Eventually, we will all hate Obama too
A British commentator says below that: "What makes America such an indispensable power is precisely what makes anti-Americanism inevitable"
It amuses me that some of those who criticise the present US Administration for its Manichaeism - its division of the world into good and evil - themselves allocate all past badness to Bush and all prospective goodness to Obama. As the ever-improving myth has it, on the morning of September 12, 2001, George W. and America enjoyed the sympathy of the world. This comradeship was destroyed, in a uniquely cavalier (or should we say cowboyish) fashion, through the belligerence, the carelessness, the ideological fixity and the rapacity of that amorphous and useful category of American flawed thinker, the neoconservative. They just threw it away.
But there isn't anything that can't be fixed with a sprinkling of genuine fairy dust. What Bush lost, Obama can find. Where the Texan swaggered, the Chicagoan can glide. Emotional literacy will replace flat iteration, persuasion will supplant force as the preferred means of achieving what needs to be achieved, empathy will trump narcissism. Those who hate America may find their antipathy waning, those who were alarmed by unilateralism will warm to softer, moral leadership. A new dawn will break, will it not?
Some on the Left are getting their count-me-outs in already, realising that Mr Obama is, after all, a big-game hunter, a full-trousered American candidate. They, I think, are more realistic than those who manage on one day to laud the Democrat as not being a real politician, and on the next to praise him for his sensible left-trimming when seeking the party's nomination and his equally sensible centre-hugging once it was in the bag. I say the antis are more realistic because, eventually, we will hate or ridicule Mr Obama too - provided, of course, that he is elected and serves two full terms.
George W.Bush, of course, represents a particular kind of offence to European sensibilities. He blew out Kyoto, instead of pretending to care about it and then not implementing it, which is what our hypocrisies require. He took no exquisite pains to make us feel consulted. He invaded Iraq in the name of freedom and then somehow allowed torturers to photograph each other in the fallen dictator's house of tortures. He is not going to run Franklin Roosevelt a close race for nomination as the second greatest president of the US.
But even if he had been a half-Chinese ballet-loving Francophone, he would have been hated by some who should have loved him, for there isn't an American president since Eisenhower who hasn't ended up, at some point or other, being depicted by the world's cartoonists as a cowboy astride a phallic missile. It happened to Bill Clinton when he bombed Iraq; it will happen to Mr Obama when his reinforced forces in Afghanistan or Pakistan mistake a meeting of tribal elders for an unwise gathering of Taleban and al-Qaeda. Then the new president (or, if McCain, the old president) will be the target of that mandarin Anglo-French conceit that our superior colonialism somehow gives us the standing to critique the Yank's naive and inferior imperialism.
Often those who express their tiresome anti-Americanism will suggest, as do some of the more disingenuous anti-Zionists with regard to anti-Semitism - that they, of course, are not anti-American, and that no one really is. But, coming as I do from an Anti-American tradition that wasn't afraid to proclaim itself, I think I know where the corpses are interred. For example, the current production of Bernstein's Candide at the English National Opera is a classic of elite anti-Americanism, in which we are invited to laugh at the philistine invocation of "Democracy, the American Way and McDonald's". The laughter that accompanied this feeble satire showed our proper understanding that we, the audience, had a proper concept of democracy, and would never soil ourselves with an Egg McMuffin.
The true irony went way above the sniggerers' heads, which was that Leonard Bernstein was the American cultural import that we were, at that very moment, enjoying. But the prejudice is that American culture has had a negative influence on the world, tabloidising our journalism, subverting the gentle land of Ealing with the violent pleasures of Die Hard 10 and commercialising our most intimate lives. And so we have ever complained; my father, back in the early Fifties, once wrote an entire communist pamphlet about the terrible effect of Hollywood and jazz on the land of Shakespeare and Elgar.
This week you could hear the author Andrew O'Hagan on Radio 4, reading from his collection of self-conscious essays, The Atlantic Ocean, in which - despite his own claims - every impact of American life on Britain is somehow configured negatively. He writes of an exported popular culture "born in the suburbs of America" and defined as "Spite as entertainment. Shouting as argument. Dysfunction as normality. Desires as rights. Shopping as democracy." This in the country that has sent Big Brother, Pop Idol, Wife Swap and Location, Location, Location over the Atlantic in the other direction, while taking delivery of Curb Your Enthusiasm and The Wire.
