

    But there is absoultely nothing of substance in what Obama said.  Nothing.



    Will I suppose there's no point... (none / 0) (#33)
    by Aaron on Mon Jan 07, 2008 at 05:36:01 PM EST
    ...in trying to debate someone who can't see what so many young informed educated professional Americans can see, not to mention all the other people from every demographic and social economic category.

    I have to wonder if this is a willful blindness, or whether you really can't comprehend how Obama's new approach has an opportunity to succeed where others have failed.

    I understand, it takes a measure of vision, to be able to see the big picture, and I suppose not everyone is capable of this.

    (Yes that was a split answer, to both of you, and any of you.)


    wellll (none / 0) (#34)
    by Judith on Mon Jan 07, 2008 at 05:44:41 PM EST
    I asm well educated - I am not old - and am finacially well off.  So there blows your theory of who I am.

    Second, I can read.  My GRE scores regarding comprehension and vocab were amongst the highest percentile in this country. There goes your second theory.

    What you posted had no information in it  -  but a lot of fluff.  That isnt my fault and your irritation is unfounded.


    What's a GRE? (none / 0) (#35)
    by Aaron on Mon Jan 07, 2008 at 06:54:48 PM EST
    You'll have to excuse me, I never went to college, but I did get my GED, I know what that is, and I was at the top of my class too.  :-)

    Graduate record exam? (none / 0) (#36)
    by oculus on Mon Jan 07, 2008 at 06:58:11 PM EST
    not important - (none / 0) (#37)
    by Judith on Mon Jan 07, 2008 at 07:14:34 PM EST
    forgive me - I was merely pointing out that the poster was in error if he meant my lack of support for Obama implied I could share those attributes.

    My background is otherwise not important.


    corrections: could NOT (none / 0) (#38)
    by Judith on Mon Jan 07, 2008 at 07:15:50 PM EST
    share those attributes.

    my typing is poor.


    I don't get it (none / 0) (#8)
    by Al on Mon Jan 07, 2008 at 02:34:37 PM EST
    A Democrat surges in popularity approaching an election, and Democratic sympathizers start fretting about whether he might not live up to voters' expectations?

    sounds like (none / 0) (#9)
    by Judith on Mon Jan 07, 2008 at 02:36:55 PM EST
    you got it.  what is your question?

    And What Happens (none / 0) (#10)
    by bob h on Mon Jan 07, 2008 at 02:43:26 PM EST
    if before he can get to the Presidency the Republican velociraptors turn Obama into Michael Dukakis?

    I tihnk with (none / 0) (#11)
    by Jgarza on Mon Jan 07, 2008 at 02:49:22 PM EST
    the latest set of Clinton antics, they are in more danger of becoming the newest joke in politics.

    Hey so now concern trolling is the Clinton technique.  That is pretty low.  This is like watching Britney, don't underestimate how far down they will fall.


    High % of Newbies Don't stick anyway (none / 0) (#12)
    by seabos84 on Mon Jan 07, 2008 at 02:57:34 PM EST
    and they probably won't stick through the disappointments.

    What about the increasing horde of disaffected Dems, swelling exponentially since the sell outs post Nov 2006?

    ANY President is going to HAVE to be lucky and hard working and lucky and incredibly skilled and lucky

    to take on ANY ONE of hte big problems* AND make a serious systemic change in the SOS of 1 of those big problems, such that whatever change happens isn't stopped or subverted within a few months or years.

    I'm not an Obama fan cuz I don't beleive he's going to try, or, if he trys, I beleive he's gonna quit to quick.

    big problems* = health care OR defense OR budget OR trade OR Iraq OR transportation OR energy OR education OR ...


    It's much worse (none / 0) (#13)
    by koshembos on Mon Jan 07, 2008 at 03:11:53 PM EST
    Disaffection is a minor potential results of an Obama presidency that seriously attempts to get along as the major policy. All the goals and vision the Democratic party had before Obama, i.e. get out of Iraq, full health care, open foreign policy with minimal intervention in other country's policy and independence, rebuilding the government, eliminating tax cuts for the very rich, have now been replaced by hope and change. On the alter of bipartisanship we may scarifies body and soul.

