The Corner


Well, I see everyone’s climbed on the “Forward” bandwagon, even the trolls who’ve rushed out to lustily remind us that “Forward” is also the Wisconsin state motto, adopted in 1851 — yes, can you believe it, by “progressive” Wisconsin, home of that great “progressive,” Fighting Bob La Follette, who was born in 1855. What an amazing “progressive” coincidence. The fact is, the international-socialist echo of “Forward” is the first thing that Axelrod & Co. would think of, not the last. Talk about dog whistles!

But, Jay, you make a good point about the sloganeer-in-chief, yesterday taking a classless Osama-anniversary victory lap over in Kabul for reasons best known to Jake Lingle and the rest of the media-obsessed brain trust:

. . . Obama seems much more “Backward” than “Forward.” In 2008, I was terribly surprised at what kind of Democrat Obama was: a McGovernite. His platform and rhetoric were warmed-over McGovernism, basically. I thought this was odd for a man born in 1961. It was as though the entire Reagan experience, the end of the Cold War, and even the DLC (the Democratic Leadership Council) had passed him by. He was like some item from a time capsule.

I’d suggest that’s because he is an item from a time capsule. His upbringing in Hawaii and Indonesia kept him from viscerally understanding the essential nature of our nation; it’s clear after prolonged exposure to his thought processes that everything he knows about this country comes from theory, not practice. And exactly what kind of theory we have in his own (?) words in Dreams From My Father:

To avoid being mistaken for a sellout, I chose my friends carefully. The more politically active black students. The foreign students. The Chicanos. The Marxist professors and structural feminists and punk-rock performance poets. We smoked cigarettes and wore leather jackets. At night, in the dorms, we discussed neocolonialism, Franz Fanon, Eurocentrism, and patriarchy. When we ground out our cigarettes in the hallway carpet or set our stereos so loud that the walls began to shake, we were resisting bourgeois society’s stifling constraints. We weren’t indifferent or careless or insecure. We were alienated.

Obama must not have very carefully read The Wretched of the Earth – de rigueur for every radical during my college years in the 1960s — or he would have known that the author’s first name is spelled “Frantz.” But the point is, all this pseudo-intellectual/revolutionary claptrap was a good decade passé (Wretched was published in 1961) by the time Obama was sheep-dipped at Occidental from 1979 to 1981.

But most students of Obama’s vintage have long since moved on, putting away childish things, as First Corinthians advises. Not Obama. He’s a dandy in aspic, forever suspended in the gelatinous world-view of the angry Baby Boomers who run him. He was their dream candidate come to life, molded and formed in the image and likeness of the “revolutionary” Sixties, his very lack of accomplishment and experience a feature, not a bug. He could be anything they wanted him to be. Unfortunately for him, what they wanted him to be was Abbie Hoffman in a well-tailored suit. It never occurred to them that Abbie would not have made a very good president. Just a destructive one — but perhaps that’s a feature, not a bug, as well.

Better they had emulated Frank Zappa — at least we’d have gotten a few laughs out of our shared misery. “Art is making something out of nothing and selling it,” said the great man. Because he’s been doing that nearly half his life, David Axelrod’s laughing now, but let’s see who’s chortling in November. 

Michael Walsh — Mr. Walsh is the author of the novels Hostile Intent and Early Warning and, writing as frequent NRO contributor David Kahane, Rules for Radical Conservatives.


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