Three Takes on Obama


Jack Beatty: Run, Barack, Run! - Beatty convincingly plays up his creds as anti-war and as the un-Hillary, but he's overboard in his awe of Obama, claiming that his sound judgment matched with his charisma make up for his lack of experience. What judgment, Jack? Yes, his judgment.

Yuval Levin: Off and Running - Levin is unimpressed with the The Audacity if Hope:

Like many on the contemporary Left, Obama subscribes to a kind of false nostalgia, what might be called backward-looking progressivism. Without a hint of irony, he contrasts today’s partisan rancor in Congress with a “time before the fall, a golden age in Washington when, regardless of which party was in power, civility reigned and government worked.” One wonders just when that golden age might have been—during the epic battles over McCarthyism, civil rights, Vietnam, Watergate, dĂ©tente, Reaganomics, and other fronts too numerous to mention? Nor does Obama appear to notice that, in admonishing us to heed his warnings lest we find ourselves in “an America very different from the one most of us grew up in,” he sounds more like a stern traditionalist than a liberal Democrat.

But then, Obama does his best throughout this book not to sound like a liberal Democrat. In this, he does a disservice to his own record.

Steve Sailer: White Guilt, Obamania, And The Reality Of Race - Sailer specializes in "going there" - i.e. saying the extremely politically incorrect. He's at it again, but with mixed results. For instance, here he hits the mark:

Obama writes: "I ceased to advertise my mother's race at the age of 12 or 13, when I began to suspect that by doing so I was ingratiating myself to whites."

That sounds quite self-sacrificial... but, oddly enough, it sure hasn't hurt his popularity with whites

But when he starts psycho-analyzing "the white voter" he strays a bit. Sure white guilt plays into it, but it has little to do with a conscious or unconscious scheme to shut blacks up by electing one of them president (this theory really doesn't even make sense - whites want blacks to go away so badly they'll vote one into the executive branch?).

Obama's appeal is easier explained thusly: HE'S NOT SHARPTON. So many black leaders of the past two decades have been race hucksters like Sharpton and Jackson or plain maniacs like Farrakhan. Along comes Obama with a warm smile and allegedly nice things to say about people who disagree with him, and Hey! it feels like a breath of fresh air. This appeal is really very natural and Obama and his handlers would be subpar politicians not to capitalize on it.

What turns this natural appeal into mania is the media coverage - whose influence is surprisingly missing from Sailer's analysis. The media have bought into Obama whole hog because more than anything Obama embodies the hopes and dreams of America's liberal cultural elite. That more than anything explains "Obamania." It remains to be seen whether they can continue to pull the wool over our collective eyes, or if Obama's popularity will fade as people to the right of the crazed left discover that they don't have to like this guy just beause Dvid Brooks tells them to.

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This page contains a single entry by Papa-Lu published on January 4, 2007 9:18 AM.

NY Times Trumpets Convicted Baby Strangler as Pro-Choice Hero was the previous entry in this blog.

Christmas with the Pope is the next entry in this blog.

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