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Friday, January 11, 2008

Obamamania, Deflated

Charles Krauthhammer takes on Obama. Brilliant.

One does not have to be sympathetic to the Clintons to understand their bewilderment at Obama's pre-New Hampshire canonization. The man comes from nowhere with a track record as thin as Chauncey Gardiner's. Yet, as Bill Clinton correctly, if clumsily, complained, Obama gets a free pass from the press.

It's not just that NBC admitted that "it's hard to stay objective covering this guy." Or that Newsweek had a cover article so adoring that one wonders what is left for coverage of the Second Coming. Or that Obama's media acolytes wax poetic that his soaring rhetoric and personal biography will abolish the ideological divide of the 1960s -- as if the division between left and right, between welfare statism and free markets, between internationalism and unilateralism, between social libertarianism and moral traditionalism are residues of Sgt. Pepper and the March on Washington. The baby boomers in their endless solipsism now think they invented left and right -- the post-Enlightenment contest of ideologies that dates back to the seating arrangements of the Estates-General in 1789.

The freest of all passes to Obama is the general neglect of the obvious central contradiction of his candidacy: The bipartisan uniter who would bring us together by transcending ideology is at every turn on every policy an unwavering, down-the-line, unreconstructed, uninteresting, liberal Democrat.


One can be a liberal or conservative and still rise above the partisan strife that marks our government and people. Obama is a liberal politically, but a moderate in tone. He's the Democratic Ronald Reagan in that sense. Reagan was an "unwavering, down-the-line, unreconstructed, uninteresting" conservative Republican, but he was able to speak to and for those of us on the left, too.

It feels like Bush is the president of his supporters. It feels like Obama would be the president of America. That he would do things many on the right would disagree with is obvious; but he would do it with majority support, with respect, and with honor.

If you don't believe me, believe the independents who are breaking largely towards him. Believe the Republicans, who have much more favorable views and fewer unfavorable views of him than any other Democrat.

Or, let's just put it simply. Hillary's less liberal than Obama, but America under her presidency would be a lot more bitterly divided than one under Obama (or the one under Bush.) Do you deny this?
I guess all this partisan stuff doesn't really bother me. Politics is a zero sum game. If Obama is elected, and pursues a liberal agenda, am I going to be more happy about it because he's such a nice guy?

Reagan didn't speak for the left. The left hated him, especially on foreign policy. Rather Reagan spoke for the majority of the country- remember, he won reelection with almost 59% of the popular vote, a percentage that hasn't been replicated since.

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