Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Barack's supporters would like.....
.....to thank all the little people.....
.....for getting out of his way.
For the moment let's stipulate that, by now, Barack Obama has the Democratic nomination. It's been clear for a while that this race would be a victory for somebody's identity politics, it was just a matter of whose. And in Obama's case, I don't think it's exclusively, or even primarily, a racial thing. It's more that Obama represents the ever-burgeoning army of lawyers, traders, academics, and other manipulators of information that characterize the New Economy. In particular, he represents them in an identity politics, class-interest way, Presidential affirmative action for those who could care less about which NASCAR driver is switching his racing team.
A few years ago Minneapolis attorney David Lebedoff wrote a short book called _The Uncivil War_. He calls such people the New Elite, and contrasts them to the Left Behinds. The Left Behinds aren't necessarily the present-day Joads, (though clearly Obama is having big problems with those people as well). No, the Left Behinds are those who, no matter how successful they are, have allowed themselves to be defined in the context of family and local community, with all the constraints that come with it. The New Elites, in their own minds, trandscend all of that, which IMO is why so many of them are genuinely angry that to find out that the controversy over some circus clown like Rev. Jeremiah Wright is actually important to voters.
I don't intend to support Obama for President, but I'd like to have some sympathy for him on that score. The problem is, in the United States the President is the head of state as well as the head of government. Obama is just fine as head of state but is woefully unprepared as head of government. I think a fair number of Obama's supporters would see that for themselves if they willing to take a critical look at him, which unfortunately they're not.
Barack Obama just came out in favor of the most recent Farm Bill, now headed for a veto by President Bush. Even by Washington standards this was bloated, special-interest serving don't-look-at-the-sausage-making legislation. I don't think there are too many disinterested people who support this bill with a straight face. Apparently Barack Obama is one of them. There's at least a decent chance we'll have a President Obama in our future, and for me at least, the reality of a President Obama is much less appealing than the fairy tales of the Obama campaign.