Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Another Way To Look At Community Organizing

From Ezra Klein:
When presidents succeed in presiding over great change, they do so by recognizing an existing opportunity, not squeezing one from the stone of existing opposition.
The way I've been saying it is that Obama is trying to get the rest of us energized and moving toward whatever it is we want. We are the people, after all, and he can't and shouldn't be doing it alone.

Add in something I've seen mentioned in several places the last week or so, that he's avoiding making himself any more of a Republican target than a mixed-race Democratic president is anyway by avoiding Big Pronouncements of the type that most commentators would like. And they'd probably like those Big Pronouncements so they can find something wrong with them, too.

Removing this kind of target from the Republicans has forced them back on themselves into crazier and crazier territory.


Anonymous said...

I read a few of your posts. And while I recognize that it is hard to see that democrats and republicans are two sides to a very similar coin (years of gentle pushing towards a silly dichotomy will do that, I suppose... I went along with that well into my 20s)

But, your blind spots are embarrassing.

Barack Obama is trying to get "us" energized? Oh boy.

The 2nd paragraph hurts:

By not taking positions of substance, he avoids making himself a target!... Hell, I'll give you that one.

And you suggest Helen Caldicott sees what she wants to see. Your push to suggest nuclear reactors are safe is something I'd consider considering... what is it about doing the most dangerous thing imaginable (creating tons of nuclear waste) that makes you think:


Give that one some thought.


Cheryl Rofer said...

Hi Matt -

There are more options out there than Safe or Not Safe. That's the point I'm trying to make when I write about nuclear energy.

Is it Safe for coal-fired plants to pour asthma-causing pollutants into the air? For coal mining to kill hundreds of workers a year? Is it Safe for both coal- and gas-fired plants to pour global warming gases into the air? Is it Safe for windmills to kill bats and raptors? For solar cells to use toxic metals?

We don't have a choice between Safe and Not Safe if we also want the electricity that allows us to make comments on blogs. We have a choice among various energy sources, each with its downside.

I've been trying out a theory about President Obama's actions. I can't work out the theory in full detail in one or even a few blog posts. It's based, I said some long time ago in a post even I can't find, on successful tactics I've used in managing people. So I'm watching, and when I see stuff that's consistent with that (or controverts it), I take note.

I agree that we all suffer from confirmation bias, and my methodology in blogging this probably more than if I were doing a scholarly study.

But if everyone else has their favorite theory (that there is no difference between Democrats and Republicans, for example), I'm entitled to mine.

troutsky said...

My pet theory takes us a little further down the rabbit hole. Beyond Republicrats. Politics as such are hollowed of all substance. Democratic culture is effectively eviscerated by market ideology. So all pleas to "the People" must first involve a confrontation with their relationship to production and exchange. When profit is faced squarely, we can talk safety or sustainability or whatever.