Barack, Let Your Hands Go...
After watching your post-speech interview with George Stephanopoulos on This Week (I mostly liked the speech clips but disliked the interview), I am compelled to invoke a perhaps cliched metaphor -- that you are a young, gifted boxer in a long and grueling bout. It's the tenth of twelve rounds. The scorecards are even and the judges are deadlocked. Your opponent, the Champion, is tired, old and slow, but he is as powerful as he is brutal and ruthless. Win or lose, it is time to abandon caution, calculation and flippancy. It is time to let your hands go... guided less by your mind and more by your instincts and your heart.
In other words, Mr. Obama, please stop trying to crossover to the Republican base and to the confused middle with carefully-parsed, four-minute answers, where any casual observer can see electoral college calculus computing behind your eyes. You said Americans are not stupid! Give us a chance to prove it. Barack, you're a winner, let your hands go... close the deal through greater engagement with old and new Democrats during interviews and the forthcoming debates.
Simply put, at this point in U.S. political history, the Republican party is not big enough to win a Presidential election. Thus, you need only Democrats to win. How did Ronald Reagan win? Democrats. Why did John Kerry lose? Democrats. If Democrats turn out, as they did in the primaries -- you win. If they are lukewarm and uninspired, or only moderately inspired on election day -- you will probably lose.
I also contend that the majority of swing voters, whether they know it or not, are Democrats. They have moderate incomes. They aspire to working and middle class dreams: a house maybe, perhaps a better life for their children. And as you well know, they long to believe in something beyond cynical, divisive, Conservative Think Tank manipulation masking corporate fascism.
Thus, you need voters like my wife. A lifelong Democrat, she donated money and volunteered time as a precinct captain for your primary campaign in Helena, Montana. She made get-out-the-vote calls. She was disappointed with the poor logistics behind the call lists (many calls she made were repeats, seemingly due to poor record keeping). But she became disillusioned (and stopped volunteering) after your middling Senate vote supporting telecom immunity under FISA renewal.
You don't need voters like my dad. He is emblematic of voters you will never reach: white, old, peevish, angry and confused. People that decry "big government" yet sign up early for Social Security and Medicare -- "before the Government goes bankrupt." People that "don't care" about recycling or global warming. People that "earned" their right to drive cars and consume oil -- forever. People that were always financially secure in America and retired after many years at the same job. They can't help feeling lucky, exceptional and entitled. But to do so, they need to delude themselves -- that it's still 1959 in America. They wouldn't vote for a 47-year-old, black President in 1000 years. They voted for George Bush twice.
So please, Mr. Obama, stop trying to be safe enough to reach everyone and try harder to honor, to strengthen and to enlarge The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party -- that put you over the top against Hillary Clinton. We do not want smiling, pretty, innocuous, prom-king Barry Obama. We want Anti-Bush Barack Obama. We want someone less comfortable as our candidate and generally more earnest and authentic -- to mobilize every single adult in families with incomes under $50K per year to vote. Please try and be less flip and more solemn in making our case -- that George Bush's Republican Party, despite its cynical "small town values" rhetoric, abandons ninety percent of its constituency the day after every election.
Despite the fact you are not Left enough for us, Mr. Obama, you remain our only choice in America, short of emigration. Please honor our trust and endorsement by making a real difference for America's politically and economically exploited majority. First, however, you must convince that majority that John McCain, if he cares, cannot possibly change Washington and America due to the narrow self-interests driving his Party. To this end, we wish to see you smiling and calculating less and caring more. America is in deep, deep trouble and being President is always serious business. Surely, a purer heart than George Bush's is needed. If it be yours, please simply show it more!
Good luck and Godspeed.
Todd and Mary Ryder