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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

"It's the empty suit, stupid!"

Related Link » Obama and Our Post-Modern Race Problem
The president always knew that his greatest appeal was not as a leader but as a cultural symbol.

“The lie of seeing clothes where there were none amounted to a sophistication — joining oneself to an obvious falsehood in order to achieve social acceptance. In such a sophistication there is an unspoken agreement not to see what one clearly sees — in this case the emperor's flagrant nakedness. America's primary race problem today is our new "sophistication" around racial matters. Political correctness is a compendium of sophistications in which we join ourselves to obvious falsehoods ("diversity") and refuse to see obvious realities (the irrelevance of diversity to minority development). I would argue further that Barack Obama's election to the presidency of the United States was essentially an American sophistication, a national exercise in seeing what was not there and a refusal to see what was there — all to escape the stigma not of stupidity but of racism. Barack Obama, elegant and professorially articulate, was an invitation to sophistication that America simply could not bring itself to turn down. If "hope and change" was an empty political slogan, it was also beautiful clothing that people could passionately describe without ever having seen. [...] A greater problem for our nation today is that we have a president whose benign — and therefore desirable — blackness exempted him from the political individuation process that makes for strong, clear-headed leaders. He has not had to gamble his popularity on his principles, and it is impossible to know one's true beliefs without this. In the future he may stumble now and then into a right action, but there is no hard-earned center to the man out of which he might truly lead.”

— By SHELBY STEELE, senior research fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, DECEMBER 29, 2009 (WSJ)
Mr. Steele presents an erudite essay on the guilt-ridden self-indulgence of the American electorate in November, 2008. His observations are insightful and unabashedly articulate. I urge my blog-readers to read the entire essay.

I have just a minor quibble. Steele bases his insights on their apparent analogy with the parable, "The Emperor's New Clothes", in which the mass hysteria is burst when a child observes naively that the emperor has no clothes.

I suggest that a much more accurate analogy is available from a paraphrasing of a phrase coined by Clinton-campaign strategist James Carville, "It's the economy, stupid", in which one substitutes "empty suit" for "economy".

America's electorate was mesmerized not by the fiction of a "clothed emperor" but by the fiction of a "full suit".

Post #1,064 "It's the empty suit, stupid!"

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