Can Obama materialise his promise of change?


Sceptics argues Barack Obama’s hopeful speeches are exceptionally moving and inspirational, but question how is that going to change Washington? How is Obama going to get politicians on the Capital Hills to agree on issues that they disagree so consistently? How?

In the writing of one such sceptic, in this case New York Times columnist Gail Collins

Admit it, people. When you try to envision how the politics of hope would play out in the real world, things go a bit fuzzy. How’s Obama going to get Republicans to work with Democrats on national health care when Republicans don’t want national health care? How’s he going to run a positive ship in a sea of negativity?

What these sceptics always seem to forget is that Obama has consistently argue that change comes froms the bottom-up, not top-down. No amount of persuasion will get the politicians to agree on issues that their constituency disagrees. Politician response to the mood of their constituency. So, the only way to for example to pass a national health care is to convince enough people in the voting district of representatives blocking the bill that it is in their interest to pass it.

Being able to make persuasive speeches to mobilise a critical mass of people to vote for representative who is for national health care is what Obama brings to the table that no other politician on this campaign cycle can.

The change Obama has been talking about was never about him changing Washington, it was always about him together with the masses that he help inspired change politic as usual in the capital. Hillary may have fought hard for her medical care reform during her first lady years, but t it was a failed cause without mobilisation from the bottom-up.

With that understanding, lets revisit Clinton’s claim that Lyndon Johnsons contribution to the signing of Civil Rights Act of 1964 by sending it to the congress and signing is somehow on par with Martin Luther King is a bit weak. It is a weak claim because by the time bill was sent to the congress, the battle for civil rights have already been won by King in the streets, from the very bottom.

UPDATE: Nicholas von Hoffman speculate how on Obama’s bottom-up government might emerge, read.
UPDATE: Arianna Huffington wrote a column on the need for inspirational presidents, read.

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