Here's the New York Times' artfully-constructed redaction
of Obama's recent headlong rightward charge, and the base's response. It's a thing of
beauty, really -- the article, I mean, not the Obama campaign. The Times' capacity
to disguise a political tract as a piece of bland, factual news reportage has got
to be admired. I've snipped a good deal of flesh from the piece, the better to
reveal its elegant bone structure:
Obama Supporters on the Far Left Cry Foul
PORTLAND, Ore. — In the breathless weeks before the Oregon presidential primary in May, Martha Shade did what thousands of other people here did: she registered as a Democrat so she could vote for Senator Barack Obama.
Now, however... Ms. Shade said she planned to switch back to the Green Party.
“I’m disgusted with him,” said Ms. Shade, an artist. “I can’t even listen to him anymore. He had such an opportunity, but all this ‘audacity of hope’ stuff, it’s blah, blah, blah...."
While alarm may be spreading among... left-wing bloggers or purists....
There is also a wide streak of pragmatism.... in a party long vexed by factionalism.
“We’re frustrated by it, but we understand,” said Mollie Ruskin, 22... “He’s doing it so he can get into office and do the things he believes in.”
Nate Gulley, 23... said... “It’s self-evident that he’s a different kind of candidate.”
David Sirota, a liberal political analyst and author, [said] “I don’t think there’s disillusion.... He is a transformative politician, but he is still a politician.”
... Many Obama supporters said the most vocal complaining... was largely relegated to liberal bloggers and people who might otherwise support Ralph Nader... or Dennis J. Kucinich....
Kari Chisholm, who runs a blog, blueoregon.com, and does Internet strategy for Democratic candidates. “They believe their ideology is the only idealism and Obama’s is very mainstream. I’m not surprised they’re getting a little cranky. They’ve always been kind of cranky.”...
“I don’t think the test on him is in an explicitly narrow set of check boxes that have to get filled,” said Kevin Looper, executive director of Our Oregon, a liberal advocacy group. “I think it’s about do his campaign and his message embody serious changes for the direction of the country?”
Rhys Warburton, a 25-year-old Brooklyn resident... said... “It doesn’t make the others any better or more attractive to vote for.”
... “Seventy-five thousand people do not attend political rallies unless something truly magical is happening,” Bob Blanchard wrote....
“When [sc. 'where'? -- MJS] are these people going to go, anyway?” Mr. Blanchard said of left-wing critics...
Ms. Shade, the Green-turned-Democrat-returned-Green voter, spoke about Mr. Obama while leaning out her second-floor apartment window, where she has placed homemade signs urging the impeachment of President Bush. Others say “Free Gaza” and “Occupation is Terrorism.” She said twice that the American political system was “rotten.”
“You realize,” Ms. Shade said, her voice fading with resignation, “that you’re talking to somebody who’s pretty far out of the mainstream.”
And the piece closes with that elegiac dying fall. The only kind of person who'd object to Obama's new trajectory would be an obviously crazy
lady(*) like the evocatively-named Shade -- a "far left" "factionalist", a person who isn't "pragmatic," a "cranky" "idealist", the sort of "complainer" who "cries foul," very likely a Naderite (horror of horrors) and, needless to say, a "purist"
With enemies like Shade and her fellow loons, who needs friends -- or even reasons? It's "self-evident" that Obama is "different". Large attendance at a rally obviously shows he's "magical." He "embodies" everything that's good. He's not as bad as McCain -- in fact, he would have overtake and pass McCain in his rightward journey
before young Mr Warburton would reconsider.
And oh yes, he's "transformative," the sage David Sirota tells us.
This last claim particularly interests me. I'm not sure what Sirota means by it, or
why he believes it. The only transformation I've seen Obama perform is the transformation of thousands of bright, good-hearted young people into incoherent,
(*) Irony alert. I personally agree with everything Shade and her stickers say.