June 12, 2008

The Rise of the Obamacons

At The New Republic Bruce Bartlett talks about something that’s been much discussed here at Takimag?the rise of the Obamacons. The article is a pretty good survey of the scene, but I don?t find his analysis to be properly differentiated (something I?ve tried to do) and thus Bartlett?s piece is not so useful in helping us understand conservative Obamania.

Bartlett writes, ?a broad swath of the movement has been in open revolt against George W. Bush.? Well, yes, but there are actually multiple rebellions against Bush that have little to do with each other. Andrew Bacevich?who recognizes, in Bartlett?s words, that ?[t]he prospects for a conservative revival ? depend on withdrawing from Iraq??has little in common with Francis Fukuyama, also afflicted with Obamania?who claims that Obama is the ?best means for preserving American power, since Obama ?symbolizes the ability of the United States to renew itself in a very unexpected way???or Andrew Sullivan, whom Bartlett identifies as a ?libertarian? (?)?who thinks that Obama would be great because he?d make America attractive to brown people all over the world

What?s remarkable is Obama?s ability to transcend?in the literal sense of ?bridge across??these various camps within the American Right. This probably has something to do with his quasi-evangelical (almost Joel Osteen-y) rhetoric and his status as a walking, talking Rorschach test and great hope of overcoming our ?tragic history? blah blah blah. But ultimately the war’s the thing that leads conservatives to abandon all hope in the GOP. The rise of the Obamacons thus reveals more about what George W. Bush has done to the Right than any ?new kind of politics? of the Great Transcender.     

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