How could Michael Goodwin believe that candidate Obama was a mild-mannered moderate?

Paul Nachman has sent this e-mail to Michael Goodwin of the New York Daily News:

Dear Mr. Goodwin,

Regarding your column, “Health care debate confirms this is not the Barack Obama we elected,” I’d like to refresh your memory about last fall’s presidential campaign and its precursors:

- We know how Obama first reached public office in Chicago with a scorched-earth approach to getting all his primary opponents thrown off the ballot.

- We know, through the work of Stanley Kurtz and others, about Obama’s near-intimate working relationship with Bill Ayers, described by Obama as “just a guy from my neighborhood.”

- There was Obama’s financially-convenient relationship with Tony Rezko.

- Reverend Wright. Need more be said?

- The post-racial candidate described his grandmother as “a typical white person.” Review the circumstances while you’re thinking about that one.

- It became despicable to use his middle name, even his middle initial, as the campaign developed.

- He made increasingly risible claims about his non-Muslimness during the campaign. See Daniel Pipes’s writings for a review.

- When he’d finally eliminated Clinton (only possible because of his triumphs in easily-gameable caucuses, rather than votes) he said, “I am absolutely certain that, generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment … when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”

- Later, in Berlin, he orated, “Now the world will watch and remember what we do here—what we do with this moment,” quite a contrast with Lincoln at Gettysburg.

- About a week before the election, that radio interview from 2000 surfaced. It showed him at basic odds with the federal Constitution. Thus, his later oath to the Constitution was fraudulent, an assertion buttressed by his behavior in the months since.

I was able to write all those down out of my head, except for getting the two longer quotes above correct. Consulting the full record would multiply that list of notable items a hundred times.

Yet your column of 8/19 indicates surprise.

Paul Nachman
Bozeman, Montana

P.S. I couldn’t stomach McCain, George Bush, or Bill Clinton either. But Obama is off the charts, and this was evident well before November 4, 2008.

—end of initial entry—

LA to Paul Nachman:


Delivered with sang-froid, no emotion, no blaming, just a list of facts. How could Goodwin fail to see, after reading your e-mail, that his statement that Obama up until the beginning of his presidency appeared to be simply a mild centrist is off-base?

However, it’s also the case that Obama didn’t appear simply as a radical either. He sent out stunningly contradictory signs which suggested the possibility that he was not committed to radicalism, signs which suggested the possibility that his radicalism had been an opportunistic phase of his career that he would abandon when it suited his purpose, just has he had abandoned other past attachments when it suited his purpose, signs which suggested, for example, that his strongest desire was not to radicalize America but to make everyone love him, and therefore he would be a centrist president. As I said many times before the election, while Obama’s radicalism, anti-Americanism, anti-whiteness, and propensity for trans-Clintonian lying (as seen in his statements re the Jeremiah Wright controversy) were obvious and undeniable, that was not the whole story. I said there was an entire set of possible “real Obamas,” and that we wouldn’t know for sure which possible real Obama was the real real Obama until after he became president.

I realize that others will disagree with me on this and say that Obama was simply a committed anti-American radical who would reveal himself as such as soon as he became president. My view was that while it was highly likely that was the case, we wouldn’t know for sure that that was the case until after he became president.

Either way, my argument takes nothing away from your criticism of Goodwin. For anyone to believe that Obama prior to his presidency had presented himself as simply a moderate, conciliatory centrist shows staggering nativity. But, as I said in my intro to the Goodwin column, Goodwin is a vaguely liberal, vaguely centrist kind of guy. And if there’s one thing that characterizes vaguely liberal, vaguely centrist people, it’s that they don’t grasp the reality of leftism.

August 22

Tim W. writes:

There’s a scene in the Coen Brothers film, “O Brother Where Art Thou?” where incumbent governor Pappy O’Daniel is moaning over his challenger’s good poll numbers. The governor’s not-too-bright son says that the other guy is running as a reform candidate and that folks like that. He suggests that his father run as a reform candidate, too. The father, amidst a flurry of insults, tells his son he can’t be a reform candidate when he’s the incumbent.

Yet there were people who voted for Obama on the assumption that a guy who rose rapidly through the Chicago machine, befriended by a rogue’s gallery of thugs and even an unrepentant ex-terrorist, was a reform candidate. Not to mention that they thought Reverend Wright’s parishioner of twenty years was just the guy to transcend race and put all those racial divisions behind us.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 21, 2009 09:28 AM | Send

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