Coming Pleasures

Recently I”€™ve come across two statements that have evoked radically different public reactions. One is by a Minnesota Republican congresswoman, Michelle Bachmann, who told Chris Matthews on his TV program that Obama holds “€œanti-American views,”€ like other unnamed members of Congress. The far more significant remark is by Melissa Harris-Lacewell, a professor of politics and African-American studies at Princeton University, who expressed the fervent hope that the coming election of Barack Obama would not result in having white people believe that our war against racism is over. This lady wished to remind us that “€œObama winning the presidency does not translate into the end of racial stereotyping or the end of racial inequality.”€

Congresswoman Bachmann’s remark produced negative responses even in her solidly Republican district, where an obscure Democratic challenger is now raising piles of money and may even defeat the incumbent in next month’s congressional race. That is because most Americans do not think that Obama and the Democratic Left are “€œanti-American.”€ Quite to the contrary! Obama and the Princeton professor of advanced victimology, who is quoted in the Christian Science Monitor, stand very much within the current American mainstream, one that has been taking form since the 1960s. It is rather Bachmann and Old Right warhorse Pat Buchanan, appealing to “€œMiddle America,”€ who by now are the isolated Americans.

Equally questionable are the assumptions of Jonah Goldberg in a syndicated column on Joe the Plumber. According to Jonah, Obama’s vision of “€œAmerica’s promise”€ harkens back to the writings of early twentieth-century American Progressives and to the “€œdefense of collectivism”€ offered by FDR. But supposedly “€œmillions of Americans don”€™t share this vision. They don”€™t see the economy as a pie, whereby your slice can only get bigger if someone else’s gets smaller. They don”€™t begrudge the wealthy their wealth.”€ If that is indeed the case, then why, according to the most recent poll taken by Jonah’s friends on FOX news, is Obama leading Jonah’s candidate McCain by 9 points. As for FDR’s collectivism, I would be happy to settle for his New Deal anytime, as opposed to the newest phase of an advancing collectivist project that both national parties are now pushing. Comparing Obama to New Deal politicians makes about as much sense as calling him a latter-day Alexander Hamilton, because Obama and Hamilton both favored centralized states for different reasons. Enough with such stupid historical parallels!
  
There are obvious reasons that the US has swerved to the social left. It is because intertwined variables, the media, public education, the entertainment industry, leftward-drifting Christianity, and the expansion of the democratic welfare state, have transformed us socially. These variables have also caused views that were once considered downright weird to become entirely normative. For those who haven”€™t noticed, McCain and the “€œconservative”€ Sarah Palin have been taking positions that are far to the left of where liberal Democrats once stood, on feminist legislation, immigration, the cult of Martin Luther King, etc.

The media has demonized McCain but not because this very liberal Republican is “€œrightwing”€ by any rational standard. His crime, which was also Hillary Clinton’s in the primaries, is to be standing in the way of a black, radical savior. Once in power with his party and followers, and with the enthusiastic support of most of the electorate, Obama will presumably help us achieve more prefect equality and diversity and put into practice our now accepted “€œAmerican views.”€ It is Obama who represents America at the present hour, and obviously a growing majority of Americans, who idolize him as the candidate of “€œchange and hope,”€ think that he does.

I for one do not buy the view that Obama’s white supporters, whom I am now meeting steadily, are naïve about his screwball friends. Most of his devotees revel in the opportunity to vote for a black leftist, as opposed to, for example, a conservative Protestant who just happens to be black, like Lynn Swann, who ran for governor in our state against Ed Rendell two years ago. What might change this situation is having the black messiah appoint people like the Princeton prof to sensitive posts, where she can do real harm. I would be ecstatic to see such a person unleashed against those who think they can swoon over and vote for the “€œcandidate of change”€ without having to pay the piper.

In my old age I exude Schadenfreude and I would be happy to witness the now swarming Obamamaniacs suffering miserably for their envy and/or moral arrogance. “€œPride goes before the fall,”€ as King Solomon once taught. And if these righteous fools fall hard on their rears for their self-destructive pomposity, their fate would please me no end. Right now I am fantasizing about how Obama’s redistributionist policies might do considerable harm to his smarmy voters among the professional elites and about how his white male supporters could be hurt as a result of government-enforced affirmative action policies.

On the other hand, I have no illusions that most of our voters would care a tinker’s damn if the state curtailed our increasingly programmed free speech. The Obamaites I encounter walk about spouting a grammatically defective version of the New York Times. Of course their GOP opponents are equally tiresome and narrow-minded with their silly imitations of FOX news. Each side wants to hear his views being parroted, but has no intention of expanding the dialogue to those outside of their shared claustrophobic box. As a member of the Old Right I wouldn’t shed a single tear if the far Left did to the neocon media what I now hear them screaming about, imposing “€œdiversity”€ on neocon programs and networks through a reintroduction of the Fairness Doctrine. At the same time, I couldn”€™t imagine why Obama and his supporters would want to dilute with diversity that part of the media that already does their bidding, by shutting out and cannibalizing anything that looks like a serious Right. The conservative movement and Obama’s forthcoming administration deserve each other fully.

The only good thing that might come out of this black night of repression is a true backlash, one that would accelerate the cultural wars and political polarization that are already erupting in this country sporadically. But this assumes that our side will have enough troops left after the debacle to make a difference. Buchanan may be right about a “€œcoming backlash”€ but if there is one, it would take place well down the road. And it would not take the form, which Buchanan as a GOP activist is now invoking, of having Middle Americans rise to the defense of the egregious John McCain. I”€™m not sure why these stalwarts would want to rally to a longtime appeaser of the media, and one who in foreign policy sounds like Bill Kristol on steroids. Moreover, there are near-term benefits that might accrue to our side from a resounding Obama-Democratic sweep”€”and they are the benefits to which I”€™ve already alluded. Such a sweep would allow us to enjoy the spectacle of the new America getting the government it richly deserves”€”and good and hard.



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