Thursday, July 17, 2008

More on The New Yorker Cover

To the ranks of liberal pundits who are nearly as dumb, and every bit as reprehensible, as the people the July 21 New Yorker cover satirizes, add MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann. Fresh back from vacation, he joined in on last night’s “Crossfire.” Olbermann’s was the first anti-Bush voice to find a home in the corporate media. Needless to say, it didn’t happen until long after it might have done more good than it does now when only the most benighted still think well of the Torturer-in-Chief. Even so, for breaking through the media haze, we are all in Olbermann’s debt. But, now that Bush bashing has become the norm, Olbermann’s rants have become predictable and tiresome – making his lack of depth, and inability to appreciate irony, more striking.

Olbermann and the others would do well to look beyond the magazine’s cover. The “offending” issue contains a fine piece by Ryan Lizza on Obama’s years in Chicago and Illinois politics; it is called, appropriately, “Making It.” If Lizza’s detailed and subtle account is on track, Obama’s instincts are better than most, but he’s nevertheless a thoroughgoing opportunist – as any serious Presidential candidate would have to be. As such, he courted elite interests in Chicago from the outset. But he was and probably still is more than usually vulnerable to pressure from the base.

How to provide that pressure, and how to force Obama to focus his mind on it, is the challenge we will face between now and November – and, more importantly, after January 20, when Obama’s longstanding political ambitions are finally consummated.

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