Then there is ... the American art of "junk politics," especially as practiced by the Republicans, and its unpredictable, often devastating effects. When will the below-the-belt stuff begin? On what Internet site will the first photomontages appear of Barack Obama tricked up as a radical Islamist? How many other pastors à la Jeremiah Wright will we see paraded out by "527s," groups on the fringes of the principal parties that are allowed, without bearing any moral or financial responsibility, to launch all kinds of slanderous campaigns?Can you get things wrong with questions? Why, yes you can! Note the sleaziness of implying that Republicans will begin the "below-the-belt stuff" at some point, when we know that below-the-belt stuff has already happened and it came from that Democratic source known as the Hillary Clinton campaign.
And this notion of "other pastors à la Jeremiah Wright" implies that Wright was just some pastor unfairly associated with Obama and not the religious leader Obama chose and stuck with for 20 years. And 527s have no financial responsibility? They're responsible for paying for their own ads. Presumably, Lévy's referring to their independence from the legal restrictions that apply to the campaigns. And as for "moral responsibility" — we all have moral responsibility, and if there is actual "slander," there can be lawsuits to hold 527s responsible.
Anyway, Lévy identifies 3 reasons why he thinks Obama will win:
1. America has changed. ... America is no longer a Protestant, Anglo-Saxon country, European by tradition and white by vocation, that cannot seriously imagine a black man running for the presidency....Not much of a reason why he will win. Obviously, Obama's success to this point establishes that Americans can "seriously imagine" him running. Lévy is so stingy about saying anything complimentary about Americans that he won't make his own point more strongly. He could say: a large proportion of Americans love the idea of a black President.
But Lévy pads out his first point with verbiage about the America that went "far right" after 9/11 and opposes abortion and Darwinism. Without establishing that people with such opinions are racist, Lévy simply decides that they are giving up. He tells us that he perceives their efforts as "the shock and desperate mobilization of an America that knows it is dying but is trying nonetheless to delay the moment when it realizes it must surrender." The Frenchman exhibits pride in his sharp, early perception of the need for surrender. That's rich.
2. Obama is not a typical African-American. Unlike, say, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton or Condoleezza Rice, he does not carry with him the heritage of slavery or the memory of segregation because he was born of a Kenyan father.Note to Lévy: Men don't bear children. Your pretentious locution is generating ludicrous errors. (Note to commenters: Spare me references to the "pregnant man.")
The difference is enormous, because the mirror he holds up to America is no longer one that reflects those dark times, no longer one of unbearable ancestral culpability. Barack Obama can win because he is the first African-American to take, by the grace of his birth, a step away from the two sides of a deep divide--and the first who may now play the card--not of condemnation or damnation--but of seduction, and--as he says over and over--of reconciliation.So point #1 is that we're not racists anymore, but point #2 is that we still kind of are. And these are 2 of the 3 reasons Obama will be President? Lévy could make point #2 more strongly, and why doesn't he? The point is that white Americans love the idea of transcending race, and Obama has cleverly exploited that hope. But, as Jesse Jackson reminded us the other day, that can be a tricky enterprise. So #2 could be a reason that Obama will win, or it could be a reason why he's come this far but will be tripped up in the end.
So there's one more reason left. This better be good:
3. He is good.Ha ha. It is good!
What I mean is that he is not only the most charismatic but also the most gifted politician produced by the Democratic machine in a long time.Charismatic and gifted? Has such an amazing combination ever been seen before? Good lord. Did you know that Obama is also tall and has impressive height? Simultaneously!
So, yeah, anyway, okay, Obama is charismatic and gifted. We know that. It's gotten him very far. He defeated Hillary. But is there no limit to what you can do with charisma?
IN THE COMMENTS: Simon says:
All of this is designed to set up the narrative that if Obama loses, it's because we're a racist country. Cut away the fluff, and that's the clear purpose of this an a million similar commentaries advancing the same idea. To say that Obama will win because we aren't racists any more is to claim - or at least set the stage for the claim - that if he lost, the opposite is true.Exactly.
"On what Internet site will the first photomontages appear of Barack Obama tricked up as a radical Islamist?"
It's true that the Rethuglican noise machine does things like that. Remember the last Senate election in Connecticut, when Republicans depicted then-Democratic Senator Lieberman in blackface? Oh, wait... Hold on, that wasn't the Republican party, it was the left.
"[I]f there is actual 'slander,' there can be lawsuits to hold 527s responsible."
Indeed. There is a reason why Senator Kerry has never sued anyone over the so-called swift boat veterans' claims.
Obama is not a typical African-American. Unlike, say, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton or Condoleezza RiceHa ha.
If the guy wasn't a Frenchman unfamiliar with American society I'd be tempted to call him out for racism. Referring to Sharpton and Jackson as "typical African-Americans" is an insult to black people. For that matter, the term "typical African-American" is suspect to begin with.
What I mean is that he is not only the most charismatic but also the most gifted politician produced by the Democratic machine in a long time.
So has Bill Clinton officially lost his status as "charismatic and brilliant politician", or does Levy think it has been "a long time" since the 1990s?
The Drill SGT said:
The difference is enormous, because the mirror he holds up to America is no longer one that reflects those dark times, no longer one of unbearable ancestral culpability. Barack Obama can win because he is the first African-American to take, by the grace of his birth, a step away from the two sides of a deep divide--and the first who may now play the card--not of condemnation or damnation--but of seduction, and--as he says over and over--of reconciliation.So Lévy managed, in short order, to forget Bill Clinton and Colin Powell.
Forgive me for thinking that Colin Powell could have had the Republican nomination for the asking and likely the WH if Alma Powell hadn't said no.
I was wondering why anyone cares about this guy and found out that Wikipedia is not a fan:Oh, so then he does know about defamation lawsuits. He likes to bring them for mere insults. So that's why he thinks the 527 are not held accountable? In America, we get to insult each other with impunity. I can say John Kerry is not a war hero and there's not a damned thing he can do about it.
Critics of Lévy are not limited to pie-throwers, however; French journalists Jade Lindgaard and Xavier de la Porte, in a biography of the philosopher, claimed that "In all his works and articles, there is not a single philosophical proposition." The book is contested, however, and Lévy sought legal action against the authors.
You can see why Lévy doesn't like America. It's harder to sue your critics here.
By the way, LOL at "Wikipedia is not a fan."
Former law student said:
Don't be so hard on his "born of a Kenyan" locution; note that the article was Translated from the French by Sara Sugihara.Oh. Good point. So maybe he didn't say "surrender" either. This "translated from the French" business is frustrating to textualist bloggers like me. If that is supposed to be a defense, I will counter with a new attack: How can this man purport to instruct us on the subtleties of American political discourse if he doesn't write in English?