October 21, 2006

"Politics sometimes blends in with celebrity."

Said Barack Obama to Oprah Winfrey, as quoted in Maureen Dowd's TimesSelect column.
"And it gobbles you up because the tendency is for people to want to see you perform and say what they want to hear, as opposed to you trying to stay in touch with, you know, that deepest part of you, that kernel of truth inside."
Dowd aptly quips:
Doesn’t he see that when you express this skepticism on Oprah it is not skepticism at all?
It almost seems unfair to quote that quote. Maybe the things said inside the Oprah confessional should not be repeated outside of it. Can you even parse that quote into something that makes sense?
Politics blended with celebrity... gobbles you up?
What was he thinking? Now I'm speaking to a lot of women, so a cooking metaphor seems good. Politics blended with celebrity... mmm... yummy. But then he loses focus on the possibility of a metaphor -- food shouldn't be gobbling you up -- as he goes for the gooshy emotion. He's getting gobbled up! Yikes! It's all those people who want you to be want they want, when you're trying to stay in touch with ... with what? ... yourself, presumably. But let's Oprahfy it... that deepest part of you, that kernel of truth inside.

Any intelligent person serving up those words -- here, have a kernel! -- has got to be thinking oh, what garbage, but this is the sort of thing you're supposed to say here, to prove there really is something to you, some core of authenticity. There's a big, roiling phony world of people trying to ruin the real you, and what you've got to do is steady yourself and go deep inside, because, of course, there's a kernel in there. Mmm... yum. Phony authenticity. My favorite.

34 comments:

stephenb said...

Maybe the things said inside the Oprah confessional should not be repeated outside of it.

Priest-penitent privilege? Yet another example of the Church of Oprah.

George said...

He's articulate.
He's a master of Constitutional Law.
He's handsome.
He drives a sports car.
He has African-American relatives.
He's cool and hip.
His wife is pretty and smart.

Elect Glenn Reynolds President.

JohnF said...

Did he bite his lower lip, drop a tear or two, or otherwise Clintonize his performance? Do we care?

Derve said...

It's because he's black, isn't it?

:)

Mike Lief said...

Amazing, isn't it? A man, lauded by the press, the power elites and the movers and shakers, possessing of good looks, good health, fame (and presumably good fortune), cryng the blues over the psychic costs of being in the public eye.

Then we find that he's either an idiot or a pandering fool -- although to many that's just another way of saying "politician."

If there were any sort of cosmic or karmic justice, this TV appearance would be a career-ending event.

George said...

Above, I was kidding about Glenn Reynolds running for president.

But, having just returned from a head-clearing walk, I think it's a good idea.

He's all of the above. Plus, he's pro-God, pro-guns, and certainly pro-TVA. His blood runs orange. He's a hawk and surely doesn't have a problem with the 60 ft. tall grasshoppers they grow at Oak Ridge. That should be enough to get him to the Nashville statehouse. Then, four years later, a run for governor, Senator, or Congressman. Then, it's just a hop and a skip to the White House.

He does have bad taste in music and likes cheezy sci-fi novels, but voters will be forgiving enough to overlook those otherwise disabling character flaws.

ngmacinnis said...

What about David Brooks swooning like a schoolgirl about Obama in his article "Run, Barack, Run" and again last night on the Newshour with Jim Lehrer. If I didn't know any better I would think Mr. Brooks has come over to the darkside of populist Democratic politics.

Doyle said...

I liked this op-ed a lot. I'm not as angry with Obama as some liberals, especially for his "Democrats need to be more tolerant of people of faith" speech. He's got his eyes on the prize, and he's not going to say or do anything remotely controversial until it's absolutely necessary. Ezra Klein has it right in this piece.

What David Brooks has to say about who the Democrats should nominate for '08 could not matter less. If anything, it should be taken as a contrary indicator.

Anonymous said...

Which among you could pray better at the Altar of Oprah? Tough many have tried, few are chosen.

Doyle said...

My last comment doesn't make sense as I wrote it.

I mean although I'm not angry with Obama for staying out of the fray and generally being a featherweight, he is absolutely a featherweight.

I'm sick of the conventional wisdom that Democrats need to sugar coated candidates for mid-American consumption. And thus far Obama is just the sugar coating itself.

tiggeril said...

The Chicago media have their heads jammed firmly up Obama's rear. When I ask why people are already talking about him running for the top spot when he hasn't really done anything yet, they look at me like I just whipped out a white hood and lit a cross on fire.

