New Yorker Article: How Chicago Shaped Obama

Regardless of the terrible cover image the New Yorker has been getting some heat for, the article inside puts a focus on Obama’s time as a community organizer in the Chicago and his rise to political power in Illinois. It’s long as hell, but is really interesting.

Included in the article is an Obama quote from 1996 when he described his thoughts on Bill Clinton, saying: “Well, his campaign’s fascinating to a student of politics. It’s disturbing to someone who cares about certain issues. But politically it seems to be working.” Funny, but that’s almost exactly how I would characterize the Obama campaign at this point.

Definitely worth a read whenever you have time to sit down and really get into it (again, it’s long). Much love to Rage for sending me the article.

“Like many politicians, Obama is paradoxical. He is by nature an incrementalist, yet he has laid out an ambitious first-term agenda (energy independence, universal health care, withdrawal from Iraq). He campaigns on reforming a broken political process, yet he has always played politics by the rules as they exist, not as he would like them to exist. He runs as an outsider, but he has succeeded by mastering the inside game. He is ideologically a man of the left, but at times he has been genuinely deferential to core philosophical insights of the right.”


4 responses to “New Yorker Article: How Chicago Shaped Obama

  1. Pingback: » Blog Archive » Obama as Politician

  2. Note:
    I called the New Yorker article “great” in the original draft of this post. The link in the comment above shows that did not agree with my take on the article. After reading their response, and reflecting on the article itself, I changed the post, as I would agree that I do not think it was a “great” article. However, I did think it was a very interesting article.

    It also appears that did not like the article because it creates “an overall negative impression of Obama as both a person and a politician.” They go on to say that: “The article is, overall, emphasizing Obama’s readiness to embrace the political system that every other politician makes use of; yet, it does little to explore his policies and practices that more accurately speak to what kind of president he will become.”

    For me, I would criticize the article for it’s failure to be critical of a political system that requires it’s candidates to compromise their true beliefs; not for giving an “overall negative impression” of Obama.

    I am very proud that our society has progressed to the point where a Black candidate has a real shot at becoming president. However, if we want to talk about Obama’s policies which might “more accurately speak to the kind of president he will become” I have to say, the results are extremely disheartening to progressives. He is not an anti-war candidate, as his recent comments show he is willing to leave Iraq and move military action to Iran and Afghanistan. His health plan is not a true, single-payer universal system that would remove the profit motive that is killing millions of Americans every day. He hasn’t really taken any substantive stance on reforming our broken criminal justice system.

    Thus, I can again only echo Obama’s own statements when I say his campaign is disturbing to those of us who care about certain issues, but politically fascinating nonetheless.

  3. I agree with your view that Obama is not a progressive candidate. Though he has shown that stepping to the center to appease both sides can win him votes and appear to be bipartisan. He also seems like less of a threat to conservatives and progressives.

  4. Yeah Leiflands, it is interesting to me how he seems nonthreatening to conservatives (and the conservative establishment) and how progressives are willing to support him even though he continually maneuvers to the right. That’s classic Democratic strategy, because they know that progressives have no other options besides voting for fringe independent candidates like Nader/Gonzalez and McKinney/Clemente.

    Thanks for stopping through.

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