07 November 2008

Reconciliation, with a grain of salt

VDH il giorno dopo.

Qualche excerpt:


I wish President-elect Obama well, and hope that even his critics can concede that he waged a successful and often brilliant campaign. [...] conservatives have a golden opportunity to offer criticism and advice in a manner that many liberals did not during the last eight years. In the future, criticism should be offered in unified pro-American tones [...]. There should be no conservative counterparts of Bill Maher, Michael Moore, or Al Franken. [...]

The taboo of race

[...] as Europe goes wild over Obama, the subtext is, “This would never happen here.” After all, we have had African-American secretaries-of-state for eight years—and still no Turkish-German Foreign Minister or Congolese-French Prime Minister? [...]

the first African-American President dominated the news cycle for the last 24-hours. But just as importantly, we have chosen the most hard left candidate since Henry Wallace. [...] On matters of race, at some point the country will evolve beyond the current narrative of the last day that runs something like—‘You redeemed yourself by voting for Barack, and now we can all say we are truly Americans’. The problem with that understandable sentiment are its corollaries: ‘Unless you support European socialist solutions offered by a charismatic African-American candidate, then you confirm America as a quasi-racist nation.’

[...] African-Americans voted for a black candidate at a 95% rate; Hispanics at perhaps 75%; yet the country was judged as free of racial tribalism on the basis of whether whites voted for a black candidate far to the left of any Democratic nominee during the last three decades in pluralities greater than they did for past white Democratic candidates like Gore or Kerry. And they did! It will be interesting when the first Hispanic candidate wins to see whether Mexican-American citizens en masse reaffirm the country to be finally fulfilling its promise—and what would be the reaction of African-Americans and Asians to such ethnic solidarity.

This solidarity may be a natural reaction, but something is still puzzling about hours of television showing African-American ecstasy based on apparent racial pride rather than glee that someone of Obama’s views was elected—all often editorialized by teary-eyed objective journalists. A person from Mars who watched this post-election celebration, might study the popular reaction to the Obama victory and become puzzled: “Aren’t people now saying pretty much what Michelle Obama said twice, and to great criticism, during the campaign: that the emergence of Barack Obama was occasion for many to have pride in their country for the first time?”

[Beh, si`. A modo loro: vedi qui]

Sarah Palin

There was something bothersome about the treatment of Sarah Palin. Her final campaign appearances and interviews showed calm, poise and competence. Her charm galvanized the base. And yet the hard Left on day one reduced her to a Neanderthal creationist. The DC-NY Republican grandees demonized her as a cancerous bimbo who spoke in a patois and represented a culture that was an anathema. [...] I hope she completes her term, runs for Senate, and comes back to DC to haunt her critics. Long after 2008, we shall remember that an Atlantic Mazagine blogger for days on end trafficked in rumors that her own daughter delivered her mother’s Down Syndrome child. That smear says it all.

Good/Bad John McCain

2000—“Old” John McCain runs against George Bush and loses, so he’s declared principled and good; mid-2008—“new” John McCain runs against a messianic Barack Obama and could win, so he’s ruthless, quasi-racist, and bad; late 2008—“new-old” John McCain loses against Obama and makes a typically gracious speech, so suddenly he’s the new ‘old’ John McCain again?

Creepy People

We, of course, wish to be liked abroad. But there are reasons why in many cases we are not. That is, many governments welcome authoritarians. They prefer tribal, religious, and racial chauvinism compared to our diverse plurality. They like class hierarchies and resent our mobility. They prefer statism, are anti-democratic, and have contempt for consumer capitalism. So why would we wish governments currently composed of radical Palestinians, Iranians, Venezuelans, North Koreans, Syrians, or Russians to like or admire us? While we would wish not to gratuitously excite their ire, their empathy toward us should make us worried not relieved. Who cares whether the royal House of Saud is happy over the election, or those in the Iranian parliament or the activists of Hezbollah?

Campaign casualties

1. No one will again trust the media to report objectively a general election. Turn on NBC or CNN or read the front page of the NY Times, and you will expect an editorial for the more liberal candidate without pretense of objectivity.
2. Public financing is over as a bipartisan tradition. The Democrats may try to resurrect it, once as incumbents they see advantages in limiting fund raising, but no one will ever again believe the mantra of big money + big politics = sleaze

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