January 22, 2008

THE AUDACITY OF EMPTINESS:

Obama Gets Israel Wrong (HILLEL HALKIN, January 22, 2008, NY Sun)

Politicians are rarely spontaneous animals and can't usually afford to be, but I've rarely seen one who strikes me as more calculated or programmed than Mr. Obama. Watch his eyes when he raises his arms and lifts his voice with emotion at a dramatic moment in a speech; they remain cool and appraising, as if they were standing back from the rest of him to rate himself and his audience. You can see him assessing his effect on his listeners as he speaks. In my book, that's working a crowd, not charisma. I don't deny that it's impressive that less than 50 years after the fall of racial segregation, America seems capable of electing its first black president. (Who is, of course, half-white. It's a curious fact about liberal America that it continues to accept the old white supremacist notion that any amount of African blood in a man makes him "black" — but that's a subject for another column, too.)

This is something America can justifiably feel proud of. And indeed it does feel proud of it — to the point, one suspects, that the only racism at work in Mr. Obama's campaign is the kind that is in his favor. To ask a politically incorrect question: If the junior senator from Illinois, with two years of undistinguished service in the Senate behind him, were white, could he ever have succeeded in making himself a serious presidential contender? Who would have taken the slightest interest in him?

Mr. Obama is, as Brutus said of Cassius, a lean and hungry man. But does that qualify him to run the most powerful country on earth? [...]

All this is before one considers the sorry case of Jeremiah Wright, the pastor of Mr. Obama's congregation in the United Church of Christ who has reportedly called Jews "bloodsuckers" and who recently presented Louis Farrakhan with a "lifetime achievement" award in a gala ceremony.

A prominent Jewish communal leader from Chicago whom I talked to the other day tried to reassure me that this wasn't so serious. He can vouch for the fact, he said, that Mr. Obama has nothing against Jews or Israel.

I daresay he's probably right. But the problem, as has been observed, is not that Mr. Obama needs to be suspected of agreeing with Pastor Wright. It's that he didn't think it sufficiently important to disagree with him by getting up and leaving his church.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 22, 2008 11:51 AM
Comments

But the problem, as has been observed, is not that Mr. Obama needs to be suspected of agreeing with Pastor Wright. It's that he didn't think it sufficiently important to disagree with him by getting up and leaving his church.

Which is, to put it another way, another version of the same attack commonly made on other politicians, including Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, and others, from whom responses are expected, and therefore the attack is not out of bounds.

Posted by: John Thacker at January 22, 2008 2:42 PM

This tells us something very significant about the candidate and his pastor. Those who hate Israel, hate America. Their reasons for hating Israel are reasons for hating their own country as well.

Posted by: Lou Gots at January 23, 2008 5:39 PM
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