The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Rock Star

For months now, we’ve watched as Barack Obama has seized the hearts of many Americans. Obamamania has turned a young, relatively inexperienced Senator into a rock star. Oprah stands at his side and looks adoringly at her political hero. Chris Mathews, a supposedly hard-bitten political commentator, sounds like a teenage girl who is in the throws of her first crush as he swoons over Obama’s vague calls for “hope” and “change.” Obama's new self-referential phrase, “We are Change,” and the near messianic devotion of his followers, is, as I’ve noted before, just a bit creepy.

David Brooks comments on his claim that he will somehow cause partisan bickering to cease:
How is a 47-year-old novice going to unify highly polarized 70-something committee chairs? What will happen if the nation’s 261,000 lobbyists don’t see the light, even after the laying on of hands? Does The Changemaker have the guts to take on the special interests in his own party — the trial lawyers, the teachers’ unions, the AARP?

The Gang of 14 created bipartisan unity on judges, but Obama sat it out. Kennedy and McCain created a bipartisan deal on immigration. Obama opted out of the parts that displeased the unions. Sixty-eight senators supported a bipartisan deal on FISA. Obama voted no. And if he were president now, how would the High Deacon of Unity heal the breach that split the House last week?

The Democratic Senate, in a bi-partisan moment, proposed a reasonable FISA bill that exempted the telecom companies from frivolous lawsuits filed because they helped the government with terrorism investigations. The trial lawyers, a major contributor to the Democratic party, lobbied against the bill for purely selfish reasons, and the House stalled the bill.

Did Obama, the avatar of the new bipartisanship, call for the House to move in similarly bipartisan manner and pass the FISA bill. Not a peep from the rock star.


I actually like Barack Obama or at least I like his public persona. But there’s a very big difference between liking someone as a person and voting for that person for President of the United States. Particularly when he’s making promises that he won’t keep.

Update: 2/20/08

Finally, we're beginning to see thoughtful, center-Left commentators begin to question Obamamania. Robert Samuelson, Newsweek's economic writer and certainly no right-wing ideologue, deconstructs Obama’s political positions and comes away with grave concern. He writes:
The contrast between his [Obama’s] broad rhetoric and his narrow agenda is stark, and yet the press corps -- preoccupied with the political "horse race" -- has treated his invocation of "change" as a serious idea rather than a shallow campaign slogan. He seems to have hypnotized much of the media and the public with his eloquence and the symbolism of his life story. The result is a mass delusion that Obama is forthrightly engaging the nation's major problems when, so far, he isn't.

Read the whole thing.