Obamamania

January 21, 2009

I probably shouldn’t be writing about Obama: my expertise lies elsewhere and so much has been written already (460,000 posts mentioning Obama in the last day, according to Google Blog Search). But sod it, I’m as excited as the next person and it’s my blog.

Some thoughts:

  • I liked the slip-ups when he was being sworn in: saying “I Barack Hussein Obama…” a little too soon and then stalling a few moments later. Being so accustomed to the impeccable delivery and unwavering confidence, it was refreshing and endearing to see him be so nervous.
  • Great that he highlighted science in his speech following 8 years in which it’s been maligned.
  • His constant references to the founding fathers is interesting. I guess he does it for a number of reasons: it’s an effective rhetorical device that gets people proud and excited, the founding fathers are revered and he wants to portray himself as an heir, and it sets the bar for the changes he wants to bring about. And perhaps because it “americanises” him in the eyes of the oddballs who don’t think he’s American enough? Why do European politicians hardly ever mention their countries’ glorious past and ancestors? Some reasons might be a political culture that’s a little less sensationalist, a more cynical electorate, and too many instances in most countries’ histories that can’t really be omitted but that nobody wants to talk about, so it’s best to just ignore history all-together.
  • There’s been lots of talk of sky-high expectations and the impossibility of solving all the problems in Obama’s “IN tray”. The insinuation being that many will be disappointed when Obama doesn’t manage to bring peace to the Middle East, solve the financial crisis, and reverse global warming in his first month in office. I’m not so sure. First, people aren’t dumb: they understand the extent of the troubles we’re facing. Second, he’s got so much goodwill to spare. Third, the nature of the man and his style is such that I doubt much blame will be able to stick: he’s surrounded himself with the best and the brightest, he’s a pragmatist, and he’s non-partisan. Combined I think it’ll mean that once it becomes apparent that he isn’t solving all the world’s ills in his lunch-break, most people’s response will be that he’s doing OK, and probably better than anyone else could, given the circumstances.
  • No post on Obama is complete without a reference to the web (in particular when the blogger in question works in online communications). As reported on Public Affairs 2.0, the first post on the new White House blog appeared at 12.01 last night! The implicit message being: we still take this web stuff seriously.
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One Response to “Obamamania”

  1. Phil Weiss Says:

    You will be glad to know that he had to do his oath once again in the White House because the Chief Justice actually got the words wrong. That explains the hesitation of Obama in the second line. Talk about get your lines right!
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/obama_inauguration/7843881.stm


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