By Matthew Rothschild on January 14, 2009

There’s a lot to admire about Barack Obama, his intelligence, his discipline, his rhetorical skills, his calm demeanor, his boldness on the economy.

But I worry that he aims too much to please — and not so much his base of support as his ideological opponents.

He somehow feels that by his charm alone he can win them over.

That’s why he foolishly invited Rick Warren to do the invocation at the Inaugural.

And that’s why he supped Tuesday night at the home of George Will, with David Brooks, Charles Krauthammer, and Bill Kristol at the table with them.

Nothing good can come from this.

While David Brooks is a bit of a milquetoast, George Will is not to be trifled with, and to the extent that Obama cares what he says, that’s bad news for progressives.

Charles Krauthammer is a neocon through and through, and a mean one at that.

And as for Bill Kristol, he of the Project for a New American Century and the Weekly Standard, this man is about as loathsome as they come.

Forget the aw-shucks, low-key, self-effacing TV manner.

He’s an ideological warrior, through and through. He deep-sixed the Clinton health plan way back, he cheerled the Iraq War with falsehood after falsehood, and he’s been pounding the table for war with Iran.

Obama needs to be careful here. He may think that he can tug these conservatives in a progressive direction, but it’s more likely that they’ll tug him the opposite way.

Add new comment

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.

More

Subscribe to The Progressive and Get A Free 2015 Calendar

Abby Scher on the race to elect Maine's next Governor

Thirty years after the title year of George Orwell’s “1984,” the Oscar-worthy “Citizenfour” features a real-life...

By Victor Menotti

At a time when most Americans agree that the country has too...

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

Public School Shakedown

Progressive Media Project

Newsletter