    Even worse, Obama provides the Republican a moderate and reasonable image instead of the extremist patina they acquired. The results of the elections to congress may reflect this new cover.

    misinterpretation.... (none / 0) (#14)
    by mike in dc on Mon Jan 07, 2008 at 03:34:30 PM EST
    ...what do you think Obama means by "building a working majority for change", anyway?

    He means winning by a big enough margin that the other guys can't stop you, in which case you can afford to be polite.

    We can't afford to win 51-49 when what we really need is to deliver a decisive and crushing blow to the PPD--politics of personal destruction(the only way we can do that is if they pull out all the stops and still lose badly in November).  Edwards and Clinton would get us to a 52-48 win, at best, whereas Obama will be feast-or-famine for the party on Election Day.  It is truly a big gamble, but if it succeeds, there will be a substantial down-ticket effect, maybe even enough to get to filibuster-busting territory.  At that point, change can't be stopped.

    that is (none / 0) (#16)
    by Judith on Mon Jan 07, 2008 at 03:50:55 PM EST
    an interesting perspective to me.

    but (none / 0) (#22)
    by Judith on Mon Jan 07, 2008 at 04:21:14 PM EST
    what ecactly is all this "change" he wants to do.  I havent heard a thing - and neither has the GOP so they like him.  Doesnt sound like any real change to them.

    seems like (none / 0) (#18)
    by Jgarza on Mon Jan 07, 2008 at 03:56:17 PM EST
    The more Iowa saw of him the more they loved him, and they saw a lot of him.  I don't really get what your point is?  are you going to work against him when he is elected just so you ca be right on Clinton?  Sour grapes are a huge turn off.

    Where are the Naderites? (none / 0) (#20)
    by Angel on Mon Jan 07, 2008 at 03:58:16 PM EST
    I've been wondering where the Naderites are?  I'm not sure they're still around.  Any of you newbies know what I'm talking about?  They helped Gore "lose" (yes, it was stolen) by taking away his healthy margin - a margin that would have been large enough to withstand all the crap the republicans pulled.  So what I'm getting at is this:  I love that young people are getting involved.  But what is the commitment to that involvement?  Will they hang around after making a one-time vote?  Will they stand up and be counted when the *hit hits the fan and the republicans stonewall and filibuster and play their dirty tricks to ensure that nothing gets accomplished?  This is not just about electing who voices "change," it's about making a comittment to staying for the long haul. Because change takes time, an inordinate amount of time.  And it takes patience.  Will you have the patience to wait out the changes that have been promised?

    Been there; seen that (none / 0) (#23)
    by janinsanfran on Mon Jan 07, 2008 at 04:25:22 PM EST
    Today I heard from a young friend in San Francisco -- 150 people, most drop ins, crowded into an Obama precinct captain training on Saturday. It's happening.

    Saw the same thing in 1992. After 12 years of Reagan-Bush (and HIV), you had to fight off the campaign volunteers. When Clinton won, young gays danced on Castro Street in San Francisco singing "ding dong the witch is dead." Really, I saw it.

    Now I imagine those people are still mostly Dem voters if they vote, but they sure felt misused within a year. (And with Obama, they didn't like the McClurkin caper.) Change is tough for a politician to deliver. The country needs change even more in 2008 than it did in 1992 -- and delivering will be much harder because an American President leads a less powerful (tho more dangerous and vicious) country.

    The only people going into the 2008 election with much chance of coming out without disillusionment are those who can at once believe in small "d" democracy as a matter of principle and who thus assume they'll have to keep working at winning a progressive agenda from day one AFTER the election. That's a lot to ask, emotionally, but it is the only chance of real "change."

    Their is going to be a painful (none / 0) (#26)
    by Jgarza on Mon Jan 07, 2008 at 04:30:26 PM EST
    lesson to the bloggers this election cycle.  You are part of the democratic party, if you take a side in the primary and lose.  You severely damage your credibility in the party.  because when the candidate you have been working so hard to under mind becomes the face and voice of the democratic party, all you ranting wasn't against him, it was against the democratic party.

    The question really becomes will the bloggers be the nadarites of 2008.

    More nonsense from you (none / 0) (#28)
    by andgarden on Mon Jan 07, 2008 at 04:58:55 PM EST
    It may not be too late (none / 0) (#40)
    by commissar on Tue Jan 08, 2008 at 08:56:40 AM EST
    to draft Konstantin Chernenko.