I should admit that I am irked by O'Hagan's dismissal of the "idiots who supported that bad and stupid war (ie, Iraq)" and am willing to match my idiocy against his intelligence in any debating forum that he cares to name. More interesting, though, is the desire to blame America. For all that O'Hagan claims that the US has lost its purchase on the world's affections, it remains the chosen destination for the most ambitious of the planet's migrants. For all that he claims that this change in sentiment is recent, I can't help recalling those - the most honest - who commented, in journals he writes for and on the very day after September 11, that the Americans had had it coming.
In part I think that anti-Americanism is linked to a view of change as decline. The imagination is that dynamic capitalism, associated with the US, is destroying our authentic lives, with our own partly willing connivance. It is a continuing and - at the moment - constant narrative, uniting left and right conservatives, which will usually take in the 19th- century radical journalist William Cobbett (conveniently shorn of his anti-Semitism), and end with an expression of disgust over the Dome, the Olympics or Tesco. Just as bird flu is a disease from out of the East, runaway modernity is a scourge originating to the West.
So Barack Obama, en fete around the world, will one day learn that there is no magical cure for the envy of others. What makes America the indispensable power (and even more indispensable in the era of the new China), is precisely what makes anti-Americanism inevitable.
Obama, he of the ego the size of Chicago.
Here is a guy with less than 200 days in the United States Senate who thinks he is qualified to run for president based on wanting "change" and "hope." He has tossed folk under the bus so to speak because they tended to make him look bad. Reverand Wright, Tony Rezko, his "white" grandmother, General Clark, and others.
He requested to speak in front of the Brandenburg gate, which has always been a prerogative of heads of state, he is not. He had his own presidential seal before the sheer laughter forced him to take it down.
He has said that he will not condone negative comments about his opponent, then has surrogates do it for him. He states that his family is off limits then puts his daughters in front of the camera with the oh-so-very lame excuse that it was a spur of the moment thing as if moving all that stuff into his home and the planning that went into it wasn't clearly the work of many man-hours of labor.
He disallows jokes about him or his wife and blanches at a New Yorker cartoon which was satire and the obamaniacs rioted. Here's one for you...
Q: Why is Jimmy Carter supporting the candidacy of Obama?
A: Because Carter is tired of being the Worst President ever!
In short, he is a fake, a fraud and a jackanapes (and since an archaic meaning of the word includes the word ape/monkey - I'm sure some illiterate buffoon who supports him will be calling me a racist.) Well, if you do, don't be niggardly in your fulminating against me.
Lastly, he will be the biggest failure as a president since the peanut farmer from Georgia should the American people be stupid enough to elect him.
When Will The Blackmail Threats Begin?
Obama is already sending not-so-coded messages to the civil rights establishment that his election will not reduce the need, and his support, for continued race preference policies. As Gregory Rodriguez writes today:
A Barack Obama presidency could end the Iraq war, transform our national energy policy, revive America's standing in the world -- but please don't expect the first black man in the Oval Office to move us above and beyond the civil rights era. At least that's what Obama himself suggested last Monday in his speech to the NAACP. In a campaign fueled by high expectations, Obama seemed to be trying to lower his audience's hopes that the election of the first black president would be anything more than a symbolic milestone. "Just electing me president doesn't mean our work is over," he told civil rights activists.
"Work," to "civil rights activists," means protecting and promoting racial preferences. Obama was no doubt reacting to predictions, one of which I discussed recently here, that his success to date portends the "death of affirmative action." In March the Boston Globe reported that
[l]eading opponents of affirmative action are increasingly seizing on Illinois Senator Barack Obama's historic run for the presidency as proof that race-based remedies for past discrimination are no longer necessary.
Rodriguez, too, reminds us that this reading of the meaning of Obama's success has been put forward by a number of opponents of race preferences.
All of this is particularly interesting given the enthusiasm for Obama's candidacy in some conservative quarters. Anti-affirmative-action activists Ward Connerly and Abigail Thernstrom, for instance, are seeing greater historical significance in an Obama victory than many Obama supporters themselves. To them, large numbers of white voters willing to vote for a black man signals a welcome sea change in whites' attitudes toward blacks. And to them, that means that what they've been saying all along is right: Race-based policies designed to redress inequality and past discrimination have outlived their usefulness. That's an idea many Democrats are loath to accept.
