January 15, 2010

AMERICAN HISTORY IS THE WAR ON INTELLECTUALS:

The Obama Agenda on the Precipice: We’ll soon find out whether even Massachusetts is willing to follow him off the cliff. (Mark Steyn, 1/15/10, National Review)

Now, this is Massachusetts, so the Dems may yet regain control of the spinout and get back on track for victory. If not, they’ve already taken the precaution of tossing Martha Coakley under the bus the way her minder sent that guy to the sidewalk. Martha? Oh, hopeless candidate. Terrible campaign. Difficult climate. Yes, but this is Massachusetts. Tone-deaf candidates running on nothing but a sense of their own entitlement are all but compulsory: This is a land where John Kerry demonstrates the common touch by windsurfing off Nantucket in buttock-hugging yellow Spandex.

As for the “climate,” that gets closer to the truth — but, as my colleague Jonah Goldberg pointed out, in this case the Democrats created the climate. If Scott Brown gives Martha Coakley a run for her money on Election Day, Jan. 19, 2010, will be a direct consequence of Jan. 20, 2009. Once upon a time, Barack Obama — in the words of Newsweek editor Evan Thomas — was “standing above the country, above the world, he’s sort of God.” Seeking to explain why the God of Hope had fallen farther faster than any modern president, David Brooks of the New York Times argued that the tea-party movement had declared war on “the educated class.” He seemed to think this was some sort of inverted snobbery: If “the educated class” is for it — “health” “care” “reform,” cap-&-trade, Miranda rights for terrorists — Joe Six-Pack and his fellow knuckledragging morons are reflexively opposed to it.

This almost exactly inverts what really happened over this last year. “The educated class” turned out to be not that educated — if, by “educated,” you mean knowing stuff. They were dazzled by Obama: My former National Review colleague Christopher Buckley wrote cooing paeans to his “first-class intellect” and “temperament.” I used to joke that “temperament” was for the Obammysoxers of “the educated class” what hair was to Tiger Beat reporters. But you don’t really need analogies. As David Brooks noted after his first meeting with Obama, “I was looking at his pant leg and his perfectly creased pant, and I’m thinking, a) he’s going to be president and b) he’ll be a very good president.” And once you raised your eyes above pant level it only got better: “Our national oratorical superhero,” gushed New York magazine, “a honey-tongued Frankenfusion of Lincoln, Gandhi, Cicero, Jesus, and all our most cherished national acronyms (MLK, JFK, RFK, FDR).”

Where’d that guy go? “People once thought Obama could sound eloquent reading the phone book,” wrote Michael Gerson in the Washington Post last week. “Now, whatever the topic, it often sounds as though he is.”

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 15, 2010 7:45 PM
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