Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Theatre of the Absurd as Political Convention

Warning: this is hilarious.

David Brooks is one of the most thoughtful, generous and likable pundits. He has been especially fair with Barack Obama. So it is all more funny when, after the Democratic convention, he lays out the candidate's weaknesses and absurdities in a satirical speech he would like to have given and, in a perfect world, he would have given. Here is a sampling from "A Speech to the Delegates."

My fellow Americans, it is an honor to address the Democratic National Convention at this defining moment in history. We stand at a crossroads at a pivot point, near a fork in the road on the edge of a precipice in the midst of the most consequential election since last year’s “American Idol.”

One path before us leads to the past, and the extinction of the human race. The other path leads to the future, when we will all be dead. We must choose wisely. ...

We meet today to heal the divisions that have torn this country. For we are all one country and one American family, whether we are caring and thoughtful Democrats or hate-filled and war-crazed Republicans. ...

We got to know Barack and Michelle Obama, two tall, thin, rich, beautiful people who don’t perspire, but who nonetheless feel compassion for their squatter and smellier fellow citizens. We know that Barack could have gone to a prestigious law firm, like his big donors in the luxury boxes, but he chose to put his ego aside to become a professional politician, president of the United States and redeemer of the human race. We heard about his time as a community organizer, the three most fulfilling months of his life.

We were thrilled by his speech in front of the Greek columns, which were conscientiously recycled from the concert, “Yanni, Live at the Acropolis.” We were honored by his pledge, that if elected president, he will serve at least four months before running for higher office. ...

The comments people posted were interesting. Obamamaniacs really have no sense of humor when it comes to the One. many read the column as "bitterness." They saw sour grapes in it. They are convinced their Ubercandidate is a shoe in, and so Brooks must be writing out of anger as a poor loser. "A very childish article from a man who is obviously resentful that his party is heading for a spectacular defeat," said one (recommended by 909 readers). "Even for David Brooks this is over the top nasty. I think you are really scared!" said Cynthia or Portland OR. "Not funny, mean spirited," says Stephen of Santa Cruz (1,149 thumbs up). "Wow, bitter and jaded neocon." "This wasn't a funny column. It wasn't insightful. It was bitter and cynical." And on, and on.

They look in the mirror and do not recognize either themselves or their candidate. Take for example the "three months" and "higher office" remarks. He has never alighted long enough at any stage of his life to accomplish anything serious. He has been racing from one level of elected office to another, not serving but being served. True? And when you build your candidate up to Messianic proportions, you should expect his critics not to take him as seriously you think they ought and even to ridicule him.

"Barack Obama loves the future because that’s where all his accomplishments are." That's funny because it's true and witty.

Peggy Noonan is a little more sober in "Obama Gets Serious."

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