Obama vs Hillary

Put all that oratory excellence aside. Forget about it. It isn’t what really matters.

How different are Obama and Hilary?

Very.

Hillary walks into a stadium filled with her base and gives a speech about how the Republicans are evil. That she, and she alone, is experienced and strong enough to defeat them. End of story.

Obama walks into the heart of the African American Religious community – Martin Luther King’s church – on Martin Luther King Jr Day, and talks about how African Americans need to work harder to live up to MLK’s legacy. He says if African Americans  want justice, freedom and equality, then the homophobia, antisemitism, and anti-immigrant resentment that sometimes exists in their community must be acknowledged so they can rise up and become a model community:

For much of this country’s history we, in the African American community, have been at the receiving end of man’s inhumanity to man…  and yet if we are honest with ourselves we must admit that none of our hands are entirely clean. If we are honest with ourselves we’ll acknowledged that our own community has not always been true to King’s vision of a beloved community. If we are honest with ourselves we have to admit that there have been times when we have scorned our gay brothers and sisters instead of embracing them; the scourge of antisemitism has at times revealed itself in our community; for too long some of us have seen immigrants only as competitors for jobs instead of companions in the fight for opportunity.

Can anyone imagine Hilary Clinton speaking so honestly to her base? On the eve of a major primary?

Of course not, tragically she her image makes her look like her goal is power, and so the risk of offending anyone would simply appear too great.

And yet, Obama’s speech is the perfect example of the leadership I believe Americans crave: someone who is unafraid to push them, to tell them how they should, nay need, to be better, and that while a leader will do everything in their power to help them attain that goal it is ultimately up to each of them to achieve it.

And so the contrast could not be clearer.

Hilary appears to be about power – about gaining power to protect “us” from “them.” And like in some Greek tragedy the harder she clings to her power, the faster it slips through her fingers.

Obama, as everyone knows, is about change. But specifically he’s about enabling everyone – “us” and “them” – to rethink what is possible. This is why he earns the right to be compared to Kennedy and Reagan. It isn’t just about “hope.” It’s about broadening peoples minds in order to reshape an entire national culture. And so, the more he reminds Americans of their best ideals and how they, individually and collectively, can achieve them, the more empowered Americans feel and the more power they want to give him. The goal “when he was up and when he was down” remains change. Power is simply a bi-product.

I don’t know if Obama will win. But I’ll joining my Vision Vancouver colleagues down at the Frog and Firkin tonight if you want to come join me in cheering him on.

31 thoughts on “Obama vs Hillary

  1. J.

    Your one of those people who would vote for a black just becaus hes black, want to make history, its about the economy, if one is a realist, hussein obama, makes to many promises he canot keep, thanks to bush, he would have to borrow more money from china, the americans are broke and the best way to be realistic about this is to vote for someone who would fix the mess bush made, thats what its all about and since the best way to do this is to depend on the person who has some kind od track record for it and thats the clintons….take the time to listen to what hussein is saying about his policies instead of supporting him just because hes black, been black does not make one experience, and hes the perfect example of this….anyway, there is not anough people in america that would vote for a black man to be president, therefore giving the presidency to the republicans….

    Reply
  2. J.

    Your one of those people who would vote for a black just becaus hes black, want to make history, its about the economy, if one is a realist, hussein obama, makes to many promises he canot keep, thanks to bush, he would have to borrow more money from china, the americans are broke and the best way to be realistic about this is to vote for someone who would fix the mess bush made, thats what its all about and since the best way to do this is to depend on the person who has some kind od track record for it and thats the clintons….take the time to listen to what hussein is saying about his policies instead of supporting him just because hes black, been black does not make one experience, and hes the perfect example of this….anyway, there is not anough people in america that would vote for a black man to be president, therefore giving the presidency to the republicans….

    Reply
  3. I don’t think there is anything in David Eaves’ comments to conclude that he would support Barack Obama just because Mr. Obama is black.

    To J., Your prejudice is showing in that you constantly refer to Mr. Obama’s middle name, Hussein. If you were an American living in the states, I don’t believe you would support Obama because he’s black. I don’t believe you want people supporting him because you refer to him as Hussein Obama, a man with an Arab or Muslim middle name–someone not to be trusted. You’re anti-black, anti-Arab, and anti-Muslim. You don’t have to say it, but it shows in your comment.

