Jeffrey Goldberg’s interview with Barack Obama this week for the Atlantic has generated a significant (if predictable) level of controversy. Some of the criticism of Obama has been fair and effective and some of it, probably, not so much. I will leave it to others to discuss the import of his statements as they apply to our relationship with Israel and why or why not Obama is an attractive candidate to Hamas. I will also leave aside the question of whether this is an indication that Obama is, in all essentials, more or less like Jimmy Carter. Others can and have addressed these questions with more authority.
What I want to address is the very revealing slip that Jennifer Rubin at the Commentary blog (linked above) notes, but does not elaborate. Barack Obama, in answering the question of whether he was "flummoxed" by the support of Hamas replied:
I wasn’t flummoxed. I think what is going on there is the same reason why there are some suspicions of me in the Jewish community. Look, we don’t do nuance well in politics and especially don’t do it well on Middle East policy. We look at things as black and white, and not gray. [emphasis mine]It’s conceivable that there are those in the Arab world who say to themselves, “This is a guy who spent some time in the Muslim world, has a middle name of Hussein, and appears more worldly and has called for talks with people, and so he’s not going to be engaging in the same sort of cowboy diplomacy as George Bush,” and that’s something they’re hopeful about. I think that’s a perfectly legitimate perception as long as they’re not confused about my unyielding support for Israel’s security.Rubin scoffs (and I share in her scoffing) at the notion that the leader of Hamas was only expressing his admiration for Barack Obama’s "oh so subtle and nuanced" reading of the politics of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. But I’d add that the more Obama talks, the more he reveals of his contempt for the American people. "We don’t do nuance well," he tells us. Of course, we don’t. That’s why we need a clever and sophisticated and impossibly brilliant man like Barack Obama to do it for us. We’re probably all too bitter and too stupid . . . clinging to our guns and to our God and all. Indeed, it’s interesting that Barack Obama did not even feel compelled to visit the state of West Virginia yesterday, isn’t it? They probably don’t "do nuance" very well down in those parts either. But they sure know how to send a clear message, I’d say.