Time to get serious...and a little bloody

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by Ari Rutenberg

Right now Barack Obama is Lennox Lewis.  Big, strong, well trained, patient and obviously the best of his generation.  Not out to kill his opponent, but instead to win the fight decisvley on his own personal merits as a skilled and fit pugilist.  Unfortunately American politics don't work on the Marquess of Quessbury rules, and the man who wins the points doesn't always win the crowd.  The crowd wants blood, and Lennox doesn't deliver that.  Obama needs to become Mike Tyson.  Maybe not as pretty, long-lasting, or sucessful but as for the masses, as even the Romans knew, blood is often what sates them.  And unfortunately for the progressives (myself included) all the high-minded principals and rhetorics do no good if they never lead to any real progress due to a lack of winning elections.

Americans want to hear the truth from Barack Obama, and they want him to call McCain's lies. They want to hear him say "damn right I'm gonna raise rich peoples taxes...people who make a million a year have nothing to worry about."  They want him to say "yes we will all have to sacrifice some parts of our individual lives ot make it better for the whole, but thats what Ameica is about.  They are waiting to be called out.  Not timidly or gently but forcefull, maybe even brutally. When people question Obama's fitness for the presidency, what they are really asking is can he stand up for himself when the shit hits the fan?  They figure that at least they know McCain had some guts at some point, and they would rather take the chance that he will continue destructive policies than that Obama won't have the intestinal fortitude when a real crisis arises.  It seems to me that what Obama really needs to do is play the macho card.  He needs to go out there and boast about his record the way McCain does about his.

The fact is he has a brilliant record...they guy was one of the
youngest professors in University of Chicago history and President of
the Harvard Law Review.  Fine maybe she has some executive experience,
but it should be easy for him to demonsrate his manifest superiority as
a thinker and doer.  All he has to do is be real about who he is.  He
needs to stop with the false modesty and aw-shucks mannerism and start
to be the street-smart lawyer we know him to be.  I don't think, as
Bill Maher said in last weeks New Rules, that Americans won't vote for
someone smarter than them, though the jealousy of his opponents is
obvious. It's not like these people want their doctor, or priest, to be
just like the guy next door.  I think most people recognie that the
President should be among the brightest of our nation.  They want to be
understood, which Obama clearly does, but they also want to see some
serious spine, which even I doubt sometime.  For those on the left who
would criticize an honest staement of doubt for helping the Republican
framing, I really think that t is rediculous to ask us to betray the
truth in our search for progress.  Lying is like bringing a gun to the
boxing match and no matter how much they do it, that is a bedrock
principal that we cannot give up even if we have to be a little mean
about it.

I don't think people want Obama to morph into a Republican-lite.  In
fact most are probably not aware enough of the policy details to make
their basic decision based simply on policy.  I do think they want him,
smart or dumb, to stand up and hit back when he gets punched.  And when
he starts doing that repeatedly and agressively, not only will it
inspire his own supporters once again, it will fire up a nation that is
waiting for a serious and thoughful,and above all forceful person to
put in charge of fixing the wounds of our country and our image abroad.