Friday, May 16, 2008

Obama mania needs to be looked past

Gerard Baker in The Times this morning writes about how Barack Obama is getting idol status from much of the media.
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"Mr Obama is portrayed throughout as an immanently benevolent figure. Not human really, more a comforting presence, a light source. He is always eager to listen to all aides of an argument, always instilling confidence in the weak-willed, resolutely sticking to his high principles and tirelessly spurning the low road of electoral politics. I stopped reading after a while but I'm sure by the end he was healing the sick, comforting the dying, restoring sight to the blind and setting prisoners free. "
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Indeed, I've long thought he was getting a free pass from journalists who should know better, who didn't look past his "change" message to ask "what into", his charisma impressing on man and woman alike in a way that no politician should ever seduce. Baker continues...
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"Some cable TV channels prostrate themselves nightly before him. Most newspapers worship at the altar. They have already set up a neat narrative for the election between Senator Obama and John McCain in November - the Second Coming versus Old Grouchy, The Little Flower of Illinois up against the Scaremongering Axeman from Arizona."
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This is even though John McCain has long been the acceptable face of the Republican Party to many, he took on George Bush, so a new tactic will now be taken.
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"now that he's up against Oh! Bama! he will have to be recast in the more familiar Republican mould of villain and scaremonger-in-chief."
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So it is time, after some of us have been saying it for months, to put Obama under the spotlight. He has far less experience than either "damn those Commies" McCain or "born to rule" Hillary. However as Baker says...
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"He is a smart and eloquent man with a personal history that is startlingly shallow set against the scale of the office he seeks to hold. It is not only legitimate, but necessary, to scrutinise his past and infer what it might tell us about his beliefs, in the absence of the normal record of achievement expected in a presidential nominee. If the past 40 years have taught us anything they have surely taught that premature canonisation is an almost certain guarantee of subsequent deep disappointment. "
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He may make good television, but he may well be the most leftwing major party nominee for the Presidency since George McGovern. It's about time this was made clear.

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