Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Obama, Bound To Win

Shelby Steele analyzes Obama's chances for reelection. They're pretty good, he thinks.
There have really always been two Barack Obamas: the mortal man and the cultural icon. If the actual man is distinctly ordinary, even a little flat and humorless, the cultural icon is quite extraordinary. The problem for Republicans is that they must run against both the man and the myth. In 2008, few knew the man and Republicans were walloped by the myth. Today the man is much clearer, and yet the myth remains compelling.

What gives Mr. Obama a cultural charisma that most Republicans cannot have? First, he represents a truly inspiring American exceptionalism: He is the first black in the entire history of Western civilization to lead a Western nation—and the most powerful nation in the world at that. And so not only is he the most powerful black man in recorded history, but he reached this apex only through the good offices of the great American democracy.

Thus his presidency flatters America to a degree that no white Republican can hope to compete with. He literally validates the American democratic experiment, if not the broader Enlightenment that gave birth to it.
Steele is a really smart guy but his track record on predicting the outcome of presidential campaigns isn't great.

But his suggestion for Republican candidates is dead on.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

While your conclusion that Mr. Steele has properly read the Republican candidates dead on may be accurate today, the reality is that his track record will be intact... In his opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, Mr. Steele states that "The president's success in having Osama bin Laden killed is an exception to a pattern of excruciatingly humble and hesitant leadership abroad. Mr. Obama has been deeply ambivalent about the application of American power, as if a shameful "neocolonialism" attends every U.S. action in the world." One can hardly consider the O'Bama doctrine for Israel to withdraw to the pre-1967 borders as but a very misguided attempt to exercise his leadership abroad. Was he ambivialent in his attempt to exercise American power to force Israel into essentially conceding to Hamas? Hardly. Book it now: Mr. O'Bama has cooked his goose.

May 25, 2011 at 11:19 PM 

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