by Dr Leo Strauss •
Obama’s speech was middling and we suspected there were times when he was giving it that the threads were not really connecting compared to some of his better shows among smaller crowds.
But so what – people were in delerium.
Judging by the reactions, and the reactions to the reactions, this next year or so looks like it will be as stifling to independent thought as post-9/11 times.
I guess switching to blue Kool-Aid from red counts as change.
Random quote from one of the unwashed:
“At 10:00:01, CNN called the election, and Grant Park went wild. They quieted to hear McCain speak, booed when he mentioned Palin, but when Obama came onstage and addressed everyone– well, that was the high point of the night. And man, that speech will be written about, studied, remembered, in the years to come.”
No. No it wont. It was dull, platitudinous, middle of the road, and delivered by a very weary candidate. So divorced is the American electorate from truly great politics and statesmen that a passable speech spoken by a competent candidate is seen as akin to the sermon on the mount. It was not terrible, but nor was it memorable. The motif of the lifetime of the 106 year old woman as narrative for snippets of American history was nice; but to distill all the eloquent positions and hard-fought battles of the past essentially being sloganized as ‘yes we can’ is nonsensical and treacherous to those past achievements (by the way, ‘yes we can’ is not punctuation).
Enough snark, I was in a bar in Toronto amongst a host of my fellow grad students. We were all there to bear witness to the Obama triumph, and we were not disappointed. My congratulations to the US for a successful election, and our best wishes in the next four years.
We stand by our belief that Mark Salt caused McCain big problems and no one will ever point that out – Salter was the one pushing McCain to target Fannie Mae etc – Even though McCain had his own Fannie links. But reading his intertview with Ann Maria Cox, it is clear Salter does not really know that Fannie did not make most subprime loans and that it is absurd to blame a crisis that has Ukraine getting EC bailouts on Fred Sanford getting in over his head on home improvement loans.
Bottom line – the super bubble was cause by CDSs – They allowed banks to mask debt risk.
Also – actually putting stock in that “most liberal” charge was meaningless. Is it a fact that Bernie Sanders socialism is the ne plus ultra of liberalism?
John Bolton on BBC tonight was hilarious and bitter toward Katty Kay.
GOP talking points are weak tonight – McCain was never really ahead – He was ahead in the margin of error in two polls out of sixteen for a couple of days.
re Nicaragua – we think Tweety was leaking against his boss back then – during the Boland amendment debate. Maybe we are mixing that up with Iran-contra diversion when Tweety may have started leaking.
We were referring to Panama – in a joking sense. But since you mention Nicaragua – it’s worth noting that, after all this time, Ruth Messenger’s guy is in power. But he lost popularity with the left when he became semi-officially Catholic.
Philadelphia is in a cultural and temporal lacuna; it’s hard to explain except to say there is a reason that I-95 actually takes a detour around it. From Rizzo offering to have the Philly Police plan and lead an invasion of Cuba for Nixon to Goode firebombing Move, etc. one can find something in that petri dish — especially on election day.
That particular photo reminded us of a bad MTV video extra contemplating marginal immortality.
Obama is of the generation (but we are definitely not saying he is actually one) of naive/idiot fellow travelers who flew down to help the Sandinistas pick coffee, who thought that Tomas Borge, the Sandanista Minister of Interior, set up neighborhood watches for the equivalent of midnight basketball, etc.
The meme wouldn’t fly today of course because ‘Sandanista’ to the vast culture was a weird album by a marginal British punk band. Hugo Chavez didn’t quite achieve pop culture ‘menace’ trajectory either.
Meme blowback – you can’t call him Obambi
and then expect Thug charges to stick:
Leo – Wasn’t Obama a leader of Noriega’s Dignity Battalions?
John McCain weird embrace of “Joe” “The” “Plumber” is interesting – McCain must have internalized some McCain mythos that required him to be the kind of person that really gets defensive about “Joe.”
Same with Sarah – Palin, IMO, has great potential to be a frontier populist – A cross between Betty Boop and Huey Long and Aimee Semple McPherson and Pat Buchana. But she
just wasn’t ready and the political battlespace was not prepped.
Just saw Kerry on TV – first time we can recall seeing him appear not be clinically depressed.
Dowd would be a nobody without Bush. He comes off as an ingrate – Stephanopolous , IMO, has a semi invisible ceiling above his potential success because of his perceived disloyalty to his benefactor. But at least Steph is gifted in the sense that he would have been successfull eventually in something and people recognize that. But people like Dowd and Gerson are at a naturally lower level and much of their success is contigent on Bush helping them. Frum would have been successful in any other field, or as a writer = but a goodly portion of his political success is Bush-dependent. But would anyone really care what Dowd had to say if he was not connected to Bush? Gerson too – His Bush link allows him out of the faith-ghetto where he’d be one of many.
