July 27, 2008
Obama the Postmodern CandidateBy David Bueche
Barack Obama has earned his place in history as the first postmodern candidate for president. He belongs to the deconstructionist school; his "texts" have no fixed meaning. He is able to take varying positions and claim consistency.
Senator Obama gave a lengthy interview earlier this week to ABC News in which he expounded on his ever-evolving position on the troop surge in Iraq.
Before discussing, a little context is in order. Here's a rundown of previous statements on the topic:
January 10, 2007, on MSNBC:
Also from January 2007:
May 25th, 2007:
September 13th, 2007:
November 11, 2007:
In early 2008, as statistical proof of The Surge's incredible success became indisputable, Mr. Obama abruptly reverses his assessment of the situation and his recollection of his own recent history:
January 5, 2008:
And now we've evolved to this:
July 21, 2008:
When asked if - knowing what he knows now - would Mr. Obama support the Troop Surge. He replied, "No." When asked to articulate he added
A few things are clear from this review of the candidate's own words:
Mr. Obama is on a nodding acquaintance with the concept of "truth."
It appears that everything he says and does must be viewed "in context" and that the framing of that context is the sole province of Barack Obama. Take the whole Reverend Wright issue for example. Over the course of six weeks we were told that he had no idea these things were said; he had a vague idea they were said; he knew they were said but could no more disown them than his occasionally racist grandmother; he had been personally disrespected and was through with Jeremiah Wright. Quite a bit of "context" to get from his initial statements to the end point a mere month and a half later...
Mr. Obama is entirely unwilling to admit he's ever wrong about anything.
Once again, the eerily prophetic, (no pun intended), experience with Reverend Wright and Trinity United is instructive. Absent from this extended public discussion was any admission that he had exercised poor judgment, reached faulty conclusions, learned a lesson etc. As we discovered when he disowned the very man that "he could no more disown" -- Barack lives in the eternal now, and at this point in time, this is what he thinks. End of story, end of discussion.
Mr. Obama will shamelessly say just about anything required to get elected.
The Media are at best useless, at worse, complicit.
This sort of post-modern, contextual concept of truth, although horrifying to many of us, is actually quite in vogue on the Left. A deconstructed, evolving narrative - far from being seen as evasive or dissembling - is seen as a "higher truth" that the flyover folks in Kansas and Nebraska obviously don't get. The fact that Mr. Obama blatantly contradicts his own factual assertions is immaterial to the fact that he "gets it".
This late in the game, no one really knows where he stands on anything.
The beauty of shamelessly appropriating all sides of an issue is that you're never really wrong. The problem is -- should Mr. Obama get elected - he will have to pick one side. You can't simultaneously support and abandon Iraq. You can't prohibit the Iranians from acquiring nuclear weapons but refuse to consider using force to stop them. You can't have it both ways -- ask George Bush, I'm sure he could give you an earful on the topic of hard choices.
If Barack Obama becomes the 44th President there will quickly come a day when he realizes that, although his buddies in media and academia really love this postmodern journey he's on, the rest of world looks to the President of the United States for fixed principles, clear convictions, and a well-grounded view of reality. Given what we've seen to date it's far from clear that Mr. Obama is intellectually or psychologically disposed to meet the challenge.
David Bueche blogs regularly at Compassionate Warmonger