January 28, 2007

"He can enter your space and organize your thoughts without necessarily revealing his own concerns and conflicts."

Some superheroes leap tall buildings with a single bound. Barack Obana enters your space and organizes your thoughts without revealing anything about himself!

(Same link as the previous post. The amazing and cool quote is from Harvard lawprof Charles J. Ogletree Jr.)

What a fabulous superpower, so perfect for a political actor. But, you realize, of course, that if you were writing a novel and giving that trait to a character, he would be your villain. He might make a wonderful diplomat, bringing all sorts of people together, yet we'd be crazy to give him the power to work his will before we knew what he was really about. But this ability to enter our space and organize our thoughts may be just the thing to make us that crazy, with our thoughts organized into the belief that he is the great man who will save us.

19 comments:

Freder Frederson said...

So what's the deal? With Kerry out of the campaign, Obama is officially the candidate to bash and ridicule? Are you going to continue pretend you are a moderate and post similar snarky comments about Republican candidates?

Hint: Tancredo and Brownback are real easy to make fun of but even McCain has had to twist himself into all kinds of awkward positions lately. Then of course there is low-hanging fruit of Guiliani's love life, living with gays, and cross-dressing.

Ann Althouse said...

Freder, you commented to soon. The next post is about.... Kerry.

Anyway, yeah, I'm planning to make fun of the Republicans too. They're not so active right now. I mocked Brownback recently.

Why do you assume I would attack Giuliani with respect to his attitude about gay people?

Tancredo... I have to say I don't know a damned thing about him and haven't even noticed him. If there's a pop quiz, I'm getting the Tancredo question wrong.

somefeller said...

Tancredo is someone to watch. He's been a leading figure in the anti-immigrant wing of the conservative movement (and yes, it's anti-immigrant, not just anti-illegal-immigration, don't try to sell me that bill of goods), and that wing is a big one that lacks a spokesman among the top-tier GOP candidates. He won't get the nomination, but don't underestimate him as a figure worth watching as an agenda-setter and outspoken activist. If you haven't noticed him, you haven't been looking closely, and now's a time to start.

Finn Kristiansen said...

It's too bad Obama is gonna have to do the safety dance all through this campaign, trying to make everyone comfortable.

He makes some whites more comfortable, because he is relatively mainstream, and some blacks annoyed because he does not seem "up from the hood" or downhome enough. The press perpetuates this thought process, that somehow a black person has to be any one thing, and to all people.

The problem with Obama is not how he squares his identity with people with brains hardwired to fixed imagery, but rather what he actually feels about some very important issues like Iraq, healthcare, and Federal spending.

That he makes some whites comfortable or some blacks uncomfortable ought not be the dominating story.

While I imagine I am too conservative to vote for him, I do like him running if it at least lends visual proof to the idea that blacks are not any one thing; that is a lesson that more than a few whites and blacks need to internalize.

In time the internal Obama will reveal itself, and closer to the election where there will be less time to target and degrade whatever positions he might have.

Joe Baby said...

There was a feeling under Clinton that the country was being dragged along in an eight-year long psychological response to his upbringing.

Will it be the same with Obama? (father left him, mother returned to Indonesia for 2nd marriage leaving BO with grandparents, mother's 2nd marriage falls apart, eventual realization that BO's dad never left his first wife, etc.)

I think BO has responsed in a more healthy manner to these childhood difficulties, but will the nation be driven in a "hey, let's all seek resolution" because that's how the candidate learned to deal with his childhood wounds?

Zeb Quinn said...

Tancredo is someone to watch. He's been a leading figure in the anti-immigrant wing of the conservative movement (and yes, it's anti-immigrant, not just anti-illegal-immigration, don't try to sell me that bill of goods)...

I can count on one hand the number of people that I know or have even heard of who are anti-immigrant, and Tancredo isn't one of them. I know many people who are anti-illegal immigrant. In fact, it's the majority of us. Tancredo's claim to fame is that he was the first one to stand up and lead that charge.

