Saturday, February 16, 2008

MAGIC AND LOSS. Claims that Obama is a false Messiah are coalescing into a full-fledged genre of rightwing journalism. At the Weekly Standard, Dean Barnett, not having Reverend Keller's rhetorical gifts, tries to impersonate the Voice of Reason, which sort of casting we in show business call a stretch.

He waters down an old Rush Limbaugh slur ("The Magical Democrat") and makes mock of the scenes Obama inspires: "The Fox News cameras that night made a point of focusing on one woman who was so overwhelmed by the candidate that her eyes repeatedly welled up." Even Fox News! The liberal media is more nefarious than we ever dreamed.

Barnett's money shot:
The challenge for Republicans, specifically John McCain, will be to conduct the general election in the real world of limited government and dangerous foreign malefactors rather than in the Obama fantasy world. The good news for McCain is that he has far more experience dealing with the ugliness of the real world than Obama has, and can speak to our looming challenges with far more authenticity.
Barnett previously mocked the "childish" stridency" of McCain's "constant urge to prove his straight talking bona fides," but the Republican season is full of touching conversion stories, though their climactic scenes are usually hidden from view.

As for Barnett's invocation of the "real world of limited government and dangerous foreign malefactors," even the most casual student of current affairs will recall the budget-busting government programs/wealth transfers of the Bush Administration, and the fairy tales told to get us into Iraq. If Obama is a fantasist, his success may owe to the superior selling power of his fantasy versus the shopworn kind Barnett has been peddling for years. Barnett would be better advised to join his comrades in reliving old victories from the days when the crowd was with him.

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