But what if Obama loses? It hasn't been that long since the Sharptons were hinting, and many pundits were predicting, riots in the streets of Denver if Obama were deprived of the nomination. Will there be similar blackmail threats about what will happen if Obama loses the election?
This is supposed to be the year when even the Democrats can't lose a presidential election. If Obama does lose, will there be a single "civil rights activist" who will doubt that his loss must be attributed to continuing, pervasive white racism?
Why Jesse Jackson Hates Obama
By SHELBY STEELE
The senator offers blacks an end to perceptions of inferiority, and whites an end to guilt
A few weeks ago, the Rev. Jesse Jackson made something of a fool of himself. There he was -- a historical figure in his own right -- threatening the castration of Barack Obama. It was sad to see. If I have often criticized Mr. Jackson, I have also, reservedly, admired him. He is a late 20th century outcropping of a profoundly American archetype: the self-invented man who comes from nothing and, out of sheer force of personality, imposes himself on the American consciousness. If he never reached the greatness to which he aspired, he nevertheless did honor to the enduring American tradition of bold and unapologetic opportunism.
But now -- not looking old so much as a bit lost within the new Obama aura -- it is clear that Jesse Jackson has come to a kind of d‚nouement. Some force that once buoyed him up now seems spent. Mr. Jackson was always a challenger. He confronted American institutions (especially wealthy corporations) with the shame of America's racist past and demanded redress. He could have taken up the mantle of the early Martin Luther King (he famously smeared himself with the great man's blood after King was shot), and argued for equality out of a faith in the imagination and drive of his own people. Instead -- and tragically -- he and the entire civil rights establishment pursued equality through the manipulation of white guilt.
Their faith was in the easy moral leverage over white America that the civil rights victories of the 1960s had suddenly bestowed on them. So Mr. Jackson and his generation of black leaders made keeping whites "on the hook" the most sacred article of the post-'60s black identity. They ushered in an extortionist era of civil rights, in which they said to American institutions: Your shame must now become our advantage. To argue differently -- that black development, for example, might be a more enduring road to black equality -- took whites "off the hook" and was therefore an unpardonable heresy. For this generation, an Uncle Tom was not a black who betrayed his race; it was a black who betrayed the group's bounty of moral leverage over whites. And now comes Mr. Obama, who became the first viable black presidential candidate precisely by giving up his moral leverage over whites.
Mr. Obama's great political ingenuity was very simple: to trade moral leverage for gratitude. Give up moral leverage over whites, refuse to shame them with America's racist past, and the gratitude they show you will constitute a new form of black power. They will love you for the faith you show in them. So it is not hard to see why Mr. Jackson might have experienced Mr. Obama's emergence as something of a stiletto in the heart. Mr. Obama is a white "race card" -- moral leverage that whites can use against the moral leverage black leaders have wielded against them for decades. He is the nullification of Jesse Jackson -- the anti-Jackson.
And Mr. Obama is so successful at winning gratitude from whites precisely because Mr. Jackson was so successful at inflaming and exploiting white guilt. Mr. Jackson must now see his own oblivion in the very features of Mr. Obama's face. Thus the on-camera threat of castration, followed by the little jab of his fist as if to deliver a stiletto of his own.
And then Mr. Obama took it further by going to the NAACP with a message of black responsibility -- this after his speech on the need for black fathers to take responsibility for the children they sire. "Talking down to black people," Mr. Jackson mumbled. Normally, "black responsibility" is a forbidden phrase for a black leader -- not because blacks reject responsibility, but because even the idea of black responsibility weakens moral leverage over whites. When Mr. Obama uses this language, whites of course are thankful. Black leaders seethe.
Nevertheless, Mr. Obama's sacrifice of black leverage has given him a chance to actually become the president. He has captured the devotion of millions of whites in ways that black leveragers never could. And the great masses of blacks -- blacks outside today's sclerotic black leadership -- see this very clearly. Until Mr. Obama, any black with a message of black responsibility would be called a "black conservative" and thereby marginalized. After Obama's NAACP speech, blacks flooded into the hotel lobby thanking him for "reminding" them of their responsibility.
