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In Defense of Sean Wilentz


Sean Wilentz recently observed in The New Republic that many people are making rather vaporous arguments for Barack Obama–arguments that have little to do with his position or record and more to do with how the candidate makes his supporters feel. That thesis strikes me as manifestly true, although Wilentz’s attempt to conjure up a “delusional style in American punditry” as a pattern into which the Obama enthusiasts fit is less successful. Cass Sunstein, in response, takes Wilentz, a Clinton supporter, to be arguing that there is no solid argument for Obama. I don’t think Wilentz is saying that, but I imagine he thinks–as I do–that there would be a lot less to the Obama phenomenon without the vapor.

Update: Wilentz defends himself.


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