The Spectacle Blog

Re: Change You Can Xerox

By on 2.22.08 | 10:26AM

And it was all because of the very attitude that she is displaying in her race against Obama--that the way to win is to destroy all of your opponents. Whether or not his speeches are empty platitudes, Obama understands that to get anything accomplished, you need to convince people to agree with you. That's why he's beating her.

From my perspective the above may or may not be Obama's understanding, but the left's problems with Hillary have never been about, Oh, gee, I really wish Hillary would engage the right in a battle of ideas and unify the country. Never. The left’s problem with Hillary-as-frontrunner was/is, if anything, she is not willing enough to destroy her enemies; that she talks about accommodation too frequently; that she started playing to the center in the middle of a Democratic primary without regard for the liberal base. The sudden, unexpected need to prove her battle credentials mid-campaign is precisely what the whole and I have the scars to show for it! drivel was born of. Lest we forget, Hillary's reception at YearlyKos made McCain's trip to CPAC look like a Summer of 69 flower power orgy. (Well, maybe not exactly like an orgy.) And during the contentious Q&A session following her break-out session I can assure you no one was angry over her orneriness with right-wingers. It was her chumminess with the various boogeymen of the left.

Hillary is losing because Ready On Day One is a crap slogan, her campaign staff has approached new realities as if they were wading in an ocean of molasses and her sense of entitlement drove Democrats and left-leaning independents to a political underdog who A) appealed to their (unwarranted) sense of cultural superiority and B) is difficult to aggressively argue with not only because he describes everything nonsensically as he of hope versus adversaries of despair, but also because he has a virtual army of surrogates willing to cry racism any time a critic gets close to doing any real damage to him even as he himself pretends to remain above such lowly concerns. (See virtually all coverage of the twisted, racialized “fairy tale” comment in South Carolina as well as cable news talking heads’ defense of Michelle Obama’s lack of national pride as a reasonable outgrowth of coming up a black woman in

America that non-African Americans simply could not comprehend.) Be prepared to get schooled in any number of "racial code words" this summer.

The appeal of Obama to liberals is in no sense whatsoever the triumph of unity or ideas over political battle. It has everything to do with Obama framing the argument exactly how the left has always wanted it framed: We’re good. They’re either confused or bad. That’s all we need to know, don’t bother us with the details. Obama is essentially an armored vehicle for, yes, putting to bed the “same old” divisions and fights—by crushing an opposition cowed by fear of seeming mean or politically incorrect. I rarely find myself quoting Mother Jones favorably, but I agree completely with Jonathan Stein when he argues:

I am profoundly troubled that any candidate would chart the course of American history as follows (and I'm rearranging Obama's history here to make it more chronological): American Revolutionaries -> Manifest Destiny -> Slaves/Abolitionists -> Suffragettes -> the Labor Movement -> the Greatest Generation -> the Civil Rights Movement -> Himself.

Obama is a self-obsessed man with delusions of grandeur who believes he is unequivocally on the side of angels. That isn’t exactly the personality type known for pursuing either unity or compromise. In this, sadly, he is perhaps the most fully "Washington politician" in the race this year. Hillary, having used the similar demagoguery-as-progress methods in the past is essentially getting what she deserves. Just because some of us may appreciate Obama as Hillary Slayer, however, doesn't mean we have to buy into his transparently messianic rhetoric, his kind offer last night to "help" us become a great country nothwithstanding.

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