Sunday, June 13, 2010

Un-, Anti-, Non-, or Post-American

Over at National Review Online, Mark Steyn has once again hit one out of the park. I'm telling you, this guy is a national treasure. He manages to be both serious and humorous, often laugh-out-loud so, like no one else in punditry. His only real competition comes from his colleague at NRO, Jonah Goldberg

Anyway, while this piece is focused on Barack Obama, it's actually about the type he represents. Steyn reports that, "In recent months, a lot of Americans have said to me that they had no idea the new president would feel so 'weird.'" The weirdness they now sense is of a piece, I think, with what Dorothy Rabinowitz was last week trying to describe in her Wall Street Journal column about "The Alien in the White House." The silliness of the efforts to discredit the president by the so-called "birthers" aside, many are beginning to realize that this guy just doesn't feel like, well, one of us.

But Steyn is careful not to simply dismiss him as the other. He's, as they say, more nuanced than that.
It is hard to imagine Obama wandering along to watch a Memorial Day or Fourth of July parade until the job required him to. That’s not to say he’s un-American or anti-American, but merely that he’s beyond all that. Way beyond. He’s the first president to give off the pronounced whiff that he’s condescending to the job — that it’s really too small for him and he’s just killing time until something more commensurate with his stature comes along.
But it's not just Obama. Steyn captures beautifully this, as I say, type.
There are millions of people like Barack Obama, the eternal students of a vast lethargic transnational campus for whom global compassion and the multicultural pose are merely the modish gloss on a cult of radical grandiose narcissism. As someone once said, “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.” When you’ve spent that long waiting in line for yourself, it’s bound to be a disappointment.
Perfect...almost. I'm afraid Steyn's a bit too generous.

While this type may not be fairly described as either un- or anti-American , and are perhaps better defined as non- or post-American, for all practical purposes it amounts to the same thing. In a pinch, you can't count on'em. And shouldn't.

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