March 31, 2010
Questions, Questions

This is Shelby Steele in The Wall Street Journal, telling it like he thinks it is:

The old fashioned, big government liberalism that Mr. Obama uses to make himself history-making also alienates him in the center-right America of today. It makes him the most divisive president in memory — a president who elicits narcissistic identification on the one hand and an enraged tea party movement on the other. His health-care victory has renewed his narcissistic charge for the moment, but if he continues to be a 1965 liberal it will become more and more impossible for Americans to see themselves in him…

Mr. Obama’s success has always been ephemeral because it was based on an illusion: that if we Americans could transcend race enough to elect a black president, we could transcend all manner of human banalities and be on our way to human perfectibility. A black president would put us in a higher human territory. And yet the poor man we elected to play out this fantasy is now torturing us with his need to reflect our grandiosity back to us.

Many presidents have been historically significant in retrospect, but Mr. Obama had historic significance on his inauguration day. His inauguration told a transcendent American story. Other presidents work forward into their legacy. Mr. Obama is working backwards into his.

Mr. Steele, a research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, is the author most recently of “A Bound Man: Why We Are Excited About Obama and Why He Can’t Win” (Free Press, 2007).

Which last paragraph leads irresistibly to the question: “So Why Should We Be Excited About What Shelby Steele Thinks?” Which in turn leads to the question: “Is Shelby related to Michael?” (No.) Which of course leads to this final question: “Was Michael Steele’s sister once married to Mike Tyson?” (Yes.)



Posted by Jerome Doolittle at March 31, 2010 02:21 PM
Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):


Thanks for that last paragraph explaining that the Wall Street Journal can indeed get worse.

Or maybe there's a diligent and competent, if not powerful, editor at work to make sure the author's latest book is cited.

Posted by: Joyful on April 1, 2010 5:26 PM

“Quit Digging”

At a time when it has a great opportunity with the priestly abuse scandal to stand up and send a deeply Christian message to the world, what does the Vatican do? It circles the wagons and goes into a defensive crouch. As a result, for a practicing Catholic, who is still striving to become Christian, the Vatican continues to recede deeper and deeper into irrelevance. It’s embarrassing so see an organization, which is no stranger to scandal, remain tone deaf to Catholics around the world and to the world at large. Blaming the news media or drawing any kind of comparison, however tenuous, between this situation and the Holocaust is ludicrous. It’s a well-known principle, learned in PR 101, that when you’re in a hole, you’ve got to stop digging. Yet the Vatican apparatchiks continue to dig and embarrass themselves and those of us who continue to call ourselves Catholic. But, then, what can you expect from a bureaucracy which insists that women cannot be priests because Jesus was a man and had only men as his disciples? Or, as the local diocese did in Washington, threaten to withdraw vital social services for the community if the D.C. city council did not take the correct, orthodox “Catholic” position on gay marriage? Why should I care, if I truly believe that the Vatican is irrelevant? Because so many Catholic organizations and individuals are extending a healing and helping hand of hope to literally millions of people around the world, no strings attached, and that witness to true Christian values is not getting the attention it deserves. That’s the “catholic” church I love and will remain part of, despite the Vatican.

Posted by: Jerry Lavey on April 6, 2010 9:27 AM
Post a comment

Email Address:



Remember info?