Monday, September 08, 2008

Obama's self-nullifying supporters

Christopher Hitchens goes for the proverbial jugular, here, in his latest bitterly ironic take on the wars between the donkeys and the pachyderms, sparked by Obama's avowal during an interview that "Jesus had died on the cross to redeem him personally":

"... [Sarah's] local shout-and-holler tabernacle apparently believes that Jews can be converted to Jesus and homosexuals can be "cured." I cannot wait to see Obama and Biden explain how this isn't the case or how it's much worse than, and quite different from, Obama's own raving and ranting pastor in Chicago or Biden's lifelong allegiance to the most anti-"choice" church on the planet. The difference, if there is one, is that Palin is probably sincere whereas the Democratic team is almost certainly hypocritical. The same is true of the boring contest over who can be the most populist, and of the positively sinister race to see who can be the most demagogically anti-Washington. With this kind of immaturity right across both tickets, it's insulting to be asked to decide on the basis of experience, let alone "readiness."

Norm Geras had already made that exact same point, a few weeks ago:

"Here's an interesting development. During his visit to Israel, Barack Obama was at the Western Wall. It turns out that he left a written prayer there, which has now been published in Ma'ariv.

It says:

Lord - Protect my family and me... Forgive me my sins, and help me guard against pride and despair. Give me the wisdom to do what is right and just. And make me an instrument of your will.

Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitz is unhappy about this, saying that publication of the prayer intruded on Obama's relationship with God. I have a different interest in it. I'm waiting on all those secular liberals who have been longing for a Democrat to succeed Bush in the White House, and were in the habit of sneering at Tony Blair's acknowledgement of having a relationship with his Maker, to back off from their enthusiasm for the candidacy of the Senator for Illinois. I mean...'make me an instrument of your will'.

What? I'll wait in vain? You don't think they will back off? Devoutness is bad only when you want it to be? Hey, you may just be right about that."

I'm inclined to agree with Hitchens that while Palin is probably a sincere believer, Obama's is mere posturing. At least, that's how some of his most ardent supporters "excuse" these proclamations, as something he has to say, if he wants to get to the White House. That is, they are perfectly OK with him lying about his true sentiments and thoughts, in order to deceive people long enough to get to the presidency.

It is an appalling recommendation, effectively telling themselves: When he speaks of God and Jesus, or makes pro-Israeli promises to Jews, it's all dissimulation. Once he gets to the coveted position, he will start saying and doing what he really feels...

They are in fact promoting dishonesty as an acceptable political tactic.

As in this disgustingly cynical example, again, commented upon by Norm Geras:

When a presumptive US presidential candidate arrives in Jerusalem, he willingly dons a jacket designed by Israeli tailors. He is compelled to call the country a miracle, to visit the Israeli Holocaust Memorial Yad Vashem and to link the memory of the 6 million Jews who died in Europe to Israeli victims of Palestinian violence today.

Says Norm:

But notice something else in the general presentation here: though Obama dons the jacket 'willingly', it seems that he is 'compelled' to do the things he does - to say miracle, visit Yad Vashem, make the lamented link. Really? We are to believe, for example, that he would not have gone to Yad Vashem just on his own steam?


At 12:38 AM EDT, Anonymous nwo said...

The world's verdict will be harsh if the US rejects the man it yearns for

An America that disdains Obama for his global support risks turning current anti-Bush feeling into something far worse

Obama win preferred in world poll

Most thought US relations would get better under a president Obama

All 22 countries in a BBC World Service poll would prefer Democratic nominee Barack Obama to be US president, ahead of his Republican rival John McCain.

At 1:56 PM EDT, Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

Normblog responds here:

"Jonathan would, in effect, disenfranchise US voters. They must vote the way the rest of the world wants them to, or else... what exactly? Something like we'll lose all respect for them, perhaps?

Leave aside the fact that if McCain does win there'll still be millions of Americans who voted the other way. But what about respecting the right of US voters to vote on the basis of their own judgement, rather than the judgement of the denizens of Berlin, London or Paris?

Making this argument, Jonathan says in passing that if McCain wins...

A generation of young Americans - who back Obama in big numbers - will turn cynical, concluding that politics doesn't work after all.

He should have gone on to add that when the person elected is the one for whom most of the electorate have voted, politics - democratic politics, at any rate - kind of is working."


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