Fenrisulven said...

Someone sell Obama to me. Does he have any executive experience? What are his qualifications, other than youth and race?

Condi has a brillaint resume - provost of Stanford, foreign policy re Eastern bloc, Secretary of State. And even she is considered "inexperienced" politically.

Joseph Hovsep said...

This post made me laugh out loud, as did the "Is law really this exciting?" This is why I like your blog.

Palladian said...

"I liked this op-ed a lot. I'm not as angry with Obama as some liberals, especially for his "Democrats need to be more tolerant of people of faith" speech. He's got his eyes on the prize, and he's not going to say or do anything remotely controversial until it's absolutely necessary."

So, he's going to cynically use people's religious faith until he gets into even higher office, whereupon he will tell us all he had his fingers crossed when he called for "tolerance"?

I'm not saying that politicians on the other side don't do this (no one is better at cynically using faith to win elections like the GOP), but is this supposed to make me like him?

"I'm sick of the conventional wisdom that Democrats need to sugar coated candidates for mid-American consumption. And thus far Obama is just the sugar coating itself."

So when the media has finished licking all the sugar off Obama, what will be underneath? What's your party's hidden agenda, Feindoyle? Afraid that if they actually say what they're going to do that they'll surely lose in a democratic election (as radicals usually do when they say what they really think)? Are you and Kos going to Liebermanize poor Obama for straying too far into the sphere of rational normalcy?

Doyle said...

The secret agenda has been summarized pretty well here.

[Yes, that's two links in a row to the American Prospect. I do read other things, but I'm prepared for accusations of cocoonery.]

JorgXMcKie said...

I've watched Obama a bit since he was first elected to the Illinois legislature. He's a pretty decent, pretty intelligent, pretty centrist, pretty good politician. None of that really set him apart. What sets him apart is having a black African father.

He is also pretty inexperienced. I don't know, given say, Jimmy Carter, that that is any barrier to being President. (So long as you don't mind getting another Carter type presidency.)

He is also, as are almost all of us, somewhat a creature of the cultural into which he found himself born. I don't think we should be surprised (especially given his relative youth, politically speaking) that he quite often reflects the expectations of that culture.

Would he make a good president? At this point, how can we know? If all you want is what I have listed above, then why not? If you want more, it would be good for him to somehow show us more.

And, doyle, I had kinda hoped that the link would have provided less Bush-bashing and more solid policy choices and less ideological platitudes.

Do you have a link that actually says what Democrats would do if they gain control of the government? I truly would like to see something more than the pap handed out by Nancy Pelosi. Surely the oldest political party in the world has more to offer than her.

Doyle said...

This is Pelosi's "first 100 hours" package.

The direct negotiation with pharmaceutical companies in particular is staggeringly popular, as seen here.

MMF said...

fenrisulven said: "Condi has a brillaint resume - provost of Stanford, foreign policy re Eastern bloc, Secretary of State. And even she is considered "inexperienced" politically."

...This is a joke, right? Condi's resume also includes her disatrous work as National Security Adviser and her utter failure as Secretary of State. She is beyond inexperienced, she is a proven incompetent.

Obabma may not have achieved as much as some other potentual candidates, but neither is he responsible for failure to repond to domestic crises as well as some of America's greatest misadventures abroad.

Palladian said...

I, for one, can't wait to give the Democrats a chance to fail. They've demonstrated failure so often in the past, and I think they've really honed their skills while muttering and twitching on the fringes these past 6 years. Forget about all those scary, pesky issues, Democrats! If you win the House(s), jump right to impeachment, withdrawl of troops, investigations! You know you want to! Shake off that sugar and let's see what you're really made of!

Remember, it's not about governance, it's about settling scores!

DRJ said...

I'm guessing you aren't interested in Obama's cookie recipes, either.

Fenrisulven said...

MMF: Condi's resume also includes her disatrous work as National Security Adviser and her utter failure as Secretary of State. She is beyond inexperienced, she is a proven incompetent.

Yawn. Argument by Assertion. Is the Left capable of anything more? Lemme try: "MMF is a hysterical illogical irrational incompetent and easily disregarded". Wow, that was so easy. No wonder you guys are out of ideas. You never have to back up anything you say with example or fact.

And JorgXMcKie, thanks for the fair assessment of Obama. Thats what I was looking for.

