Monday, May 05, 2008

Another Good Wrong Answer

(Like this one) for the Democratic Ragnarök comes from Kurt Andersen.

These last five years, both sides have grown so accustomed to feeling a visceral, sputtering disgust with George Bush that it has been a seamless, easy devolution this winter and spring from anti-Republican anger to factional, internecine anger. At the very moment we’d become fatigued by our too-familiar, practically rancid loathing of Bush, this new dislike of Hillary (or Obama) that welled up is a fresh, exciting flavor of red-meat contempt.

That is, I think it's a partial answer, but neither the whole one nor as important as it seems (the hatred for Reagan and anyone who touched him was just as intense, but didn't translate into this kind of campaign in 1992).

Kurt Andersen is an Obama fan. I am not an Obama supporter, based on his politics, but I do feel his appeal, and I like the guy. Kurt articulates this appeal well, though I might weight it slightly differently. And I think it has a lot to do with the fact Kurt was born about three month after I was and Obama was born less than a year after Kurt: He reminds us of guys we knew.

So it’s ironic that the media and their fellow upscale Americans are now disposed to like Obama precisely because he resembles them in so many ways. The difference is he’s relatively unsullied, an exquisite, idealized version of themselves: educated, thoughtful, twigged to nuance, a lovely writer, well-traveled, witty, cool, dignified, candid, a little quixotic, a clued-in grown-up but not yet ruined by the ugly facts of Washington life.

And, mirabile dictu, a perfectly postmodern embodiment of compromise between the hard binaries of race and age. He’s both white and black. Born on the very cusp of the baby boom and Generation X, he’s both oldish and youngish. And as a skinny, athletic, gentle-seeming, virtually metrosexual man, he nearly splits the difference on gender as well.