Boy, oh, boy. I thought I was through with it. The whole “You have only to cast your eyes upon a page of Dreams from My Father to know that finally we are ruled by a philosopher king and Jedi master” thing. Okay, maybe nobody’s said Jedi master, but the specter of philosopher king hovers all over this effort by one of the local lights here in Denver. It’s chock full of breathless insights like:
There’s an inwardness to Obama’s prose, an ability to reflect on and make universal even the most personal experiences that’s extraordinary, especially for a politician.
I have previously identified the locus classicus of this phenomenon as here in this editorial by Garrison Keillor. If you’ve forgotten who the coolest kid in school is, you can read it again.
Now any or all of this might even be endurable if the issue of the authorship of Dreams had ever enjoyed anything approximating a full discussion. Jack Cashill has tried and, frankly, I think his latest post is pretty damning. But he’s speaking heresy (to wit, in the achievement of all that “inwardness” Obama likely had a lot of uncredited help) and, worse than that, he’s speaking it on the internet. I don’t expect a single soul in Big Media to budge and, if they would just get it over with and give Obama some kind of retroactive Pulitzer, we could be done with it. But there’s a couple of things.
First, they keep bringing it up. What a magician with words he is. And of course every gush is preceded by cheap shot at Bush, the syntactic black hole out of which Obama is purported to issue like a literary comet.
Second, it’s part of a larger and more general overestimation of Obama, something that threatens to bleed out of the campaign and into the presidency itself. Barack Obama is just a man. We hope he’s a very talented one, and there are admittedly some signs that he may well be. But they are not signs that he is more than a man. Varifrank issues a good warning on this score.
In all honesty, if I were African-American, I think I might have voted for Barack Obama too. That’s just human nature. A perfectly understandable racial and historical kinship might have caused me to overlook any misgivings I had about the man. I hope, however, I could have done it without elevating him to super human status. I wish he would have done a little more along the way to discourage that elevation himself. And I hope Big Media can finally collect its brains and quit adding to the problem. We’ve already got plenty of those.