The Corner

Obamachiavelli

To the extent that some of Obama’s flip-flops may represent some stumbling, grudging steps towards the center, I don’t have any problems with them, and to the extent they show that there is an endearingly sleazy cynicism lurking beneath that self-satisfied messianic gaze, they are in their own way (sort of) reassuring. That said, let’s just pause for a moment to enjoy the opening sections of Dominic Lawson’s new piece in the Independent on Obama’s U-turns:

I find comfort in the fact that the longer I’m in politics the less nourishing popularity becomes, that a striving for rank and fame seems to betray a poverty of ambition, and that I am answerable mainly to the steady gaze of my own conscience.” Thus spake Barack Obama. These words appear at the conclusion of the chapter entitled “Politics” in Obama’s 2006 book The Audacity of Hope. They also sum up much of what we now know about Obama: a man of stunning articulacy, but also stunning self-regard. Both characteristics have been indispensable in powering the first-term Illinois senator to the very brink of the presidency. Now, however, some of those who were most captivated by Obama’s perorations about his unflinching conscience are feeling distinctly queasy…

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