In Barack Obama’s case, it’s pretty extreme. In the Hampton University speech, Obama sounds like a character out of Ralph Ellison’s classic Invisible Man, pandering and preaching divisive nonsense about Hurricane Katrina, which he surely knew wasn’t true.
Or did he? Actually, he seemed to be making a “separate but equal” argument regarding the treatment of Katrina victims and those of other disasters, itself reminiscent of the days of segregation. But I don’t think he was really doing that either, at least not consciously. Again like one of Ellison’s characters, he was convincing himself of his general righteousness while revving up the crowd telling them lies they clearly wanted to hear.
That’s not a hard thing to do, when you think about it. Trouble is — the audience changes and a man could get schizoid. Nevertheless, Obama had at it that night with the singular determination of a demagogue. And he went “off book” to do it. The complaisant media of course chose not to report any of it and relied only on the printed text.
That was then and this is now. The Daily Caller has brought back the speech in its entirety, five years after the fact.
Listening to it, I had the sense that the world had come full circle within my lifetime. Right was left. Up was down. Segregation was now “progressive” and integration was, well, racist. More proof — if we needed it — that Orwell’s Animal Farm is one of the greatest books ever written.