Mark Steyn on Barack Obama’s Voters

I commend to you the “Happy Warrior” on the last page of the current National Review (which I just got today).  In it, Mark Steyn (he of America Alone/I’m being blacklisted by the Canadian Human Rights Court fame) talks about what voters are looking for in a president, and that it’s far too much compared to what presidents can deliver.  A sample, and then you’ll have to go find a copy of NR for yourself:

It’s a bit late in the day to say what I’m looking for in a candidate. So let me say what I’m looking for in a voter. It was nicely summed up by Marc Ambinder of The Atlantic, contrasting McCain and Obama back at the end of primary season as they clinched their respective nominations: “The enormous crowd in the Xcel center seems ready to lift Obama on its shoulders; the much smaller audience for McCain’s speech interrupted his remarks with stilted cheers.”…

The speech that so moved Marc Ambinder was one Senator Obama largely devoted to the significance of himself: “I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”

“Heal” is the operative word here. Barack is not one of those warrior kings who cure sick children on weekend breaks from slaughtering foreigners, but rather the apotheosis of a therapeutic culture: He will “heal” the planet and thereby bring “closure” to the Bush era. The other day I found myself stuck in traffic behind one of his Hopemobiles — that’s to say, a van whose rear bore a giant poster in vaguely Soviet-realist style of the Great Healer captioned not by his name but only by his message: “HOPE.” Smaller placards dotted around it fleshed out his policy platform: “KIDS’ FUTURE? VOTE DEMOCRATIC.” “HOPE NOT FEAR? VOTE DEMOCRATIC.” I felt a sudden desire to order up a gross of bumper stickers bearing the slogan “FEAR HOPE.”

Excellent.  This would be enough to make me subscribe, if I didn’t already.



3 thoughts on “Mark Steyn on Barack Obama’s Voters

  1. I second your praise of Steyn. He’s my favorite political writer out there. Although I don’t know if the “stilted cheers” he talked about were due to peoples’ lack of trust in princes, or simply their displeasure with the current GOP nominee.

    I’ll agree that many (maybe even most?) on the left have made government their religion—the god they look to and ask for help in their times of trouble—and therefore politicians being their priests and messiahs. But this time around I’m noticing a lot of that from the right too. Did you see the crowd’s reaction at the GOP convention when Palin came out? The place went nuts, and, in my view, not necessarily in a good way. They cheered for so long, and showed so much emotion is was embarrassing. More than a few people had tears in their eyes.

    I’m all for supporting your team, and cheering on your man (or woman, in this case), but this spooked me a little. I mean, it was something I actually noticed and thought about for a while after the event.

    Would that the crowd only gave up three stilted cheers at that event because they ultimately don’t place their trust in princes and what they’re able to accomplish. I’m not so sure anymore that even the right isn’t starting to look to government and politicians in an almost spiritual sense. Maybe not in the sense that they look to the government to provide for all their wants and needs, but perhaps more in seeing the government as the way to defeat the forces of evil. (And that’s not specifically a shot at Bush, since I’ve supported the guy in the past, and think he made some good choices.) I think even many on the right are placing an unhealthy trust in what government can and cannot do.

  2. I think you make some really good observations, Scott. Although, I think it’s more appropriate to use the word “Republican” rather than “right”… many of us who are “right” thinking have come to realize how the Republican Party has succumbed to deifying the State like the Democrats. Republican-driven programs and ideas like “No Child Left Behind,” the Wall Street Bailout, Medicare Reform, and the like are but a few examples of how Republicans have now come to look to the nanny state as something “necessary” and even desirable.

    While I don’t believe the Republicans and Democrats are yet indistinguishable, they are certainly headed in that direction. Hopefully, the Republican Party reforms itself from within soon and returns to their previous doctrines of limited government, personal freedom and a more protectionist economy. One can only pray for another Calvin Coolidge! 🙂

  3. I would accept the substitution of “Republican” for “right”, but if that’s the case, I think the recent election shows that the non-Republican right is all but non-existent, or that the right still thinks they can still vote with the current set of Republican candidates and hope that it somehow changes. Which is kind of absurd thinking. Why would a politician change a formula that they know wins?

    Who knows. I am actually a little surprised at the current election in this way—not that Obama won (as McCain’s campaign was terrible)—but that there wasn’t more dissent from the McCain ticket (especially in states that were obviously going blue). If there was clear dissent at least in those places, it would be easier to accept that “right” and “Republican” weren’t interchangeable.

    It will be interesting to see what the GOP does in the next four years. It is obvious that much of the media on the right, including talk-radio, magazines, and even blogs, only supported McCain because they thought Obama was the lesser of two evils. But how long can the people in those positions keep supporting a party they can only vote for while holding their noses?

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