    Reply
  4. I don’t think there is anything in David Eaves’ comments to conclude that he would support Barack Obama just because Mr. Obama is black.To J., Your prejudice is showing in that you constantly refer to Mr. Obama’s middle name, Hussein. If you were an American living in the states, I don’t believe you would support Obama because he’s black. I don’t believe you want people supporting him because you refer to him as Hussein Obama, a man with an Arab or Muslim middle name–someone not to be trusted. You’re anti-black, anti-Arab, and anti-Muslim. You don’t have to say it, but it shows in your comment.

    Reply
  5. Joseph

    I think there may be a basic element of a point to your commentary about, but you push so far to force it that you lose it in the execution.

    I have watched plenty of speeches by Hillary and have NEVER seen one as simplistic as the imaginary one you just described. Then you go on to quote a few lines of Obama’s flowing image-filled speech.

    Care to post a video of both of them speaking for more than 3 sentences so your audience could actually compare their speeches, or would that not fit the image your promoting?

    A rule I have followed with great success in my life is this:

    Anytime an argument boils down to being a contrast of the embodiment of goodness with a frightful caricature someone created, the real message is that the person making the argument doesn’t really have one.

    There are plenty of things you could contrast between Clinton and Obama, but Clinton is not a hateful monster anymore than Obama is a benevolent saint.

    Can we keep the discussion rooted in reality?

    Reply
  6. Joseph

    I think there may be a basic element of a point to your commentary about, but you push so far to force it that you lose it in the execution.I have watched plenty of speeches by Hillary and have NEVER seen one as simplistic as the imaginary one you just described. Then you go on to quote a few lines of Obama’s flowing image-filled speech.Care to post a video of both of them speaking for more than 3 sentences so your audience could actually compare their speeches, or would that not fit the image your promoting?A rule I have followed with great success in my life is this:Anytime an argument boils down to being a contrast of the embodiment of goodness with a frightful caricature someone created, the real message is that the person making the argument doesn’t really have one.There are plenty of things you could contrast between Clinton and Obama, but Clinton is not a hateful monster anymore than Obama is a benevolent saint. Can we keep the discussion rooted in reality?

    Reply
  7. Joseph

    I’ve been trying to figure out what really bugs me about this Obamania, and I think I finally hit upon it in the past couple of days.

    It is more than a little bit unseemly to me how easily “fans” (a most fitting word) of Obama luxuriate in the lofty rhetoric about moving forward, finding common ground, living up to our potential . . .

    then promptly turn around and call his competitor a conniving sack of crap.

    Its like someone leaving the Prince of Peace church by cutting off traffic and flipping off everyone in the intersection.

    That kind of kool-aid tastes bitter to some of us. I tend to believe in a world where both have worthy intentions, but that seems to be beyond the realm of possibility for the hard-core fans.

    Reply
  8. Joseph

    I’ve been trying to figure out what really bugs me about this Obamania, and I think I finally hit upon it in the past couple of days.It is more than a little bit unseemly to me how easily “fans” (a most fitting word) of Obama luxuriate in the lofty rhetoric about moving forward, finding common ground, living up to our potential . . . then promptly turn around and call his competitor a conniving sack of crap. Its like someone leaving the Prince of Peace church by cutting off traffic and flipping off everyone in the intersection.That kind of kool-aid tastes bitter to some of us. I tend to believe in a world where both have worthy intentions, but that seems to be beyond the realm of possibility for the hard-core fans.

    Reply
  9. David Eaves Post author

    Joseph, thank you for the comment. I may indeed push with too much force. I could have left out the sentence about attacking republicans and I think the post would have been just as strong.

    When I get a moment and have a consistent internet connection I’ll track down a speech by Hilary where she talks about how she’s weathered Republican attacks and only she has the experience to fight this long standing foe. I don’t think it will take me long.
    But your point is well taken.

    As for your second point – it sounds to me not that you dislike Obama, just his supporters. After watching much following the primaries this post is a reflection on what I’ve seen (and why I like Obama).

