When Naked Ambition Is A Good Thing




Barack Obama has re-imagined almost every aspect of a presidential campaign, changing the way we describe our American political culture. So is it too much of a stretch, given all the innovative and surprising ways we’ve seen the Obama campaign operate these last few months, to expect him to approach his new job with the same unorthodox methods that he used to get there?

We’ve gotten used to using the water level of people in our bureaucracies who have been professional time wasters. We are having a hard time fathoming how a new president can fundamentally realign the expectation levels of his individual staff members, especially in ways that could actually foster real changes in the way the permanent Washington bureaucracy works.

A president’s actual actions only constitute a small part of his image as these actions are translated by both print and news media into the information we ultimately get to consume. Which means, if the scribes and wordsmiths and scriptwriters are going to continue to mine the same old presidential metaphors, the same old presidential narratives, the same old presidential story arcs, regardless of what is going on in front of them, then we are already doomed to "more of the same."

What we do know is this - Barack Obama is an opportunist’s opportunist. He has gone from state senator to president elect in forty eight months because of a naked ambition, ascending the political ladder in a way that has largely left behind the negative connotations we are used to associating with someone who wants to get ahead in hurry. Make no mistake about it, behind that made for TV smile is one of the most calculating political minds in the country.

Add to that my own speculation - that living outside of the continental U.S. in both Indonesia and Hawaii during his formative years has given him an ability to see America without the emotional investment in its symbols that us mainland dwellers have - and you get a man free of the "analysis paralysis" that often haunts centrist politicians.

One of the fallacies of the Camelot mystique and the Kennedy image is that this evocative spirit spontaneously generated itself because of Jack and Jacqueline Kennedy’s youth, vitality, and photogenic offspring. The reality is that Kennedy understood how to use his youthful image as a tool that could generate goodwill among a populace skeptical of youth - he was the first president to assign a photographer to follow him all day everyday, providing the country with an unprecedented view of the president's daily life and the activities surrounding the office of president.

I suspect Barack Obama will use the power of digital communications in a way that would make Ronald Reagan envious. I would assume, if I were a betting man, that he will continue to use unorthodox but well planned methods to achieve the ends he seeks in a Herculean attempt to remake key parts of our government. And I think that he will use plain, straight forward, unvarnished honesty, not all the time, but when we need to hear it, in order to help us begin to believe in what government can accomplish.

In this land of opportunity, I believe we will finally have a president who knows how to take advantage of the ones before us, even in this time of crisis, in a way that benefits all of us.




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3 comments:

Dark Moon said...

Add to that my own speculation - that living outside of the continental U.S. in both Indonesia and Hawaii during his formative years has given him an ability to see America without the emotional investment in its symbols that us mainland dwellers have - and you get a man free of the "analysis paralysis" that often haunts centrist politicians.

Excellent point. His objectivity and pragmatism has been noted before. My guess is that not only is he able to dispense with emotion, but also able to focus on a problem with laser like logic, which I think will be a problem for many Americans who are used to the often misguided passion of its leaders. The whole cowboy, maverick schtick.He seems to understand that every step he makes has to be a calculated chess move, thus I don’t think any of his appointments are going to be particularly radical or surprising.

I suspect Barack Obama will use the power of digital communications in a way that would make Ronald Reagan envious.

As I recall, Newsweek, Businessweek, et al have been salivating over Axelrod’s mastery and Obama collusion with technology as one of the lynchpins that galvanized netizens but also hit on and energized the youth vote. It did appear that good old fashion Grassroots campaigning and the personal touch with canvassing did more to reach minorities and whites within the confines of their communities, then the Republicans could conceive because they assumed who their voting blocs were. The Obama campaigned didn’t make those assumptions and thus was able to acquire new/first time voters.

Of interest is the transition website they have also generated, further utilizing the power of net dissemination strategy as a pathway of information as well as providing a certain level of transparency. It appears interactive and also allows people to leave their opinions and ideas. Kinda cool.

http://change.gov/
http://change.gov/newsroom/blog/

SagaciousHillbilly said...

Yes, I believe we will see a realignment of the fundamentals of how a presidential administration is run. His choice of Emanuel as CoS is an indication that there will be little tolerance for "professional time wasters."
And no, I doubt that MR. Obama will suffer from paralysis by analysis. He is probably the most intellectual president we've had in decades combined with being quite capable of making decisions. What more could you ask for?
He's an opportunist for sure, but also one who wants to be the best president ever and who understands the broader ramifications of failure.
He is a man who understands the challenge and will not fail.

Good blog Brown Man. Glad I found it. You really do think. Come over to my place and read some superficial spew.

Real News Report said...

i think obama will do a gr8 job dont worry ;).

btw check out my blog:
http://liberamerica.blogspot.com/

thanks

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