I should also note that Mandasaurus, who fought the good fight here for too long, has moved to more forgiving climes at her own blog, Mandasaurus Roars.
As a half-ass replacement for a real post, here's an IM conversation Gordon and I had Saturday.
Gordon: Hey, so I was meaning to ask you: What are the main blogs saying about Hillary/Obama? I still just mostly read mainstream media...
Buck: A lot of lefties are very cynical and believe Obama is all hype.
Gordon: That's too bad. Mainstream media loves him.
Buck: He's good ratings. Hillary actually has a decent following in the blogs. Edwards was probably more popular than either one of them.
Gordon: That's so weird.
Buck: Not if you stop thinking horse race and look at their policies. Edwards was definitely the most liberal and populist of the three.
Gordon: I guess so. I just personally feel that Hillary has negative inspiration (what's the polar-opposite of inspiring? despiring?), and I wish people didn't discount the value of having a great communicator in the White House. Especially since so much policy talk is stuff that the president can't really control.
Buck: Well, it's been a revelation to me how jaded a lot of the left has become by seven years of Bush basically getting away with everything you can think of. They want someone (e.g. Hillary, Edwards) who they think will come in and clean shop on the Republicans. Edwards because that was his rhetoric and Hillary for personal reasons. A lot of them mistake Obama's message as making peace with the Republicans, which (for the Democratic Congress at least) has looked a lot like getting fucked in the ass.
Buck: The problem is, that section of the left has lost their way, so that when the guy they've waited for all along shows up, they can't recognize him anymore. They're too cynical. Obama's not bipartisan, he's post-partisan. He's not going to appeal to Republican politicians, he's going straight to the people. A lot of whom are not nearly as crazy/evil as their choice in elected officials would lead you to believe.
Gordon: I love all this "post-partisan" stuff...as much as I recognize it as a buzzword, I strongly agree with the concept that America is torn 40/40/20, but it doesn't have to be. And under Hillary, you just know it would be more like 47/47/6. Not entirely her fault, it's just reality.
Buck: Post-partisanship a fundamentally different way of looking at things, one which a lot of political junkies just can't get their brains around. It's really the exact opposite of Rove's way.
Buck: The more I see of Obama, the more I understand what people saw in Reagan. Everyone wants to be inspired.
Gordon: That's why I hate when inspiration and communication are dismissed as non-factors. They're totally factors. They're leadership...that's the first role of the president!
Buck: There's a great presidential exhibit at the Smithsonian where it talks about each of the roles of the president and which are the most important. National leader, chief executive, commander in chief, head of state, etc. You got to rank them at the end, I think I put national leader at No. 2. Here's the description of the national leader role:
Americans ask their presidents to do more than govern; they expect them to lead. No aspect of the chief executive's job is more important than articulating the nation's principles, taking on new challenges, providing comfort and inspiration in times of crisis, and, in Abraham Lincoln's words, appealing to "the better angels of our nature."Buck: That pretty much sums it up. After a long time without a good one, people have forgotten how important it is.
Presidential leadership has often been met with contentious political debate. But when Americans look back in history, this is the main quality they use to judge a president's tenure in office.
Gordon: Yeah. Actually, my favorite quote on leadership came from McCain this year. Romney was talking about how he managed all these companies, and he said "John McCain never managed anything." And McCain responded "That's true, I'm not a manager. I'm a leader. I can hire managers.
Gordon: And it's totally true. There's thousands of good managers out there, but just a handful of leaders.
Finally, I would be amiss not to post the following video of Obama speaking Saturday, where he addresses the same ideas Gordon and I were talking about.