Election américaine: La tragédie continue (Time to pay the piper for the Democrats?)

Pied piper ObamaCar nous ne sommes devant toi que des étrangers et des hôtes comme tous nos pères. 1 Chroniques 29: 15
Les électeurs ont du mal à la situer précisément, à comprendre les racines et les valeurs qui le constituent réellement. David Brooks
Les démocrates voulaient un bison et se sont retrouvés avec Obambi. VDH
Je sais que le sénateur McCain apportera beaucoup d’expérience à la Maison-Blanche. Le sénateur Obama, lui, a donné un discours en 2002. Hillary Clinton

Alors qu’avec le rattrapage, en pleine convention, du lièvre démocrate par la tortue républicaine, on ne compte plus les commentateurs et journalistes qui l’avaient si vite vu élu et qui, bien embarrassés, sont bien obligés de constater le prétendu « mystère Obama »

Et, les Clinton en tête et en ce 45e jour-anniversaire du célébrissime discours de Martin Luther King, les pontes démocrates de réaliser la bévue de s’être aussi légèrement privés de leur seule candidate crédible …

Il faut lire les récentes chroniques de Victor Davis Hanson sur la tragédie continuée du choix démocrate du joueur de pipeau dont personne ne savait rien et la catastrophe que risque d’être à nouveau pour le parti supposé des travailleurs cette génération de la gauche caviar américaine à la John Kerry ou John Edwards …

Extraits :

Il y a quelque chose qui a complètement mal tourné avec les espoirs et les rêves démocrates. Obama, dix points derrière Hillary l’automne dernier, était juste candidat pour l’expérience, de façon à ce que huit ans après les troisième et quatrième mandats des Clinton un sénateur avec trois mandats, l’expérience de campagne, un bilan long mais pas trop à gauche ainsi que la cinquantaine bien sonnée ait une présidence remarquable. Je ne pense pas qu’il ait imaginé que qui que ce soit allait vraiment croire ses vacuités télépromptées d’espérance et de changement et ne ferait pas attention au tireur de ficelle derrière le rideau. Maintenant il est l’ultime fantasme de Mr. Chance.


Même les plus adroits directeurs de com ne peuvent fabriquer l’élitisme; celui-ci n’est pas nécessairement lié à la richesse. Le très riche Bush a sans aucun doute été élevé dans une plus grande splendeur que Kerry ; mais que cela soit juste ou pas, il était plus à l’aise à la course NASCAR et au Texas que sur une planche à voile. Et les gens ont senti cela même sans les messages de Karl Rove. Un John McCain en combinaison de plongée est tout simplement inimaginable.

Dans le cas d’Obama, ce n’est pas une question de comparer sa banale résidence aux nombreuses maisons de McCain, mais de s’assurer qu’il ne geigne plus au sujet du prix de l’arugula ou qu’il se sente plus à l’aise avec des journalistes, des universitaires et des écrivains plutôt qu’avec les ouvriers. À cet égard, comparez encore son ‘ désastreux ; sermon sur les blancs accrochés à leur religion- son contenu, sa tonalité, et son public. Encore une fois, à tort ou à raison, McCain ressemble à un vieux pilote complètement déglingué qui ne s’inquiète pas beaucoup de ce qu’il mange et Obama descend délicatement d’avion comme s’il était dans une pub pour Ralph Lauren.

The Tragedy Continues

Victory Lap for the Hare, as the Tortoise Crawls on.
Victor Davis Hanson
August 21, 2008

McCain is already in mid-August matching and sometimes besting Obama in the polls. It should not have been so.

Gas prices, the economy, Iraq, Bush Derangement Syndrome, lack of energy production, Republican scandals in Congress, out-of-control spending, the Bush dunce appointments like Scott McClellan and the Texas crowd, all this and more created a sort of perfect storm for conservatives. Meanwhile, a disenchanted electorate was mesmerized by a new Pied Piper from Chicago-town who pranced in promising deliverance, while poor, pant-suited ‘ole Hil was crying out to the hypnotized, lockstep villagers in a scratchy voice, “Wait,wait! He’s dangerous!”

So the Democrats went with the Pied Piper who is leading them over the precipice. They wanted a post-racial, landmark candidate, a sort of Colin Powell or Condoleezza Rice topflight national figure, but with a hard liberal edge.

Instead they got “typical white person” and “clingers” rants, the nut Rev. Wright (whose long-awaited literary masterpiece should soon be out) and the nuttier Father Pfleger, one too many preemptive-victimization “they will play the race card on me” whines from Obama, Michelle’s “raise-the-bar”, “downright mean” and “no pride” resentments, the Clinton-Obama 19th-century Race Wars, the lop-sided ‘it’s OK for some to vote 95% along racial lines, but not for others along 60%’ sophistry, the peripheral lunatic “black house” rants by Ludacris (of Obama’s iPod fame) or Bob Herbert (of Leaning Tower of Pisa architectural expertise), and more still. And remember, as Obama slips in the polls, given his lack of content, expect that the current tough-guy, bash’em strategy to easily descend into race once more. Apparently Obama each morning gets up and thinks, “How can I give Sean Hannity more talking points for his evening barrage?” and “Have I done enough for Rush today?”

