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January 04, 2010

Andrew Sullivan, Political Tweaker: Commenting on an Official White House Picture of Obama is Now Racist, Or Something

Racism is the last refuge of an untalented writer. (Safe link to JWF.)

"Photo-Smearing," the Husky Huckster calls it. Smearing. The guy who doubts that Sarah Palin gave birth to Trig, because, you know, he moved into her uterus a year ago and doesn't see how she could also have room for a baby.

Here's the picture:

Glenn Reynolds said it was bad PR. Setting Obama's wannabe-boyfriend off on a tizzy-fit. (Yeah, tizzy-fit. I am running out of different ways to describe Sullivan's screechy-screedy style of "analysis.")

Glenn Reynolds finds a photo in the White House Flickr basket and publishes it to, er, point out how bad the White House's p.r. is, or how blind they are to perceptions of Obama or some such thing. I tried to puzzle this one out and can just about see how an elusive photo of a tired Obama reacting to something unknowable might make him look tired or arrogant or something.

And then I realized why this photo immediately strikes some people are damning. Obama is a black man who looks as if he is condescending to a white man. That's political gold.

Andrew Sullivan has trouble understanding how someone widely believed to be an arrogant dick might be poorly served by a photo of him with an arrogant dick expression on his face.

Personally, I didn't bother linking this, because it didn't strike me as anything meaning anything. As Althouse says, it's likely the guy is just exhausted. This is, after all, the first job of real responsibility he's ever held.

But if someone is already put off by Obama's arrogance, is it racism to notice that the slit-eyed cool-regard face is a standard actor-face manner of expressing arrogance and contempt?

Apparently so.

Someone recently sent me a link about a FoxNews special that was to highlight Obama's friendships and political relationships with socialists and radicals. I wrote back, basically, sounds interesting, but FoxNews has run similar exposes, and in any event, a president is judged on job performance and not really on anything else. Such arguments about background and character are of value during a campaign, as they are good predictors of future performance; once the guy is elected, you don't need predictors of future performance any longer.

So this stuff is of limited usefulness, as far as de-electing someone. Sure, it fires up the base, but the base is pretty fired up already.

And the same thing applies to this eternal club wielded by Obama's flightier supporters. The racism charge? Sure, it was useful as hell during the campaign, as "racism" became the standard response to any criticism of His Awesomeness whatsoever. The tactic was used to shut up critics and push the media off of any careful scrutiny of the Man from the Chicago Political Machine (Hyde Park Radical Division). Not that the media needed much pushing.

But I'm afraid the racism charge no longer carries any heft. Obama sought the presidency, and he won it -- and he is now entitled to all the criticism, mostly fair, some not, that the job he himself sought entails. This endless mau-mauing of any critic as "racist" makes Obama's supporters sound like precisely what they are: Lunatics, by and large, hyperpartisan dupes, and people frankly scared shitless by the quality of Obama's job performance and who strongly suspect he's going to be a failed president.

And all of their silly high-school-crush dreams will go down with Captain Wonderful.

And so, unable to make any good case for Obama on the merits, they simply lash out emotionally. And they don't even realize what they're doing. As the saying goes, "You can lie to me, but don't lie to yourself." They aren't even aware that their screeching, white-knuckled panic is a bigger indictment of Obama's competence that anything -- an-y-thing -- any "rightwing racist" could ever possibly say.

"I have every confidence in Obama," they will sometimes say, the statement becoming more rote and more lacking in conviction every time they say it. You have every confidence? Oh, obviously you do. Your henny-penny crazy-eyed twitchy-bitchy political tweaking is powerful evidence of that.

Obama's making all the right moves? Obama's got the economy on a glide path to recovery? Obama's really protecting the American public against terror and needs hardly fear an incident that will further erode his credibility?

You believe that, huh?

Well, you silly sods, if you really believed that, you'd act like you believed that, and take things like this in stride with a bemused grin.

But you're not bemused at all. You're not coolly confident.

You are terrified out of your sillyass minds. And it's palpable.

And it's hysterical. In both meanings of the word.


Oh: And as one Obama enthusiast, erm, enthused: "He looks just like James Bond!"

Thus hitting on another thing "wrong" with this picture. Obama is known -- and confesses it -- to have a rather, um, outsized sense of self regard. He's a narcissist.

This picture feeds into that. Whoever posted it guessed, probably accurately, that his boss would like a photo showing him all cool 'n stuff.

I don't think the point of American government is to further increase the self-esteem of one man, already pretty obviously smitten with himself.


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posted by Ace at 09:38 AM

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