Friday, May 23, 2008

Barack Obama or What You Will

Charles Krauthammer has an entertaining piece on "Obama's Growing Gaffe."

Before the Democratic debate of July 23, Barack Obama had never expounded upon the wisdom of meeting, without precondition, with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Bashar al-Assad, Hugo Chavez, Kim Jong Il or the Castro brothers. But in that debate, he was asked about doing exactly that. Unprepared, he said sure -- then got fancy, declaring the Bush administration's refusal to do so not just "ridiculous" but "a disgrace."

After that, there was no going back. So he doubled down. What started as a gaffe became policy. By now, it has become doctrine. Yet it remains today what it was on the day he blurted it out: an absurdity.

It is an absurdity, but it should be remembered that Obama's statement is not a true gaffe, such as Al Gore's saying a leopard cannot change its stripes. (For you young people still serving out your sentence in public schools, leopards have spots, not stripes.) Obama's pro-appeasement statements accurately reflect his far leftist ideas. In the liberal cocoon he inhabited before running for President, nothing Obama has said is controversial.

More recently,

In a speech to Israeli lawmakers this morning, President Bush suggested that statements from Democrats –including Barack Obama – about reaching out to America’s enemies were akin to appeasement of Hitler ahead of World War II. This drew a quick reaction from the Obama camp.

Bush said: “The fight against terror and extremism is the defining challenge of our time. .. Some seem to believe we should negotiate with terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: ‘Lord, if only I could have talked to Hitler, all of this might have been avoided.’ We have an obligation to call this what it is – the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history.”

Obama's immediate reaction, "He's talking about me!" reminds me of this passage from Shakespeare's 12th Night, or What You Will:

MALVOLIO: 'Besides, you waste the treasure of your time with a foolish knight,'--
SIR ANDREW: That's me, I warrant you.
MALVOLIO: 'One Sir Andrew,'--
SIR ANDREW: I knew 'twas I; for many do call me fool.

Sir Andrew is a comic character, so addled-brained that he is almost retarded. Obama is an American politician.

Since the McGovern rout Democrats have approached the Presidency by hiding their far leftist ideas, especially on foreign policy. They ride tanks and wear flag pins, hoping to fool voters into thinking they're as strong on defense as voters mistakenly think Republicans are.

Obama is something new. He "missed the memo," as the current phrase goes.

His sincerity has helped him among his base and young people. He exudes idealism and morality. No more of that cynical, Clintonian triangulation for Obama! His speeches induce swooning among Democrats. They haven't tasted this wine since the days of Camelot with JFK.

But more discerning and intelligent people find Obama surprisingly naive. Over and over, in blogs and comment sections of those who support free markets and individual rights, people have written something like "He really means it!"

For all of this, we should not be lulled into thinking Obama is without Machiavellian duplicity in the pursuit of power. Take this disturbing news:

His mild-mannered style has thrown off even some angry black radicals, who want him to speak out more forcefully about the legacy of U.S. racism and economic inequality.

One is Princeton professor Cornel West, a militant black and self-described socialist. Reportedly, West was reluctant to join the refined Obama's presidential campaign until Obama took him aside and explained to him that he had to walk a rhetorical tightrope to reassure whites. West is now solidly on board his campaign as an adviser.

(HT: Kriegsgefahrzustand)

If this is true, then as far left as Obama has been in his statements, he could go even farther were he not walking "a rhetorical tightrope to reassure whites."

All his life Obama has been deeply cloistered in the liberal cocoon. His father was a communist, so hardline that he sneered at communists who compromised Marxist principles to make them practical in this world. His preacher and mentor is a radical who believes in "black liberation theology." His wife is an ardent collectivist and typical anti-American leftist.

A life in the cocoon has left Obama out of touch with reality. The 20th century is one big laboratory experiment demonstrating the failure of socialism; Obama does not seem to have noticed.


Kim said...

The problem with real communists and their leftist derivatives is that they don't believe in reality. So their 'ideals' can't be tempered or proven wrong by it. Thank goodness many people in this country are at least moderately based in reality.

Jim May said...

That Shakespeare quote is brilliant; were the issue still fresh, it would be worth dropping into the comments on leftist blogs.