A well timed biography of Obama, to be released in June, has been written by presidential author/historian and Pulitzer Prize winner, David Maraniss. Judging by what I’ve read in excerpts from Vanity Fair, I think he’s part of the “slobbering love affair” that the press and academia have had for Obama since day one.
I’ll be honest with you, it was hard to read past the first several pages. But I did finish it.
Good Lord! Who writes this stuff to a girlfriend?
I haven’t read “The Waste Land” for a year, and I never did bother to check all the footnotes. But I will hazard these statements—Eliot contains the same ecstatic vision which runs from Münzer to Yeats. However, he retains a grounding in the social reality/order of his time. Facing what he perceives as a choice between ecstatic chaos and lifeless mechanistic order, he accedes to maintaining a separation of asexual purity and brutal sexual reality. And he wears a stoical face before this. Read his essay on Tradition and the Individual Talent, as well as Four Quartets, when he’s less concerned with depicting moribund Europe, to catch a sense of what I speak. Remember how I said there’s a certain kind of conservatism which I respect more than bourgeois liberalism—Eliot is of this type. Of course, the dichotomy he maintains is reactionary, but it’s due to a deep fatalism, not ignorance. (Counter him with Yeats or Pound, who, arising from the same milieu, opted to support Hitler and Mussolini.) And this fatalism is born out of the relation between fertility and death, which I touched on in my last letter—life feeds on itself. A fatalism I share with the western tradition at times. You seem surprised at Eliot’s irreconcilable ambivalence; don’t you share this ambivalence yourself, Alex?
Did you make it through that or did your eyes glaze over in the third sentence, like mine did? Do you notice what I put emphasis on?
I’m going to tell you what I think is more important in this Vanity Fair excerpt – more important than his girlfriend(s), all the poetic prose he supposedly wrote and whether or not “compressing” them into one “person” is a lie or not.
At least three times in the Vanity Fair piece, Maraniss goes to some length to distance Obama from “left leaning” ideologists and organizations. While he was interviewing for his first Chicago community organizer job, Obama made it clear to the interviewer that “the Developing Communities Project was legitimate and serious. This wasn’t some far-left enterprise, was it? [emphasis mine]
What I think most pundits are missing by being so preoccupied with the girlfriend(s) who declared their love for him while his only response was “thank you” is the attempts to move him away from the leftist/socialist/marxist agenda. The very same agenda that even Obama stated in his own books of being drawn to, and the he’s forced upon us for the last 4 years and wants to finish in the next 4.
Maraniss is doing his part to help the Obama supporters rewrite the narrative. Obama only wants every one to “play by the same rules” and “pay their fair share.” There’s nothing Marxist about that, is there? What is more American than “fair play”? And after all, he said more than once that he was not interested in being associated with “far left” ideology.
As I said at the outset, the release of this book might be very timely for the Obama campaign.