January 27, 2008


Obama wins big:
"With 99 percent of the electoral precincts reporting, Mr. Obama had 55 percent of the vote, Mrs. Clinton had 27 percent, and Mr. Edwards had 18 percent."
And his speech is, er, Presidential:
“We are up against decades of bitter partisanship that cause politicians to demonize their opponents instead of coming together,” he said. As the crowd cheered, he added: “It’s the kind of partisanship where you’re not even allowed to say that a Republican had an idea — even if it’s one you never agreed with. That kind of politics is bad for our party, it’s bad for our country.”

Sully points to some other interesting trends here, most importantly that Obama won some 52 percent of the non-black vote under 30. Among those over 60, he won only 15%, suggesting that the racist legacy is fading. I hope so.

And here is hoping that we have some new leadership for this country. The last 8 years have been so bad and the previous 8, while by comparison more stable and with less torture and war, not a great time either. I would love someone new to take us away from this partisan mess.


Speaking of the last 8 years, a few notes. One kind of new and one really not so new. The kind of new (this story will explain) has to do with our President's self-vision. Turns out, our President, in addition to reminding his visitors that the Oval office is really "oval" points them all to his favorite painting.

The myth of Mr. Bush as Christian cowboy is symbolized in his favorite painting, which he calls "A Charge To Keep." The painting appears on the back cover of his official campaign biography, A Charge To Keep, whose title is taken from a hymn written by Charles Wesley in 1762. The President talks about the painting and how it symbolizes him and his administration each time he gives a tour of the Oval Office. Mr. Bush is especially pleased when people tell him he looks a little like the Christian cowboy - who, to be fair, he really does resemble.

Perhaps especially funny given the story that Mr. Bush is actually afraid of horses, but the story gets even better.
Mr. Bush claims the painting depicts a Methodist circuit rider, but "The Slipper Tongue" actually concerned a silver-tongued Nebraska horse thief who winds up fleeing, as depicted in Koerner's painting, from a lynch mob.
Of course, art knows no such singular explanation. The President has every right to see in that painting what he wants. But others can still disagree with how he see himself:
Ah, horseshit. He's riding recklessly up a cliff, believing he's on a God-given mission and enjoying it so much that he does not heed whether his horse is about to get crippled on the slick shale underfoot. The President, in macho mode, cannot imagine the possibility of leading his imaginary Christian nation right off a cliff. And so that is just what happens. As the Good Book says, "They are a nation without sense, there is no discernment in them.... In due time their foot will slip; their day of disaster is near and their doom rushes upon them." (Deuteronomy 32:28, 35)


Bitebark said...

Curiouser and curiouser. Ted Kennedy just endorsed Obama. If that doesn't point out the widening split in the D party, I don't know what does.

Also, according to Newsweek, not a week or so ago, Kennedy and Rahm Emmanuel sent some strongly worded pleas to the Clinton campaign, asking that Bill tone down the inflammatory rhetoric against Obama. According to the article, at that point Kennedy was neutral. Makes you wonder if mayhap Mr. Kennedy was turned off enough to break with the Clintons completely.

Broadly speaking, I think Obama finally nailed the best reason to vote for him, vs. Hillary, last night in his speech: it's not about race or gender, but about past and future. I have to say, that narrative is looking more and more compelling to me as we go along.

Streak said...

Yeah, I read that about Kennedy too. Bill is not making a lot of friends right now. Kind of wonder how this is playing inside the Clinton camp.

steves said...

Do you think this infighting is healthy? I guess at this point, I consider my self an independent (boy, does that sound wishy washy). I liked Hillary in the beginning, but I think that Obama has taken the high road on more than one occasion. I still don't like his position on several issues, but I can't deny that Obama hasn't handled himself better.

Streak said...

Do I think this is healthy? No. I think it is ugly. But that is part of the democratic process.

Bitebark said...

You know, I started out thinking that something like that was just good and necessary competition. Weeding out the weak and all that. But I'm honestly starting to see it as divisive, over the top. Bill especially has really turned me off, and this is from someone who's had real affection and respect for him.

I think there was a tacit assumption on my part that, because the front runners were who they were, we'd somehow magically transcended using race or gender as clubs to fight with. We could talk about things that matter without identity politics getting in the way. Bill seems to think that any rock lying on the ground is fair ammunition, and to me that's indicative of the "old" politics I'd like to see gone.

And we already know it's gonna get filthy-dirty in the general; the Republican machine won't spare anyone. Why start now, amongst ourselves?

Bitebark said...

Also, what Streak said. It might very well just be part of the process, sad as that is.