"You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you odd." ~Flannery O'Connor

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Obamasaga

We all know by now what Senator Barack Obama's spiritual mentor is. Since I have nothing to lose, I'll say it: Jeremiah Wright is a racist hate-monger. Of course you won't hear the R-word in Obama's disavowal of Wright's views, or from Obama's savvier supporters. The candidate's way of finessing this problem is vintage Obama. If you haven't heard the speech already, you can hear it or read it here. It's a work of art. He's convinced me that he's not a racist hate-monger. It's also clear that he owes his mentor too much, personally and politically, to dump him altogether. Beyond Wright, that signifies the fundamental problem with Obama's candidacy. It is not about to go away. McCain should thank God on his knees.

When one listens to what Jeremiah and Michelle have said in unguarded moments, and have not retracted, only the most determined wallow in that river in Egypt can prevent one's concluding that the people closest to Barack do not love America. I shall charitably assume nonetheless that Barack does love America, deeply, and that he means everything he says about transcending the old polarizations and uniting Americans. The fact remains that, given both his base and his policy positions, he cannot transcend the old polarizations. His base consists of upscale liberals, blacks, and young people—a demographic coalition whose view of America is, on average, unquestionably dimmer than that of the country as a whole. They favor his policy positions precisely because those positions address what they dislike about America. So, in order to be the president he says he wants to be, Obama would have to stiff his base and triangulate his policy stances into unrecognizability. If he more-or-less keeps his base and sticks to his policy stances, then he cannot do and be what he tells Americans he wants to do and be for them. If he wants to be effective, in other words, he will either have to betray those who have gotten him where he is or make a mockery of how he has presented himself to the country as a whole. He cannot have it both ways.

But he keeps trying to. If people have any sense at all, they will not reward him for that. I used to think that was too big an 'if', but there are a lot of ex-liberals out there who can, and do, communicate good sense to their fellow citizens. Sample this and this delightful illustration of that. And pray.
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