The Corner

Obama & The Right

Well said by Ross. An excerpt:

Andrew argues that the dismissive reactions to Obama’s speech from the right are “palpably fueled by fear and racism.” That’s unfair and unfounded: As I suggested yesterday in detailing my own qualms about the speech, they’re palpably fueled by the fact that Obama is a liberal. The conservative idea of a candidate who’s “transformational” on race is someone who sounds like Bill Cosby and works with Ward Connerly, and that just isn’t what Obama’s doing; hence the Right’s disappointment, which in many cases is curdling into dismissiveness and outright dislike. Instead, Obama’s trying to be a transformational figure on the following two counts: First, as John McWhorter suggests in his response to the speech, he’s trying to free African-American politics from the vice grip of grievance and resentment, breaking away not only from the Sharptons and Jacksons but from the NAACP line of Julian Bond and Kweise Mfume as well, and bringing black Americans out of racialism and radicalism and into the liberal mainstream; at the same time, he’s trying to bring the country, which has heretofore tilted right, into the center-left mainstream as well. (The latter achievement, obviously, depends on the former, which is why the Wright affair is potentially so damaging: It calls into question his promise as a new kind of a black politician, without which his hope to be a new kind of American politician more or less collapses.) 

It’s been noted before before, but to understand the Right’s mounting disappointment with his candidacy it’s worth pointing out again that in his attempt to bring new voters into the Democratic tent, Obama’s rightward outreach is primarily stylistic rather than substantive…. 

Me: I think my reaction to Obama’s speech reflects a lot of what Ross says here. I think Sullivan’s reaction provides just one more data point about how he may have intellectually conservative views on this or that, but aesthetically and emotionally he’s a romantic liberal.

Jonah Goldberg — Jonah Goldberg holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute and is a senior editor of National Review. His new book, The Suicide of The West, is on sale now.

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