Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Victor Davis Hanson Plays Pundit and Makes an Ass Out of Himself


The speech and Obama’s subsequent interviews neither explained his disastrous association with Wright, nor dared open up a true discussion of race - which by needs would have to include, in addition to white racism, taboo subjects ranging from disproportionate illegitimacy and drug usage to higher-than-average criminality to disturbing values espoused in rap music and unaddressed anti-Semitism. We learn now that Obama is the last person who wants to end the establishment notion that a few elite African Americans negotiate with liberal white America over the terms of grievance and entitlement - without which all of us really would be transracial persons, in which happiness and gloom hinge, and are seen to do so, on one’s own individual success or failure.

Instead there were the tired platitudes, evasions, and politicking. The intelligentsia is well aware of how postmodern cultural equivalence, black liberation theory, and moral relativism seeped into Obama’s speech, and thus was not offended by an “everybody does it” and “who’s to judge?/eye of the beholder” defense. But to most others the effect was Clintonian. Somehow Obama could not just say,


What is happening, ever so slowly, is that the public is beginning to realize that it knows even less after the speech than it did before about what exactly Obama knew (and when) about Wright’s racism and hatred.

Even elites will wake up to the fact that they’ve been had, in a sense, once they deconstruct the speech carefully and fathom that their utopian candidate just may have managed to destroy what was once a near-certain Democratic sweep in the fall. And a number of African-Americans will come to resent that they are being lumped into a majority akin to the Rev. Wright, millions of whom the majestic Sen. Obama has nobly chosen not to “disown,” despite their apparently similar embarrassing racialism.

In response to Perfesser Hanson, let's quote Mike Huckabee:

MIKE HUCKABEE: There are two different stories -- one is Obama’s reaction, the other one is the Rev. Wright’s speech itself. And I think that, you know, Obama has handled this about as well as anybody could. And I agree, it’s a very historic speech. I think that it was an important one and one that he had to deliver, and he couldn’t wait. The sooner he made it, maybe the quicker that this becomes less of the issue. Otherwise, it was the only thing that was the issue in his entire campaign. And I thought he handled it very, very well.

And he made the point, and I think it's a valid one, that you can't hold the candidate responsible for everything that people around him may say or do. You just can't -- whether it's me, whether it's Obama, anybody else. But he did distance himself from the very vitriolic statements.

Now, the second story. It's interesting to me that there are some people on the left that are having to be very uncomfortable with what Louis Wright said, when they all were all over a Jerry Falwell or anyone on the right who said things that they found very awkward and uncomfortable years ago. Many times those were statements lifted out of the context of a larger sermon.

Sermons, after all, are rarely written word-for-word by pastors like Rev. Wright, who are delivering them extemporaneously, and caught up in the emotion of the moment. There are things that sometimes get said, that if you put them on paper and looked at them in print, you'd say, "Well, I didn't mean to say it quite like that."

In the battle between Hanson and Huckabee, I say the point goes to Huckabee.

Hanson goes on to write:

Over the past four days, I asked seven or eight random (Asian, Mexican-American, and working-class white) Americans in southern California what they thought of Obama’s candidacy - and framed the question with, “Don’t you think that was a good speech?” The answers, without exception, were essentially: “Forget the speech. I would never vote for Obama after listening to Wright.” In some cases, the reaction was not mild disappointment, but unprintable outrage.

Huckabee? What say you, Huckabee?

[MSNBC's JOE] SCARBOROUGH: But what's the impact on voters in Arkansas? Swing voters.

HUCKABEE: I don't think we know. If this were October, I think it would have a dramatic impact. But it's not October. It's March. And I don't believe that by the time we get to October this is going to be the defining issue of the campaign and the reason that people vote.

And one other thing I think we've got to remember: As easy as it is for those of us who are white to look back and say, "That's a terrible statement," I grew up in a very segregated South, and I think that you have to cut some slack. And I'm going to be probably the only conservative in America who's going to say something like this, but I'm just telling you: We've got to cut some slack to people who grew up being called names, being told, "You have to sit in the balcony when you go to the movie. You have to go to the back door to go into the restaurant. And you can't sit out there with everyone else. There's a separate waiting room in the doctor's office. Here's where you sit on the bus." And you know what? Sometimes people do have a chip on their shoulder and resentment. And you have to just say, I probably would too. I probably would too. In fact, I may have had a more, more of a chip on my shoulder had it been me.

