December 23, 2006

Gary Hart reviews Barack Obama's book.

Here's his hopeful audacity:
Truly great leaders possess a strategic sense, an inherent understanding of how the framework of their thinking and the tides of the times fit together and how their nation’s powers should be applied to achieve its large purposes. “The Audacity of Hope” is missing that strategic sense. Perhaps the senator should address this in his next book. By doing so, he would most certainly propel himself into the country’s small pantheon of leaders in a way that personal narrative and sudden fame cannot.

In a very short time, Barack Obama has made himself into a figure of national interest, curiosity and some undefined hope. This book fully encourages those sentiments. His greatest test will be that of sensing the times, of matching his timing with the tides of the nation.
Hart is being rather abstract there. What does that really mean? He evokes the proverb "Time and tide wait for no man"... whatever that means. Hmmm:
The processes of nature continue, no matter how much we might like them to stop. The word tide meant “time” when this proverb was created, so it may have been the alliteration of the words that first appealed to people. Now the word tide in this proverb is usually thought of in terms of the sea, which certainly does not wait for anyone.
Does a nation have processes like nature's? And what would it mean for Obama to match his timing with the tides of the nation? Is it something like this phenomenon? Mysterious synchrony!


Anonymous said...

In sum, I guess Mickey Kaus's monovlog comment about Obama says it best: not so much a question of "Where's the beef?" as "Where's the bun?" All this ties in rather well with TIME's cover for person of the year: reflective glaze allows everyone to see themselves (or whatever they want to see) in the picture.

Kirby Olson said...

Democrats have turned into lemmings. I can't wait to vote against their candidate.

The only one I'll even consider is Edwards. He seems to occasionally say what he actually thinks. The others are entirely demogogues. Going with the current, or riding the wave, or whatever: I think it's a kind of statement about fashion. When something is IN, you had better be IN, because Democrats are fashion monkeys of surrender.

It also implies that an individual should not think for themselves, or dare to try to think for themselves. They have to go along with the crowd (the wave of History). If you live in the Soviet Union in 1946 you sign up with the Stalinists. In Cambodia in the 1970s you sign up with Pol Pot. Now you get on the race, gender class bandwagon and scream as your tanks roll into Washington.

In their dumb way the Democrats are hoping that the very name Obama will keep Osama off our necks. I think that's the vague and ill-defined and totally unthought out hope. They can't wait to surrender. That's matriarchy for you.

dklittl said...

And most incoherent email award of the day goes too....kirby olson.

Stalinist? Pol Pot? Fashion monkey? Lemmings? What in god's name are you talking about. Why didn't you just include Klingons and Orcs too? I would skewer your post, but it made so little sense that I wouldn't know where to start

Anonymous said...

As of today, what I see in Obama is akin to what was said about FDR: "A ?-class mind, but a first-class temperament." Gary Hart was the reverse, which is why his review is a bit churlish.

Hart, like the stuck clock, will point endlessly to the supposedly "prophetic" things he said in some book nobody read that he co-authored with another self-regarding former senator. But as a leader, he was an enormous bust. It's hard to imagine Obama letting himself pose with a 20 year old blonde on a boat dock in the Caribbean. Not only would he not be that stupid, he wouldn't feel so entitled.

Hart's heart burns with envy and contempt at how supposedly inferior minds like Reagan, Mondale, Bush, Dukakis, Clinton, Gore and Bush 43 went on to claim what he thought was rightfully his due to his big brain. Whoever at the NY Times assigned this book review to Gary Hart was a master of cruelty.

Joe Baby said...

Not only would he (Obama) not be that stupid, he wouldn't feel so entitled.

I'd agree with your first clause, but differ with the second. Obama's got a good rap as a man o' the people and a South side man, but he's got a background more like Gore than Edwards.

From Punahou, to Columbia (via Occidental), then Harvard? This guy's been golden boy from the start.

Zeb Quinn said...

Hart appears to be questioning the timing, pace, and rhythm of Obama's bringing of his affected charisma to bear. Which is a curious thing when you think about it.

DookOfURL said...

I said it once, I'll say it again----this country is too immature for a black POTUS candidate. As we have seen in comments here and elsewhere, the race baiters and PC warriors are everywhere ready to pounce on anyone and everyone who doesn't march in lockstep with PC groupthink.

Think about what will happen the first time someone who is not black and/or a Democrat criticizes Obama. The cry of "racist" will be heard throughout the land.

Who really has the stomach to deal with that sort of idiocy? Obama would win by default because no one would want to challenge the race baiters.

We, and specifically those on the left, do not have the maturity for a black to run for POTUS. Left wing race baiters would make sure the Obama presidency would be about racism and not about issues.

