The Discerning Texan
All that is necessary for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing.
-- Edmund Burke
-- Edmund Burke
Monday, June 16, 2008
J.R. Dunn suggests that Conservatives might not need to jump off of that high-rise just yet:
... 2008, we're told, is a "transformational" election, a revolutionary moment in which everything that went before will be overturned, and the nation's entire political sphere utterly changed. Barack Obama is the human embodiment of this moment -- the New Moses who will lead the American people into their promised land. (The part about wandering the Sinai for forty years appears to have been overlooked -- note to Republican operatives.) We're called on to prepare ourselves for a combination of the New Deal, the 60s, and the October Revolution all rolled into one.There is much more: read the whole thing.
No small number of conservatives are echoing this view. Even the cynical and wise Victor Davis Hanson is ready to throw up his hands and allow Obama the purple toga, and he is no way alone. It's perfectly understandable that Democrats will view events as occurring due to vast and unopposable historical forces -- they are, after all, ideologues, and such ideas play a prominent part in their ideology. But if conservatives ever begin to look at developments in this way, it will mean the end. The American left will have persuaded their opposition to adapt their worldview, and in so doing, will have won half the battle.
Despair magnifies all difficulties. The stone in the pathway becomes an unclimbable peak. The yapping mutt becomes the Hound of the Baskervilles. And an inexperienced, first-term senator, who barely squeaked his way to victory against one the most despised figures in American public life, becomes a combination of Moses, Gandhi, and Superman.
But if we step back from the left-wing lens, what do we see? A political apocalypse? A leftist tsunami? Some unimaginable historical synthesis bearing down on us?
No -- what we in fact see is a very slick and adept Chicago pol, in prophet's rags a little too large for him, with a political party clinging to his goatskin tails. It's this, and this alone, that has so frightened the GOP and sent conservatives into catatonia.
What this collapse is about is not at all clear. Barack Obama is alive and fighting, no more than that. His battle with Madame Hillary has leached virtually all momentum from his campaign. He has spent months calling in airstrikes on his own position and setting up booby traps and minefields in areas that he now has to cross. His primary campaign could be taken as a textbook example on how not to set yourself up for the national contest. And the numbers show it: even with his nomination "bounce", Obama is according to CNN, only 3 points ahead of McCain -- a statistical tie.
Among the hurdles that Obama created for himself are:
His messiahhood: The media has done Obama no favor by accepting his self-promotion to secular redeemer. Somebody should read the literature and discover what happens to messiahs after their followers grow tired of them. They might wish to start out with an esoteric collection called "the Gospels". Perhaps an intern could prepare a condensation.
These we-have-seen-the-light campaigns don't wear well. It's difficult to maintain enthusiasm over the long run, and even when that's accomplished, things soon take on a glassy-eyed aura, something on the order of a Moonie mass wedding. Obama long ago passed this point during the primary campaign. Now he has gained a second wind from attaining the nomination. But that will last only weeks before he is required abandon the walk-on-the-water act and attempt something unfamiliar to him: running on his merits.
A related problem that has gone unmentioned involves the Obama iconography. The "halo" photos are a case in point.
This motif means one thing alone: that the candidate is being compared to Christ. That will be taken one way by the mass of the country: as blasphemy. It's a comment on the yawning gap between bedrock Americans and the elites that no one has seen this as Obama's strike two. He insulted religious Americans once with his "God n' guns" comment. Now he's redoubled the insult with this.
His disciples: Leading a redemptive movement has its drawbacks. Obamanoids are the same type as those drawn to any pseudo-religious craze -- the confused, the lost, and the demented. People who missed the spaceship behind the comet. Obama will not be able to shake this. The true creepiness of Obamamania will remain a serious issue. And it is not something that the candidate can control. We will very likely see Obamiacs menacing, harassing, and even attacking the opposition before this is over. The opponents of the messiah are, by definition, the essence of evil, yes?
His weird pals: We have met Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, and Tony "Cell 4, Block D" Rezko. Obama has not had an acceptable explanation for any of them. His uniform response has been "that's not the Jeremiah/Bill/Tony that I knew", which brands him as more bit of a schmuck for a man in his mid-forties. It would not be advisable to resort to it again, particularly after the public gets to know James P. Meeks and the folks at ACORN (a radical fringe cult that the candidate happens to have represented as an attorney.