Friday, January 04, 2008

A New Obama Paradigm?

Clearly, the Democratic Presidential race is far from over. It probably is, though, for a fucking stupid-ass like Rudy Guiliani, but not for Edwards or Clinton, who have the union backing and Super-Duper Tuesday ad monies to go on until South Carolina, or, perhaps, longer.

Still, one cannot help but feel upbeat about The Senator's victory in Iowa's frozen hinterland. On the surface, it was an historical moment in American politics. It was a watershed moment on the racial frontier. A ceiling has been cracked; "The Bradley Effect" was broken. Obama won statewide in what can only be properly construed as a very white state. In doing so, registering a tens of thousands of new voters, he may have tipped the state into the blue category. Political scientists up until this point quietly conceded -- as did both parties -- in closed sessions of academic discussions that an African-American could not win a statewide election. That's why few African-Americans are offered up for Governor (even by the democrats), and, tragically, this is why there is only one single sitting black Senator (There have only been 5 historically). But Deval Patrick's victory in Massachusetts and Doug Wilder's not-too-long-ago in Virginia may, just may, cut through the fog of cigar smoke and postprandial brandies in the statehouses across the country (Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment).

What is most interesting about Obama is his revolutionary internationalist foreign policy, one in which he has been --with great reason -- purposefully ... vague. The Corsair says "with great reason" because we cannot fail to note that Senator John Kerry may have ruined himself with his New York Times magazine interview a month before the 2004 election in which he revealed that in his estimation Islamic terrorism was a matter of international law.

George Bush, playing on the insecurities of Americans, hammered the clueless, bloodless Kerry. And Osama's disgusting last-minute straight-to-DVD number delivered on the doorstep of the election. Kerry should have kept his trap shut; elections can only be lost on the subject of foreign policy. It is far easier to make fun of "nuance" than to explain syuch things as diplomatic linkage. International relations has a ten-year learning curve and Republicans are reptile-clever about shooting down complex left-of-center foreign idealism in 1940s gangster accents. One of the great comic pleasures of The Corsair's life is to listen to an uneducated punk like Guiliani channel his best Jimmy Cagney-hard-ass-talk and say, stupidly, something along the lines of, "We're gonna get 'dem lousy Islamo-fascists."

If Giuliani were really true to the character (Averted Gaze), really committed to the role he was playing, he would have oscillated wildly and flexed his fucking bicep like an aggrieved Lou Ferrigno in The Hulk, and let out a lusty man-roar. Fucking Giuliani (The Corsair expectorates into the blogosphere).

Obama, by contrast, channeled his most sophisticated Niccolo Machiavelli in remaining cryptic about the multilateralism that underlies his foreign policy goals. The brilliant and sexy Samantha Power is a senior advisor is a committed human-rights-centered multilateralist with a voluminous record in magazines, television appearances and books.

It is not cool -- electorally -- to be smart about international politics. Intelligence, sophistication, cultivation and being well-travelled, to the Evangelicals, suggest a Satanic nature. The Republicans, playing for the cheap seats, will pronounce you to be vaguely French. And when they say it, dear reader, they will say in a fucking John Wayne accent.

That's how stupid -- and devastatingly effective -- their rhetorical method has become.

And that's why Obama should continue to paint hazy, sun-tinted Turneresque word pictures. But for those of us who know -- ha-mavin, yavin -- the pentimento painting hidden underneath is after the fashion of the labyrinthine Mannerists.

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