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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Praisation by Faint Damns
Posted by Jill | 8:20 AM
Even when trying to praise Obama's speech yesterday, Maureen Dowd manages to both snark AND make it all about HER and HER people:

Certainly, Senator Obama was exercising sophisticated damage-control on his problem with Jeremiad Wright. But he did not pander as Mitt Romney did with his very challenging speech about Mormonism, or market-test his own convictions, as most politicians do.

Unlike what the Clintons did to Lani Guinier, responding to her radical racial ideas by throwing her under the bus, Obama went to great pains to honor the human dimension of his relationship with his politically threatening “old uncle,” as he calls him.

Displaying his multihued, crazy-quilted DNA, he talked about cringing when he heard the white grandmother who raised him use racial stereotypes and confess her fear of passing black men on the street.

He tried to shine a light on that clannish place where grudges and grievances flourish. After racing from race for a year, he plowed in and took a stab at showing blacks what white resentment felt like and whites what black resentment felt like.

(He was spot-on about my tribe of working-class Irish, the ones who have helped break his winning streak in New Hampshire and Ohio, and may do so in Pennsylvania.)

[snip]

A little disenchantment with Obama could turn out to be a good thing. Too much idealism can blind a leader to reality as surely as too much ideology can.

Up until now, Obama and his worshipers have set it up so that he must be so admirable and ideal and perfect and everything we’ve ever wanted that any kind of blemish — even a parking ticket — was regarded as a major failing.

With the Clintons, we expect them to be cheesy on ethics, so no one is ever surprised when they are.

But Saint Obama played the politics of character to an absurd extent. For 14 months, his argument for leading the world has been himself — his exquisitely globalized self.

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3 Comments:
Anonymous Anonymous said...
My letter to Ms. Dowd.

Ms. Dowd,
I must give you credit for your effort to acknowledge Barack Obama's speech without appearing to gush over him. It was obvious that you struggled in writing an article on a speech that tugged at your own deepest thoughts, fears and ...yes....hope. However, unfortunately, you missed one major point. Senator Obama's did not directly attempt to "heal any wounds" himself with his speech. If you listened closely to what he said, that responsibility lies with us. All of us.

Also, there is absolutely nothing wrong with holding our leaders to the highest standards, "on a pedestal" as you put it. It seems as if Senator Obama takes that position of pedestal occupier very seriously. That's the reason he made the speech and why the speech affected (y)our emotions the way it did. I know you have a job and an agenda to fulfill, but there's nothing wrong every now and then with saying well done, even to someone you don't like or usually disagree with, when they get it right. There's always the next day to get back to the battle. Even as someone that doesn't usually agree with your political views, I was disappointed with the underlying tone of this article.
Regards,
PR

PS - As a black Caribbean born immigrant with strong Irish (and English) cultural and genetic influences, I actually identify with your historical experience in the United States more than with most African Americans. I got what Senator Obama was saying...I'm sure you did too.

Blogger Bob said...
Dowd's "working class Irish" as a distinct voting demographic is mostly a sentimental invention at this point. The arc of her career after college was to get away from her "tribe." Anyway, for the few of them who are still Democrats after Reagan, the choice between the protestant woman & the protestant black man - well, the former is just "the devil you know."

Anonymous PhysioProf said...
Unlike what the Clintons did to Lani Guinier

Jesus Fucking Christ! Is there any goddamn motherfucking topic in the entire fucking universe that doesn't make Dowd think about Bill Fucking Clinton!?!?!?!?

She is just a goddamn motherfucking nightmare!! AAAGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!