Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Bleats all over Obama

On the radio today Medved and Hewitt both asked Obama supporters to call and say why they were supporting their man. Specifics, please. The replies were rather indistinct. He would end the division and bring us together by encouraging us all to talk about common problems, after which we would compromise. He will give us hope by giving us hope: for many, the appeal has the magical perfect logic of a tautology. It's a nice dream. But compromise is impossible when you have a fundamental differences about the proper way to solve a problem. I believe we can achieve a fair society by taking away your house and giving it to someone else. I disagree. It is my house. Then let us agree to give away half of your house. Compromise! But that is not a compromise. You have taken half my house. We have compromised on your behalf with those who would have taken it all. Let us not return to the politics of division. There are strangers living in my spare bedroom. Then we have truly come together. Look, this isn’t a matter on which we can compromise, because we have conflicting premises. You’re pretending matter and anti-matter have the same relationship as Coke and Pepsi. They don’t.

If he wins, I do look forward to dissenting; since it’s been established as the highest form of patriotism, I expect my arguments will be met with grave respect. Shhhh! He’s dissenting.

Among the arguments offered by the callers:

* He will help save the planet by encouraging everyone to recycle cans and bottles and paper (the caller discussed a local drought, and said she did not think that recycling would stop it, but if everyone recycled - something she thought Obama would bring about through a general new era of ecological concern - future droughts would not occur.)

* He will pay for college tuition (the caller thought tuition was too expensive, and did not want to be burdened with loans)

* He will meet with the Iranians, personally, and conduct a frank personal interrogation about their nuclear intentions

* He will inspire the Youth of America to get involved in politics again

* He will prevent American companies from moving manufacturing overseas (The caller was unsure how this could be done, only that it would be done, because it should be done)

* He will not raise taxes on anyone except maybe millionaires (The caller was surprised to be asked if Obama would raise taxes; it was a strange, peculiar, irrelevant issue)

* He will give everyone health care (This would make American industry competitive, since companies would be freed of the obligation of making it an employee benefit)

* He will talk to the Europeans

And so on. There is tremendous faith in his ability to just wave a love-wand and get things done. I remember the same zeitgeist afoot in the land in 1992; change was the mantra then, too. Odd how things turn out – I’d be happier with Hillary as President than Obama, simply because she seems a bit more seasoned and realistic. And I do find it interesting that people who have decried the shallow, theatrical, emotion-based nature of contemporary politics are now so effusive in their praise for someone’s ability to move crowds. Perhaps they don’t mind a fellow on a white horse if he promises to nationalize the stables.

LILEKS (James) the Bleat