    I respect Clinton, and if Obama wins I hope she’ll support him. However, I don’t like the tactics she’s employed or the messaging she’s used. (For me the tipping point was when Bill was sent out as an attack dog in an effort to bait Obama to go negative.)

    If calling it out and writing about it makes you dislike Obama I’ll try to find a way to reframe it, but me writing about it doesn’t make Obama a hypocrite. Nor does it change the fact that Hilary’s style has been self-defeating. She’s a great public servant, my point is that I think Obama is better equipped to fight the upcoming election for the presidency.

    Reply
  10. David Eaves

    Joseph, thank you for the comment. I may indeed push with too much force. I could have left out the sentence about attacking republicans and I think the post would have been just as strong.When I get a moment and have a consistent internet connection I’ll track down a speech by Hilary where she talks about how she’s weathered Republican attacks and only she has the experience to fight this long standing foe. I don’t think it will take me long.But your point is well taken.As for your second point – it sounds to me not that you dislike Obama, just his supporters. After watching much following the primaries this post is a reflection on what I’ve seen (and why I like Obama). I respect Clinton, and if Obama wins I hope she’ll support him. However, I don’t like the tactics she’s employed or the messaging she’s used. (For me the tipping point was when Bill was sent out as an attack dog in an effort to bait Obama to go negative.) If calling it out and writing about it makes you dislike Obama I’ll try to find a way to reframe it, but me writing about it doesn’t make Obama a hypocrite. Nor does it change the fact that Hilary’s style has been self-defeating. She’s a great public servant, my point is that I think Obama is better equipped to fight the upcoming election for the presidency.

    Reply
  11. mushroom

    David,

    I agree with your post.

    Even though both vote similarly in the Senate, they have different styles.

    Hillary thrives in the politics of triangulation. She is influenced by Dick Morris and Mark Penn. Vote for me against the right wing conspiracy. Led by the Democratic Leadership Council, the Clintons encourage the left to support policies to reduce the welfare state. These are necessary, or we will lose the 1996 election, the Clintons will claim. Due to the Republican control of Congress then, it worked.

    Obama is different, as he practises with the politics of authenticity. It is no longer about the evil Republicans, more about what the Democrats need to stand for. Will the next President support the liberal values of this party, and what are they? The Dems will control both houses in the next few years, so the President has an opportunity to bring forth change. Voters need to connect with a leader, rather than measure him or her against an opponent. This is why Obama’s appeal is effective in attracting a new generation of voters.

    Different perspectives to politics, even though their ideologies are quite similar. This is why the Democratic nomination is a tight battle.

    Reply
  12. mushroom

    David,I agree with your post.Even though both vote similarly in the Senate, they have different styles.Hillary thrives in the politics of triangulation. She is influenced by Dick Morris and Mark Penn. Vote for me against the right wing conspiracy. Led by the Democratic Leadership Council, the Clintons encourage the left to support policies to reduce the welfare state. These are necessary, or we will lose the 1996 election, the Clintons will claim. Due to the Republican control of Congress then, it worked.Obama is different, as he practises with the politics of authenticity. It is no longer about the evil Republicans, more about what the Democrats need to stand for. Will the next President support the liberal values of this party, and what are they? The Dems will control both houses in the next few years, so the President has an opportunity to bring forth change. Voters need to connect with a leader, rather than measure him or her against an opponent. This is why Obama’s appeal is effective in attracting a new generation of voters.Different perspectives to politics, even though their ideologies are quite similar. This is why the Democratic nomination is a tight battle.

    Reply
  13. Jeremy Vernon

    My personal beef with Hillary Clinton is that she is going on the experience mandate – the fact is she has never been POTUS, not even for a day. Senatorial job responsibilities, stresses, decisions most importantly knowledge requirements are something that I’m almost certain are NOT the same as the president – moreover, they are unique to the job. She’s a skilled and experienced leader – yes, but that’s a fraction of Presidential responsibility.

    So, that said, the candidate one should look for is the one who seems most likely to think and act with the greatest wisdom and principle given a decision and information – since it’s all over by the time the public can respond. Especially those decisions that have become extremely contentious.