The Democrats wanted a cigar-chomping populist who could portray the Republicans as elitists who stomped on the Joe little-guy. Once again they got a flashier version of a John Edwards-John Kerry-Al Gore preachy liberal, who whines about the price of arugula and thinks stepping off a jet in shades and polo shirts is an Esquire photo-op. The backdrop to Obama’s European rock tour, after all, was Edwards ‘two-nations’ scandal and Al Gore’s jetting between motor-running, on-the-tarmac SUV and lake yacht.

The Democrats wanted a can-do, help-the-middle-class doer (sorta like Hillary-soft 4.0 in Pennsylvania), who some day might drill more cleanly than the polluting Russians and Arabs, keep the money at home, and restore U.S. yes-we-can pride. Instead, once again they got the worldview of the Santa Barbara estate-holder/Greenwich Village Bohemian: Drilling would spoil our ocean views or is messy and icky; my gas-guzzling Volvo SUV is not as crass as those awful Hummers; my Gulfstream-V sermonizing is vital, your NASCAR and jet skies are Neanderthal. The Democrats hoped “Sí, se puede!” meant no more fears about drilling, more nuclear plants, turbines, and everything else under the sun to produce power, not Nancy Pelosi on a failed, “I’m saving the planet” book tour as Congress vacations.

The die-hard savvy Democrats (some still exist) wanted a brawler and wade-into-crowd fiery Truman. They got instead a prissy (and masterful) Teleprompted day-time soap actor, whose impromptu brand is now a string of “Ahs, ums, huh? You know’s.” What they failed to note was that a Truman or Eisenhower couldn’t speak on the podium a hoot, but they were great in off-the-cuff repartee. And in the long run that is better than blow-dry platitudes. McCain can’t lecture a lick, but in the melee and tussle, he’s actually quite good. Ask Rick Warren.

If you go the Chicago route (always unwise), then at least go the Mayor Daley way, the guy who exudes the city-that-works ends justify the dead-voter means. But an Obama would choke on Daley’s cigar or even a Mayor Washington’s Big Mac. So what Democrats got instead was all the Chicago downside — the Tony Rezko shenanigans, the Trinity race-hatred, the loony left Ayers/Pfleger ranting, the shady house/yard deals — without the boilermaker, sweaty competence.

Democrats wanted a bison and got Obambi, whose new ‘take no prisoners’ rhetoric in front of the VFW sounds like the Italian army in North Africa not the Desert Rats. Just imagine had Obama written “Dreams From My Grandmother” about a working-class white woman who moved to Hawaii sacrificing her all, stressing integration, conciliation, character, and hard work (all true), rather than future career-in-mind idealization and myth-making about a polygamist, alcoholic and absentee Marxist father? Had he done the former, he would have gotten a small advance, few sales — and now bankable proof of his character, rather than money, sales — and an embarrassing revelation of his PC credentials. Harvard Law Review is as essential to wowing a tiny irrelevant Eastern elite as it is meaningless to proving to mid-America that you can easily size up a thug like Putin, see through Euro-trash nonsense, or get some energy leverage back from the mullahs and House of Saud.

The Democrats expected an in-the-tank liberal press to publish charts and graphs of how the “progressive” FDR Obama was better for the blue-collar-worker than the Tom Dewey Republican. Instead they got the last gasp of the 1960s spoiled-brat loudmouths, ranting and frothing how an Obama could at last reify their own narcissistic, guilt-ridden pretensions. The amen-stable at Newsweek, for example, would not have been hired there as copy-editors in the 1960s. If Chris Matthews thinks his tingle-up-the-leg giddiness helps Obama, or Sen. Obama’s race speech is the new Gettysburg Address, he doesn’t know Bakersfield or Dayton. A Keith Olbermann rant is a veritable McCain campaign ad.

I like Barack Obama. He’s a good father, husband, hard-working and refreshingly pleasant sort, enormously bright and a gifted speaker. He doesn’t need the faux-Trinity Church cadences and falsetto black-preacher style to come across as sincere and well-meaning. I think he really does believe that he simply jump-started a Chicago political career using the race card on the way to becoming a liberal Illinois Senator, on the way, in turn, some day to a centrist Humphrey-like national candidacy — and that such contortions were just politics as usual and not disingenuousness or worse.

