Sunday, January 17, 2010

Substance versus Style

Michael Barone, the political virtuoso and author of The Almanac of American Politics, has a interesting article contrasting substance versus style as it pertains to current state of American politics. It begs some interesting questions in light of recent revelations pursuant to Obama's governance style. His rhetorical talent and ability to leverage his lack of a record and experience clearly helped him clear the hurdles to victory in 2008. However, the great gamble on Obama was betting that his style would eventually translate into substance. Given the opaque and shady heath care reform process, the blatant buy-off by the unions, the punitive tax proposals, the abandonment of the gays, and the increasing government encroachment in the private sector, Obama's actions scream to the lack of substance being derive from his style. At his best, he's another empty suit parroting yesterday's failed liberalism, and the longer his style is adrift and doesn't jive with the substance it allegedly pimps, the quicker his brand will erode.

This brings us to a second point, the tea party movement. Barone hits the nail on his head with regard to the fact that the so called intelligentsia has long ceased to generate new ideas. It's as if they grew content with John Maynard Keynes and yesterday's failed notions of high liberalism, like LBJ's "great society." Throwing a new coat of paint on a rusty old jalopy, doesn't change the fact that the car in question is still archaic and out-dated. The werewolf doesn't like it when someone pisses on his leg and tells him that it is raining outside. This is the vibe he gets from the ideas that drive modern liberalism, and it scares him because of the monopoly they hold on political power at the moment. (This observation doesn't bestow automatic regard or credit to the Republicans, they to, have grown lazy and complacent) This is also what is fascinating about the tea parties. They are clearly a third rail that has formed in the modern political scene. They may have common cause with the Republicans in some elections, but they are hardly reflective of mainstream GOP thinking or establishment ideals. In fact, the werewolf's friends in the RNC are very concerned about the tea parties. However, the idea that average Americans, provincial to their very core, are the new leaders when it comes to forward-thinking and idea generation is worthy. The werewolf doesn't identify with the tea-parties that much, but he does identify with an anti-incumbency, anti-status quo, movement that prioritizes substance over style. That is what make the tea parties such an interesting phenomenon.

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