What I find most interesting about conservative criticism of Barack Obama, is the craven envy. It's personal and small and it drips from every word like acrid poison. You can practically feel teeth bared in distaste in the telling. Words out of place, descriptions bluely off-kilter, make their way into the lexicon of professionals whose job it is to write to their readership or speak before those who hold their opinion in some esteem. Presumably it is to better them to their civic responsibility.
Karl Rove's description of Sen. Obama is not new news:
Even if you never met him, you know this guy. He's the guy at the country club with the beautiful date, holding a martini and a cigarette that stands against the wall and makes snide comments about everyone who passes by.
I could parse this statement six ways from Sunday as to how obnoxiously classist, elitist and racially unrealistic Rove's statement is, but it's already been done and I don't really have to. I know what I'm looking at. I'm looking at small man doing his best to tear down someone to whom he'd lose in competition.
Beta males can despise alpha males for their inherent abilities alone. And don't let a beta male get a little bit of power because he will claw his way through his betters to prove nothing more than he can. I've observed the dynamic at the myriad law firms, talent agencies, studios, and corporations I have worked at with not a small amount of chagrin, because it's transparent, as is Rove's statement. It's small. It's petty and puerile and envious.
And as an aside -- am I the only one who notices that Rove's statement that Obama is snide, is a little, errr, snide?
Now comes my new favorite conservative envy-monger, Charles Krauthammer.
And what exactly has he done in his lifetime to merit appropriating the Brandenburg Gate as a campaign prop? What was his role in the fight against communism, the liberation of Eastern Europe, the creation of what George Bush the elder -- who presided over the fall of the Berlin Wall but modestly declined to go there for a victory lap -- called "a Europe whole and free"?Lookit. Krauthammer is no slacker. Regardless of his clearly misguided political leanings, the man has accomplished. And presumably he can think and reason. Surely Krauthammer can recognize that these achievements that he finds absent from Obama's C.V. may be because he was, oh, I don't know, too young. But he neglects to factor that in? Why? To make the point that Obama wasn't a part of something he was too young to be a part of?
Another aside -- so what are Bush the lesser's merits? Just asking.
Does Obama not see the incongruity? It's as if a German pol took a campaign trip to America and demanded the Statue of Liberty as a venue for a campaign speech. (The Germans have now gently nudged Obama into looking at other venues.)Okay, I'd like to see the upshot of this. Call me an Obamaniac, but I cannot imagine that he or his campaign would throw a hissy-fit because the Germans demur on his using something of theirs. Honestly, does Krauthammer believe that Obama really needs the Brandenburg Gate to provide an impressive photo op? Obama's got, what, a gazillion in his scrapbook all frakking ready.
More green-eyed acrimony, following a sentence about Sen. Obama's autobiography:
It is a subject upon which he can dilate effortlessly. In his victory speech upon winning the nomination, Obama declared it a great turning point in history -- "generations from now we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment" -- when, among other wonders, "the rise of the oceans began to slow." As Hudson Institute economist Irwin Stelzer noted in his London Daily Telegraph column, "Moses made the waters recede, but he had help." Obama apparently works alone.
Well, now he's being deliberately obtuse. I don't know what country Krauthammer was living in, but you could have knocked me and (I'll go out on a limb and say) him over with a feather when Obama won Iowa. And to become the nominee? Hoo boy. I didn't think I'd see it in my lifetime. Even if Obama does not gain the presidency, I will remember that night in the same part of my brain that holds the assassinations of the Kennedys and King, Armstrong walking on the moon, the shootings at Ohio State, the Apollo 13 disaster, Nixon resigning and 9/11 among others. Krauthammer may not hold in esteem Obama's nomination the way that I do, but for historic value alone, he should. It's small and petty not to acknowledge that fact.
And for the coup de grace of conservative professional opinion writing, Krauthammer offers this bit of transparency:
For the first few months of the campaign, the question about Obama was: Who is he? The question now is: Who does he think he is?
That's it? That's Krauthammer's summation of his whole essay? Why not "Neener neener neener?" Or "I know I am but what are you?" That way we can call this what it is -- really really high school. And small and envious.