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Works and Days

August 1st, 2008 - 10:34 pm


Where Art Thou, Hillary?

I think buyer’s remorse will soon set in among Democrats. Off the teleprompter, some very strange things come from Obama: reparations for Native Americans and African-Americans; inflating our tires properly and “tune-ups” (do we still have points, distributors, and 10,000 mile plugs?) will all obviate the need for more drilling; “they” (recall Michelle’s “they” and how they raised the bar serial speeches) will mention the fact that Obama looks different, or at least unlike the “presidents” (sic) on one-dollar bills; he will be meeting with Sarkozy and Merkle for the next 10 years… You get the message

“Hoping and changing” day in and day out?

If his handlers are not careful, Obama will “58-state” his way to a 10-point deficit before the convention. They must get him back on the teleprompter, avoid the town halls, and ‘hope and change’ his way back to rock star status (I know that it is wearing thin, but his ex tempore quips are far more damaging.)

Speaker Pelosi should simply swear off private jet trips.

Stopping exploration off the shelf and our coasts is a losing political proposition (as Obama knows when he just flipped on the issue), not only because of the economic factor—even a mere million barrels pumped save us over $100,000,000 a day in revenue kept here at home. But there’s the moral argument as well: there is something very wrong in opposing drilling on environmental grounds while hoping others less careful continue at it–while those who oppose drilling don’t seem any less inclined to use oil (cf. the Pelosi request for a mega-jet for frequent transcontinental trips).

More Praise from Obama, but…

Ludacris is about as “talented” as Rev. Wright was “brilliant.”

What Does This Mean?

Barack Obama:

“I personally would want to see our tragic history, or the tragic elements of our history, acknowledged. I consistently believe that when it comes to whether it’s Native Americans or African-American issues or reparations, the most important thing for the U.S. government to do is not just offer words, but offer deeds.”

Thoughts:

1. Does he know that WWII in our schools is mostly Rosy the Riveter, the Japanese Internment, and Hiroshima–and not much if at all D-Day, Okinawa, or the Bulge? The Civil War is already taught as essentially Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth, not Grant and Sherman. Our students already know all the things wrong with the US, and few of what is right, past or present. Honest discussion of American sins is important, but if one doesn’t appreciate that they pale in consideration to others’, or that the culture has created a moral and successful society like none other, then what would be the reason to continue to support its centuries-long institutions? So is our history really more “tragic” than say France’s (compare our respective Revolutions); Russia (cf. the Great Terror); China (compare the 70 million that Mao did away with one way or another); Germany (no need to comment); the post-colonial African states?; maybe the history of Mexico?

2. This complaint is consistent with Obama’s call for more “oppression studies” in our schools. And it seems to be the first call for reparations by any mainstream candidate in our history. Is he serious, and wants a cash grant to anyone who can prove that he has Native-American or African-American ancestry? And the Irish? Hispanics? Asians? One-time money gift–or continual stipend as in the manner of Social Security? And to those like Obama who are of African rather than African-American ancestry? And do we bring back the Old Confederacy racial protocols to ascertain to what degree one of mixed heritage gets 1/4, 1/8, 1/16 of an award?

3. Anyone who has been around a university the last 30 years knows that any bright, well educated student who chooses to make his or her identity essential rather than incidental to their persona–Hispanic, African-American, or female–is snapped up for graduate or professional schools in preference to the proverbial white male. Affirmative action has been going strong for three decades. What again, then, does he mean by “not just offer words, but offer deeds?” Obama should know that for all his own talents, it is rare to have someone with his meager law record selected as Harvard Review Editor, or hired at the University of Chicago Law School, or after a mere two years in the Senate, a presidential candidate. The point is not that his race explains his success, but in America alone it either was irrelevant to it, or, more likely, a great force multiplier.

4. Expect the press, as in the case of Obama’s call for an alternate Pentagon to mirror image the military at the same cost (of half a trillion per year), to simply ignore these quite astounding statements.

Others Listen.

One of the reasons that others abroad trash the US is that they have been versed by our elites in the art of blaming America for their own self-induced miseries. Cf. the latest communiqué from Teheran (at the meeting of the so-called non-aligned nations):

“The rich and powerful countries continue to exercise an inordinate influence in determining the nature and direction of international relations, including economic and trade relations, as well as rules governing these relations, many of which are at the expense of developing countries.”

I agree in some sense, and so suggest that the developing countries create their own non-Western antibiotics, chemotherapy, oil-refinery infrastructure, and automobile industries, and in the meantime forego wealthy nation-contaminated jet travel, I-pods, and Viagra. But apparently the Iranian leadership wants both to practice gender apartheid, autocracy, statism, tribalism, religious intolerance, suppression of free expression, AND import chemicals, industry, medicines, machinery, etc. from those who don’t embrace such failed protocols, AND whine that they are still poorer and less powerful. At some point a Churchillian Western should reply back “we created your oil industry, now sell you the expertise to maintain it, buy your product for $120 a barrel that costs you $5 to pump—and hope you can Westernize in this brief window of windfall profits before we get off oil and leave you to your own devices.”

Lay Off the Race Card—it’s a losing proposition.

I wrote this for the NRO corner:

Why is Obama foolishly evoking race time after time? [Victor Davis Hanson]

And it’s still only July…

Obama’s problems with race have nothing to do with his half -African ancestry or his own experience with racism and unfairness, but boil down to his deftly wanting it both ways: reminding the Germans he is a different sort of American from what they’re used to (false, they knew Rice and Powell well enough), while preempting by suggesting others will evoke race, but in a negative context. But his polls, I wager, will begin to slip from all this, because all this sophisticated triangulation is about to blow up in the public mind.

1) The voter is starting to hear serially from Obama about race; they were promised a racially transcendent candidate, but so far Obama seems obsessed with identity, either accusing others of racism, or using heritage himself for political advantage. This is a tragic blunder.

2) He has the same want-it-both-ways with odious racists: Rev. Wright is a former spiritual advisor, and “brilliant” scholar who nevertheless serially slurs America, whites, Italians, Jews, etc. Ludacris is “a great talent” and “talented” to such an extent Obama wants him in his I-pod menu, and has met with him—but also a racist to be shunned. Ditto Pfleger. A pattern is emerging: Obama associates with or tolerates racists when such quasi-intimacy cements street-cred as an authentic minority or someone cool in the anti-Bush mode; but then when they inevitably revert to form, he not merely casts them off, but is “shocked” at their usual expression, and so like speed bumps they litter the roadway as he barrels ahead.

3). The “typical white person”, grandma under the bus riff, Pennsylvania “clingers” rant etc. , ‘no more disown Rev, Wright/ but now leaving Trinity Church’, etc. themselves are immaterial, but in toto provide a thin margin of tolerance when something like Ludacris or Obama’s latest accusation of racism surfaces.

4) Right now Obama does not need to solidify his 90% African-American base or the Moveon.org white liberal adherents; but instead he must remember why he lost all those primaries to Hillary and to what degree his campaign since then has addressed those concerns that lost him those electorates. When a West Virginian hears that Obama is accusing others of racism, or hears him promise that racial reparations will now be a matter of government deeds not words, or a rapper brags he is a favorite of Obama and then slurs Clinton, McCain, Bush in thinly disguised racist terms, it starts to create an image of someone who is not bringing people together, but precisely the opposite.

Why all this? Inexperience and hubris—the same overconfidence that makes him say we need a Pentagon-sized new civilian aid department, to inflate our tires to avoid drilling, and must stop merely talking about reparations and starting doing something about them. His handlers need to return to the teleprompter, since all these incidents have in common the impromptu moment.

07/31 09:12 PM

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