Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Friday, July 25, 2008

"Little Minds" Assault on Obama

After years of Bush's always-wrong-but-never-in-doubt presidency, Republican swiftboaters are launching their first attack ad on Obama, telling MTV watchers, among others, that he's "Both Ways Barack--worse than a flip-flopper!"

A young generation, some of whom may actually have been paying attention in high school and college, will find irony in having their favorite candidate under fire for what they learned from reading F. Scott Fitzgerald: “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”

It was Obama's unBushlike intelligence that excited the New York Times' conservative columnist David Brooks back in 2006: “He has a compulsive tendency to see both sides of an issue...And yet this style is surely the antidote to the politics of the past several years. It is surely true that a President who brings a deliberative style to the White House will multiply his knowledge, not divide it.”

But ambivalence is too complicated a concept for the 527 smearers who trashed John Kerry, a decorated war veteran, for his Vietnam service in favor of George W. Bush, who dodged going there, and they are banking on voters to be easy marks for their shell game again.

Their new commercial shows headlines ("Obama's Changes Raise Issue: Can You Believe Him?") with a voice-over, "People are saying that Senator Obama's recent changes of position have made him a flip-flopper. He's not! Flip-floppers only hold one position at a time. Senator Obama is different: He holds two positions at the same time."

If voters want to go further back in seeing through the smokescreen, they can check Ralph Waldo Emerson's 1841 essay on self-reliance, in which he urges "Trust thyself“ and observes that "To be great is to be misunderstood” and “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”

1 comment:

GiromiDe said...

Sadly, if you ask the average MTV viewer who Ralph Waldo Emerson was, they'd probably say he created "Where's Waldo."