Red State Blue State Rorschach test
Esquire’s Tom Junod wrote this about President Obama’s early eloquence?
President Obama, after all, was elected by virtue of his personality, which provided not only contrast but novelty, and was grounded in his near-perfect pitch when addressing audiences large and small… Though many Americans didn’t know very much about him, there was one thing that was never in doubt when we saw and heard Obama on the stump: his ownership of his gift… How could we resist a man who simply by opening his mouth could move mountains — and who had ascended all the way to the presidency by staking his political life on his own eloquence? How could we resist a man who seemed so sure that we could not resist him? [Read more: http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/barack-obama-rhetoric-110410#ixzz14dzv5o8E]
After first double checking that, yes, the author is a man, I had to ask “Was he watching the same guy?” All this gushing over the man’s speeches didn’t seem merely over the top. It seemed literally to make no sense. If you’re reading this blog odds are that you too have been hard-pressed to understand why seemingly intelligent people praise so highly an empty suit who rode nearly unchallenged into the oval office on the back of white guilt and cocktail party progressive fascination with the exotic.
With the help of a progressive blogger I think I understand now what’s going on. Walter Russell Mead writes:
If you already agree with Barack Obama, you will be inspired and uplifted by his ability to express your common convictions in dignified and patriotic terms. If you don’t agree with him, you are unlikely to be convinced.
I would have ended that last sentence with “you’d think he’s an arrogant ass” but Mead puts his finger on exactly the right explanation. There is no reasoning going on here. He’s a wishbringer. A blank slate upon which you can throw up your fondest dreams of an America that is great and yet has none of those oh-so disappointing realities: armies to keep us safe; borders to preserve public safety and the domestic economy; poverty for those who can’t or won’t succeed in the job market.
Is there a reciprocal wishbringer in conservative circles? And are we making the same childish mistake of vouchsafing with that leader all of our wants and dreams for a renewed America? I believe there are several. (In the spirit of full disclosure I should add that I dragged my family from Phoenix to Albquerque to see one of them 3 days after John McCain added her to the 2008 Republican ticket.) Thank God that the Sarah Palins and Chris Christies who inspire us have accomplishments that actually merit the hope they inspire. How sad for progressives that their standard bearer has turned out to be a man whose disappointing personality and amateurish management skills are becoming more obvious to the world daily.
p.s. The “you see what you want to see” behavior was demonstrated when the video below was posted a few weeks before the 2 NOV 10 midterm. I took it down after after the webmaster at Big Geek Daddy wisely suggested that the last thing to do before the midterms is get progressives stirred with a video comparing the Bushes to the Obamas. But in the short time it was online, conservative vented their spleens at Barack and Michelle and progressives spat bile at George and Laura. Polarizing figures, I love the idea of juxtaposing them so closely for all to see the differences. A red state, blue state Rorschach test (as if one is needed).
Add a comment on YouTube and it will be added to the video.
If you view this on YouTube (choose right click > “Watch on YouTube”) and add a short comment with a timestamp, I’ll add it to the video for all to see.
p.s. The more I look at this video, like Michael Faraday observing a candle, I can find more to observe and comment on.
- Barack and Michelle take an informal tone. George and Laura don’t.
- Barack and Michelle are filmed with a hand-held camera. How millennial. What next, a blog? George and Laura’s camera is fixed.
- Barack and Michelle announce their presence “It’s Barack and Michelle.” Lucky us. George and Laura are pleased to join us tonight.
- Barack and Michelle are gesturing with their hands like the Shamwow guy. George and Laura aren’t.
- Barack has taken off his tie. George has not.
- Michelle is wearing… I don’t really know what she is wearing. Laura is wearing a dress.
- Barack and Michelle are trying to protect their agenda. George and Laura are thanking viewers of American Idol. I believe this is the only video message that George and Laura ever made together. Nice priorities, Barack and Michelle.
- Michelle’s “people are getting fired up” does not seem as sincere as Laura’s “some of America’s poorest children will get medical care” (but that might just be me).
- Please ask the scary lady to stop pointing her finger at me at 0:34. Laura doesn’t point her finger at me.
- Barack and Michelle at :58 appear to have choreographed a simultaneous stage right head nod (with bonus hand gesture from Michelle) to emphasize it’s not just enough for you to vote. You must also “get out the vote.” George and Laura have prepared no choreographed gestures for emphasis.
- Barack and Michelle use phrases like “we need you to stay fired up” and “if you step up the plate”. George and Laura use phrases like “the good heart of America” and “God bless.”
- Barack says “there’s no more important time to be knocking on doors, making phone calls” yet his recent golf and vacation schedule tell us that there are many other things that he prefers to be doing.
- Michelle says “Each of you can make a difference, and we’ve seen it before–we know we can do it again.” Doesn’t she mean “we know YOU can do it again?” In my cynical mind I believe this phrase was considered a little too pushy even for Barack and Michelle, so it was softened as “we can do it again.” Barack and Michelle appear to try to be trying to manage the viewer. George and Laura appear to be talking to the viewer.
- Barack and Michelle smile at us many times. George and Laura tell a little joke at George’s expense.
- Barack has his hand on Michele’s shoulder, and stands behind her protectively. George has his hands in his lap with Laura slightly behind him. I thought the Republicans were supposed to be the paternalistic ones who treat women like possessions?
- Agghh! The scary lady did it again at 1:12.