Day By Day

Monday, July 14, 2008

One Picture is Worth...

Here's the much-discussed New Yorker picture of that nice young senator from Cook County who has the audacity to think that he would be a really peachy president and his obstreperous wife.

The internet and the media high mucky-mucks are all exercised about the cover. The Obama campaign took offense at the portrayal of their messiah and Big Mac's mealymouthed minions chimed in to agree -- it was tasteless and offensive.

The picture, by Barry Blitt, was [at least the New Yorker asserts] intended as a satire on right-wing fantasies. Mebbe so -- I'll take them at their word -- but the suspicion remains that disgruntled feminists had something to do with the decision to run it. Others have speculated that the Obama people encouraged it as a means of delegitimizing future criticism from what they in their fevered imaginations think to be a ruthless and frenzied right wing attack machine. I think it's brilliant and very funny. Whatever the intentions of the New Yorker folks the cover inadvertantly speaks to some of the deep currents flowing under this campaign.

Obama's peeps know, but will never admit, that they have a problem. The candidate and his wife have both uttered and written some extremely offensive things about the United States and the American people. Such sentiments are pretty common within the cloistered halls of academe and in the wilder precincts of the entitlement industry in which the Obamas have labored, and they are well-received by the moonbats of the left wing blogosphere. But most Americans find these utterances repulsive. The suspicion remains, and justifiably so, that the Obamas really don't think much of America and are broadly contemptuous of the people they propose to govern.

Blitt's cartoon simply exaggerates this truth and pushes it to absurd extremes. The Democrat hope is that they can use this absurdity to defuse the problem of Obama's alienation. They plan to portray anyone who raises the issue of Obama's radical associations as a right wing crackpot conspiracy theorist. Recognizing this, McCain and his spokespeeps have rightly distanced themselves from the extreme sentiments expressed in the cartoon. But the issue, now brought to the fore, remains. It will not be exorcised by a New Yorker cover. What is more, the fact that a clique of Manhattan liberals saw fit to emphasize it in an urban elite organ bears witness to the fact that there is a vast gulf of perceptions and values separating Obama's most ardent supporters and the American people.

Much of the current dissatisfaction roiling the political waters in recent years is due to the fact that the elites in both parties are alienated from the people and the country they seek to govern. The nomination of Obama, and to a lesser extent McCain, only exacerbates this problem. Blitt's cartoon provides an opportunity for a serious discussion of this most important issue. I don't expect any serious discussion to come out of the MSM, but at least we bloggers can have at it.