Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Idea of Obama

I don't mind the sad goodbyes to Obama as much as the deceptive side of the anti-Trump complaints.  I would rather hear someone like something than hate something, even if I feel it is undeserved.  Granted, some of the "I sure will miss Obama" statements are disguised Trump-criticism, which irritate me for their lack of honesty, but most seem sincere enough.

Yet they are puzzling.  The constant focus on his dignified manner still strikes me as racially-tinged, rather like the use of the word "articulate" used to be. Because it was seldom used about white people it had a suggestion of condescension in it, as if it was notable and surprising that a black person could be articulate - or dignified. Perhaps I am over-reading. But does anyone mention "gosh how dignified that Joe Biden is?"

All manner of virtues and successes are being attributed to Barack.  I disagree that he is compassionate, but I can at least see where that impression comes from, and give him at least a mixed review. I think he has been racially divisive, but I can at least see the argument that he has tried to move us toward racial harmony.  He has just done it in counterproductive ways because of his underlying assumptions. But tonight there was a post about women being better off now, and all he has done for girls and women around the world.  What are they thinking of, specifically? Or that he is respected around the world, another that I saw last night.  Take that country by country and see if that holds up. It's that halo effect coming into play again.  Obama is a wonderful person who works hard to do good things.  This is a good thing.  Therefore Obama must be working hard on it. *

As it was at the beginning of his presidency, so it is at the end.  People like the idea of Obama. The blank-screen candidate - by his own description - is still largely perceived as the person that his people want him to be, the president that his people wanted him to be. So long as he never renounced that or had a huge visible fall, they can continue to believe that myth, however short of that goal he fell.  Incidentally, he may finally fall off the map in terms of Jewish support, because of his actions in the last year, confirming the suspicions of the previous years. I suppose it doesn't much matter now.

Conservative sites are very excited at how much of his legacy is eroding, and how ineffectual he will soon be revealed to have been.  I think they are miscalculating. Jack Kennedy is still revered. Nostalgia doesn't work along reasonable lines.

*People believe things about Jesus in much the same way.


Grim said...

You could be right, although the guy I'd look to isn't JFK but Teddy Kennedy. JFK wasn't around anymore, and thus was a safe place to locate one's dreams of an ideal leader. Barack Obama had his six (as James Bond said), and will stick around indefinitely to pout about how it turned out. I doubt that will be as attractive, unless like Teddy he's able to find some role in which he continues to be a reliable vote for their side.

In that case, of course, everything is always forgiven.

Texan99 said...

I'm forced to admit that Trump's buffoonery will make Obama's more buttoned-up style seem endearing in retrospect. I comfort myself with the hope that Trump's cabinet will ameliorate a lot of damage that Obama's cabinet did.

Sam L. said...

The media will protect and promote Obama unto their dying days. Which may be approaching.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Sam, I think their fates are indeed entwined, and that will be...interesting. Obama and the legacy media might both lose 2% credibility a year, which conservatives can simply wait out, if they are smart.

Which they won't be, of course. They will impatiently want to pile on, and thus preserve his reputation longer as a counter-reaction.

Sam L. said...

A guy can hope, AVI; a guy can hope.