Tuesday, February 19, 2008
For The Record
"Senator Barack Obama rejects the 'politics of the past' while borrowing from its phoniest chapters. His promised caravan toward a new Camelot, with Teddy Kennedy bringing up the rear, may generate feelings in Chris Matthews' leg and cause women to swoon, but over time it is likely to pall and bore. Obama's speeches are like cotton candy, sweet but substanceless and dangerous to one's health if turned into a steady diet. Is he saying nothing? Unfortunately not. Glimpsed through the haze of his sophistical rhetoric is something, and it is tiresomely false, namely, the dogmatic assertion that 'hope' and liberalism are synonymous. His reliance on sentiment and rhetoric rather than reasoning to advance that assertion will not inspire a new politics of bipartisan unity but revive old and bitter resentments. Liberalism, after all, has no monopoly on hope, and the chapters of history to which Obama makes implicit reference-the New Frontier and Great Society-concluded in despair. While the Democrats won't stop squealing over him for some time, the larger culture has already begun to mock Obama as a platitudinous lightweight."