Monday, November 10, 2008

Derbyshire on his Obama-ness

Over at the NRO Corner Blog.

The sputtering-Left component of my email bag took particular exception to my calling Obama "shallow, ignorant, and self-obsessed." How dare I? Well, let's unpack it.

Shallow: Have you ever heard Obama say anything interesting? Me neither. I saw him on the telly the other day fielding a question about illegal immigrants. He said something like: "We can't deport ten million people. We need to find a way to bring them out of the shadows. Thet should have to pay a fine, learn English, and go to the back of the line for citizenship." Now, here is an issue that's of major concern to millions of Americans, who feel they are losing the nation they grew up in. It's been argued for years at high levels of discourse, with many fine books written. (Most recently, one by our own Mark Krikorian.) Yet Obama can address it only with the tiredest, most threadbare clich├ęs of the open-borders Left. It's plain he has never given a moment's real thought to the issue. Shallow.
Ignorant: Obama strikes me as a very intelligent person, but with that intelligence narrowly focused. He has spent his adult life among the tiny sub-class of black Americans who have grown wealthy, or hope to, via the affirmative-action rackets. He has never ventured outside that milieu, and I seriously doubt he knows much about life outside it. I doubt, for example, that he knows anything much at all about business, the military, science, work (other than paper-shuffling), or high culture. I'll be glad to be proved wrong, but nothing I've heard him say, nor my (admittedly incomplete) acquaintance with what he's written, refutes that.
Self-obsessed: A guy who publishes a 464-page autobiography at age 34 is self-obsessed, what can I tell ya? If he publishes a second autobiography at age 45, you can print "self-obsessed" in capital letters. (Yeah, I know, it's a "campaign book." The content is mainly autobiographical, though.)

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