Johnny Nucleo said...

I know nothing about Barack Obama or his politics, but I think would vote for Barack Obama because Barack Obama is a cool name.

Terri said...

Johnny Nucleo:

If you lived in my neck of Minnesota, you could vote for Obi Sium.

In my Totally Awesome Name fantasy world, they would lay aside their partisan differences, and we could vote for a Barack Obama/Obi Sium ticket.

George said...

MMF--

Secretary Rice has been dealt a hard hand of cards to play.

Unlike anyone else who might run, she's gone toe-to-toe with Putin, possibly speaking Russian, and she also has face-to-face experience negotiating on our behalf with many important world leaders. I'm sure it's a real delight sitting down with China's leaders, too. Sens. Obama and Clinton have zero foreign policy experience, in a leadership capacity or otherwise.

I also find it weirdly important that one of her childhood friends was murdered by a terrorist bomb. If she wasn't a hard liner, she wouldn't have kept Bush's confidence for 6+ years.

I have no idea whether she'd be a good president. She's never run for elective office. But she deserves serious consideration. She could be our Margaret Thatcher.

MMF said...

Fenrisulven,
You say:
"Yawn. Argument by Assertion."
Well, I would agree that simply stating that Rice has been an utter failure in her time during the Bush administration is a simple assertion. I have not made any attempt in the post to prove it, and it is possible to say that such an unsupported statement represents an example of the evidential fallacy of Argument by Assertion.
It’s not a fallacy, however, when the omission is based upon a presumption that the facts are common knowledge. It doesn’t seem unreasonabe for me to assume that the average reader is generally aware of, say, the 9/11 Commission’s assessment of Rice’s tenure as NSA. It would be difficult to be conscious and remain ignorant of the Iraq nightmare and the crisis of American credibility around the world. (This stuff has been in all the papers…..)
I am choosing not to respond to your ad hominem attack.

Johnny Nucleo said...

Terri,

Obi Sium is indeed a totally awesome name. If his name were Obi Sium Kenobi, I think my head would explode from awesomeness overload.

JorgXMcKie said...

MMF: Cool!! You respond to being called out for arguing by assertion by admitting you did what you were accused of. Then you try to wave that off by making a further assertion that you'll not engage in an ad hominem. Do you think attempting to change the subject that way is more an example of begging the question or argument by ignorance?

;->=

dave said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
dave said...

Unlike anyone else who might run, she's gone toe-to-toe with Putin, possibly speaking Russian, and she also has face-to-face experience negotiating on our behalf with many important world leaders. I'm sure it's a real delight sitting down with China's leaders, too. Sens. Obama and Clinton have zero foreign policy experience, in a leadership capacity or otherwise.

Neither did "President" Tipsy McStagger.

Of course, the other thing is, Rice has failed in all the endeavors mentioned.

Maybe she can bite her lower lip and drop a tear or two in an interview with Oprah...

Tim said...

Obama isn't going to be president. He might very likely be the Democrat nominee selected by Hillary! for vice-president in an effort to keep the African-American vote reliably Democrat (what self-respecting dude would ever volunteer for the self-castrating job of being Hillary!'s vp...? Yikes!) for yet another election, but no one in the Democrat Party is going to let Sen. Barak anywhere close to real world responsibilities - and not because of his race either - but because he isn't reliably Left enough. Yet.

Fenrisulven said...

Of course, the other thing is, Rice has failed in all the endeavors mentioned.

Wrong again. Rice has had great success in all the endevours mentioned.

/gee, this argument by assertion bit is easy...

Nancy Pelosi is a terrorist sympathizer who will sell us out for power and another face lift.

Derve said...

Eyes on the prize, Fenrisulven.

Nancy Pelosi is not the enemy Republicans should be focusing their energy on. Nor is the Democrat Party.

Techniques likes yours win elections, not wars. We're slow, but getting wise to ya

Derve said...

ps. You're bluffing about the great success comment too, huh? Damn American optimism; people hate being played like that. Nothing to do now but sit back and watch the mighty gymnastics as these successes gets pinned on the Dems, "at least Republicans led us into the fight" "where would we be now if the Republicans hadn't led us to this point" or " where's the plan Dems?" Nevermind. Whatever party makes you feel safer, which I suspect is more about where you're really most comfortable and familiar.

George said...

So I guess that Anti-Obama Instapresident boomlet is over....

Was it that ridiculous an idea?