Obama encounters media skepticism

We live in an age of cynicism, so perhaps Barack Obama's vapidities will turn enough of the mainstream media into skeptics to burst his bubble a bit. After all, young people, the core of his enthusiastic and adulatory support, are alos prone to doubt the platitudes handed to them by anyone over 30.

Recently it is becoming almost intellectually cool to challenge Obama. The emotionalism of his supporters repels certain types of people. See this week's cover article in The Economist. The seduction phase is over; now we may face the prospect of living with this guy.

Mr Obama's voting record in the Senate is one of the most left-wing of any Democrat. Even if he never voted for the Iraq war, his policy for dealing with that country now seems to amount to little more than pulling out quickly, convening a peace conference, inviting the Iranians and the Syrians along and hoping for the best. On the economy, his plans are more thought out, but he often tells people only that they deserve more money and more opportunities. If one lesson from the wasted Bush years is that needless division is bad, another is that incompetence is perhaps even worse. A man who has never run any public body of any note is a risk, even if his campaign has been a model of discipline.

And the Obama phenomenon would not always be helpful, because it would raise expectations to undue heights. Budgets do not magically cut themselves, even if both parties are in awe of the president; the Middle East will not heal, just because a president's second name is Hussein. Choices will have to be made-and foes created even when there is no intention to do so. Indeed, something like that has already happened in his campaign. The post-racial candidate has ended up relying heavily on black votes (and in some places even highlighting the divide between Latinos and blacks).

We live in an age of cynicism, so perhaps Barack Obama's vapidities will turn enough of the mainstream media into skeptics to burst his bubble a bit. After all, young people, the core of his enthusiastic and adulatory support, are alos prone to doubt the platitudes handed to them by anyone over 30.

Recently it is becoming almost intellectually cool to challenge Obama. The emotionalism of his supporters repels certain types of people. See this week's cover article in The Economist. The seduction phase is over; now we may face the prospect of living with this guy.

Mr Obama's voting record in the Senate is one of the most left-wing of any Democrat. Even if he never voted for the Iraq war, his policy for dealing with that country now seems to amount to little more than pulling out quickly, convening a peace conference, inviting the Iranians and the Syrians along and hoping for the best. On the economy, his plans are more thought out, but he often tells people only that they deserve more money and more opportunities. If one lesson from the wasted Bush years is that needless division is bad, another is that incompetence is perhaps even worse. A man who has never run any public body of any note is a risk, even if his campaign has been a model of discipline.

And the Obama phenomenon would not always be helpful, because it would raise expectations to undue heights. Budgets do not magically cut themselves, even if both parties are in awe of the president; the Middle East will not heal, just because a president's second name is Hussein. Choices will have to be made-and foes created even when there is no intention to do so. Indeed, something like that has already happened in his campaign. The post-racial candidate has ended up relying heavily on black votes (and in some places even highlighting the divide between Latinos and blacks).