    The bottom line is, they are BOTH amazing candidates and it’s exciting that ONE of them is definitely going to win the ticket. All three front-runners (McCain, Obama & Clinton) tremendously more exciting and engaging than the likely front-runners for our election – that to me, as a Canadian is the thing most worth examining.

    PS – they had better get a Secret Service detail on Clinton and Obama like nobody’s business – I only want the comparison to JFK to extend to the rhetoric.

    Reply
  14. Jeremy Vernon

    My personal beef with Hillary Clinton is that she is going on the experience mandate – the fact is she has never been POTUS, not even for a day. Senatorial job responsibilities, stresses, decisions most importantly knowledge requirements are something that I’m almost certain are NOT the same as the president – moreover, they are unique to the job. She’s a skilled and experienced leader – yes, but that’s a fraction of Presidential responsibility.So, that said, the candidate one should look for is the one who seems most likely to think and act with the greatest wisdom and principle given a decision and information – since it’s all over by the time the public can respond. Especially those decisions that have become extremely contentious.The bottom line is, they are BOTH amazing candidates and it’s exciting that ONE of them is definitely going to win the ticket. All three front-runners (McCain, Obama & Clinton) tremendously more exciting and engaging than the likely front-runners for our election – that to me, as a Canadian is the thing most worth examining.PS – they had better get a Secret Service detail on Clinton and Obama like nobody’s business – I only want the comparison to JFK to extend to the rhetoric.

    Reply
  15. Joseph

    I appreciate your response, David. And you did hit the nail on the head with my perspective. I actually respect Obama – on some levels. But the number of times I’ve felt from friends that I not only have to find him appealing but also have to vocally denounce Clinton (or both Clintons) as spawn of the devil has really bugged me.

    Obama may not lead the march in that regard, but he doesn’t stand in the way of it either. From what I’ve observed, he’s no humble servant of the people. His ego seems to be about the size of Mt Rushmore. Personally, I think anyone who runs for President is bound to have a bit of that going on . . . but for one candidate to be held up – or present themselves – as some paragon of humility and grace compared to another is to fully buy into a fantasy-land.

    On the other comments, I doubt Hillary is influenced by Dick Morris, who has grown into a sworn enemy from the few short years Bill had the bad judgment to listen to him. I never much got the feeling that Hillary cared much for him, even then.

    I just don’t buy the manipulative title planted on Hillary. I’ve watched her in public life since she entered the scene some two decades ago, and she’s about as consistent of ANY politician I’ve witnessed. While you’re looking for old clips of her, look for a clip from 1992 through 1996 as well. You’ll recognize her immediately, no shifts or new spectacles necessary.

    People can call her a lot of things, but she’s not inconsistent.

    She is, however, divisive, mainly due to the caricature that has been painted of her for 20 years. That is the one argument I will buy for why Obama may prove to be the best choice. But I’ll agree to it only with the staunchest defense of Hillary.

    To put it in terms of Canadian politics. I believe in Dion’s abilities but if the conservatives successfully paint him as a poor leader (I DON’T believe that die is cast, by the way), I would advocate a change in Liberal leadership. But NOT because Dion is “horrible” or “evil,” but because there might be a better leader to carry the torch into an election.

    I do think if you want to persuade more people – which is fine ; ) – you should keep in mind where people may be coming from in their own observations and experience.

