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Works and Days

A Not Very Driven Interview

August 16th, 2008 - 9:33 pm

Citizens of the World at the Olympics

Obama, like Socrates, announced in Berlin that he was a citizen of the world. We see many such citizens at the Olympics, but I am not sure I would wish to be counted among them.

There were the Chinese hosts, staging a Triumph of Will-like opening ceremony with Red Army soldiers, and computer-enhanced, Cecil B. DeMille backdrops. Tiny girls, some apparently with their baby teeth, were passed off as 15-year olds in the gymnastic competitions. A Newsweek or Time was not about to do an expose such a gargantuan Olympian fraud—not when journalists were muzzled or deported.

The utopian Europeans were, well, Europeans, eager to point out the pimple on the American nose, blind to the wart on their own. So the Spanish posed in group portraits with fingers pulling at their eyes, mimicking the Asian look of their Chinese hosts—just the sort of racism that they usually allege boorish Americans engage in.

Fast forward to beach volleyball. The Swiss duo, defeated by the Americans, were classic poor sports—Jan Schnider alternately whining, pouting, and bragging in the worst sort of showmanship. The French swimmers boasted, in empty fashion, of the defeat to come of the Phelps and the Americans. And so on. If we sometimes imagine that collective European utopianism and sermonizing are psychological recompense for rather self-indulgent, self-absorbed private lives, no better window exists on that than at the Olympics.

A Purpose Driven Obama on Justice Thomas

In tonight’s Rick Warren interview, I don’t know why Obama chooses to insult a Supreme Court Justice at a religious forum, but his comments that Justice Thomas was not qualified to be on the Court were revealing. Why would Obama think, given his own credentials, that he was better qualified for President than Clarence Thomas was for the Supreme Court?

As far as working at University of Chicago Law School, the real question is how is it that Obama, without any major publications, would be qualified to teach law at Chicago? There were literally thousands of law professors who would not be hired at Chicago, even as adjuncts, who had far more impressive records of scholarship than did Barack Obama. His other comments on the Court were incoherent: Roberts gave away too much power to the executive branch—but no examples follow  as evidence (especially not the FISA laws!). Scalia is bright (after all, he taught at Obama’s Chicago, we are told), but he too shouldn’t have been appointed.

More on the Warren Interview—St. Nuance

One is struck by Obama’s postmodern worldview. There are no absolutes, just nuances and contexts that preclude certainty.  Evil for Obama: “A lot of evil’s been perpetuated based on the claim that we were fighting evil.” Could he be specific where we have perpetrated “a lot of evil?”

Again, the gut instinct for Obama—whether talking about our “tragic history”, or the need for more “oppression studies” or evoking our sins in front of the Germans—is always to start out with the premise of a flawed America, rather than appreciation of the vast difference between us and the alternative. Never a word here about evil abroad, or bin Laden or Dr. Zawahiri. No, instead, we need humility about that “lot of evil” perpetrated by you know whom.

Somehow he is pro-choice, but anti-abortion, for man/woman marriage, but not in the legal sense, not for merit pay, but for rewarding good teachers—all this is in the manner he was against the Russians and for them while for and against the Georgians. His mushy responses were emblematic of the therapeutic style—empathy with everyone, judgment on no-one. We may soon be back to Jimmy Carter, paralyzed how to divvy up the White House Tennis Courts among feuding subordinates. He can’t say much pro or con on abortion, other than there is an ethical and moral element to the issue. And any of you who deny that, well are just darn wrong.   He is against late-term abortion— but only if the mother’s life is in danger. And so on.

After watching some of this, I don’t think Obama will be having many town hall debates with McCain.  However undeniable his calm and presence, he is simply incapable of extemporizing. A written transcript of this interview would be embarrassing, since it would be largely streams of meandering—and, but that, ah, you know, that, and, with uh, uh, I don’t think, ah, ah, that, that, I think, that, that, on, on, an issue…”

The Obama Effect

When Obama is asked a question he has not prepped for, he sort of goes into the spinning-eyes mode that one used to associate with the young Dan Quayle in his first weeks on the campaign trail. He knows he should not mouth his postmodern banalities, pauses, and then says something he knows simply won’t work. The wisest three people he knows? The first, of course, is his “raise the bar”, “downright mean” America, and “no pride in America” spouse Michelle. The second? His grandmother, whom he once told American was a “typical white person,” as he exposed her supposed racism. I’ll stop there.

America’s greatest moral failure for Obama? Poverty, racism, sexism—the same old race/class/gender mantra. As someone who just minutes ago walked out of the jammed-packed Selma Wal-Mart, in the poorest sector of a rather poor Fresno County, I would say a more likely moral failure is a sort of unthinking consumerism, where people buy things they don’t need with money they don’t have. I didn’t see poverty in the store there today, but a real poverty of the spirit, if the contents of the stuffed shopping carts are any indication.

Obama’s most gut-wrenching decision? Apparently as a state-legislator in a far left-wing district in Illinois, he opposed the war in Iraq! In fact, his “decision” had zero influence on anything other than his political livelihood in a ward of Chicago, where being anti-war was  easy for a liberal politician in the Democratic Party.

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