Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Sunday, November 04, 2007

Conservative Crush on Obama

If upscale Republicans and Independents decide the '08 election, Barack Obama might well be our next President, judging from new love letters to the candidate from Andrew Sullivan in the Atlantic and Peggy Noonan in the Wall Street Journal.

Sullivan argues that Obama is beyond the toxic quarrels of the Baby Boomers over Vietnam, Nixon and cultural issues, an alternative to a Giuliani-Clinton contest that would be "a classic intra-generational struggle--with two deeply divisive and ruthless personalities ready to go to the brink."

Obama, according to Sullivan, opposed the Iraq war "for the right reasons" and is therefore "the potential president with the most flexibility in dealing with it." His face would be "a re-branding of the United States" to the rest of the world, particularly Muslims. He might even, Sullivan argues, bridge the religious divide in America:

"(H)e is not born-again. His faith...lives at the center of the American religious experience. It is a modern, intellectual Christianity. 'I didn’t have an epiphany,' he explained to me. 'What I really did was to take a set of values and ideals that were first instilled in me from my mother, who was, as I have called her in my book, the last of the secular humanists—you know, belief in kindness and empathy and discipline, responsibility—those kinds of values. And I found in the Church a vessel or a repository for those values and a way to connect those values to a larger community and a belief in God and a belief in redemption and mercy and justice … I guess the point is, it continues to be both a spiritual, but also intellectual, journey for me, this issue of faith.'"

Peggy Noonan's crush on Obama is less global but just as clear. In a column on Hillary-bashing in last week's debate, she writes:

"Barack Obama, with his elegance and verbal fluency really did seem like that great and famous political figure from his home state of Illinois--Adlai Stevenson, who was not at all hungry, not at all mean, and operated at a step removed from the grubby game."

Last month Noonan observed: “Barack Obama has a great thinking look. I mean the look he gets on his face when he's thinking, not the look he presents in debate, where they all control their faces knowing they may be in the reaction shot and fearing they'll look shrewd and clever, as opposed to open and strong...

“You get the impression Mr. Obama trusts himself to think, as if something good might happen if he does. What a concept. Anyway, I've started to lean forward a little when he talks.”

Compare this to her take on John Edwards' attack on Clinton "like a furry animal on a wheel, trying so hard, to the point he's getting a facial tic, and getting nowhere, failing to get his little furry paws on his prey, not knowing you have to get off the wheel to get to the prey. You have to stop the rounded, rote, bromidic phrases, and use a normal language that cannot be ignored."

Andrew Sullivan and Peggy Noonan may not represent much of a constituency but, if the Democratic nomination becomes a battle over electability, their attitudes may foreshadow Obama's advantage on that issue.


Betty Cracker said...

I'm not so convinced their approval of Obama is genuine. I think he simply makes a handy cudgel with which they can beat Hillary Clinton. If they're honest, Sully and Pegs would admit Obama's actual policies horrify them.

john said...

Betty Cracker's right. The Republicans will go on about how the Democrats had a quality candidate but were too shallow and too sleazy to nominate him.

Fortunately for the Dems, it won't wash.

Anonymous said...

These two are dead-on. Look, Republicans dislike all of the Dems with their brains. But they can' hate...Obama...with their GUTS. Their gut simply doesn't turn over when they hear him speak they way it does when they hear Clinton (either of them), or Gore, or Kerry, or Edwards speak. The way MY gut turns over when I hear Bush or Rudy Mussolini speak.

The last candidate who could make the other party's GUTS comfortable was Reagan. You saw how far that got him...

G Davis said...

I would be very interested to hear which Obama policies are horrifying.

I find his approach of being willing to talk with the world and (shockingly) actually listen to the world's responses very refreshing.

I find his attitude of domestically helping those that need it while insisting on personal responsibility refreshing as well.

Sullivan is on to one of Obama's biggest pluses in my book. He brings the new breeze of youth...a new generation of politician not entrenched in the '60's battle between the newly born neocons and the dirty filthy hippies. I am of the Boomer generation, and quite frankly, it's time we turned the reins over to a new way of looking at things.

The greatest draw Obama brings to me, though, is he inspires me. His eloquence, his physical grace, his rhetoric all make me listen, think, ponder the possibilities of the US returning to being a respected, contributing, caring member of a world community as well as a country that looks to serve it's citizens rather than the other way around.

A crush on Obama? No.

A serious desire for an inspiring leader? Most assuredly.

el ranchero said...

Betty's comment is definitely something to watch for, and we've seen it already several times, but for what it's worth, Andrew Sullivan said straight up on Bill Maher that he's supporting Obama in the election as a whole, not just in this instance.

It does happen, at times, that people will support a candidate with whom they disagree on many issues. Frankly, if Democratic voters looked at their candidates based solely on their policy stances, they'd all line up behind Dennis Kucinich, and ideologically he's further from Hillary Clinton than some of the Republican candidates are.

DickTater said...

Here's what I see: repubs are so disgusted with their own party that they themselves are looking for a hero too. They see that there are none on the right.

They may, like Betty says, appear on the surface to despise the left's positions. But they know in their heart how bankrupt their own policies are. All they have left is their opposition to liberals....not actually a philosphical argument or logical disagreement. Just their hatred left to gnaw on.

I see this manifest itself on left blogs where the trolls launch their little hatebombs. Sometimes they ridicule our buckling dems and say "Nah Nah Nah you thought your guy was so pure of heart and was going to stand up to big bad bush but HA HA he didn't aren't you stupid liberal HA HA"

and it is a dead give away. All they have left is to taunt and say, see your guys are as bad as our guys. How good is that for an argument....your people are just as evil and corrupt and criminal as ours! It isn't true, except in a very slight degree. But it is all they have left. Even THEY are hurting for a hero, wishing silently and fervently for someone to do the RIGHT thing.

Kind of like someone who is in real bad shape with addiction just WISHES their sister or mom or dad (who they can't stand) would PLEASE step in and clean up their mess and take care of them and pay the bills and smooth out their DUI troubles.
But like many addicts, they cannot admit much of this.

Katherine said...