We may have posted dupe comments about Goldfarb and Sanchez.
Neocon Shark Jumping:
Leave aside the fact that Sanchez rarely has a gotcha moment and really seems dim sometimes. His pleasant
demeanor is such a contrast to Goldfarb’s asshole
persona. It’s funny. Goldfarb is a total asshole and
he comes accross as one.
Most campaigns would understand that and they’d keep someone Goldfarb semi hidden – thinking up dirty tricks. Most campaigns would only hire someone like Goldfarb via a deniable link like a law firm.
All you have to do is read his nasty blog posts over the years.
Rudy Giuliani’s campaign came undone by being top heaving with this kind of grunting, insinuating, nastiness and
it had become so old.
Comment knows some wingers and neocons who still angrilly assert that Rudy WON the debates when he SMASHED Ron Paul etc – Even though ‘we now know’ that voters hated all that stuff.
Yet – McCain alllowed on Last Hurrah via Goldfarb.
You’ve hit on an interesting broad theme, how the pundits, journlobbyists, and the media corporatists will accomodate the New Era.
The Valente analogy holds up well, especially with personal factotums like Dowd. Buchanan also has the knack for turning his Nixonian bunker fanatacism into a charming vignette while explaining how if only Nixon had been willing to break the law some more, everything would have been alright. Being avuncular and a certain age helps.
Perhaps there is one of those quick tongue in cheek best-sellers lurking here as a guide — and a scorecard for the public. You’d be a natural.
At first we thought the GOP was too slow in rolling out the socialist meme. They waited fo Joe the skinhead to provide a pretext. But it’s very clear that McCain and his top advisors did not read (out of laziness and contempt) Obama’s books. It’s true that Obama technically rejects socialism in his books, but he also features many things that can be taken out of context to create a socialism panic among the base. Lots of guilt by asssociations etc. From what we heard – Obama had planned to reply by pointing to the neoocons an GOP hypocracy etc.
Still — it would have provided a media-friendly frame for the McCain to contextualize everything Obama did.
But after readiing Buchanan today, we think it would have been hopeless. Because Buchanan cites Obama’s tax plan as evidence, but to use that example means McCain would not be able to mainstain his coded message to the white working class that Obama was gonna take from them to give to those guys. Indeed, Obama’s tax plan – polls very well when people are seen the details – Most people do not make the invidious distinction between payroll taxes and income taxes that elite pundist do. Why should they? Bush redsitributes too, by runninf deficits that send bond income to rich people and by using payroll taxes for day to day expenses.
What does Pat really fear? He fears Obama will replicate Quebec’s Quiet Revolution among the lower classes. Economics are the cover war for the hidden culture war.
We saw Matt Dowd on TV yesterday – His pundit career will have limits – He seems disloyal to Bush, his patron.
There is a careful dance a pundit must do to establish distance between their patron without seeming like a pathetic ingrate. David Frum often seemed to have trouble working that line.
The best way to play the game is how that guy who was the Motion Picture lobbyist – Valente – He always voiced a standard script of unwavering total loyalty to Lyndon Baynes Johnson – then he would explain how he would done things differently – thus allowing the audience to 1.) notice his loyalty to LBJ 2) Notice his difference to LBJ
La Noonan is starting to lose traction – In some respects, this is a bit unfair. A big reason she became a huge pundit in the first place was her somewhat interesting book “What I saw at the Revolution.” We liked that book and we know a fe people in La Noonan’s chosen Demo who really loved that book. It helped that she was part of trend – mixed feelings boomer, Irish working class, contrarian catholic-feminist (backlash agains the smug feminist class), compassionate conservative (Gipper wasn’t perfect and that Philidelphia Mississippe stuff has to stop). But also – she was really good looking and her picture was on the cover of the book, She’s still good looking, but she’s aging and that’s just a commericial reality. Many of her fans in pressdom liked her for her “his Gal Friday’ schtick she developed at CBS. Real Old School journos and fake Tweety types really diged that.
But with the younger generation moving into place – The schtick doesn’t resonate as much – It’s kitch.
Jello does embody the essence of ‘lightness of being’ so perhaps so!
It’s a shame that a Republican rout won’t have a corresponding impact on the insular, smug pundit class. One can only wonder, what would it take in electoral collapse to get La Noonan banished from the airwaves? Texas going blue? With Alabama? And if so, if only the Boy King could have given that to us, too. She was especially grating on Morning Joe today.
Although there is truth that the Movement is happy to reject the ‘host’ as the failure. The parasite is, of course, never the cause.
Leo – was that Milan Kundera tool quote supposed to be an allusion to Colin Powell’s unpredicatability?