The Mendacity of Hype
Barack Obama and politics as usual, again.


Then, there is the post-racial stuff. That little sequestered place in our hearts quivered with the hope that with this candidate, in this election, we might move beyond identity politics. And Obama said as much, himself, when he was asked on 60 Minutes if his race was going to be a handicap in the election.

“No . . . ” he said. “If I don’t win this race it will be because of other factors . . . [because] I have not shown to the American people a vision for where the country needs to go that they can embrace.” Apparently, the American people are more stupid now than they were when he spoke those words. And his enemies will inevitably try to exploit that stupidity.

“We know what kind of campaign they’re going to run,” Obama said in a recent speech. “They’re going to try to make you afraid. . . . They’re going to try to make you afraid of me. ‘He’s young and inexperienced and he’s got a funny name. And did I mention he’s black?’ ”

Well, you go with what works. When an aide once asked Huey Long how he was going to explain to a group of important constituents why the “Kingfish” had gone back on a campaign promise, Long said, simply, “F*** ’em. Tell ’em I lied.”

This probably wouldn’t work for Obama. But maybe his apologists — those people who still believe in change, hope, and a new kind of politics — could try out a variation on Huey’s classic. How about, “F*** ’em. Tell ’em I was being audacious.”

Geoffrey Norman is editor of


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