Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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David Brooks on Obama’s Fade

No, not Obama’s haircut. Read Brooks’slatest op-ed (Feb. 19) to see why the Great Light Hope will inevitably have trouble keeping hope alive. My favorite line:

"If he values independent thinking, why is his the most predictable liberal vote in the Senate? A People for the American Way computer program would cast the same votes for cheaper."

Then again, there’s this one:

"His Hopeness tells rallies that we are the change we have been waiting for, but if we are the change we have been waiting for then why have we been waiting since we’ve been here all along?"

As for a disappointing op-ed (Feb. 18) my man Stanley Crouch is taken by the optimism that is the Obama experience, reading into his Airness Crouch’s own profound blues sensibility (informed, of course, by the novelist Ralph Ellison). Crouch gets off a few good riffs: for exmaple,

When Obama links the 13 Colonies fighting the Revolutionary War to the abolition movement against slavery, and that to Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War, and that to women getting the vote and unions being able to represent workers, and that to defeating Hitler and European fascism during World War II, and that fight to the Civil Rights struggle in which black and white people, some young, some not, brought this country much closer to its democratic destiny, Americans feel both purified and closer to each other.

Too bad Obama’s policies give little evidence of being informed by the principles that really could bring about the unum from the pluribus that is our diverse but United States of America. Crouch wants to believe in Obama, and will, if the senator starts reading and preaching from Crouch’s script.

Discussions - 10 Comments

Americans have longed for the purification ritual that they feel in Obama's campaign because it faces what they feel is wrong with this country. An important part of this purification ritual is the presentation of an American history that is common to us all.

Crouch does more than offer a few good riffs in this piece, I think. The above is a dramatic and an important insight into Obama mania. Michelle's recent performances and Obama's unplugged moments (as well as his forced confrontations with the issues) will probably prove him unequal to the task of pulling off this "purification." But we should not forget that the best of the Dems (JFK and especially FDR) were able to tie their message to a logical outgrowth of American history as they understood it. Their elections were referendums and their legacies are and will continue to be an ongoing referendum on their respective versions of American history and America's promise. Obama has to tie himself to that past while continuing to promise something new. It is very tricky business. That's why Michelle's claim never to have been proud of America until now will prove problematic if it is noted and used to good effect by McCain. It is at odds with the perception of Obama that people like.

How long, I wonder, before the Obamas decide -- like Jimmy Carter before them -- that the problem with America is Americans?

Advice for Michelle: hold a news conference. Say this: "Geez, those good people at NLT are taking my excitement much too literally. What I meant to say was simply that I have never in my adult life been as proud of America as I am now, because so many people are taking Barack seriously. I'll be proud if he wins; I'll be proud if he loses -- not that that is going to happen!"

A few days ago, I wrote a post on Michelle Obama and her remarks made in a speech at UCLA. I commented that her remarks about her country and the American people were negative in tone. I also pointed out a few of her statements which I felt were appropriate for criticism. What was not in that article was Michelle Obama's comment a few days ago in front of a Wisconsin audience, a comment that has caused even more criticism.

In this speech, Obama told her audience that it is only now-for the first time in her adult life-that she has felt proud of her country (adding that it is not just because her husband "has done well", but that she sees a "hunger for change" in the American people.)

Excuse me?

Already, Barack Obama's campaign manager, David Axelrod, has attempted to put a spin on this, claiming that Mrs Obama's words were not well formed and misunderstood. I'm sorry, but that doesn't wash. The words were very clear. Michelle Obama attended Princeton and the Harvard Law School. She is a professional woman in her 40s. Articulation is not one of the lady's weaknesses. When you add this comment with the comments made at UCLA, as well as previous negative comments about life in America, then a question arises in the public's eye as to her attitude toward her country.

Cindy McCain's reaction was simple and to the point; she stated publicly today that she has always been proud to be an American.

Many people who know Mrs Obama are jumping to her defense and insisting that she is, indeed, a patriotic American. That may be so, but I think it is incumbant for Mrs Obama to come out publicly and clarify her remarks. It is not in the Obamas' interest to let this question linger or grow. Michelle Obama is two steps away from the White House as our First Lady. If her pride in her country is open to question, I don't think she and Barack are going to make it.

Truth is Lincoln real debates regarding abolition were with Fredrick Douglass and not Stephen A.Will the real Lincoln – Douglass Debate please sta...

You good folks are making too much of these words and the thinking behind them. Liberals don't may not have the proper patriotic impulse, but then many also don't have the candi-coated optimism of so many on the libertarian/neo-con right. To many, who still buy into the "racist America" to some extant (and I think that's most Americans), this excess is easily forgiven.

I don't think there is much traction that can be gained from attacking this thinking from the equally artificial opposite side...

Problem is, Obama (if we wins the nomination) isn't going to be running against those "candi-coated" optimists of the (now married?) "libertarian/neo-con right." He'll be up against McCain, whose patriotic credentials are well in order.

whose patriotic credentials are well in order.

Really? So his open border, let's-join-the-left-on-torture position is not a problem at all? I certainly don't buy his tough rhetoric on foreign policy.

I think Julie has a post where McCain asserts the lame "majority of Muslims want peace and progress" sort of rhetoric that Bush has for a while now. This of course is about as a-historic as one can get about the "religion of peace".

Nope, McCain is firmly in the neo-con optimist crowd...

Yes, really. He almost died for in military service. That qualifies as patriotic credentials in order, whatever you may think of his policy preferences.

He almost died for in military service. That qualifies as patriotic credentials in order

Yes and no. Military service does not automagically make one a patriot. Also, incorrect (i.e. unpatriotic) policies certainly are large factors also...

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