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Barack Hussein Obama’s triumphal progress to the presidential mansion was fueled by the utopian sentimentality that dominates the political thinking of large segments of the U.S. population. Here was a dream combination—dark (but not too dark) skin with the manners and platitudes of a classic Midwestern liberal. It was like lackluster Hubert Humphrey or George McGovern reconstituted as charming Sidney Poitier. The evil American past was finally to be overcome and a new world was a-dawning. That Obama had no record and no obvious claim to statesmanship or even competence was no problem. It merely signaled the final triumph of the most virtuous policy of affirmative action.
To be fair, there is a Red State equivalent to Obama sentimentality. I have lost count of the Southern old ladies of both sexes who have chastised me for criticizing “that good Christian man” George W. Bush on the assumption that the election of this shallow, brattish rich boy somehow was a return to old American values.
Leftists, always guided by self-reflective emotion, have never had any trouble reconciling contradictions in their likes and dislikes. But we must wonder how they are coping with the realities of the Obama reign. Incompetence and fecklessness are rather easily forgivable when balanced against utopian rhetoric. But Obama is so ordinary! He has failed to challenge the imperialist posture of the U.S. establishment. In his abuse of the drone option, callous disregard of collateral damage among the darker peoples, neo-conservative initiatives for further invasions, and neglect of legal due process, he has proved a greater offender than Bush.
To change the posture of bipartisan American imperialism would require initiative, wisdom, energy, and political sacrifice. These are simply not in Obama’s repertoire or inclination. He has merely continued on the easiest path—the dishonest combination of war against selected Islamic targets and preaching of universal tolerance of “the religion of peace” so well institutionalized under the hated Republican fascists.
A true liberal would have exposed the contradicition, how the “war on terror” has destroyed the vision of universal benevolence that accompanied Obama’s rocket to the stars. But it was not to be. It was never possible.
Look on the cover of any magazine in an ordinary store. What do you see? If it's not Tiger Woods or Justin Bieber (who, symbolically - more on this - is not even American), it's Kim Kardashian or Miley Cyrus.
No, Barack Obama is a very fitting head of state of the U.S.. A perfect incarnation of such a people.
Inwardly Leftists must find it difficult to reconcile in their vapid minds what they perceive as a lack of Progressive policy implementations and in several cases the enhanced continuation of Bush policies. Not that there has not been a significant number of punitive Executive fiats, particularly in dealing with Illegal aliens, EPA mandates, transforming the military into GLEE, health care, and DOJ attacks on what is left of state's rights.
While the Leftists may privately grouse, they will never forsake him. He could be a true tyrant if were not for his mid-average grasp and lack of interest. We can take some solace.
I have thought for years that the entire purpose of our national election "process" is to disguise a rigged coin flip as a 50/50 chance that if the coin turns up heads, the people lose -- but if it is tails, their leaders will win. I think your essay illustrates this suspicion by mentioning the obvious and pathetic reality of the "Red States equivalent to Obama sentimentality." Although there are some moralists who insist on the obligation of selecting the lesser of two evils
The vision of "universal benevolence" is exactly what we need to get away from. You can here it being preached in the so called war on terror.
Dr. Fleming said 10 years ago, on the eve of Bush's re-election, that for all its faults, the G.O.P. represented "the more nearly normal elements of American society." Not, of course, at the top, and definitely not as a rule, but just that among Republican voters one is more likely to find recognizable non-mutants than among Democratic voters. That of course is an observation more sociological than either political or philosophial.
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