“I could have been reading into it more than was there.” ~ Cornell West, 2011
“I am new enough on the national political scene that I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.” ~ Barack Obama, The Audacity of Hope
I have nothing but admiration for Cornell West. He has always inspired me and it grieves me to see his bitter disappointment. But the evidence was there all along.
Obama is exactly the person he claimed himself to be. Unfortunately for us, that person is indeed a man without a clue as to what it means to hold fast to any deepest commitment. Witness the paragraphs before the “blank screen” paragraph, in which Obama lays out what he “believes.” I read these two paragraphs and wonder to myself, what is Obama’s “kernel of truth?”
In one paragraph he declares what he considers to be his Democratic bona fides by invoking the New York Times, a touch of populism, science, and his race. I cannot help but add some editorial commentary.
I suspect that some readers may find my presentation of these issues to be insufficiently balanced. To this accusation, I stand guilty as charged. I am a Democrat, after all; my views on most topics correspond more closely to the editorial pages of the New York Times that those of the Wall Street Journal. I am angry about policies that consistently favor the wealthy and powerful over average Americans [really? That Wall Street bailout could have fooled me!], and insist that government has an important role in opening up opportunity to all. I believe in evolution, scientific inquiry, and global warming; [Um, Barack, so does Michael Shermer - an outspoken skeptic and Libertarian. I am pretty sure that respect for science is not limited to Democrats, as I've not always seen strong confirmation of that in my liberal circles, where often all manner of woo and pseudoscience are embraced. But I digress.] I believe in free speech, whether politically correct or politically incorrect, and I am suspicious of using government to impose anybody’s religious beliefs – including my own – on nonbelievers. [So what was that promise to expand of the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives all about? (see also) Why all the foot dragging with repealing DOMA, DADT? Why the Executive Order enshrining the Hyde Amendment and Bush's "conscience rules?"]. Furthermore, I am a prisoner of my own biography [a prisoner?]: I can’t help but view the American experience through the lens of a black man of mixed heritage, forever mindful of how generations of people who looked like me were subjugated and stigmatized, and the subtle and not so subtle ways that race and class continue to shape our lives. [Yeah, growing up in Hawaii, where you went to an exclusive private school, where mixed races are common-place, and where you looked like everyone else must've given you deep understanding of the plight of African-Americans.]
In the following paragraph Obama touts his “conservative” credentials, and I would say, that based on Obama’s words and deeds in the last 23 months, this is closer to his “deepest” commitment. He starts out by disparaging his own party, implies that only conservatives love America and support the troops, and spits on every civil rights movement of the 20th century, and again, implies that only conservatives are spiritual and/or have “values.”
But that is not all I am. I also think that my party can be smug, detached, and dogmatic at times. [Oh, I see, Republicans are never dogmatic. Tea Party anyone?] I believe in the free market, competition [except when it come to insurance companies and the so-called Public Option], and entrepreneurship, and think no small number of government programs don’t work as advertised. I wish the country had fewer lawyers and more engineers. [So you became a lawyer because?] I think America has more often been a force for good that for ill in the world; I carry few illusions about our enemies, and revere the courage and competence of our military. I reject a politics that is based solely on racial identity [though you were happy to invoke it just a paragraph before], gender identity, sexual orientation, or victimhood generally. I think much of what ails the inner city involves a breakdown in culture that will not be cured by money alone, and that our values and spiritual life matter at least as much as our GDP.
Gawd, what a self-serving mish-mash of left-right stereotyping. No wonder Obama has no rudder, no inner core. As they say, Garbage In, Garbage Out.