The Corner

Obama the Magician

I think the speech has wowed Obama’s base, yet after its mesmerizing delivery wears off, it will perhaps raise more questions with most others.

The Obama narratives suggest a disturbing lack of responsibility, or of any notion of free will. Michelle, for example, apparently had no free will in taking out big loans to go to Harvard Law School, only pique that they must be paid back.

Barack had likewise no free will in allying himself as friend, parishioner, and confidant with an abject racist who is now evolved into a “former” pastor, and a “scholar” and “an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy” and “controversial” (apparently “not particularly controversial” is now inoperative).

Indeed, the last thing Obama wants, in fact, is an honest, painful discussion about race in America, especially how centuries of racism, but also as well as present demagogic leadership, white guilt, and ineffective and counterproductive government programs, have all factored into present endemic problems of illegitimacy, extraordinary high crime rates, and often racist narratives from the likes of Wright and Farrakhan to rap music — and yet have not precluded the amazing success and parity with the rest of America on the part of well over half of the African-American community.

Two corollaries always follow the Obama victimology: moral equivalence and the subtle suggestion that any who question his thesis of despair are themselves suspect.

So we hear of poor Barack’s grandmother’s private fears in the same breath as Wright’s public hatred. Geraldine Ferraro is understood in the same context as Reverend Wright. The Reagan Coalition and talk radio are identical to Reverend Wright — albeit without similar contexts for their own purported racism. Your own pastor, priest, or rabbi are analogous to Rev. Wright.

And then, of course, your own motives are suspect if you question any of this sophistry. For Michelle it is always “they” who raised new obstacles against this deprived Ivy League couple and their quest for the Presidency; for Barack it is those who play “snippets”, or the system of “corporate culture” that has made Wright the object of anger to similarly victimized poor white pawns.

The message? Wright’s motives for espousing hatred are complex and misunderstood; your motives for worrying about Obama and his Pastor are simple and suspect.

When Obama the magician was all done this morning, Obama was no longer under examination for terrible judgment in subsidizing a racist by his association and purse, nor was even the racist Wright under doubt; instead almost everyone else, from the system to his grandmother, to talk radio, to corporate culture, to your rabbi or priest suddenly was.

The result? This will apparently play well with a Democratic African-American audience and white elite liberals, who are already giddy and comparing the speech to Martin Luther King’s best. In this way of thinking, after all, that for the last seven years the most powerful diplomats in the world have been two African-Americans counts little (Wright, for example, slurred Sec. Rice), but that anyone would dare ask a presidential candidate to dissociate himself from a racist counts a lot.

Yet in the general election, millions will still remember how Obama’s pastor and confidant Reverend Wright cursed their culture and their country, and they will still remain confused about his relationship with and influence upon their would-be next President—and in the end they will be very much angered by all that indeed.

Victor Davis Hanson — NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the author, most recently, of The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won.

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