Has Obama's mask slipped or is just getting started?
George Will provides a detail about liberal bullying, by requiring disclosure of who signed petitions to validate a referendum. It is all a part of the exposure of liberalism generally: Obama is no longer the student body president but rather the schoolyard bully. But that's what contemporary liberalism has stood for as well; the masquerade as champion of the little guy/gal fell flat long ago. This underscores that deception.
Obama would use his narrative skills to further that deception. In a column titled "More Poetry Please" NY Times columnist Tom Friedman (The World is Flat) argues that Obama's poetry--his speeches--are an essential part of his political strategy of nation-building.
But to deliver this agenda requires a motivated public and a spirit of shared sacrifice. That's where narrative becomes vital. People have to have a gut feel for why this nation-building project, with all its varied strands, is so important -- why it's worth the sacrifice. One of the reasons that independents and conservatives who voted for Mr. Obama have been so easily swayed against him by Fox News and people labeling him a "socialist" is because he has not given voice to the truly patriotic nation-building endeavor in which he is engaged....
Therefore, let there be more speeches, Friedman argues. He is spot-on, in that conservative (and especially libertarian) intellectuals often ignore the poetry that has helped make America--note for example the legal arguments offered by the Federalist Society. As sound as they may be, they do not offer the winning political argument. Even a defense of "liberty" must have a goal beyond liberty. This is the vacuum Obama would fill, but Obama's critics on the right correctly suspect what he is up to (as have those of us who have read Dreams from my Father). But Obama's failure does not add up to the triumph of the best of the American political tradition. That requires further efforts.