Saturday, June 14, 2008

SHE HAS A DREAM. Last issue, the Weekly Standard gave us Andrew Ferguson's attack on Obama's insufficiently red-blooded American neighborhood. This week Noemie Emery joins the Culture-War Club with "It's Not Race, It's Arugula," basically an easy-reading edition of Michael Barone's essay describing Obama's and Hillary Clinton's supporters as "Academicians" and "Jacksonians," respectively, to which Emery mainly adds some laughs, e.g.:
The academicians' theme songs are "Kumbaya" and "Imagine," while Jacksonians prefer Toby Keith...
She also says Obama is "running to be the first Academician elected as president," which would seem to make Bill Clinton a Jacksonian, though Emery also says that "The interesting counterexample of course would be to see a black Jacksonian run against a white Academician, and if Colin Powell had chosen to challenge Bill Clinton in 1996, we might have seen this take place." When you're writing alternative history, loose ends can be a real bitch.

Emery's main point is that Obama's race isn't the problem that has him running so poorly against John McCain, it's his unJacksonian persona -- "nuance," "fairness," arugula, and so forth. In defense of this proposition, she posits a different version of Obama that her Jacksonians would go for -- still black, but more butch, and not in a Fred Williamson way either:
Now let us imagine a different candidate, one who looks like Barack Obama, with the same mixed-race, international background, even the same middle name. But this time, he is Colonel Obama, a veteran of the war in Iraq, a kick-ass Marine with a "take no prisoners" attitude, who vows to follow Osama bin Laden to the outskirts of Hell. He comes from the culture of the military (the most color blind and merit-based in the country), and not the rarefied air of Hyde Park. He goes to a church with a mixed-race congregation and a rational preacher. He has never met Bill Ayers, and if he did he would flatten him. He thinks arugula is a town near Bogota and has Toby Keith on his favorites list.
I don't know why she didn't give him a green lantern while she was at it. Or draw up an alternate (Bizarro?) McCain who can reinvigorate the Republican Party with his stirring rhetoric. As long as we're fantasizing, why not?


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