Thomas Sowell, among many others, has articulated the power of individual responsibility as an antidote to black poverty for over 40 years. Black thinkers as far back as Frederick Douglas and Booker T. Washington have done the same. Why then, all of a sudden, are blacks willing to openly embrace this truth -- and in the full knowledge that it will weaken their leverage with whites?
I think the answer is that Mr. Obama potentially offers them something far more profound than mere moral leverage. If only symbolically, he offers nothing less than an end to black inferiority. This has been an insidious spiritual torment for blacks because reality itself keeps mockingly proving the original lie. Barack Obama in the Oval Office -- a black man governing a largely white nation -- would offer blacks an undreamed-of spiritual solace far more meaningful than the petty self-importance to be gained from moral leverage.
But white Americans have also been tormented by their stigmatization as moral inferiors, as racists. An Obama presidency would give them considerable moral leverage against this stigma.
So it has to be acknowledged that, on the level of cultural and historical symbolism, an Obama presidency might nudge the culture forward a bit -- presuming of course that he would be at least a competent president. (A less-than-competent black president would likely be a step backwards.) It would be a good thing were blacks to be more open to the power of individual responsibility. And it would surely help us all if whites were less cowed by the political correctness on black issues that protects their racial innocence at the expense of the very principles that made America great. We Americans are hungry for such a cultural shift. This, no doubt, is what Barack Obama means by "change." He promises to reconfigure our exhausted cultural arrangement.
But here lies his essential contradiction: His campaign is more cultural than political. He sells himself more as a cultural breakthrough than as a candidate for office. To be a projection screen for the cultural aspirations of both blacks and whites one must be an invisible man politically. Real world politics, in their mundanity, interrupt cultural projections. And so Mr. Obama's political invisibility -- a charm that can only derive from a lack of deep political convictions -- may well serve his cultural appeal, but it also makes him something of a political mess.
Already he has flip-flopped on campaign financing, wire-tapping, gun control, faith-based initiatives, and the terms of withdrawal from Iraq. Those enamored of his cultural potential may say these reversals are an indication of thoughtfulness, or even open-mindedness. But could it be that this is a man who trusted so much in his cultural appeal that the struggles of principle and conscience never seemed quite real to him? His flip-flops belie an almost existential callowness toward principle, as if the very idea of permanent truth is pass‚, a form of bad taste.
John McCain is simply a man of considerable character, poor guy. He is utterly bereft of cultural cachet. Against an animating message of cultural "change," he is retrogression itself. Worse, Mr. Obama's trick is to take politics off the table by moving so politically close to his opponent that only culture is left to separate them. And, unencumbered as he is by deep attachment to principle, he can be both far-left and center-right. He can steal much of Mr. McCain's territory.
Mr. Obama has already won a cultural mandate to the American presidency. And politically, he is now essentially in a contest with himself. His challenge is not Mr. McCain; it is the establishment of his own patriotism, trustworthiness and gravitas. He has to channel a little Colin Powell, and he no doubt hopes his trip to the Middle East and Europe will reflect him back to America with something of Mr. Powell's stature. He wants even Middle America to feel comfortable as the mantle they bestow on him settles upon his shoulders.
Obama's Disastrous Interview About Hunting Osama bin Laden
Is anyone paying attention to what Obama is saying? In his interview with CBS News, Obama says:
Logan: Because you do have a situation seven years on into this war where Osama bin Laden and all his lieutenants and all the leaders of the Taliban, they're still there. And they're inside Pakistan.
Obama: Right. It's a huge problem. And first of all, if we hadn't taken our eye off the ball, we might have caught them before they got into Pakistan and were able to reconstitute themselves.
Several times in recent interviews, Obama has referred to "taken our eye off the ball" in terms of the invasion of Iraq, which began in March of 2003. We don't know precisely when Osama bin Laden entered Pakistan, but it is generally believed that he escaped Tora Bora and crossed the border sometime in late November or the beginning of December 2001. Somehow the U.S. took its collective eyes off the ball to prevent an event that occurred in December 2001 by sending troops to another country starting in March 2002 for an invasion that began in 2003.
