July 4, 2008, 5:24 pm
Put Phil and Jim’s critiques together and what do you get? A broad yet extraordinarily fragile coalition of Obama voters — all of whom want at least one kind of substantive, even sweeping change in policy, and all of whom stand to be significantly disappointed. Michael has already beaten this drum —
If he wins the White House, Obama will leak damaging news on Fridays. He will flinch. He will misspeak from podiums adorned with the presidential seal. He will make stupid and damaging bargains with his political enemies. He will not be able to satisfy free-traders and protectionists. He will not usher in an era for new socialist man, nor will he make the march of global capitalism any more pleasant to those it displaces or any more hip to those that it enriches. He will not convince his opponents that they were wrong all along. They will not forgive him with a friendly laugh. He won’t trim the illegal powers bestowed on the office by his predecessors. Out of expediency, he will use codewords designed to vilify the opinions of millions of his countrymen. And occasionally, he will just be a boring, incompetent, tired, human. His story is one of a long, tragic, assimilation into our political class. —
But what if these effects start piling up before Obama wins? A reminder of the reality of politics, yes, but also of its pathologies.