Saturday, 11 April 2009

Chag sameach! Obama's White House Seder

The Obama family celebrated a traditional Jewish Passover seder Thursday night at the White House.

Apparently, the President had also been present at a seder hosted by the campaign team last year during the heat of the Primary. At that time, Obama followed the traditional statement of, "Next year in Jerusalem!" with an extra hope, "Next year in the White House."

He got that wish. Mazel tov!

One thing to note though, somewhat whistfully: Obama, though a Christian, is comfortable hosting a Jewish seder because he has copious Jewish friends and even family members (little known fact - one of America's most prominent rabbis is Michelle Obama's uncle).

But, as we all know, Barack also has lots of Muslim family members. However, while one assumes that there is not now a big conspiracy theory working the rounds about Barack's secret judaism, I'm sorry to say that I don't thinkt he same would be true if he were to chose to celebrate Ramadan in a similar spirit of joyful celebration. And that's really too bad.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

American exceptionalism

President Obama is asked if he believes in American Exceptionalism.

"I believe in American exceptionalism just as I suspect the Britishbelieve in British Exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism."

And boy, from what I've seen of the Greeks - they sure do.

It's a Liberal Conspiracy!

My article meditating how British political activists still haven't quite grasped teh lessons of the Obama campaign has now been posted the website Liberal Conspiracy, for your reading pleasure.

A snippet....

While Barack Obama has moved on to a serious if difficult effort to cope with the economic crisis and some real movement towards the investment in infrastructure, health care and energy independence he promised during the campaign, it feels like the British debate has scarcely moved past this nonsensical “who is the British Barack Obama” argument.

The launch of the (excellent) Fabian Society book, The Change We Need, recently brought this navel gazing to a new peak.

In recent months I’ve been meeting with a lot of British candidates and political organisers who seem to believe that if only they could copy one easy thing from Obama’s efforts, all would be well. But they also need to be careful not to learn the wrong lessons from this success.

Here are the top five things I think British left of centre politics still gets wrong...