I dread it. I just wish the left would grow up.

The partisan moderate said...

Who better than Hart to know about making vague, ambitious proposals that have no substance? Obama is a newer better version of Hart. He was a more accomplished writer and one who seems to have a better family life.

The question is whether he can turn slogans into proposals. Hart couldn't, perhaps Obama can. I am still betting on either Gore or Clinton to emerge as the Democratic nominee with Edwards as a dark horse if our economy tanks and he can appeal to people with his quasi-socialist rhetoric befitting a mult-millionaire with a daughter at Harvard Law.

Sissy Willis said...

Great comments, kirby olson, but as for the wave of history, I think we're talking about something deeper than what Baron Bodissey of the blog Gates of Vienna calls "the violent froth on the surface," and if you don't sense the undercurrents -- as Obama apparently doesn't -- no amount of treading water is going to help:

"A lot of violent froth on the surface"

David said...

Gary "Risky Business" Hart! He writes like he is still on the boat!

Is the tide in yet?!

bearbee said...

Think about what will happen the first time someone who is not black and/or a Democrat criticizes Obama. The cry of "racist" will be heard throughout the land.

Nah...I think we are beyond the 'walking-on-eggs-shells-pc- nice-nice Jessie Jackson' period. But maybe not. I never quite understood the enthusiasm that existed for Colin Powell to become a presidential candidate.

Kirby Olson said...

Somehow the Democratic candidate has to pretend to be a little bit of everything to win: on the side of gays, Christians, blacks, southern whites, feminists, military people, farmers, animal rights people, and every other combination to win. Only the few that are nothing at all can even manage to get the nomination. Kerry managed it, and we still don't know what he was.

You have to do an amazing dance to get through the Democratic gauntlet, and ultimately you have to be nothing at all. That works if everyone is voting against, but what if you want to vote FOR someone?

This will happen at least a few more times at least. It's fun to watch the Democrats self-destruct, I guess. I'd rather see them come up with a few principles they will stand by, but the only principle they come up with is tolerance for just anything and everyone. I wouldn't put it past a Democrat to go after the coprophage or the child molester vote if they could swing it without alienating some other part of their voting base.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

Does a nation have processes like nature's?

The answer is YES, absolutely. Read Strauss & Howe's 'Fourth Turning' (1997) or their absolutely seminal 'Generations' (1991) and you will no longer see it as a question.

Any politician who desires to accomplish some real good in the emerging 'Crisis' period must be willing and able to:

a) immediately diffuse the culture wars and concentrate on overarching issues of national survival, and

b) vigorously repudiate the 'Silent' generation's obsessive focus on procedure, pluralism and social justice in favor of actually getting the job DONE.

We're not there yet -- no trigger -- and Obama is almost certainly not the guy to get us there.

The times into which we are moving will offer existential challenges on the order of World War II, the Civil War, and the Revolution.

Which is to say that inexperienced, sweet-talking pretty-boys of either party are not going to have what it takes. Senators of all parties are legislators, haggling over the placement of commas.

Senators are not leaders. When the time comes we will need leaders. Obama is a celebrity, not a leader.

paul a'barge said...


Skip the Obama commentary. This is Gary Hart being quoted. Geez.

For Hart to even let the word "strategy" slip past his petroleum-jelly slithered lips, oh please spare us.

This is the guy who dared the press to put him under a microscope and then ran off with that babe on the Monkey Business.

Oh, the irony. Can't these losers perform a simple act of charity and go away into obscurity and leave us alone, sparing us from their continuous hypocrisy and nonsense?

I guess not.

Anonymous said...

If all you know about Sen. Hart is an incident of 20 years ago, you're not very literate.

Georgfelis said...

Barack Obama is just an empty suit with no experience who has been making meaningless noises while voting the 100% Democratic Party line for his two years in the Senate. Despite his superficial book, which has fewer facts in it than a Clinton news conference, the Mainstream Media has been going (censored) over him, and has inflated his Credentials to Rock-Star status. But the MSM has a long history of building up people before pulling the rug out, just to listen to the crash. I don’t expect him to survive as a Presidential Candidate until the ‘08 elections, although I do expect him to win reelection to his Senate seat in ’10. And I don’t expect Mrs. Clinton to nominate him as Veep, because she has a record of not wanting anybody to overshadow herself.

Incidentally, I do not expect Brownback to win the Republican nod either, despite living in his District.

We as Americans have a long history of *not* electing Senators to the Presidency, which I consider a good thing. Let them win a Governorship a couple of times, have a cabinet, a real budget, and a little distance from the “100 Kings” of the Senate.