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Sunday, August 3, 2008


Obama requests that the Florida and Michigan delegations be fully seated:
As we prepare to come together in Denver, however, we must be - and will be - united in our determination to change the course of our nation. To that end, Democrats in Florida and Michigan must know that they are full partners and colleagues in our historic mission to reshape Washington and lead our country in a new direction.

But as the Holdouts took this too seriously, Maureen Dowd continues to think that Obama does the same. Falling in love with yet another of her tired metaphors, she pours gasoline on the fire by likening Obama, stupefyingly, to Jane Austen's reluctant romantic, Mr. Darcy:
Like the leading man of Jane Austen and Bridget Jones, Obama can, as Austen wrote, draw “the attention of the room by his fine, tall person, handsome features, noble mien. ...he was looked at with great admiration for about half the evening, till his manners gave a disgust which turned the tide of his popularity; for he was discovered to be proud, to be above his company, and above being pleased.”

The master of Pemberley “had yet to learn to be laught at,” and this sometimes caused “a deeper shade of hauteur” to “overspread his features.”

The New Hampshire debate incident in which Obama condescendingly said, “You’re likable enough, Hillary,” was reminiscent of that early scene in “Pride and Prejudice” when Darcy coldly refuses to dance with Elizabeth Bennet, noting, “She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me.”

The New Hampshire "incident" was complete bullshit. It was a joke that Hillary supporters either didn't get, or chose to be offended by. (Yes, chose - it was so obviously an attempt at sardonic humor that we've all heard a million times.) So we're supposed to take Obama's jokes literally, but turn our heads whenever fun is made at his expense? He can make them laugh, but heaven forbid he even crack a smile about anyone other than himself, despite being the victim of racial prejudice:
And the prejudice is visceral: many Americans, especially blue collar, still feel uneasy about the Senate’s exotic shooting star, and he is surrounded by a miasma of ill-founded and mistaken premises.

So the novelistic tension of the 2008 race is this: Can Obama overcome his pride and Hyde Park hauteur and win America over?

Can America overcome its prejudice to elect the first black president? And can it move past its biases to figure out if Obama’s supposed conceit is really just the protective shield and defense mechanism of someone who grew up half white and half black, a perpetual outsider whose father deserted him and whose mother, while loving, sometimes did so as well?

Dowd complains about stereotyping, then pigeonholes Obama in the next sentence, using code words like "exotic"? How does this help? Frankly, by quoting Austen in the New York Times, how do you get off calling anyone haughty?

Dowd's mission, for the last year, has seemingly been to bring Obama down a notch, and get him to the point where he's comfortable being laughed at - and if he's not, to get people to laugh at him anyway. When will she realize that the deep psychic wounds of African America may cause us to be hesitant to embrace the humor of those who have oppressed us for so long, and have us unwilling to be laughed at by Whites just yet?
Can Miss Bennet teach Mr. Darcy to let down his guard, be more sportive, and laugh at himself?

Will Dowd ever simply let it go, realizing that none of us need to joke about our President for him to be effective? And will she ever tell us why she's in such a damned hurry to ridicule the one candidate in this race who best represents her point of view?

(Photo: Getty Images.)

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