Today, in the Weekly Standard, Andrew Ferguson has produced one of the landmark pieces of political portraiture of our time. It’s called “The Wit and Wisdom of Barack Obama,” and it is so rich in detail about the sources of Obama’s rhetoric and the fanciful nature of those who believe he is offering anything genuinely new. Ferguson is one of the best writers in America, and this may be the best article he has ever written. Just one taste for you:
He lives in an era when the public memory has shrunk to a length of days or weeks. Especially in American politics, policed by a posse of commentators and reporters who crave novelty above all, the past is a blank; every day is Groundhog Day, bringing shocking discoveries of things that have happened over and over again. No politician has benefited from this amnesia as much as Obama. He is credited with revelatory eloquence for using phrases that have been in circulation for years. “Politics is broken,” he says in his stump speech, and his audience of starry-eyed college students swoons and the thirtysomething reporters jot excitedly in their notebooks. The rest of us are left to wonder if he’s tipping his hat to Bill Bradley, who left the Senate in 1996 because, Bradley said, “politics is broken,” or if he’s stealing from George W. Bush, who announced in his own stump speech in 2000 that “politics is broken.” Obama could be flattering us or snowing us.
There’s so, so much more. Read the whole thing. Twice.