“The last temptation is the greatest treason: To do the right deed for the wrong reason.”
—Letter from Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King, Jr., approvingly quoting T.S. Eliot
The following list presents the overt, ostensible reasons why Obama won. I have excluded conjectures which, because they are grandiose and riddled with dot-connection lacunae, verge on conspiracy-theory.Reasons why Obama won, in descending order of importance:
1. White guilt.
4. The PC MC media.
5. Political savvy.
8. Black Racism.
9. Birth Certificate.
1. It has been painfully obvious, yet largely suppressed in public discussion, that a prevailing sense of guilt and shame about slavery, as well as civil rights (or relative lack thereof), on the part of the majority of American whites has been the main reason for the abnormally effusive adoration of Obama, and for the collective rapture over his ascension as a sociopolitico-cultural phenomenon. In keeping with the typical incoherence of the PC MC that guides the majority of American whites, the “glass half full” dimension of this phenomenon is used in order to exploit the emotions of guilt and shame which the “glass half empty” ordinarily is supposed to arouse. Indeed, because the progress of civil rights and cultural change in America over the past 40 years has been astonishingly exponential, the more apt metaphor would be at the very least “glass quarter empty, three-quarters full”—and continuing to fill up with increasing progress, as the Obama election itself reflects. Nevertheless, not only are the white PC MCs and Leftists, following the lead of the Black racists, intent on perversely spinning the “glass half full” phenomenon of this unprecedented President as a guilt-inducing reminder of the “glass half empty”—they imbue that spin with the pregnant subtext of a tendency to perversely reverse the ongoing progress of civil rights and cultural change in America over the past 40 years such that my corrective of “glass quarter empty, three-quarters full” becomes “glass quarter full, three quarters empty”. . . ! This perverse spin and the shame and guilt that attend it, however, has not dampened the swooning euphoria of these same whites who put Obama into the White House. In fact, this unseemly euphoria and jubilation is itself the embarrassingly public display and extroversion of their inner incoherence, whereby they are elated, finally in this supremely symbolic and historic way, to be expiating their guilt and shame through participating in White America allowing a Black Man to become President and embracing him as such.
In this historic act that has made them so happy, however, they simultaneously seek to suffer, to feel the pain of the self-chastisement they think they deserve: not only for the regretable fact that it took so long for this to happen in America; and not only for the shameful history—always reminding themselves ominously that it was “very recent”—of the treatment of blacks by whites in America; but also for the quasi-racism they know, or fear, still lurks deep within themselves which they feel they can never fully purge and which thus acts as a constant prick to their conscience. Paradoxically, the Obama Presidency thus simultaneously assuages these tensions that the majority of American whites, infected by the mainstream dominance of PC MC, suffer from, and exacerbates them—resulting in this mass display of relief, “pride” and exultation laced with a darker edge of anxiety, guilt and shame. (One particularly senses this in the stupidly grinning, yet almost affectedly self-composed head-bobbing—the body language of the calmly emphatic “Yes”—of various white celebrities.)
Lest the reader who agrees with my psychoanalysis conclude that these whites who put Obama in the White House are lucidly self-conflicted, I am afraid that would be a rather over-optimistic inference. In keeping with the incoherence, irrationality and hypocrisy of the PC MC (and Leftist) mindset, this psychic tension they have about the Obama Presidency will be, over the next four to eight years, more than likely channeled outward in sociopolitical activism (and/or more or less passive enablement thereof)—thus exteriorizing their inner demons onto actual people, institutions and ideas they find inimical to their “dream” of the “change” America needs and putting that scapegoating tendency into concrete practice through Left-lurching laws and various forms of social pressure.
2. Without the massive irrational culture of Bushbashing over the past eight years, which intensified as those years progressed, and which gained considerable traction by Bush’s own ineptness and persona, the largely non-Leftist PC MC mainstream became increasingly predisposed to seek a Democrat savior to the two most psychologically pressing problems of the time—the economy, and terrorism (even if the latter has exerted its force mostly subliminally, due to PC MC inhibitions about publically discussing and analyzing it). This Bush-enabled Bushbashing also considerably galvanized the political will and potential for activism on the part of both the Leftish PC MCs (a considerable minority) and the more blatantly Leftist PC MCs (a smaller minority) extending down into the darkness of Socialists, Communists, Anarchists, Nihilists, Black Racists, Muslims, and other motley anti-Americans.
3. McCain waged such a weak campaign—not helped by his own charisma problems (though not anywhere nearly as bad as Bush’s)—that nearly anybody could have won against him. Not only did he pull his punches in style and tone (packaged as his intention to be “respectful” and “dignified”), but also more importantly in substance. There were six major areas of troublesome facts and associations about Obama (discussed at length in a previous essay of mine) that McCain left largely untouched: Obama’s Muslim background; Obama’s pro-Islam bedfellows and associations; Obama’s stand on Islam and terrorism; Obama’s anti-American supporters and associates; Obama’s foreign anti-American supporters; and finally, Obama’s birth certificate problem. McCain also failed to drive home the good record of Bush with regard to keeping us safe from further attacks after 911 (including several attacks that were foiled by intelligence). His choice of Palin for VP also generated a backlash of PC MC and Leftist mockery reminiscent of at least a paler version of their Bushbashing and, whether or not one defends that choice, it became a PR disaster. Once a political or sociocultural action becomes a PR problem in the eyes of the dominant and mainstream PC culture, it more often than not is the kiss of death for the person who committed the faux pas, and only gets worse the more the person tries to dig in his heels to defend it.
4. As a powerful and influential vehicle either enabling, or obfuscating (depending on the positive or the negative cast involved) several of the other reasons on this list, the mainstream media which is overwhelmingly PC MC—including most massively the news, as well as the entertainment industry which has become more and more intermingled with the news—was another important factor. It accentuated Obama’s positive qualities (his political savvy, his charisma), while it obscured his negative side (his history of profound associations with black racism, anti-American radicals and dubious Muslims, his birth certificate problem, as well as, more subtly, the remarkably tame kid gloves with which all entertainers and pundits treated him). Meanwhile, the mainstream media’s unfair treatment of Bush and McCain—and somewhat more surprisingly, Hillary Clinton—also played a significant role, again both in the context of news presentation and news analysis, as well as the grayer area of infotainment punditry, and the influential area of full-blown entertainment including celebrities and comedians.
5. Meanwhile, Obama’s political savvy turned out to be uncommonly sophisticated and deft. The campaign was roughly analogous to Pete Sampras playing a set of tennis with Regis Philbin. It was clear not too long after it began who was going to win. Obama’s political savvy seems to be a combination of social skill, intelligence, political ruthlessness, and perhaps some tricks and shady associations he managed to pick up along the way in his climb up the ladder of the infamously corrupt Chicago system.
6. Obama’s charisma has been a major factor in his success, irrespective of the race factor. While everybody, including comedians who ordinarily leap with alacrity to lampoon politicians, treated Obama with unusually soft kid gloves, and while this was largely due to the reverse racism of PC MC—nevertheless his innate poise and grace facilitated his imperviousness to the kinds of mockery all other politicians have had to endure.
7. An important part of his campaign success related to #1 (white guilt) has been the depth and breadth of his ability to tap into the veins of counter-cultural Leftism that run deep in the recent history of America and have never vanished from its society nor from the psyches of millions of PC MC people—whether it is the older generation who were of age in the 60s and remember its ideals fondly, or whether it is younger generations who idolize those values in various retro ways. Reading of the types of individuals and groups that supported Obama, one becomes astounded at how many different flavors of Leftist—ranging from pro-Castro and pro-Mao Socialists, to Anarchist artists, to Communists, to ex-Black Panthers, to ex-Weathermen revolutionaries, to radical gays and lesbians, and so many other varities of disaffected anti-American Americans—came out of the woodwork to voice their emphatic enthusiasm that more often than not merged into outright adulation for the man. (One of them, pro-Castro radical Carl Davidson, just to pick a name out of a hat, had been the type of radical whose extremism pushed him into a more or less apolitical existence, such that he even found John Kerry in 2004 insufficiently “progressive”—and yet, when Obama came along, Davidson rediscovered his political enthusiasm and idealism.)
