Wednesday, October 31, 2012
I am thinking of some writers from the liberal intellectual coterie (and conservatives as well) who have made some interesting pronouncements of late regarding the 44th president.
One such writer is Richard Cohen (h/t Lauren Victoria Burke) who found it necessary to pen what I am sure he believes was an honest heartfelt critique and assessment of the president before grudgingly giving him his endorsement.
"One of the more melancholy moments of the presidential campaign occurred for me in a screening room. The film was Rory Kennedy’s documentary about her mother, Ethel — the widow of Robert F. Kennedy. Much of it consisted of Kennedy-family home movies, but also film of RFK in Appalachia and in Mississippi among the pitifully emaciated poor. Kennedy brimmed with shock and indignation, with sorrow and sympathy, and was determined — you could see it on his face — to do something about it. I’ve never seen that look on Barack Obama’s face.
Instead, I see a failure to embrace all sorts of people, even members of Congress and the business community. I see diffidence, a reluctance to close. I see a president for whom Afghanistan is not just a war but a metaphor for his approach to politics: He approved a surge but also an exit date. Heads I win, tails you lose....
....I once wondered if Obama could be another RFK. The president has great political skills and a dazzling smile. He and his wife are glamorous figures. He’s a black man, and that matters greatly. He remains a startling figure for a nation that was still segregating its schools when I was growing up — and killing the occasional person who protested.
History was draped over Obama like a cape. His bona fides in that sense were as unimpeachable as Bobby Kennedy’s. The crowd adored Obama, although not as much as I think he adored himself. Liberals were intolerant of anyone who had doubts. Obama was not a man, but a totem. A single critical column from me during the campaign triggered a fusillade of invective. The famous and esteemed told me off. I was the tool of right-wing haters, a dope of a dupe...
..Obama never espoused a cause bigger than his own political survival. This is the gravamen of the indictment from the left, particularly certain African Americans. They are right. Young black men fill the jails and the morgues, yet Obama says nothing. Bobby Kennedy showed his anger, his impatience, his stunned incredulity at the state of black America. Obama shows nothing.
On the movie screen, Robert F. Kennedy’s appeal is obvious: authenticity. He cared. He showed it. People saw that and cared about him in return. With Obama, the process is reversed. It’s hard to care about someone who seems not to care in return. I will vote for him for his good things, and I will vote for him to keep Republican vandals from sacking the government. But after watching Bobby Kennedy, I will vote for Obama with regret. I wish he was the man I once mistook him for."
Yes Mr. Cohen, Barack Obama is in love with himself. Which politician isn't? Here is a newsflash for you: The Kennedy boys-including the one you worshiped- all loved themselves as well.
It's sad that Cohen saw Obama's smile before all else. Most of us who happen to be African American cringe when we see these types of pronouncements. As if all the Magic Negro had to do was smile and all of our problems would go away. (I am not sure what kind of look on President Obama's face Mr. Cohen was looking for) Sadly, competence and hard work is not praised, but rather, with the black president, it is seen as being distant and arrogant. Mr. Cohen, like some other whites this election cycle, will not be on the O train for that very reason: The "dazzling smile" didn't last. And yet, Cohen admits that he will vote for President Obama (albeit with regret) because of the "good things" he did.
I guess Mr. Cohen just wanted him to do it with a bigger smile on his face.