It's not as if the geopolitical challenges of sending U.S. troops into Pakistan suddenly appeared in March 2003. Once Osama crossed the border, the potential cost of pursuing him -i.e., a civil war in a country with nuclear weapons - became higher and the consequences became riskier.
Also note that CBS' Lara Logan forces Obama to concede that his oft-touted call to kill Osama bin Laden in Pakistani territory is actually current U.S. policy.
Logan: Isn't that the case now? I mean, do you really think that if the U.S. forces had Osama bin Laden in their sights and the Pakistanis said no, that they wouldn't fire or wouldn't go after him?
Obama: I think actually this is current doctrine. There was some dispute when I said this last August. Both the administration and some of my opponents suggested, well, you know, you shouldn't go around saying that. But I don't think there's any doubt that that should be our policy, and will continue to be our policy.
Logan: But it is the current policy.
Obama: I believe it is the current policy.
Logan: So there's no change then.
Obama: I don't think there is going to be a change there.
And that Obama and Logan get stuck in a merry-go-round of "I'll get the Pakistanis to destroy the training camps"/"What if they won't?"
Obama: I think that in order for us to be successful, it's not going to be enough just to engage in the occasional shot fired. We've got training camps that are growing and multiplying.
Logan: Would you take out all those training camps?
Obama: Well, I think that what we'd like to see is the Pakistani government take out those training camps.
Logan: And if they won't?
Obama: Well, I think that we've got to work with them so they will.
Logan: But would you consider unilateral U.S. action?
Obama: You know, I will push Pakistan very hard to make sure that we go after those training camps. I think it's absolutely vital to the security interests of both the United States and Pakistan.
Again, it's not that it's never dawned on Musharraff or the Pakistani government that cracking down on al-Qaeda and Taliban training camps is a good idea. It's that they fear the entire region would turn against the Pakistani government, with additional questions of loyalty of the ISI.
The bias gets even more blatant
The Drudge Report and Fox News are reporting today that the New York Times has denied an opinion piece from Senator John McCain after publishing Senator Barack Obama's op-ed last week. The Drudge link provides the background and full text of the op-ed article which The New York Times turned down.
This comes as no surprise to media monitors who predicted that the liberal media would provide cover for Obama during his fact-finding tour of Iraq. It is clear that The New York Times does not want to allow McCain to take a swing at the Democratic nominee while he is vulnerable. His high profile tour gives McCain the perfect opportunity to put a punctuation mark next to the erroneous judgment of Barack Obama who called the surge a failure up until a few days ago.
One year and two weeks ago The New York Times declared the Iraq War lost and demanded troops be withdrawn immediately. Just days ago it stated that it cannot define what a victory is so we can not have victory in Iraq:
And it was distressing to hear Mr. McCain still talking about "winning" the war in Iraq and adopting the tedious tactic of accusing Mr. Obama of "giving up" when he talks about a careful withdrawal of troops. We have no idea what winning means to Mr. McCain.
Fringe leftist liberals have long used this argument. They say there is no definition for victory in Iraq, thus we can not have victory, and therefore we cannot win. It doesn't matter how many times the Bush Administration or John McCain defines victory -- usually along the lines of a secure, democratic Iraqi that is a partner against terrorism -- fringe leftists can't hear it. This "nah, nah, nah, nah....we can't hear you" game is a tiresome one coming from leftist activists. Coming from a standard of American media, it is distressing. How low can they sink?
This low. According to the new reporting, The New York Times responded to the McCain campaign with:
Shipley, who is on vacation this week, explained his decision not to run the editorial.
'The Obama piece worked for me because it offered new information (it appeared before his speech); while Senator Obama discussed Senator McCain, he also went into detail about his own plans.'
Shipley continues: 'It would be terrific to have an article from Senator McCain that mirrors Senator Obama's piece. To that end, the article would have to articulate, in concrete terms, how Senator McCain defines victory in Iraq.'
So the Times can't find a definition from John McCain on what victory in Iraq means? Maybe they should just look at McCain's website:
The best way to secure long-term peace and security is to establish a stable, prosperous, and democratic state in Iraq that poses no threat to its neighbors and contributes to the defeat of terrorists. When Iraqi forces can safeguard their own country, American troops can return home.
Of course playing the "nah, nana, nah, nah...we can't hear you" game does a lot more to protect Obama doesn't it?
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