Monday, October 20, 2008
George Will's tools
What a way to trope this shit. Asked about a cogent, reasoned Obama endorsement by a man who is a former secretary of state, a former national security adviser, a former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, and a farking Republican, Will opines about the political sweetness of blackness. Never mind that Powell's foreign policy cred is unassailable, he's a, you know, a fellow of the dark-skinned persuasion. Never mind Powell's stated concerns for the tenor of the campaign and what it shows about the state of Republicanism, he's NOT WHITE.
And with the right tools, the sort of tools you can use to trump rational judgments based upon sober examinations of policy and fact, Will can measure the feel-good yumminess factor that motivates people to want an African American president. Not a man we think is best suited for the job, but a black man.
This is deplorable psychobabble of the worst kind. Some guy on a Sunday morning talk show claims he knows why millions of people hold a political opinion. He knows their motivations. He reads their inner thoughts and divines their desires. Powell, me, and millions of Americans say we favor Obama because of facts, values and policy. Our support is based on his temperament, his strength of character, his tax policies, his sober assessment of the condition of the economy, his evident pragmatism in matters concerning international relations. We have weighed these things in our minds and reached a reasoned conclusion in Obama's favor.
But according to Will, somehow really it's about sweet, sweet black skin and liberal guilt and making ourselves feel good. That and a wish to consign Al Sharpton to the dustbin of history.
And we only need the right tools to measure this effect. Tools. How scientific. He wants tools. Tools to measure a spurious political effect that he's just pulled out of his ass so he won't have to actually consider that Powell thinks Obama's the better candidate.
Shit rulers. Turdometers. Poop calipers.
So what did Powell say?
McCain is unsure about how best to deal with the crisis in our financial markets. Selecting Palin as his running mate was an error of judgment because she is not ready to assume the office of the president. At the same time Obama has "displayed a steadiness, an intellectual curiousity, a depth of knowledge" and a "way of doing business that would serve us well." McCain and the Republicans have become narrower and narrower. Obama has proved to be inclusive in his campaign. Harping on Bill Ayers, as McCain has, is irrelevant to the nation's very real concerns. McCain/Palin would push the Supreme Court to further the right. The Republicans have played the Muslim card to a polarizing effect on the body politic.
Who do we as a nation need now as president? Obama can inspire, is inclusive in his politics, has a great rhetorical gift, has substance as well as style. He is a "transformational figure."
There's more but blackness ain't there except insofar as Powell speaks of Obama's reaching out across racial barriers.
Liberal feel-goods and Sharpton shut-ups didn't make it to the party. So what's to measure, George? When you get your tools where you gonna stick 'em?