Thursday, February 26, 2009

First Things: George Weigel on the 2008 Election

In the excellent March ‘09 issue of First Things is a thoughtful article on the 2008 election by George Weigel. “A Campaign of Narratives” is one of the best summaries of the current political culture I’ve come across.

Now I do disagree with his attributing the ‘08 result to Bush Derangement Syndrome. To be sure, there was plenty of that going around along with the flu. But methinks the sudden downward spiral in the economy is what put Obama over. Remember that McCain was ahead, then the refuse hit the fan in September, and he fell and never recovered. And it is hard to conceive how the candidate of the party then in the White House could have recovered under such a circumstance.

But Weigel nails the political culture in a number of areas. Two areas stand out.

First, he notes well the “secular millenarianism,” even “chiliastic enthusiasm,” behind the adulation of Obama and finds it “deeply troubling” as do I. For the 20th Century shows us that “the passionate investment of inchoate utopian hopes in a political leader is almost always bad news.”

(By the way, that scary adoration of Obama and the dangerous impulses that accompany that are what I mock when I refer to him as “Dear Leader.” I don’t equate Obama with Kim Jong-il.)

Second, he indicts the “mainstream media” for its negligent bias. And the harm that bias inflicts on our political discourse continues. I found the following particularly damning.

But at no point . . . did the national media explain . . . the relation between the credit crunch and the housing policies of the Carter and Clinton administrations [such as pressuring banks to write uncreditworthy mortgages –ed.], or the cozy relations that had built up between current Democratic congressional leaders and the senior management of the about-to-crumble Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Were the partisan shoe on the other foot – such that, say, Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, rather than Chris Dodd and Barney Frank, were in the political-economic crosshairs – it is inconceivable that serious investigative reporting would not have ensued.

Absolutely right. And that news media omission is a dereliction of duty that continues even as those two charlatans among many constantly preen in front of the cameras and inflict further harm on our economy and nation.

Well, as you can tell, I could get a really good rant on. So I’ll exercise Lenten restraint here and end by commending the article and the March ‘09 issue of First Things to my good readers.

No comments: