Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Obama, Clinton and other Communitarians

Latest New Hampshire Primary news:
http://www.thenewhampshireprimary.com/results/

With 62% reporting at 6:30 pm AK time, Clinton leads Obama by 3% points, 39 to 36.

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are both described as communitarians. I've already shown how Hillary fits their bill, so let's take a quick look at Obama.

Amitai Etzioni in the Huffington Post on August 8, 2007:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/amitai-etzioni/obama-an-opportunistic-h_b_59645.html

"... I met Senator Obama in a private home in Bethesda, MD, and was very taken with his emphasis on community-building as a key theme. (I admit that I was unduly flattered when he mentioned my books on the subject.) I stand with Senator Obama in favoring in principle the extension of this key idea beyond our borders, both in working with our allies and in trying to bring our adversaries into at least some kind of dialogue (although, under what conditions and how one proceeds requires some deliberation). Since he launched his presidential campaign earlier this year, and even before that in both of his books, Senator Obama has stuck consistently to this communitarian message. It is hence quite disconcerting when he suddenly flashes some claws, especially since they are such a sudden and unbecoming acquisition. Such out of character toughness makes him seem like an opportunistic hack."

New York Times Op-Ed columnist David Brooks on January 8, 2008:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/08/opinion/08brooks.html

"Out of that perceptiveness comes a distinct way of seeing the world. Obama emphasizes the connections between people, the networks and the webs of influence. These sorts of links are invisible to some of his rivals, but Obama is a communitarian. He believes you can only make profound political changes if you first change the spirit of the community. In his speeches, he says that if one person stands up, then another will stand up and another and another and you’ll get a nation standing up."

Edward Lazarus at Findlaw inAaugust 2004:
http://writ.lp.findlaw.com/lazarus/20040805.html

"But generally speaking, the conception of equality that Kerry and Obama advanced seemed subtly but importantly different from past iterations. In their speeches, Kerry and Obama advanced what might best be described as a "communitarian" (instead of "rights-based") view of equality."

My neighbors moved to Alaska to get away from New Hampshire. They explained to me that owners of property cannot live on their land for more than six months without an inspection signoff and government permission to stay. Part of the building requirements is a 4 foot deep concrete foundation. He also told me that he fixed a porch roof for a lady last year, and her neighbor called and reported it to the local building inspectors, because the owner did not apply for the proper permit to fix her porch. So what's "individualistic" about NH? I know they were the "live free or die" state, but it looks to me like they all died or moved away.

London Times online, January 4, 2008
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article3130401.ece

"The difference between communitarian Iowa and individualistic New Hampshire is also reflected in how they vote."

So, hmm, maybe individualistic NH will choose Clinton over Obama, because they want a president who promotes a middle ground called radical individualistic communitarianism.

From the Radical Middle Newsletter in 2006:

http://www.radicalmiddle.com/x_obama.htm

But oh, I'm so sorry, I forgot... in the USA, communitarianism is a conspiracy theory, so none of these articles can possibly exist anywhere but in my vivid imaginiation, and, you obviously dreamt this blog post.

1 comment:

John said...

Red text on a black background is unreadable. Dark green is marginal. I had to look at the HTML source to read the text.