Tuesday, October 9, 2007

You've Got To Want It

I took an interest in a couple of armchair analyses of Barack Obama's psyche and its impact on his political campaign strategy, posted by Josh Marshall at TalkingPointsMemo:
Obama isn't so much running for the nomination in the sense of reaching out and taking it. He's trying to show us how marvelous he is (and this isn't snark, he's really pretty marvelous) so that Democratic voters will recognize it and give him the nomination.

But that's not how it works in this country. I don't know if it really works otherwise anywhere else. But you have to really want it, come out and say it, take it. I thought about qualities that describe what is at issue. 'Toughness' seems to bound up in meta-national security mumbojumbo. 'Ruthlessness' sounds too, well, ruthless. You have to want it enough that you reach out and take it. Which isn't always pretty and admirable. But that's what it takes.
At the level of remove from which I am observing this, I can't say that I entirely disagree. And, in fact, what makes Obama appealing to me is exactly this integrity (shall we call it that?), which isn't really an effective way to succeed at political campaigns (and, too often, not a recipe for succeeding in many of the competitive aspects of life itself). Maybe Chris Matthews is right, after all...

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