Obama’s finest speeches do not excite. They do not inform. They don’t even really inspire. They elevate. They enmesh you in a grander moment, as if history has stopped flowing passively by, and, just for an instant, contracted around you, made you aware of its presence, and your role in it. He is not the Word made flesh, but the triumph of word over flesh, over color, over despair. The other great leaders I’ve heard guide us towards a better politics, but Obama is, at his best, able to call us back to our highest selves, to the place where America exists as a glittering ideal, and where we, its honored inhabitants, seem capable of achieving it, and thus of sharing in its meaning and transcendence.
“Tom Friedman: It’s way too soon to tell if the media overhyped Obama in 2008,” Allahpundit writes today, linking to a Daily Caller write up of Friedman’s appearance on Howard Kurtz’s CNN show this weekend. As the DC’s Jeff Poor asks, “Nearly three years into the Obama presidency, is it fair to say the media were duped?”
On Sunday’s broadcast of CNN’s “Reliable Sources,” host Howard Kurtz asked New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman just that question. According to Friedman, the jury is still out.
“Way too soon to tell that kind of thing, I think,” Friedman said. “I think if — look, what have I been calling for, you know, the president to have — I think there is, we just so desperately needed a grand bargain that involves restructuring of debt, raising of taxes, cutting of spending and investing in the sources of our strengths as a country from everything from infrastructure to government-funded research to education. It’s so clear that’s what we need. My personal frustration with Obama has been that while he certainly tried that grand bargain for a little bit, it just kind of went away.
But beyond Friedman’s equivocation on Kurtz’s question (especially rich, considering the network that airs Kurtz’s show), how does one simultaneously go about “cutting of spending” and spending more taxpayers’ money on “everything from infrastructure to government-funded research to education?” It would be the equivalent of Chinese democracy, or a self-described environmentalist calling for reduced energy output while simultaneously holed up inside his own 11,000-square foot mansion.
On the other hand, get used to plenty of Bobos in Cognitive Dissonance, Clarice Feldman writes:
I think sentient Democrats are watching their party’s chances in 2012 slip away, and had they not made such a big deal of claiming all opposition to Obama was racist in motivation and effect (see, e.g., this), they would now be urging him to quit and seeking a new contender for his office. Like Coleridge’s ancient Mariner, however, they can only stand on deck with that albatross around their neck watching both the White House and the Senate slip from their grasp just as did so many state governorships and the House of Representatives.
In the meantime the Ship of State runs aground on the shoals of incompetence, corruption and laughable idiocy.
The Drudge Report has been spotlighting a series of insane economic proposals from an out of control EPA this weekend:
I’d like to think these represent a sort of scorched-earth policy from the last days of the ancien regime. But it’s just a reminder of how brutal the next 15 months will be. In the meantime, one of Ace’s co-bloggers makes the obvious assumption — or at least obvious if the parties were reversed: “President Obama wants to Kill the Poor.”
Of course not. But the epistemic closure of his worldview leaves him little choice.