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Works and Days

How Did All That Happen?

December 28th, 2010 - 8:26 am

5. How did Barack Obama invent himself into a bi-partisan, working across the aisle, no more red state/blue state unifying figure? Mellifluous rhetoric and a partisan myth helped to promulgate that myth, I grant. But still, how did the U.S senator with the most partisan voting record in the Senate (to the left of the socialist Bernie Sanders from Vermont) and a devout attendee of one of the most divisive and racist preachers imaginable refashion himself so successfully? Was it the simple declarations — as in something like “I say I am bipartisan, therefore I am bipartisan”? Did all forget that our pre-mid-term election president evoked phrases such as “enemies,” “sit in the back of the car,” and “hand to hand”?

No matter — as soon as Obama was “shellacked” with a 63 seat loss in the House, and his polls hit 42 percent approval, he dropped all the prior rhetoric about “I won and you lost” or “elections matter”—and now announced to his “enemies” that he could “work together” to get things done. Had Obama increased the House Democratic majority by 30 more seats in November, would he now be praising the virtues of bipartisanship? Had the vanity of Rev Wright not convinced the huckster preacher to hawk his Trinity racist rants on incriminating DVDs, would he now be a frequent “healing” presence at the White House?

Lurking somewhere behind all these improbables is a rather small Western elite that is enormously influential in the media, government, the arts, universities, and Hollywood. And what it would like to believe, often simply must be believed — and so it usually is.

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