Now, Now, Peter — Take A Breath

Getting back to my analysis of tweedy British academic and Christ Church pal Peter Hitchens’ analysis of Moscow and the presidential elections . . .

. . . I’m posting, contrary to my policy of using only my own writing for my blog, his breathless — nay, hysterical — summation of the appeal and character of Barack Obama. I don’t care what Peter Hitchens thinks of Obama, or of Moscow. I care greatly that so many on the American Right echo his patronizing, smug, and doom-saying assessment of the man I voted for, and particularly that it not only passes muster with our local Reformed pundits, but delights them as well. Almost as if it were an insightful, reasoned, balanced bit of commentary. Which, as I think you’ll see, it isn’t:

From the U.K. Daily Mail:

Anyone would think we had just elected a hip, skinny and youthful replacement for God, with a plan to modernise Heaven and Hell – or that at the very least John Lennon had come back from the dead.

The swooning frenzy over the choice of Barack Obama as President of the United States must be one of the most absurd waves of self-deception and swirling fantasy ever to sweep through an advanced civilisation. At least Mandela-worship – its nearest equivalent – is focused on a man who actually did something.

I really don’t see how the Obama devotees can ever in future mock the Moonies, the Scientologists or people who claim to have been abducted in flying saucers. This is a cult like the one which grew up around Princess Diana, bereft of reason and hostile to facts.

It already has all the signs of such a thing. The newspapers which recorded Obama’s victory have become valuable relics. You may buy Obama picture books and Obama calendars and if there isn’t yet a children’s picture version of his story, there soon will be.

Proper books, recording his sordid associates, his cowardly voting record, his astonishingly militant commitment to unrestricted abortion and his blundering trip to Africa, are little-read and hard to find.

If you can believe that this undistinguished and conventionally Left-wing machine politician is a sort of secular saviour, then you can believe anything. He plainly doesn’t believe it himself. His cliche-stuffed, PC clunker of an acceptance speech suffered badly from nerves. It was what you would expect from someone who knew he’d promised too much and that from now on the easy bit was over.

Just look at his sermon by the shores of Lake Michigan. He really did talk about a ‘new dawn’, and a ‘timeless creed’ (which was ‘yes, we can’). He proclaimed that ‘change has come’. He revealed that, despite having edited the Harvard Law Review, he doesn’t know what ‘enormity’ means. He reached depths of oratorical drivel never even plumbed by our own Mr Blair, burbling about putting our hands on the arc of history (or was it the ark of history?) and bending it once more toward the hope of a better day (Don’t try this at home). (Peter Hitchens, UK Daily Mail, 11/13/08)

My goodness. I can’t imagine what Peter had to say 30 years ago about American visionary and conservative icon Ronald “Shining City on a Hill” Reagan, but my guess is that the rhetoric of one dedicated to enshrining into policy the privileges that Peter’s new friends in Moscow enjoy — the privilege of white, male, Protestant affluence and influence — likely inspired him. Perhaps I shouldn’t expect that the election of a man who wants to extend those societal privileges to everyone else would cheer Peter, but it’s hard not to suggest a little “methinks thou doth protesteth too much” as the U.S. works to right some of the wrongs from which men like him have benefited.

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