Speaking of Obama, does anyone else find something weirdly symmetrical in Alexander Cockburn’s response to Obama’s speech and Christopher Hitchens’? Somewhere in the shared biography of the two is some deep insight into the New Left and its aftermath. Cockburn:
Barack Obama’s speech in Philadelphia about race stuck pretty carefully to the unwritten rules of a national conversation, in marked contrast to the sermons of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, whose stimulating rhetoric has caused such an extraordinary affront–if you will–to the conversing classes.
The junior senator from Illinois is a master at drowning the floundering swimmer he purports to rescue while earning credit for extending a manly hand in solidarity. I noticed this the first time I wrote about Obama, back in the spring of 2006, when Ned Lamont was trying to make the disgusting political conduct of Senator Joseph Lieberman part of the national conversation, at least among Democrats. Obama hastened to a big political dinner in Connecticut to cut the conversation off and denounce any deviations from support of his mentor Lieberman.
It’s been more than a month since I began warning Sen. Barack Obama that he would become answerable for his revolting choice of a family priest. But never mind that; the astonishing thing is that it’s at least 11 months since he himself has known precisely the same thing. “If Barack gets past the primary,” said the Rev. Jeremiah Wright to the New York Times in April of last year, “he might have to publicly distance himself from me. I said it to Barack personally, and he said yeah, that might have to happen.” Pause just for a moment, if only to admire the sheer calculating self-confidence of this. Sen. Obama has long known perfectly well, in other words, that he’d one day have to put some daylight between himself and a bigmouth Farrakhan fan. But he felt he needed his South Side Chicago “base” in the meantime. So he coldly decided to double-cross that bridge when he came to it. And now we are all supposed to marvel at the silky success of the maneuver.