Globe newsflash: some question Obama…

January 30th, 2009
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Stop the presses! After intensive investigation, Globe and Mail reporter Michael Valpy has uncovered a startling fact: some people are skeptical of Barack Obama. This must come as a grim surprise to bewildered Globe readers.

The headline of the story included the eye-popping words that “not everyone thinks he’s so great” and that, for some, “the jury is still out”. Whoa.

Even more remarkable is that Mr. Valpy, while ferreting out these disturbing facts, actually discovered four people who were willing to air skepticism of the new president in public. An unsettling aspect of this odd conundrum is that these people were an essayist/novelist, a former editor and current Washington bureau chief of a couple of large mainstream magazines, and finally an emeritus professor at Princeton.

One can only applaud the persistent efforts of the bloodhound Valpy for unearthing facts that can only cause consternation in a confused public. The aforementioned bureau chief works for Mother Jones. For many of us, this was obviously our mistake – we weren’t reading Mother Jones; or at least not frequently enough! The journalist, Joan Didion went so far as to compare Obamania to a cargo cult. What could have possessed her to say that?

Diversity of opinion, hearing both sides and all, that is certainly admirable. But for Michael Valpy to have found these four people, people he reads, to be off-side as it were; that has to make you sit up and take notice.

As Mr. K noted this afternoon, that puts the redoubtable Globe scribe in a worse position than Pauline Kael in 1972. Readers will recall her famous quote regarding the election of President Nixon – that she couldn’t understand it because no one she knew had voted for him (apparently the quote is not quite right, but I think the allegedly real quote is worse; what does “I can feel them” mean?).

In Mr. Valpy’s case there are four people in his sphere who are Obama-skeptics. It just goes to show. Sometimes things are happening right around us and we just aren’t aware of it. Fortunately we have journalists who, with a bit of digging, determination and perspiration, can put us wise. Hats off to you Michael Valpy.

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By John Weissenberger
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