Tuesday, April 15, 2008

LIVE WITH THE ELITE, DIE WITH THE ELITE

SAM SMITH

Sure, Obama is an elitist. I thought it the first time I saw him. The tone, the dress, the moves, the constant pretense of being in deep thought, the patronizing explanation replacing impassioned argument. Another smart-ass from an Ivy League law school. The ones that talk grandly and carry a little feather. We've got a lot of them in Washington.

That's why many white liberals went for him. He was comfortably familiar in all but hue. They treat him like a prophet but in fact he's just another of the black ivies who are riding the political waves these days. For Obama and Patrick Deval it was Harvard, for Mayor Nutter of Philadelphia it was the Wharton School at Penn, for DC's Mayor Fenty is was Oberlin and for Newark's Cory Book it was Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship. Not bad if you can't have a mother who was Irish or latino.

But it's not as politically wonderful as it seems to some. St. Barack still can't get comfortably past one of the sleaziest politicians in his party's modern history and shows up weakly in matches against a guy who hasn't done anything worth remembering since Vietnam. His purported magnificence somehow fails to make the same impression at the polls as it does at the rallies and fundraisers of the well committed.

That's not surprising but it's worth noting and suggests a bit more humility in the Obama camp wouldn't hurt.

Of course, humility is not highly valued there. After all, it takes something beyond ordinary self-confidence to move from state senator to presidential candidate without even finishing your freshman term in the Senate.

On the other hand, Obama's not a corrupt and conniving cad nor a decrepit warrior looking for another dogfight, so it looks like he's the best we’re going to get.

And it's not totally his fault that he sees himself as God's gift to his party and his country. His elitism is not really the problem; it is the elitism of those who convinced him of this: the white liberals.

These are the people who couldn't stand John Edwards, the candidate who came closest to the New Deal and Great Society values of any Democratic leader in decades. But his policies didn't move them, only his accent and haircut.

This is not a new problem. I wrote about it almost two decades ago:

1 Comments:

At 3:29 PM, Anonymous Axel said...

Sam, I love your site but what does this article have to do with the sense of time and intelligence? Your links are often mixed up. I am beginning to suspect you do it deliberately.

 

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PLAY IT AGAIN, SAM

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Your editor has been a musician for many decades. He started the first band his Quaker school ever had and played drums with bands up until 1980 when he switched to stride piano. He had his own band until the mid-1990s and has played with the New Sunshine Jazz Band, Hill City Jazz Band, Not So Modern Jazz Band and the Phoenix Jazz Band.

NOTES ON THE MUSIC

Here are a few tracks:

SAM SMITH'S DECOLAND BAND

'SHINE' 

JELLY ROLL

PHOENIX JAZZ BAND

APEX BLUES   Sam playing with the Phoenix Jazz Band at the Central Ohio Jazz festival in 1990. Joining the band is George James on sax. James, then 84, had been a member of the Louis Armstrong and Fats Waller orchestras and hadappeared on some 60 records. More notes on James

WISER MAN  Sam piano & vocal

OH MAMA  Sam piano & vocal