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Old 01-26-2009, 03:13 PM
 
13,609 posts, read 20,664,651 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smithy77 View Post
You're probably right. We haven't seen this "cult of personality" since the Reagan administration, but I'll take the Obama era over the Bush era any day. Maybe it's just a normal human response after coming out of what I consider to be a very dark/scary era in American history. You also have to take into consideration what this election means to African-Americans. I'm old enough to remember what the Kennedy election meant to Catholics (I'm the lapsed variety). Almost every Catholic home I visited back then had a framed picture of Kennedy---sometimes next to Jesus. A little over the top? Sure, but I think Obama is an unusually gifted politician and human being-----a rarity in politics; and while I haven't bought my framed picture (I've lived here long enough to be cynical about politics in general), I wish him the best and I honestly hope that this country and the world benefit from his extraordinary leadership skills.

Maybe, just maybe, those skills will change the way we conduct our political business in this town and it will tone down the cut-throat attitudes of the power junkies. One can only hope. In the mean time, avoid men and women wearing power ties, and bars/restaurants on the Hill/downtown.
Well, I am not comparing him to Bush or Reagan or anybody. And I am certainly not judging him yet- as I write this the man has not been President for even a week yet. The OP is about what kind of people will come into DC, if any, with his new adminstration. My statement was really just a prediction based on what others here say.

I do not really buy into DC being full of uptight, arrogant people. I just do not see it. Sure, there are some, but no more than in other comparable places and less than many.
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Old 01-26-2009, 08:01 PM
 
4,176 posts, read 6,309,879 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moth View Post
I do not really buy into DC being full of uptight, arrogant people. I just do not see it. Sure, there are some, but no more than in other comparable places and less than many.

I agree with the above statements. I, also, haven't found this area to be exclusively (or predominantly) populated by the uptight, arrogant, overachievers described above.
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Old 01-26-2009, 10:35 PM
 
Location: Bethesda, MD
658 posts, read 1,780,240 times
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While I voted for Obama, I hardly think his administration will do anything to change the dynamics of DC.

The only significant changes will probably be more staffers moving into areas like Columbia Heights, Petworth or Shaw as opposed to living across the river in Arlington or Alexandria. If we're lucky, we might see less khakis, lanyards or bow ties, but I'm not holding my breath for that to change either.
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Old 01-27-2009, 12:01 AM
 
11,155 posts, read 15,654,687 times
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Jim Griffith - ironically, I think George W. Bush created that culture of relying on the president for everything. Remember how somewhat irrelevant politics was in the 90s because everything was working?

One saving grace about Obama is that he seems to not get caught up in the rhetoric and cult of personality. You can tell when celebrities have drunk their own kool aid. Obama so far has demonstrated that he knows the value of that cultish fandom for votes and political support, but also knows how to shut the door, have intelligent conversations with people of different interests, and actually put the rubber to the road. Even his speeches now are decidedly not uplifting and rhetorical. They are downright grim and focused on everybody carrying their share.

If he changes anything in DC, it will be bringing political DC back to a culture where Republicans and Democrats could duke it out on the floor and then have a drink afteward. That culture has disappeared. You could see glimpses of it in the Republican outpouring of genuine sympathy for Ted Kennedy when he was sick - another era.
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Old 01-27-2009, 08:14 AM
 
470 posts, read 2,089,112 times
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I don't think Bush created it, but he certainly didn't discourage it. The notion of the omnipotent executive has been building for a few decades I think. You're right politics was on the back burner for a period between the fall of the Berlin Wall and 9/11/2001, but it wasn't just that the world was quiet and we experienced steady growth. For a while there Newt Gingrich was getting more press than Bill Clinton, even driving Clinton to tell everyone on TV that the Constitution gives him relevance. We had a brief moment of discussion about why the Constitution mentions Congress before it does the President, and maybe the legislative branch is the preeminent one after all. No more, alas.

As far as Obama believing his own press, I'll take a wait and see approach. With Pepsi changing its logo and Obama's face plastered all over town, it feels like we elected Mussolini, and he certainly didn't do anything during the campaign to temper expectations or gently remind his supporters that he is not, in fact, the Messiah.

But I have absolutely zero expectation that he'll usher in a new era of comity. It's beyond him even if he wanted to for a million different reasons, from gerrymandered districts (leaving members much more committed to their ideologically rigid grassroots base) to modern air travel (allowing members spend as little time here as they want, taking care of things in their home states and never becoming full-time DC residents and establishing intra-party friendships).

I'm not sure I care either way. I wish they wouldn't be so childish, petty and vindictive (Obama included), but honestly they are attempting to exercise unprecedented power over the American people, and we deserve to know where the lines are. They should draw those lines and fight, and we'll make another decision next November.

It seems every time they "come together" and "rise above partisan politics" I'm left with the Patriot Act or No Child Left Behind. Same with this so-called stimulus package. It's the 2009 version of the Patriot Act, and I can't wait to hear people say they "didn't have time to read it" once we discover all the warts.
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Old 01-27-2009, 05:46 PM
 
11,155 posts, read 15,654,687 times
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Good call on the "above partisan politics" leaving us with the Patriot Act and No Child Left Behind.

Though, Obama has definitely been trying to tamper expectations. He has made it clear that he is not the messiah, that it will take a lot of work, and that he can't do it alone. That has been the theme of his speeches for the past several months, at least.

But yeah. Only time will tell.
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