Thursday, September 10, 2009

Obama and the Left

From Nixon Agonistes through his analysis of Obama and Lincoln last year, Garry Wills has been our premier contemporary interpreter of the people who have been our presidents and leading politicians. Part reporter, part historian, part political theorist, and part student of American culture, Wills is the go-to guy if you really want to understand a Nixon, a Kennedy, a (Jesse) Jackson, a Perot, or most memorably Ronald Reagan -- not just them, but the worlds they are living in and making, as it is happening.

Whenever he's ready to pass along the baton, I think the guy who is ready to pick it up (although I don't know that he wants the gig) is Ta-Nehisi Coates. Here he is on Obama and impatient liberals (but do click through and read the full post):
I keep meeting lefties who tell me Obama's "too soft" with these guys, and I keep looking at them like they're crazy. I am going to go out on a limb and say that there is something deeper at work here, something beyond the policy fights. I think a lot of us don't just want Obama to be effective, we want him to exact some measure of revenge. It's smart to understand the difference between the two, and moreover, how the desire for one can undermine the other. A section of conservatives love Sarah Palin because she drives liberals crazy. That she drives a lot of other people crazy too, and hence undermines herself, is beside the point.

Let's not make that mistake. Besides. If it's blood on the walls you want, the GOP is doing fine by itself.

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