Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Just when I was ready to cut loose with a primal scream,

Camille Paglia pops up on Salon with a bracingly opinionated new column.

If you're even close to as sick as I am of the Clintons' folie à deux, it's a must read. Paglia does the best slash-and-burn dissection of Hillary's candidacy that I've read anywhere. But I'm going to stay positive tonight.
    As I recently told Mark Simone on his New York WABC radio show, the Rev. Wright controversy actually solidified my support of Obama (though Wright himself, on the basis of his performance at the National Press Club, seems to have become a buffoon). I was steadily impressed by Obama's idealism and deliberativeness; his refusal to spout the rote demagogic formulas that pour so freely from Hillary's lips; and his patient forbearance in debates, where (like an aikido master) he warily sidestepped Hillary's blatant provocations, meant to goad him into errors. He has a judicious, reflective, authentically presidential temperament.

    My one nagging question about Obama, given his Kenyan lineage and broad background in Indonesia and Hawaii as well as his Ivy League education, was how well he knew the history, passions and aspirations of African-American culture. But Obama's 20-year membership in Rev. Wright's Chicago megachurch completely reassured me on this score. First of all, sermons constitute only one small part of any congregation's rich religious and social life. Second, not for a moment do I believe -- as talk radio shows are tirelessly alleging -- that Obama's political views are secretly identical to Wright's. On the contrary, it was through listening to Wright, who was reciting a black liberationist theology that has been standard issue for a half-century, that Obama honed his desire to bridge the gap between racial and ethnic communities in the United States. This is one reason I believe Obama is the right person at the right time for the presidency. Where Hillary divides and sows bitterness, Obama wants to unite and heal. It is a project that all Americans of good will should wish to succeed.

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