Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Faveread: New Yorker on Obama

Like many people, I cannot understand all of president Obama's decisions, such as the recent announcement that the US would continue to use landmines -- an indefensible position as far as I'm concerned. I can, however, distinguish between Obama and the spineless Democratic Party when it comes to closing Guantánamo.

Now, the New Yorker's George Packer has published a few comments on Obama's recent performance, including the following:

Return of the right. Over the past eighteen months, I and others (e.g., Sam Tanenhaus) have written that conservatism is dead. I’ve been asked a few times whether I still believe it. Intellectually, absolutely: the August tea parties, the extremist language on the Capitol steps, the Palin self-promotional orgy, even the lockstep voting habits of congressional Republicans, are all symptoms of a debased movement composed of celebrity and bile. But in the past ten months I’ve remembered how powerful a thing it is for conservatives to have a target. Post-Reagan conservatism, with its overwhelming negativity, is back to doing what it does best—without even pretending to have a viable governing agenda. I imagined that in the aftermath of their historic defeat, Republicans would spend months, if not years, engaged in a serious internal debate between reformists and purists. Instead, the party has become more monolithic and shrill than ever. And in our constitutional system, a brain-dead minority party that spouts simple-minded slogans on TV and votes in rigid unison can be a serious obstacle to achieving anything.
The rest of his synopsis seems correct to me as well.

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