Monday, August 09, 2010
Positivity, Excellence, Dark Matter
I have still not figured it out yet, I have yet to codify it, but there sure is something to Barack's new kind of politics, and at some point it needs to be codified. It allowed him to become the first black president. It allowed him to achieve FDR status. Presidents had been trying to pass health care reform for half a century. How did he do it? There has been a method to the madness. I have a much clearer idea of the results than the actual method. I felt the same way when he won in Iowa in 2008, and when he started winning primary after primary, caucus after caucus. I remember thinking, whatever this guy is doing surely is working.
Obama 2008 injected positivity into the national political discourse. I was a slow convert to the idea, if I ever fully converted. But I sure am a believer and a student. I want to learn.
Reshma 2010 has been about excellence. When she could raise the kind of money she could in the fall of 2009, you knew it was not from name recognition, she had none. And she raised twice as much as Maloney that quarter. That came from the sheer craft of fundraising. When I read some of her articles at The Huffington Post where she talks about the jobs, companies and industries of tomorrow I was like, oh my god, this reads like a 2016 agenda. (Reshma Saujani At The Huffington Post) I do understand the science of it all, but I do marvel at the engineering behind Reshma 2010's field work. That is an untold story that perhaps will only get talked about starting from September 15. Reshma 2010 is using digital tools that Obama 2012 is going to borrow from.
It is still very much in formation, but I think the Reshma style is excellence. This is not to suggest Obama lacks excellence or Reshma lacks positivity. I am just trying to point out their defining qualities as I see them.
Positivity is great, and excellence is great. But you can not ignore the dark matter. Crime is like unemployment. You can lower it down, maybe lower than conventional wisdom says is possible, but there perhaps always will be some crime, some poverty, some dark matter, some evil.
You have to realistically see dark matter when it exists, when it acts out. You can not be in denial. And you have to understand the mechanics of dealing with dark matter are different. You have to give dark matter the positivity and excellence options, but then you have to objectively observe as to how the dark matter actually behaves. Dealing with dark matter is a specialized skill set, and it is necessary to have some people on the team who are adept at identifying and dealing with dark matter. The advantage of doing that is you get to keep the dark matter's share of the circle as small as possible.
This applies to running one's life, running a campaign, running a country, running the world. I think Obama made this point in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech. He is a positivity guy who is realistic about dark matter. (Obama: Nobel Peace Prize Speech, Nobel Talk: Obama Changed The Global Political Climate)
Rangel Has Gone Radioactive
1989, 1997, 2008 were my personal experience in dark matter, but someone of my tilt necessarily has to turn the personal into political. Autobiography makes for bad politics. What you want is a passion for objective assessment of large realities, and the kinetics to go deal with them. It is not about you, it is about lots of other people. It is both. You should be able to take an issue and run with it. You should be able to team up with others who will run with you.