As I argued in my previous essay linked above, there has been an underlying nostalgia for the 60s in American society coupled with a nagging feeling that the counter-cultural ideals of that decade have been somehow betrayed or at least compromised—“sold out” is the appropriate term—by the Yuppification of both the original Beat generation and subsequent generations who become too easily sucked into the bourgeois materialism of the Capitalist System. While among the softer PC MCs who harbor these feelings they may admit that a good deal of the 60s ideals were unrealistic and untenable—and sometimes even flat wrong—they nevertheless cannot shake a deeper sense that the values that really matter (peace, love, harmony, tolerance) stemmed from the 60s cultural revolution that changed, or tried to change, America. Many among them thus have felt not only nostalgic for those ideals through the intervening decades but also itching for a way to revive them in one way or another—and, more importantly, for a way to assuage the nagging guilt they feel for having settled into lifestyles that they know are inextricably bound up with various unethical compromises, if not outright corruption or even evil (particularly involving purported exploitation of Third World countries): i.e., the nagging guilt they feel for “selling out” to Yuppification. They need to feel reassured that somehow they can still “make a difference” (short of giving up all possessions or joining the violent Revolution). The need to feel reassured that somehow they can still find a way to be ethical notwithstanding the lifestyles in which they are enmeshed that seem hopelessly entangled with a complex globalist System that engages in what they think are innumerable unethical tendencies and practices around the world of varying degrees. The Obama Dream represents a resurgence of the possibility of just such a reassurance, revival, and realization, of those ideals. Never mind that Obama’s Centrist Revolution is largely a fantasy, even more unrealistic (if that be possible) than the Gnosticism, Leftism or PC MC from whose currents it draws most of its substance and inspiration: Like many other fantasies throughout history, it has proven to be a powerful intoxicant to masses of people—in this case, all those millions of PC MCs who form the majority in America.
8. While there was a very small and cranky and rag-tag minority of blacks who felt Obama was too much of an Uncle Tom for them, the vast majority swung behind him and turned out to vote in unprecedented numbers. And while a good deal of this reflects honest and admirable traits of civic pride, cultural pride, and a revitalization of faith in the system among blacks, there was the darker side to this : Black Americans were responding, positively, to the message Obama telegraphed to them, that he was on their side in the welter of negative emotions they continue to nourish against white America—with particularly masterly skill in turning the Jeremiah Wright controversy to his favor while at the same time winkingly letting black Americans know he and Michelle “felt their pain” (if not also their hatred). His Inaugural ceremonies only added sophisticated layers of this skillful blaxploitation: He had, for example, Reverend Joseph Lowery—who has stated that he found nothing wrong in Wright’s flamingly virulent anti-white racism and paranoia—deliver the benediction at his swearing-in. It should also be noted that this somewhat attenuated “payback” mentality likely also affected other, non-black minorities (Cuban-Americans, for example, significantly switched their vote from Republican to Democrat for the first time in histor).
9. Finally, there is the problem—or, rather, non-problem—of Obama’s birth certificate. Magically (or through a combination of dirty tricks and PC MC gullibility fueled by white guilt and fear of seeming “racist”), Obama completely and seemingly effortlessly avoided this thorny difficulty—though it may rear its inconvenient head any time in the future and render his Presidency invalid by a sheer technicality.
There is no reason to think that just because this list is organized in descending order of importance, #9 is a mild factor: it is only that #1, and the other numbers listed above #9 are so much stronger, they must be ranked higher.
What becomes clear from the list is that the nine factors can be divided into two categories: deserved, and undeserved. I.e., either the factor reveals a quality of Obama that earns him his victory, or the factor reveals an accidental or even perverse phenomenon that enabled him to win without any deserved merit.
Here is the list again, with the appropriate designation of categories D for deserved, U for undeserved:
1. White guilt -- U
2. Bush -- U
3. McCain -- U
4. PC MC Media -- U
5. Political savvy -- D
6. Charisma -- D
7. Retro-Hippies -- D
8. Black Racism -- U
9. Birth Certificate -- U
Note: I rate #6 as deserved, insofar as he deftly struck a chord with this large sociocultural mood that helped him win and insofar as that sociocultural mood is not blatantly evil, however much we may find fault with it; #7 as undeserved, since that sociocultural mood is evil; and #8 as undeserved, since the avoidance of the issue is unethical.
When we weigh the nine factors according to the two categories, we find 6 “undeserved” and 3 “deserved”. Furthermore, the top three reasons are “undeserved” and being uppermost on the list, do weigh more (pace my caveat above) than the “deserveds” below them.
Not a good result overall.