The Corner

The Art of Ostracism

There are two disturbing–and now predictable–patterns to Obama’s serial distancing from prior intimates. First, the post facto embarrassment is personalized in terms of “I” and “me,” as if a Wright or Rezko is somehow doing something out of character aimed at Obama, rather than persisting in entirely predictable behavior that offends society at large. Thus in reaction to the racist Wright, we get “That’s a show of disrespect to me,” while Pfleger’s venom prompts, “I am deeply disappointed in Father’s Pfleger.” But the issue is racial hatred, not a matter of pleasing or respecting Obama himself.

The second reaction is a sort of amnesia: So suddenly the past benefactor Rezo has radically changed with his indictment: “That isn’t the Tony Rezko I knew”. And after Rev. Wright himself confirmed that his hatred once labeled as “snippets” and “loops” was, in fact, representative of his world view, Obama pivoted with “Well, I may not know him as well as I thought.”

The truth?

Obama has required a vocabulary of needed ostracism, as he insidiously sheds most of his prior life and environment of the last twenty years. Wright, Moss, Pfleger, Ayers, Rezo, etc. are all figures that have to be “disavowed” or, better, Trostkyized in some fashion. The method apparently is to suggest that they, not Obama, have suddenly changed (when, in truth, they, not Obama, have remained entirely consistent) and are now out to hurt or embarrass Obama (when, again, they are surprised that their longtime predictable behavior is suddenly producing different results).

Like many of his prior positions on the Middle East, Iran, guns, abortion, taxes, the war, etc. Obama must metamorphosize from a hard-core Chicago racial leftwing activist, into a liberal idealist who transcends politics.

Will it work? Two things are in his favor. One, his message is messianic (“this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal”), and the devoted not only don’t want to know of their prophet’s mortal lapses, but like all devotees will turn in anger on those who remind them of such mortality. Second, many of these bombs have been exploded in the primaries, months before the election. Even in Chicago, there are only so many Rezkos and Wrights.

Michelle Obama’s amazing rhetoric, of course, is a different question (since it can’t be relegated to a matter of dishonoring Obama or sudden character change), and so requires that her speeches from now on be delivered from pre-approved set scripts, rather than ex tempore give and take.

So America already knows of Obama’s disturbing past and McGovernite agenda, but sets all that against his hope and change charm offensive.

Hooked voters seem troubled about what they want, but so far want it nonetheless.


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