    Reply
  16. Joseph

    I appreciate your response, David. And you did hit the nail on the head with my perspective. I actually respect Obama – on some levels. But the number of times I’ve felt from friends that I not only have to find him appealing but also have to vocally denounce Clinton (or both Clintons) as spawn of the devil has really bugged me.Obama may not lead the march in that regard, but he doesn’t stand in the way of it either. From what I’ve observed, he’s no humble servant of the people. His ego seems to be about the size of Mt Rushmore. Personally, I think anyone who runs for President is bound to have a bit of that going on . . . but for one candidate to be held up – or present themselves – as some paragon of humility and grace compared to another is to fully buy into a fantasy-land.On the other comments, I doubt Hillary is influenced by Dick Morris, who has grown into a sworn enemy from the few short years Bill had the bad judgment to listen to him. I never much got the feeling that Hillary cared much for him, even then.I just don’t buy the manipulative title planted on Hillary. I’ve watched her in public life since she entered the scene some two decades ago, and she’s about as consistent of ANY politician I’ve witnessed. While you’re looking for old clips of her, look for a clip from 1992 through 1996 as well. You’ll recognize her immediately, no shifts or new spectacles necessary.People can call her a lot of things, but she’s not inconsistent.She is, however, divisive, mainly due to the caricature that has been painted of her for 20 years. That is the one argument I will buy for why Obama may prove to be the best choice. But I’ll agree to it only with the staunchest defense of Hillary. To put it in terms of Canadian politics. I believe in Dion’s abilities but if the conservatives successfully paint him as a poor leader (I DON’T believe that die is cast, by the way), I would advocate a change in Liberal leadership. But NOT because Dion is “horrible” or “evil,” but because there might be a better leader to carry the torch into an election.I do think if you want to persuade more people – which is fine ; ) – you should keep in mind where people may be coming from in their own observations and experience.

    Reply
  17. brenton

    Try reading the article in Harpers regarding Obama. Not too flattering. The gist of it is that he is a lot of rhetoric but not so much substance. Which kinda echoes my impression from the little that I’ve read.

    Reply
  18. brenton

    Try reading the article in Harpers regarding Obama. Not too flattering. The gist of it is that he is a lot of rhetoric but not so much substance. Which kinda echoes my impression from the little that I’ve read.

    Reply
  19. Tania

    The messages ARE different. Hillary has been beating the drum that she has 35 years of experience that trumps the “inexperience” of Obama. That’s not something that Mr. Eaves is making up.

    During a speech in Iowa she claimed that “they’ve been after me for 16 years and, much to their dismay, I’m still here, and I’m not going anywhere.”

    I think this battle-tested b.s. is proof that a candidate is willing to fight the dirty fight. In that regard, I’m glad that Obama isn’t.

    David, regarding your previous post. The “Yes We Can” video posted on dipdive, was actually inspired by Obama’s speech after the New Hampshire primary, not as a result of the South Carolina victory.

    Reply
  20. Tania

    The messages ARE different. Hillary has been beating the drum that she has 35 years of experience that trumps the “inexperience” of Obama. That’s not something that Mr. Eaves is making up. During a speech in Iowa she claimed that “they’ve been after me for 16 years and, much to their dismay, I’m still here, and I’m not going anywhere.”I think this battle-tested b.s. is proof that a candidate is willing to fight the dirty fight. In that regard, I’m glad that Obama isn’t.David, regarding your previous post. The “Yes We Can” video posted on dipdive, was actually inspired by Obama’s speech after the New Hampshire primary, not as a result of the South Carolina victory.

    Reply
  21. Lynn

    David, I think you are absolutely right. Obama is a leader in the the true sense of the word. He’s not saying, “trust me, I’ll do it for you.” He’s inspiring and pushing people to take their own leadership. Obama spent several formative years as a community organizer in Chicago and is intimately familiar with the struggles of working families. How do you mobilize people to take control of their lives and their communities? Through love, inspiration and (sometime painful) honesty. Not through fear-mongering and power plays.

    Reply
  22. Lynn

    David, I think you are absolutely right. Obama is a leader in the the true sense of the word. He’s not saying, “trust me, I’ll do it for you.” He’s inspiring and pushing people to take their own leadership. Obama spent several formative years as a community organizer in Chicago and is intimately familiar with the struggles of working families. How do you mobilize people to take control of their lives and their communities? Through love, inspiration and (sometime painful) honesty. Not through fear-mongering and power plays.

    Reply
  23. Lilly

    What I don’t like about Hillary is the fact that she is using everything she can to downgrade obama. And not only that, she’s using her husband to campaign for her. A woman president would be a nice change, but we need someone who won’t use their gender to get elected.

    Reply
  24. Lilly

    What I don’t like about Hillary is the fact that she is using everything she can to downgrade obama. And not only that, she’s using her husband to campaign for her. A woman president would be a nice change, but we need someone who won’t use their gender to get elected.

    Reply
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