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"Each individual should allow reason to guide his conduct, or like an animal, he will need to be led by a leash."
Diogenes of Sinope


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Thousand Flowers tapestry (15th Century) - Beaune, France (detail)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Obama: "the trailer is anything but the movie"

Rex Murphy on President Obama in today's National Post - Pickup truck 1, Obama 0:
Obama is a parochial politician. He emerged from the small pool of the university environment and Chicago politics -- the former, I think, more significant than the latter. Take his jibes at Scott Brown's pickup, which he delivered repeatedly in Boston two days before the vote. Only the thickest of tin ears could imagine that slurs and put-downs about driving a pickup have any appeal beyond arugula snobs trading nose-in-the-air witticisms about rednecks.

On a much grander scale, the tin ear explains his defiance of genuine, widespread anxiety about his grand health reforms, and the grotesquely expanded expenditures, present and future, of the U.S. federal government. Obama has steadfastly refused to hear, or glided by, their deeply expressed concerns. He presumes, loftily, that his issues are the issues.

Which brings us to hubris. Nice to walk through a cloud of incense, but don't look for a daily fix. Obama's celebrated cool has translated for many into its flipside: extravagantly unearned self-assurance. With a persona that oscillates between professor and hipster, he patronizes -- he's either smarter or cooler than anyone else in the room, and, worse, looks very pleased to be both.

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