Thursday, June 12, 2008

Camille Paglia has a man-crush on Obama, Part II

Camille Paglia is an elitist and a leftist. As such she hates George W Bush and loves B. Hussein Obama. In a recent column she complained about the treatment which Obama has been getting on conservative talk radio. In doing so she revealed the true source of much of the antipathy which left-liberals feel toward Mr. Bush and telegraphed what the left's "party line" is going to be concerning Obama.

For disaffected Republicans as well as many Democrats like me, McCain is an irascible grandstander of slippery ideology who has made a career out of flattering and courting the media. It remains debatable whether McCain's traumatic experiences as a prisoner of war have enhanced or distorted his admittedly wide-ranging knowledge of military and security matters. Crystal clear, however, is McCain's startling awkwardness as a public speaker. With stilted, stodgy intonations that seem to descend from the late-19th century era of one-room schoolhouses, McCain laboriously reading a speech is a painful spectacle. After the mumbling, disjointed George W. Bush, doesn't the U.S. deserve a more sophisticated leader on the international stage?

First of all she is correct about John McCain's character. He has spent his career talking like a conservative to the voters in red-state Arizona and then going back to Washington and talking, and voting, like a liberal to impress the inside-the-beltway press corps. This reveals a dishonest and dishonorable man of weak character and little political courage.

It is obvious from his position on Guantanamo Bay and on the subject of aggressive interrogation methods like waterbording that his experience as a POW in Vietnam have deeply scarred him. Those experiences also help explain his volcanic temper. The torture he endured as a prisoner of the NVA was enough to shatter the mind of any man and McCain survived only by clinging to his anger, his burning fury, at his North Vietnamese captors. When anger has saved your life and kept you in a condition resembling sanity it becomes your best friend and the favorite tool in your toolbox. It becomes so much a part of you that you no longer are aware of it. It is simply there like your liver or your kidneys.

If Paglia had stopped there she would have nailed the case against McCain however she goes on to devote just as much ink to her real beef with McCain. He is a poor public speaker. This is also a big part of why she, and the rest of the left - the rest is Florida 2000, despises George W Bush.

Paglia's last sentence in the above paragraph reveals the real reason why so much of the left fell so deeply in love with Obama. He is a beautiful speaker. However he is only good when he is able to read words written for him by someone else. When you listen to Obama speaking for himself in a forum where he is unable to use a teleprompter or to depend upon well rehearsed talking points he sounds like far more of a dolt than George W Bush ever has.

Listen to Obama being Obama in this video clip:

Note that Obama first tries to explain his fumbling by saying that he can't hear himself and then says that he's glad that the audience is fired up. The problem is that the crowd is silent. They are obviously having as much difficulty understanding Obama as the rest of us. Obama then tries to cover himself by saying that he has had very little sleep.

I guess that he was also sleep deprived when he claimed that the United States had 57 states and when he couldn't remember the name of the town he was in. Or when he claimed 10,000 people were killed in a tornado in Kansas (12 was the actual death toll). [link here]

Is Obama suffering from some kind of sleep disorder or is he simply a man who possesses a mediocre intellect and cannot think on his feet?

Ms. Paglia asks whether America deserves a "more sophisticated" leader than George W Bush. Since her criteria for sophistication seems to be how well a person articulates his words I would ask her how she will feel when president Obama turns in a verbal performance like you saw above in summit meetings with the heads of the European nations or when sitting across the table from Raul Castro or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (two of the sort of leaders which Obama has promised to meet with).

How will America's international reputation, which has supposedly been so badly damaged by the doltish Bush, be repaired by a president who speaks like a drunken high school dropout when denied the use of a prepared speech and under the slightest bit of stress.

Paglia then gets to her specific objections to talk radio's treatment of Obama:

Meanwhile, conservative talk radio, which I have been following with interest for almost 20 years, has become a tornado alley of hallucinatory holograms of Obama. He's a Marxist! A radical leftist! A hater of America! He's "not that bright"; he can't talk without a teleprompter. He knows nothing and has done less. His wife is a raging mass of anti-white racism. It's gotten to the point that I can hardly listen to my favorite shows, which were once both informative and entertaining. The hackneyed repetition is numbing and tedious, and the overt character assassination is ethically indefensible. Talk radio will lose its broad audience if it continues on this nakedly partisan path.

Let's take these in order.

Obama is a Marxist. Obama's view of economics and the social order is at least in part Marxist. Marx believed that capitalism was based upon the exploitation of the worker and Obama, along with the rest of the Democrat party, clearly believes that without a large and robust network of government controls the free market capitalist system will quickly become exploitative of both the worker and the consumer. The only thing Obama needs to become a full-blown Marxist is to call for a worldwide revolution of the workers.

Obama is a radical leftist. Can Paglia possibly deny this?!? Obama's voting record in the US Senate was one of the most left-wing of any member. He out left-winged the avowed socialist Bernie Sanders (who scored 8 on the ACU rating while Obama scored 7).

Ms. Paglia, what exactly does Obama disagree with the radical left about?

