Friday, January 11, 2008
Personal Aside: Media-Aided Obama Scenario Has Gone On Too Long: With Vague, Feel-Good Message that has No Specifics: Obamathe Better Way! Dan Miller to Leave the Sun-Times as Paper Slashes its Budget to Shrink Business Section.
The recent, abjectly humiliating confession by NBC anchor Brian Williams that it is very difficult to be objective regarding Barack Obama because the national media are so entranced with his charm and the possibility of the first black president, underscores the central fault of current affirmative action-style liberalism in race relations. He is not to be questioned on how to achieve any of his glittering generalities. Media are giving the tall, statuesque, oracular senator who seems to be welcomed by Central Casting like a Sydney Poitier or Harry Belafonte with what seems nothing less than the soft bigotry of lessened expectations. With every other presidential candidate, the mainstream media are examining and probing internal inconsistencies and fallible programs.
This has happened to Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Bill Richardson, John McCain, Mike Huckabee, Fred Thompson, Rudy Giuliani and Ron Paul. But not so with Obama because of the lingering feeling from the guilt-ridden 1960s that to do so would be offensively racist and subject a black candidate to scorn when in their estimation the country deserves a black president which will enable all of us particularly liberals to feel good about ourselves. Thus the mainstream media themselves have become possibly an unintentional but nevertheless an entirely co-opted part of the strategy.
Thereby Barack Obama has managed to get by with the very minimum of effort. He has gotten by superbly talking in vague generalities about hope and change. Hope and change for what? He is talking about moving the country beyond partisanship where 47 million people will receive health insurance, where environmentalism will be an assured condition, where teachers will receive higher pay and youngsters early childhood education. But as everyone knows, to achieve these gains, there has to be a legislative program and the hard, grit work of getting it passed. There is no magic wand that will translate the generalities that Obama talks about without a presidency that takes risks.
Barack Obamas campaign reflects the somber lesson of the 1971 film The Candidate starring Robert Redford. A good-looking, well-financed candidate named Bill McKay (Redford) with a potent political name, money and a Kennedy-esque style is surrounded by handlers who push him through a vacuous campaign where he begins with certain statements that have some resonance but then waters them down day by day with his speech fading to mushuntil he has so broadened his message as to give it no meaning. The slogan becomes Bill McKay the Better Way. Where the difference comes between the Obama campaign and the Bill McKay reel-movie version is this: Redford playing Bill McKay has cynical consultants who see the need to blur his positions to meaninglessness. In the Obama real-life version, the supposedly discerning media are corrupted because of a misplaced sense of concern for the career of the very engaging African American candidate. Thus while Hillary Clintons positions are seriously examined and criticized as well as John Edwards and others, Obama is allowed a pass. Every instance of severe criticism is feared by the liberal panjandrums as possible bigotry.
Obama is not pushed to put flesh on the bones of his broad generalities. Just as The Candidate ended with candidate McKay getting elected and asking his consultant plaintively, What do we do now? Barack Obama may well get such a pass that the nation will be treated to a candidate who has not been vetted or whose ideas have not been examined.
The real disservice is meted out to Obama himself who has not been given the opportunity to show that he has mastered the presidency at all. Yes, as pretty-boy Brian Williams has said: it is to terribly difficult to be objective.
Dan Miller is probably the best business editor in the city. He is leaving the Sun-Times because as the paper winds down, it has evidently put the entire business section to bed and has made it impossible to continue the section which was under-funded but at the same time a rival for the business pages of Tribune. You can wonder about budget priorities when the financial page has to go while at the same time, the Democratic partys newspaper of record is paying lavish expenditures to have three female Barack sycophants on the road chronicling the daily campaign of Obama in the primariesonly one of whom has skill or credibility (Lynn Sweet). It continues the dreadful dirge of boilerplate liberal propaganda of the Reverend (ahem) Jesse L. Jackson and the singular Johnny-one-note columns of the Reverend (ahem) Andrew Greeley, a sports columnist who veers into left-leaning politics a political columnist with two other jobs (including one at WTTW where public monies are involved to pay her salary there) and whose contribution is reduced to quoting others and drawing clichéd predictable conclusions and a general Michael Cooke-run slickum fiasco that imitates the National Enquirer.