Friday, June 20, 2008

The Two Obamas

New York Times columnist David Brooks explains the problem with dismissing Barack Obama as just another naive liberal:
God, Republicans are saps. They think that they’re running against some academic liberal who wouldn’t wear flag pins on his lapel, whose wife isn’t proud of America and who went to some liberationist church wherethe pastor damned his own country. They think they’re running against some na├»ve university-town dreamer, the second coming of Adlai Stevenson.
But as recent weeks have made clear, Barack Obama is the most split-personality politician in the country today. On the one hand, there is Dr. Barack, the high-minded, Niebuhr-quoting speechifier who spent this past winter thrilling the Scarlett Johansson set and feeling the fierce urgency of now. But then on the other side, there’s Fast Eddie Obama, the promise-breaking, tough-minded Chicago pol who’d throw you under the truck for votes.  This guy is the whole Chicago package: an idealistic, lakefront liberal fronting a sharp-elbowed machine operator. He’s the only politician of our lifetime who is underestimated because he’s too intelligent. He speaks so calmly and polysyllabically that people fail to appreciate the Machiavellian ambition inside.
Read the whole thing.

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3 comments:

YnottonY said...

"underestimated because he’s too intelligent"? I don't buy that at all.

YnottonY said...

In the article, Brooks basically equates being "intelligent" with being a political sophist. He concludes:

"He’s the most effectively political creature we’ve seen in decades. Even Bill Clinton wasn’t smart enough to succeed in politics by pretending to renounce politics."

Above he describes Obama as "smart." I don't use the term "intelligent" and "smart" that way. Crafty and deceptive, perhaps, but not "smart" and "intelligent." In fact, once Obama no longer has a script to use, he sounds like he's struggling for a coherent thought. He's an empty suit that utters platitudes and ambiguous promises. He's whatever the gullible want him to be. I think the bible describes such people by different terms than "smart" and "intelligent."

AskThePhatMan said...

I think this blog post was eerily accurate.