Richard Cohen Might Be Racist

Of course the title is in jest and refers to Allahpundit’s groundbreaking discovery of the Unified Field Theory of Obama Criticism: if you criticize him you are racist and hostis humani generis.

Though I think Richard Cohen guilty of unspeakable crimes against logic and reason, no one could think him racist. But given the state of the political left today, I suspect he will be the recipient of some interesting fan mail after today’s column.

“Just tell me one thing Barack Obama has done that you admire,” I asked a prominent Democrat. He paused and then said that he admired Obama’s speech to the Democratic convention in 2004. I agreed. It was a hell of a speech, but it was just a speech.

On the other hand, I continued, I could cite four or five actions — not speeches — that John McCain has taken that elicit my admiration, even my awe. First, of course, is his decision as a Vietnam prisoner of war to refuse freedom out of concern that he would be exploited for propaganda purposes. To paraphrase what Kipling said about Gunga Din, John McCain is a better man than most.


But Obama has shown that in this area, youth is no handicap. He has been for and against gun control, against and for the recent domestic surveillance legislation and, in almost a single day, for a united Jerusalem under Israeli control and then, when apprised of U.S. policy and Palestinian chagrin, against it. He is an accomplished pol — a statement of both admiration and a bit of regret.


The question I posed to that prominent Democrat was just my way of thinking out loud. I know that Barack Obama is a near-perfect political package. I’m still not sure, though, what’s in it.

I can answer Cohen’s question, though I suspect Cohen and a lot of others already know it. Barack Obama is equally two things. He is an empty vessel into which his supporters can pour their hopes and he is a latter day Elmer Gantry capitalizing on those hopes for personal aggrandizement.

It’s pretty simple really.