Skip to main content


Showing posts from May 4, 2008
Obama and the Politics of Symbolism Some time ago, I wrote that Barack Obama may well be undeserving of the high praise he engendered from nearly all quarters (myself included) regarding his ability to transcend race, politics, and division. Certainly, this man has some obvious weaknesses that now threaten this hagiographic narrative. How will this man--who has not only failed to repudiate the politics of identity, but actively embraced them--going to restart the dialogue on racism in America? How will this utterly conventional liberal--who not only rejects conservative thought, but shows a very limited ability to interact meaningfully with it--going to change political culture from poisonous to one of respectful disputation? All these and more are worthy challenges to the preferred Obama narrative. BUT, we’re way past policy in some ways now. The criticisms that Obama is a blank slate upon which we project our desires (and policy preferences) is a valid one, perhaps the most valid of