Wednesday, February 13, 2008

congrats, Barack, but...

I see that Barack Obama has been cleaning up in the Potomac primaries. Good for him; may his streak continue.

This morning, however, one of my students said something rather disturbing: Obama's popularity, which seems to be on the rise in the midst of a change-hungry populace, is reminiscent of the popularity of Noh Mu Hyeon, who also ran a passionate campaign in the name of change.

Folks, that parallel, that Nohbamic connection, might not run deep, but it's still a mite disturbing.

I need to start drinking.



Anonymous said...

"I need to start drinking."

It's about time. I'll bring the beer.

In all seriousness, though, Noh and 'Bama are by no means the first politicians to run "a passionate campaign in the name of change," and I think trying to draw a connection between them on that basis is reaching quite a bit.

Kevin Kim said...


My student actually said more:

1. Both are strong lefties.
2. Neither can be accused of having a great deal of experience with international politics/relations (Noh apparently visited Canada for a week-- his only trip abroad, ever, before becoming president).
3. Both have law backgrounds.
4. Both seem to appeal to a young, idealistic demographic (which is the slice of the Korean population that helped propel Noh into office).

That's still fairly shaky, I realize, but vaguely unsettling.

A perceptive and reassuring look at the election dynamics can be found, as usual, at Skippy's blog.


Anonymous said...

I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I feel that Hillary would be better for the world--including Canada--than Obama. On the other hand, America needs healing right now, and Hillary certainly isn't the one to make that happen.

Similarly, there are two distinct possibilities for Obama-as-President, and neither one is very hopeful. At best, he will bring some fresh air to the Oval Office after all those bickering and partisan years that have been the Clinton-Bush era. Perhaps anyone could do that and survive reasonably.

Then again, nobody can live up to the euphoric expectations that we now have for Obama. The comparison to JFK is unfortunate: nobody had to sit through for eight years while the JFK novelty wore off. At worst, Obama might limp to the end of his presidential term(s), dogged by incompetence and scandal, and depart into some vague diplomatic or speaking circle, like Kofi Annan.

Being an inspiring politician also is a dangerous way to be a politician, and Lincoln, JFK, and Gandhi come to mind as examples of a possible third course.

Let's hope that Obama will trump our expectations and my three pessimistic options!