Monday, February 04, 2008
I was particularly encouraged and amused to see this endorsement for Obama mentioned in The Nation yesterday by Ari Melber. And in the interests of full disclosure, I've been a long time Deadhead myself, though in recent years I've tended to listen to them less (the loss of Jerry Garcia in 1995 has a lot to do with that), they still remain one of the seminal rock bands in my life. I grew up with them rather late in the 1970's, but I followed them enthusiastically throughout the 1980's, attending all concerts I was near until about 1988, when I was finishing my PhD dissertation (which, unfortunately consumed most of my time for some odd reason).
No matter what you may think (or have thought) of the Grateful Dead, for them to come out at this time (granted it's only Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart, Billy Kreutzman and Bob Weir) is something that plays of value to this greying ex-hippie. I suspect it will have some marginal impact in California (at least in the Bay area) and that can only be a good thing. Anything that can help Obama whittle away at the Clintons' (the plural is deliberate) lead is encouraging.
To my knowledge, they have never endorsed a political candidate for President, and for the remaining (living) band members to do so now, seems to me to be a positive signal for a great number of potentially 'apolitical' voters to take pause. Maybe I'm ascribing too much to this, but I do think it will help galvanize some younger voters (who came too late to the party) to abandon the bongs for one day, load up their Ipods with US Blues and head out to vote. I doubt there's polling that could truly measure such a metric, but in my more optimistic moments, I'd like to think so.
So, I'm more than pleased that The Dead has come out and endorsed the last best hope for change in the Democratic Party and are throwing their support behind Barack Obama. Of course it remains to be seen whether their 'one time' reunion Monday night will have a real impact on the race in California, I want to believe that it will be yet another cog in the disparate elements of the Progressive community that will help propel Obama to the nomination. Of course we may be eventually disappointed in how it may all turn out in the general election, but for me, it is a more hopeful voter position than what we are faced with at this point. But I do think that Obama can bring more (yes, younger) voters into play this year than Clinton can, and faced with the options of John McCain (aka, Panderbear), can the electorate be that stupid in choosing the status quo? Yeah, I know it's happened before ... but this time around, when I have heard usual Republican voters express enthusiasm about Obama, can we really risk taking this chance? I'm not sure at this point, but I'm willing to give it a chance. Jeebus on the cross we had the idiocy to nominate John Kerry in 2004!
So... let's go full bore and go behind Obama now and take our chances between the flip-flopper panderbears Romney and McCain and 'let's all be a oh shucks Hucksterbee theocratic demolish the church/state barrier' and go for broke. I'm sorry, but the Hillary folks leave me cold. I didn't like how things worked out in the 1990's, so let's let this 'inexperienced' guy (BS alert!) give us our best shot against more war, more corruption and more redistribution of the wealth to the already filthy rich a decent chance! Go back to your sinecure in the Senate, Hillary and spare us the pandering and triangulation! I can tolerate you there (just barely), but at least we may have dodged the dynastic nature of what you and Bill (I used to like you, Bubba) are foisting off on us now.
We will see how it all turns out soon, but I'm hoping for the end of dynastic politics, no matter how it may turn out in the fall. I'd rather lose running Barack Obama (as much as I'd hate such a loss!) than the inevitable loss with a Clinton nominee. Ack, those were tough words to type, but it's the way I see it right now.