Ouch. Huckabee scores another point on the good Perfesser with that one.

Hanson tries to frame this as something that will defeat Obama:

But they can count and compute - and must try to deal with these facts:

(1) Obama is crashing in all the polls, especially against John McCain, against whom he doesn’t stack up well, given McCain’s heroic narrative, the upswing in Iraq, and the past distance between McCain and the Bush administration;

(2) Hillary may not just win, but win big in Pennsylvania (and maybe the other states as well), buttressing her suddenly not-so-tired argument about her success in the mega-, in-play purple states. Michigan and Florida that once would have been lost by Hillary in a fair election, now would be fairly won - and Clinton is as willing to replay both as Obama suddenly is not; and

(3) The sure thing of Democrats winning big in the House and Senate is now in danger of a scenario in which a would-be Senator or Representative explains all autumn long that the party masthead really does not like Rev. Wright, whose massive corpus of buffoonery no doubt is still to be mined. (The problem was never “snippets,” but entire speeches devoted to hatred and anger, often carefully outlined in a point-by-point format).

Uh, maybe you haven't heard that Obama is raising money from small and big donors at a rate that will leave McCain so far out of the race it's not to be believed. Maybe you haven't heard that the issue with Florida and Michigan is settled. Maybe you haven't heard that the NRCC and the NRSC can't find candidates, can't raise money, can't figure out where the money they once had went and recently spent several million dollars to try to hold Denny Hastert's seat but lost it. Maybe you haven't seen Senator Lott lately--you know, the guy who basically abandoned the Congress to take up lobbying.

This notion that the Republicans will achieve anything more than holding back a tsunami of defeats is ludicrous. Democratic registration for the Pennsylvania primary passed the 4 million voter mark--unheard of interest in a race. Every time the Democrats put out a ballot box, it is swamped with people who want to vote for a candidate. Every time the Republicans trot out gaffe-master McCain and his dancing buddy Joe Lieberman, they get a score or more of hilarious outtakes that will come back to haunt them this fall. All we have to do is show Joe prompting John to say the right thing as if he's wooing some girl out of his league from under a window to illustrate how badly the Republicans are going to look. A hundred years in Iraq? That's a question the American people are more than ready to answer. And they say hell no, jackass. Hell no.

Like the failed, dishonest pundit that he tries to be, Hanson's editor obviously sent this column back to him, demanding a "suggestion" or "solution" or a "remedy" to counterbalance some of the kvetching and complaining.

What is the remedy?

I would go buy about 10,000 American flags to blanket every Obama appearance, have a 4x4 lapel-button flag custom-made for the senator, have Michelle finish every appearance by leading a chorus of “God Bless America,” draft every middle-of-the-road crusty drawling Democratic veteran (the knightly Harris Wofford doesn’t cut it) to criss-cross the country - and try to Trotskyize Rev. Wright from the campaign.

Oh, and no need for any more Obama half-conversations about race and “typical white person” clarifications. All that does far more damage to the country than even to Obama himself.

Uh, Perfesser Hanson? Listen. I know this is going to come as a shock to you. But the days of being able to "Freep" or send Free Republic idiots to swarm an event are over. The enthusiasm for Obama is so high right now, I highly doubt whether you could get fifty people into one of his events to do anything other than get drowned out by the thousands that are willing to line up for hours to see him. Fat-assed Freepers don't much like to sit on line for six or seven hours with young, thin, happy and motivated voters who want to scream their lungs out for Obama after he gives his speech.

And I don't know how that draft is gonna work out for you. You might get Zell Miller but you won't get Joe Lieberman--he's busy telling McCain what to say. And those crusty old farts? Yeah, the Obama kids are going to drown them out and, hell, they'll probably have to carry them out when your boys fall down on their asses and pass out.

And, rather most unlike a "typical white person," you're the only person in America who would resort to Trosky-like tactics to try to game a political primary in an election year.

Really--what side are you on? Because when you bring up using Trotsky to silence someone in this country, you sound like a fucking idiot.

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