Liberty Forged

the State has no money of its own, so it has no power of its own. ` Nock

“Change” is rhetoric. Revolution is change.

Posted by Jesse on February 24, 2008

The Year of the Insurgents
Barack Obama, Ron Paul, and the new politics of protest

Back in December, I said this election year would be characterized by the collapse of the alleged “front-runners” – i.e. presidential candidates favored by the pundits and the Beltway know-it-alls – and so it has come to pass. Barack Obama has upended the supposedly inevitable Hillary, and the GOP electorate, too, has humbled those formerly exalted as “major” candidates. What explains this inversion of expectations, as I put it last year, is the rise of a new politics in this country:

“The paradigm that best describes what is happening on the ground in Iowa, New Hampshire, and beyond, isn’t ‘right’ versus ‘left,’ ‘Christianism’ versus secularism, or red-versus-blue state mindsets, but populist demands for change against our hidebound, insular, arrogant elites in the media as well as in government. And no issue has underscored the growing chasm between the people, on the one hand, and the Washington-New York axis of power, on the other, than the war in Iraq. The intersection of the war, as an issue, with the growing populist rebellion against the status quo portends a revolution.”

John McCain and plenty of conservatives – especially the neocons – are now deriding Obama as a purveyor of platitudes, whose rhetoric recalls Gertrude Stein’s opinion of her birthplace, Oakland, California: “There’s no there there.” But of course there is a there there – and it’s called Iraq.

Obama has become more outspoken in his opposition to the Iraq war as the campaign has progressed, and not only that but has denounced the “mindset” among our rulers, and the leaders of both parties, that led us into that trap to begin with. This has legitimized his standing as the outsider in the year of the insurgents, and given heft to his soaring rhetoric, which, you’ll note, is often delivered in terms of an anti-interventionist riff, such as in this very substantive speech laying out his foreign policy vision for America.

Yet it’s hard to please some people, especially antiwar people on the right – and there are more of them than you might imagine – when it comes to Obama’s candidacy. Here is Daniel Larison, a paleoconservative writer – and blogger-in-chief over at The American Conservative, who has also posted at the Antiwar.com blog – warning explicitly not to be fooled by the alluring siren song of Obama-ism:

“Given the rather grim prospects for antiwar voters this election, it is understandable why many look to Obama and think that they have found someone they can trust. But this is a mistake. It isn’t that Obama is wrong on Iraq, but that he has happened to be right about it basically in spite of his own foreign policy views.”

Read the rest here.

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5 Responses to ““Change” is rhetoric. Revolution is change.”

  1. […] Fred wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt […]

  2. […] Jeff wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptBarack Obama has upended the supposedly inevitable Hillary, and the GOP electorate, too, has humbled those formerly exalted as “major” candidates. What explains this inversion of expectations, as I put it last year, is the rise of a new … Read the rest of this great post here Posted by […]

  3. […] Liberty Forged wrote an interesting post today on "Change" is rhetoric. Revolution is change.Here’s a quick excerpt” But of course there is a there there – and it’s called Iraq….And no issue has underscored the growing chasm between the people, on the one hand, and the Washington-New York axis of power, on the other, than the war in Iraq….It isn’t that Obama is wrong on Iraq, but that he has happened to be right about it basically in spite of his own foreign policy views….Obama has become more outspoken in his opposition to the Iraq war as the campaign has progressed, and not only that but has denounced the “m… […]

  4. […] Jesse wrote an interesting post today on âChangeâ is rhetoric. Revolution is change.Here’s a quick excerptObama has become more outspoken in his opposition to the Iraq war as the campaign has progressed, and not only that but has denounced the “mindset” among our rulers, and the leaders of both parties, that led us into that trap to begin … […]

  5. […] ???Change??? is rhetoric. Revolution is change. […]

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