Is Obama’s Faith in American Voters a Weakness?

Glenn Greenwald writes:

But in Obama’s faith in the average American voter lies one of the greatest weaknesses of his campaign. His faith in the ability and willingness of Americans to rise above manipulative political tactics seems drastically to understate both the efficacy of such tactics and the deafening amplification they receive from our establishment press. Even Americans who authentically believe that they want a “new, better politics” may be swayed by the same old Drudgian sewerage because it is powerful and ubiquitous.

Part of me really wants to believe in the American people. Like Obama, I do think that Americans are decent and generous. But another part of me is quite cynical about the ability of the American people to be manipulated by the likes of Matt Drudge, Fox News, and 527s like the Swiftboaters.

If Obama does get the nomination, he will be lied about and smeared like no other candidate. I think he has shown that he can deal with that kind of shit, but will low-information voters pay attention to much more than TV ads and a deceptive press? And the viral crap that will be thrown at him will be worse than we can imagine, as evidenced by the “Obama is a Muslim” meme that is making the spam e-mail rounds.

When I decided to support Obama, people told me that Americans will never elect a black man and my response was that we simply don’t know if they will or not; it’s better to put up the best candidate and think well about the American people than it is to never even try to elect a guy like Obama.

I stand by that analysis, but I’m not 100% confident that Obama and I are correct.


2 responses to “Is Obama’s Faith in American Voters a Weakness?

  1. An America which is receptive to the Fox News and the loudmouths dominating the airwaves is probably not a very favorable environment for the kind of dignified, intellectually sophisticated politics practiced by Obama. The America that re-elected Bush is alive and well, I’m afraid.

  2. Yeah, that’s what scares me. We like to think that we’re moving beyond the idiocy of the Bush years, but it seems they might be with us for a long time.

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