But something has gone terribly wrong with the Democratic hopes and dreams. Obama, ten points behind Hillary last autumn, ran to get experience, so that in eight years after the Clintoni’s third and fourth terms, a three-term Senator, with campaign savvy, and a long, not-too-liberal voting record, in his late fifties, would have a landmark Presidency. I don’t think that he imagined that anyone would ever really believe the teleprompted hope and change vacuity, and ‘Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain’ gears and levers. Now he is the ultimate “Being There” phantasm.

Bottom Line? Watch the Convention. Obama will, of course, still be nominated, but Hillary will play Medea, Lady Macbeth, and Joan of Arc all in one — and to the hilt.

The tortoise crawls on…

Voir aussi:

What Obama says is often best unsaid.
Victor Davis Hanson
NRO The Corner

August 24, 2008

A Pavlovian Response

We didn’t have to wait long for the much anticipated morally-equivalent message from Barack Obama: “We’ve got to send a clear message to Russia and unify our allies. They can’t charge into other countries. Of course it helps if we are leading by example on that point.”

Let me get this straight: getting a Senate and House majority to authorize a bipartisan joint war-resolution, going to the U.N., assembling a coalition, having a national and world debate on the wisdom of such an operation from December 2001 to March 2003, and then attacking a genocidal dictator, and staying on to foster a constitutional democracy are apparently the same « charge » « example » as an autocracy suddenly invading its democratic neighbor during the Olympics, and staying on to annex some of its territory?

Aside from the silliness of these statements, the problem for Obama, again, is that incrementally they really do start to add up — America’s « tragic history, » the mini-sermon on decline to the 7-year-old, waffling exegesis to Rick Warren about our own evil, the confessions to the cheering Berliners about our transgressions — and these doubts are enhanced rather than ameliorated by Michelle Obama’s various rantings, and the creepy things former associates like Ayers, Wright, and Pfleger have said about America and its culture. Some disinterested observer from Mars might adduce that the Obamas at this point can’t help it, since the ‘everybody believes it’ anti-American message they absorbed was of long duration and reinforced where they went to school, where they worshiped, and where they worked.

Team Obama needs to sit him down, lay down the law, and give him the Michelle muzzle: « Barack! You are running for the top job in America, so when you mention the U.S., or its history, just dispense with the Harvard qualifiers, the howevers and buts, the oppression studies talking points, the morally equivalent cute examples, the tangled legal nuances, and professorial huffing, and simply say nice things about your country, and if you can’t, don’t say anything at all about it. The voters know that you believe America is not perfect, but they don’t know whether you believe it is good. »

Get Real

I think the Democrats really need to cool the « tough guy » rhetoric as in Biden is « scrappy » and a « bare knuckle fighter. » All the hype simply suggests fear that in fact the Democrats are not all that combative. When Obama resorts to the Chicago rhetoric (cf. his rendition of David Mamet’s ‘ »If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun » or his shot across the bow to McCain that he’s coming after him), it seems forced and phony.

If they want to suggest that they are patriotic and tough, but do not do the Bush swagger or employ the Nascar lingo, then a better approach would simply be to adopt the measured language of confidence (try ‘ »win » or « victory » in matters of Iraq), or a resolution not to add a string of qualifiers (like ‘tragic’ or ‘mean’ or conjunctions like « but, » « however, » etc.) when evoking America, or embrace the same old gloom and doom Katrina/Great Depression tropes about America’s decline.

Better yet, Obama could adopt his own braggadocio about « a statesman with sound judgment who doesn’t have to hide behind bluster to keep America strong. » Unfortunately the latter is exactly what both he and Biden have already employed — bluster.

Name That Elitist!

Last week’s theme in the Obama campaign, prompted perhaps by Michelle’s comments about the unfairness of characterizing her husband as an elitist, is that the real wealthy man, and hence elitist, is in fact McCain. As evidence, they cite how he is married to the multi-millionaire Cindy and supposed resident of some eight (sometimes characterized as nine or ten) houses. But the left misses the point which is twofold:

1. Even adroit spinners and handlers can’t manufacture elitism; it is not necessarily connected with wealth. The very wealthy Bush no doubt was brought up in greater splendor than was Kerry; but fairly or unfairly, he was more at home at NASCAR and Texas than wind-surfing. And the people sensed that even without Karl Rove’s ads. John McCain in a wet suit seems unimaginable.

In Obama’s case, it is not a matter of matching his run-of-the-mill mansion against McCain’s numerous homes, but ensuring that he doesn’t whine about the price of arugula or feel more at home with journalists, academics, and writers rather than those of the working classes. In that regard, again compare his disastrous ‘clingers’ sermon — its content, tone, and audience. Again, fairly or not, McCain looks like an old torn-cat pilot that doesn’t much care what he eats, and Obama tip-toes down a plane’s steps as if he is in a Ralph Lauren ad.

