Obama and "The Hope-a-Dope"
Let me start by saying, I like President Obama. He is engaging, has a winning, ready smile, seemingly a good sort of guy. He's got a nice family, cute kids. He's got a dog now, the press told us while going through the obligatory act of assuring "the people" that the new president is one of us, something they do for all new presidents. A log cabin kind of guy, if not a cowboy. And he ran a campaign on change, one that got enough people behind him to install him in the White House. Quite a remarkable feat when one considers the deep racial divide that still, in spite of his win, exists in our nation.
After giving many wonderful, hope-filled speeches over the last two years--not only to our nation but more recently to Europe, to the Muslim world, to our neighbors south of the border--it appears the world kind of likes him too. He kind of stirs up likability, one that makes you see your aspirations and hopes in the words he speaks. Let's face it. You don't get the Nobel Peace Prize for being Attila the Hun, though apparently a Kissinger, a Begin, or an Arafat slips in once in awhile, all killers and terrorists to some degree, the first on a massive scale - but still aberrations to be sure.
Thus far, I am disappointed to say, President Obama has shown himself to be in the political ring what Muhammad Ali was in the boxing ring. Back in 1974, Ali artfully utilized the Rope-a-Dope on an unwitting George Frazier to take the heavyweight crown from his younger and stronger (and much feared) opponent. Ali of course used the tactic to rope in Frazier (the dope in this case) to win a fight; Obama roped in a broad spectrum of the electorate to win an election, even if against a doddering and rather scary opposition ticket.
President Obama's pretty speeches themselves do not constitute change, nor does one's ability to inspire the ever-perennial "hope" for the world to travel in a more socially just, less war-ridden and more economically and environmentally sustainable direction. Those are what we longed for as a people, the kind of real change longed for which would put our nation and the world on a better course. President Obama is slipping in the polls, and it isn't because he is losing the Right. He is losing the base that hoped for real change.