Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Hard Bigotry of Impossible Expectations

It's going to be a loooonng eight years.  This one's a few days old, as I've been busy and wasn't able to blog about it, but it still applies now.  Ezra had a post about Obama's reaction to the factory-worker's sit-in in Chicago, and how it was refreshing to have a President who would offer support to the workers in this kind of situation.  And he also cited this as a possible good sign of who Obama might pick for labor relations and that sort of thing.

And what Ezra wrote was entirely non-controversial and no serious person could find any problem with it.  And then we have the people who are convinced that Obama is a sell-out.

We start with S Brennan who begins by saying:
To a whole generation, speech extolling simple decency has become an act of extreme about the soft bigotry of lowered expectations.
But of course, Ezra didn't say this was "extreme courage" on Obama's part.  He was merely saying that Obama's reaction was a "meaningful shift" and was glad we could finally have a president who had the common sense to act in such a way.  But being one of those who must believe that Obama is a sell-out, Brennan had to convert Ezra's statement into higher praise than it was, while also downgrading Obama's actions into "simple decency."  And thus, a non-controversial post about how refreshing it is to have a decent president becomes another opportunity to bash Obama and his supporters.

Brennan then went on to imply that Obama was actually being somewhat cowardly, because he said this during "the holidays" and "nobody is listening."  I have no idea what that means, as this was a week after Thanksgiving and several weeks before Christmas, and is the time you'd expect for Obama to say such things.  More importantly, this was a fairly big story and LOTS of people were listening.  He then ends by saying that Ezra should instead have praised Obama for picking General Shinseki, before saying that this was a mistake because General Shinseki was more needed in the field.  It's as if he thinks Ezra was just looking for a chance to praise Obama, and picked the wrong one.

So in S Brennan's world, Ezra was wrong for highlighting something good that Obama said, wrong for praising Obama for saying something no one would hear, and wrong for even picking this subject to talk about, instead of picking another subject that Obama was wrong about.  And Obama was wrong for talking about the subject when it came up and for picking General Shinseki for a post that most people think he was a good choice for.

Obama Always Wrong

And really, it all comes down to not being able to win.  I don't know who this S Brennan person is and have never read anything else they've written.  But if I had to guess, I'd say that S Brennan has been warning us about Obama the whole time and will never be satisfied with any decision he makes.  There's always a downside.  Always some flaw that shows that Obama isn't one of us and doesn't deserve our praise.  Sure, he said the right thing regarding these factory workers, but he deserves no praise for it.

And that's how things will always look to people like Brennan.  Obama will be expected to do the right thing on every issue and will get no praise for it, and anything less than perfect performance will be heavily criticized as proof that he's sold us out.  And even issues that, in hindsight, show that Obama made the right choice and the Brennans were wrong for criticizing him, he'll never earn retro-active praise.  We saw that throughout the campaign, when Obama was attacked for making "mistakes" that would doom his candidacy, but which everyone forgot about because Obama picked the right choice and didn't doom him.  

And it all comes down to the fact that these people were too hasty to get ahead of the curve and predict that Obama would sell us out, and now they're required to see everything in that light, in order to justify that hasty decision.  It's really that simple.  They're too cool and cynical to fall for Obama's charade and anyone who did was a Kool-Aid drinker being taken for a ride.  They know it's true and we're all fools for not realizing it.  To them, Obama sold us out the day he was born and they're just on the look-out for the proof...and to make sure to shoot down any suggestion that he's not selling us out.

And to be honest, I think we need such people criticizing Obama.  We need people who reflexively attack him and offer knee-jerk criticisms that make no sense.  The world needs crazies on both sides to offer balance, by demonstrating how crazy an argument can get.  I just sort of wish they weren't so self-righteous about the whole thing.  I know, that's part of the whole package: That the reason they're criticizing Obama is because they're holier than thou purists who demand "perfection" from "their" candidate.  I just wish they wouldn't rub our noses in their craziness quite so much.

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