Obama is a hater of America. The US in engaged in a war with people who meet every aspect of the dictionary definition of evil and Obama wants us to lose. That alone qualifies him to be admitted into the ranks of the America-haters. But add to that the fact that he is four-square against allowing American oil companies from developing our domestic oil resources - a stand which will keep us dependent on other nations, including Middle Eastern terror-supporting states, for a commodity which is absolutely vital to the continued functioning of our economy and a picture emerges of a man who actually has the worst interests of the United States in his heart.

I'm sure that Obama would say that he loves this country and he probably even believes that. However what Obama loves is not the United States as it actually is. What he loves is a vision, which exists only in his head and the heads of other radical leftists, of what America could be if only he and those like him were given total control of the country and were allowed to remake it into their own image.

The truth is that the fantasy America of the radical left's imaginings would look like Stalin's Soviet Union except with gay marriage and windmills. However that is a fact which Obama and Paglia and other leftists cannot allow themselves to face because it would destroy their self image as anointed saviors.

He's not that bright, can't talk without a teleprompter, knows nothing and has done less. All true. Obama's statements on the economy reveal a man with no knowledge of economics other than what bits he can remember from a required college course taught by a Marxist professor. His pronouncements on foreign policy were ridiculed even by other Democrats during the debates. We have already dealt with his speaking ability without words written for him by someone else.

And as for what he's done. . .

Well, what has he done? He has shown a great deal of poor judgment in who he associates with and he voted "present" a lot in the Illinois state legislature rather than have the courage to take any kind of stand. He was a "community organizer" for a while but on the South Side of Chicago all that means is that he was an effective racial demagogue.

Are these now the list of qualifications to be the President of the United States?

Michelle Obama is a racist. Well she said that the America of 2008 was a downright mean country which she never felt proud of until people got enthusiastic about supporting a black man for president. Maybe I just need to have my definition of racism updated cause that sure seems racist.

As an Obama supporter, I of course see things quite differently. Whatever his tactical assertions in the primary trenches, Obama seems to have an open and flexible mind. He is a conciliator and synthesizer, ready to give due respect to opposing views -- a grace desperately needed in paralyzed Washington. When the camera comes close -- as it did last week when CNN's terrific Candy Crowley tenaciously grilled him about Hillary Clinton's prospects for the vice-presidency -- his deliberative thought process is plainly visible. What a deft performance under high-stakes pressure: Obama was firm, authoritative and methodical without ever losing his warmth and geniality. The guy is smart as a whip. And his administration will be as good as its appointments. As for Michelle Obama, she is formidable, representing a bold, stylish feminism more authentically contemporary than the old, bellyaching, blame-the-males style of Hillary's omnipresent cheerleader, Gloria Steinem.

In every one of Paglia's essays there is a point where she veers off into complete delusion. This is that point. You will note that Paglia gives no examples of Obama's "open and flexible mind" or of any instance where he has given due respect to opposing views. In fact I can't even imagine anything which Obama has done, at least since he burst upon the national stage, which comes even close to that description. Perhaps she is referring to Obama's remarks about how the bitter hillbillies of Pennsylvania cling to their guns and bibles because the government hasn't put them on welfare yet?

Obama is so incapable of "crossing the isle" to work with Republicans that he couldn't even put together a deal with John McCain to cosponsor some piece of left-wing legislation! Think about that - John McCain had never met a leftist Senator who he couldn't make a deal with to advance the left's agenda until he met Barack Obama!

Oh, I know what Paglia is talking about. When Obama is touting a Marxist idea for how to screw up the country and he encounters another Marxist with a slightly different Marxist idea for how to screw up the country he is able to "give due respect to opposing views" and come up with a compromise Marxist way to screw up the country.

How Solomon-like!

And Paglia's evidence that Obama really can express himself under pressure and really is smart? He was tossed some softballs by CNN's vapid air-head Candy Crowley, and because Obama's camp knew the questions were coming and had plenty of time to write out his responses and let him practice them, he was able to answer without stumbling and fumbling and forgetting which state he was in.

Ah, the quick incisive mind of a latter-day Aristotle.

I'm not even going to address the formidable Michelle Obama's "bold, stylish feminism" both because I might vomit all over my keyboard and because if I were to reach that deeply into Paglia's delusion I might not be able to find my way back.

I take no pleasure in this. Barack Obama is currently leading in the polls (a Wall Street Journal/NBC has Obama ahead 47% to 41%) but it is very difficult for me to believe that a man with such radical views and such limited experience and intellect and such poor judgment will ultimately prevail.

This will be a tragedy for the nation because the damage that John McCain will do to the Republican party will be so great that it will be at least 16 years and more probably 20-24 years before the Republicans will be able to retake the legislature or the White House and during that time the damage that the left will have done to the country will be irreparable.

The choice is stark and deeply unpleasant to contemplate. Either Obama is elected and does horrible damage to the nation, but damage which we can probably recover from. Or John McCain is elected and does horrible damage to the country which it will probably not be able to recover from.

The lesser evil is probably Obama, but in this case "lesser" is a only a relative term.