The Corner

No End in Sight

Obama’s problems are many, and they probably won’t go away since they are predicated on two inescapable facts: 1) the Obamas really are out-of-touch with the experiences of most of America; that they are right when they imply that they are poorer than most candidates such as the Clintons, McCains, Edwards, Kerrys, Gores, Cheneys, Bushes, etc. does not mean that they are not fabulously better off than 95% of the rest of America; 2) they could care less about redressing their lack of exposure, and so see nothing wrong in anything they’ve said or done–or will say or do in the future. All this doesn’t matter in the primaries perhaps, given the implosion of the Clinton campaign, but by fall it will sink in.

Rev. Wright, as we’ve seen recently with his latest comments about the Founding Fathers as pedophiles et al., won’t go away, loves the publicity that follows each additional inanity, and won’t be cut loose by Obama. There will be a periodic outburst every three or four weeks, and the remedy — the “discussion” on race — has already been used up. Like the Clintonian tear, you only get one shot with that mitigation. Moreover, some nut in the public arena usually says something racist about every 6 months or so, and when the next Imus or Richards sounds off, the ensuing discussion will now include Obamian contextualization.

As we saw in her spech today, Michelle won’t stop — and seems again clueless that an Ivy-League educated, $300,000 plus salaried lawyer in a $1.6 million house, cannot be a perpetual victim by virtue of her race.

Cf. the latest sarcasm: “Now when is the last time you’ve seen a president of the United States who just paid off his loan debt? But, then again, maybe I’m out of touch.”

This too won’t stop, and expect more of this defiance all summer and autumn long to add to the existing corpus of a “mean” U.S. that does not merit “pride” and is full of clueless unaware citizens. Most Americans have little sympathy with anyone who feels it a is hardship to pay back thousands of dollars invested in a Harvard Law degree. Their likely rejoinder to today’s sarcasm: ‘Well then, if you feel pinched by paying back your loans, don’t give Rev. Wright $20,000.”

3) Obama himself — cf. ‘typical white person’, the Pennsylvania mess, and things like Wright and his church being “not particularly controversial” — likewise at 3-4 week intervals will say something that will be taken either as condescending or racialist. And in the aggregate these “conflations” shown on evening news “loops” and “snippets” by August or so will cement the growing impression of uneasiness among the American people. Race has nothing to do with it; a certain smugness everything.

The American people will forgive slips, even condescension IF they are followed by genuine apology and not repeated ad infinitum. But in this case, there will be a growing weariness, followed by anger, at the notion that a Presidential candidate thinks he can say whatever he wishes, associate with whomever he wants, and feel it’s the electorate’s, not his own, ensuing problem. So the rub for the Obama campaign is not simply that he has no experience outside the Ivy League and Chicago, or even that he made a Faustian bargain with the Trinity church to jump-start his career, but rather his hubris this spring — which as we speak is bringing on a summer nemesis.


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