2. Liberals and progressives are far more vulnerable to charges of elitism, since they are prone to the additional charge of hypocrisy. Right-wingers, as the catastrophic election of 2006 showed, are more easily exposed as hypocrites when they preach family values and are caught in Rev. Haggard-like positions, or abuse drugs and drink. But liberals, ‘two-nations’ men and women of the people, who rail against the unfairness of an uncaring system and the perniciousness of wealth and privilege, far more readily suffer charges of elitism when their populist rhetoric is contrasted to private jets, 30,000 sq ft. homes, or 11 mansions.

Those are the normal perceptions that are hardly new. Bill Clinton, as the left-wing hipster, was given enormous leeway in his personal life as child of the ’60s. Yet the boy from Hope was not forgiven so easily when we learned of his astounding money-grasping and fondness for the high life, circling the globe in search of quick millions and the lifestyles of the rich and famous. The end of the old crusty Humphreys and Scoop Jacksons, replaced by blow-dry John Edwards millionaires, was a public relations disaster for the party of the people. The change is sort of suicidal, as if one were to make a Larry Craig or Mark Foley the Republican masthead.

Voir également:

Where’s the Landslide?
David Brooks
The New York Times
August 5, 2008

Why isn’t Barack Obama doing better? Why, after all that has happened, does he have only a slim two- or three-point lead over John McCain, according to an average of the recent polls? Why is he basically tied with his opponent when his party is so far ahead?

His age probably has something to do with it. So does his race. But the polls and focus groups suggest that people aren’t dismissive of Obama or hostile to him. Instead, they’re wary and uncertain.

And the root of it is probably this: Obama has been a sojourner. He opened his book “Dreams From My Father” with a quotation from Chronicles: “For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers.”

There is a sense that because of his unique background and temperament, Obama lives apart. He put one foot in the institutions he rose through on his journey but never fully engaged. As a result, voters have trouble placing him in his context, understanding the roots and values in which he is ineluctably embedded.

Last week Jodi Kantor of The Times described Obama’s 12 years at the University of Chicago Law School. “The young law professor stood apart in too many ways to count,” Kantor wrote.

He was a popular and charismatic professor, but he rarely took part in faculty conversations or discussions about the future of the institution. He had a supple grasp of legal ideas, but he never committed those ideas to paper by publishing a piece of scholarship.

He was in the law school, but not of it.

This has been a consistent pattern throughout his odyssey. His childhood was a peripatetic journey through Kansas, Indonesia, Hawaii and beyond. He absorbed things from those diverse places but was not fully of them.

His college years were spent on both coasts. He was a community organizer for three years but left before he could be truly effective. He became a state legislator, but he was in the Legislature, not of it. He had some accomplishments, but as Ryan Lizza of The New Yorker wrote, he was famously bored by the institution and used it as a stepping stone to higher things.

He was in Trinity United Church of Christ, but not of it, not sharing the liberation theology that energized Jeremiah Wright Jr. He is in the United States Senate, but not of it. He has not had the time nor the inclination to throw himself into Senate mores, or really get to know more than a handful of his colleagues. His Democratic supporters there speak of him fondly, but vaguely.

And so it goes. He is a liberal, but not fully liberal. He has sometimes opposed the Chicago political establishment, but is also part of it. He spoke at a rally against the Iraq war, while distancing himself from many antiwar activists.

This ability to stand apart accounts for his fantastic powers of observation, and his skills as a writer and thinker. It means that people on almost all sides of any issue can see parts of themselves reflected in Obama’s eyes. But it does make him hard to place.

When we’re judging candidates (or friends), we don’t just judge the individuals but the milieus that produced them. We judge them by the connections that exist beyond choice and the ground where they will go home to be laid to rest. Andrew Jackson was a backwoodsman. John Kennedy had his clan. Ronald Reagan was forever associated with the small-town virtues of Dixon and Jimmy Carter with Plains.

It is hard to plant Obama. Both he and his opponent have written coming-of-age tales about their fathers, but they are different in important ways. McCain’s “Faith of My Fathers” is a story of a prodigal son. It is about an immature boy who suffers and discovers his place in the long line of warriors that produced him. Obama’s “Dreams From My Father” is a journey forward, about a man who took the disparate parts of his past and constructed an identity of his own.

If you grew up in the 1950s, you were inclined to regard your identity as something you were born with. If you grew up in the 1970s, you were more likely to regard your identity as something you created.

If Obama is fully a member of any club — and perhaps he isn’t — it is the club of smart post-boomer meritocrats. We now have a cohort of rising leaders, Obama’s age and younger, who climbed quickly through elite schools and now ascend from job to job. They are conscientious and idealistic while also being coldly clever and self-aware. It’s not clear what the rest of America makes of them.

So, cautiously, the country watches. This should be a Democratic wipeout. But voters seem to be slow to trust a sojourner they cannot place.

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