June 26, 2008

The Summer of the Obamacons

I was pretty disappointed with Robert Novak?s latest column on the Obamacon phenomenon, mainly because he focuses in on Colin Powell and Chuck Hagel?two utterly vapid ?centrists? who expressed their mild critiques of the execution of the war only after it was clear to everyone that the campaign was a disaster and when nothing at all was at stake for them career-wise?Feh!

Powell, Hagel and lesser-known Obamacons harbor no animosity toward McCain. Nor do they show much affection for the rigidly liberal Obama. The Obamacon syndrome is based on hostility to Bush and his administration and on revulsion over today’s Republican Party. The danger for McCain is that desire for a therapeutic electoral bloodbath could get out of control.

OK, this is generally true, but there needs to more differentiation here. As I wrote not too long ago:

[T]here 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.

Moreover, understanding the power of this combination of the promise to end the war + Obama?s Rorschach Transcendence gets us closer to grasping why millions of erstwhile Republican voters might pull the lever for Obama in November. 

Novak should be applauded, however, for digging up this little nugget from Larry Hunter?s blog: 

Explaining his support for the uncompromising liberal Obama, Hunter blogged on June 6: “The Republican Party is a dead rotting carcass with a few decrepit old leaders stumbling around like zombies in a horror version of ?Weekend With Bernie,? handcuffed to a corpse.”

Also, in case you missed it, here is John Derbyshire’s hilarious column on how Obama’s blackness—or really blacknesses—are a net positive for him politically.

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