I also know many partisans who make false lying claims about those with whom they disagree.

Simon said...

Haha, I didn't know he was in the same class as Paul Clement.

"Why do you [Freder] assume I would attack Giuliani with respect to his attitude about gay people?"

Given that he's in, too, what's your take on him? You've kind of dropped hints ("what I like about Giuliani is his ability to embody the strong national security position and to argue for it in clear, persuasive terms, without bringing along that social conservative baggage"), but could you realistically see yourself voting for him at this stage, conditional on who the Dems nominate? Does it matter who his veep is?

Lastly, a word about Somefeller and Zeb Quinn's disagreement - I think that there is an "anti-immigrant [section] of the conservative movement," and frankly, I think Tancredo is probably part of it. However, that section is miniscule and marginalized compared to the broad consensus on the right (shared, IMO, by many on the left) against illegal immigration. And that's the debate that's before us; to portray it as some kind of nativist thing is just flat-out wrong.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

...if you were writing a novel and giving that trait to a character, he would be your villain.

I disagree. Obi Wan Kenobi had a similar power and he was a Jedi master. [The video link is not quite the one I wanted, but it's a pretty cool remake of the original Star Wars, with action figures.]

Obi Wan could easily morph into Obama Wan on this one. So then the question is, "Where did Obama learn the Jedi mind trick?"

Elizabeth said...

Ruth Anne,

The question is, "Are you sure the Jedi aren't villains?"

vbspurs said...

enters your space and organizes your thoughts

Damn, he sounds like Rosie, the Jetson's maid.

Futuristic, and yet very handy.

If there's a pop quiz, I'm getting the Tancredo question wrong.

LOL!

Cheers,
Victoria

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Elizabeth: My childhood recollection of it was that the Jedi knights were the good guys who trusted The Force; those who had turned to the dark side of The Force were the bad guys.

Fiddle-dee-dee! Post-structuralism is ruining every party this spring.

Elizabeth said...

Ruth Anne, blame the three prequels. They screwed up my teenage (not childhood) memories. I just pretend they never happened.

Kirk Parker said...

Elizebeth:

"I just pretend they never happened."

You should have done what I did, and simply never watch them--no pretense necessary, it's great! And good grief, wasn't all the talk about Jar-Jar enough to warn you off? :-)

Sloanasaurus said...

A guy like Obama may be good for the election. I am not sure exactly why Democrats are so eager to support him so early. He could turn out to be refreshingly new. But he could also turn out to be so weak that he ends up ceding everything to the opposition party. With Hillary you don't get refreshing, but you also don't get weak. Are Democrats willing to take that risk?

Sloanasaurus said...

Jedi knights were the good guys who trusted The Force; those who had turned to the dark side of The Force were the bad guys.

Not to digress into Star Wars philosophy too much, but I was dissappointed in III, when Obi wan said that "only evil believes in absolutes.." I always thought it was the other way around - that good was an absolute and evil was always a relative point of view (that one doing evil believes he is doing good).

Too much Jar Jar I suppose...

Anonymous said...

Can he enter my house and organize my closet? That would rock.

Simon said...

Sloanasaurus said...
"Not to digress into Star Wars philosophy too much, but I was dissappointed in III, when Obi wan said that 'only evil believes in absolutes..'"

What always struck me about that statement was how many times Obi Wan himself makes absolute statements during the series, including that very statement. It's kind of like Hillary's cool slogan about how a slogan isn't a strategy. ;)

Richard Dolan said...

"But, you realize, of course, that if you were writing a novel and giving that trait to a character, he would be your villain."

Or the mother, if the character in that novel were about 5 or so.

Ann said...

Tom Tancredo is a Confederate wannabe and is the guy who talked about destroying Mecca.

By the way, the Jedi are based on the Sufis (a type of Muslim).