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In Decrying Obama's Centrism, Drew Westen Ignores Role of Race


I agree with Hayden’s last line, that it would have been better had Westen included something about race (if for no other reason than to’ve deprived fire from Obama defenders, like this)—and I feel that way especially, knowing now that Westen “helped” BO craft the exquisite speech that played no small part in getting him elected. So I wish he’d included it, mostly because I have great respect for what he did write, and I’d like to’ve read it.

Of course Obama threw his old friend Rev. Wright under the bus in the same episode, but we tried to justify that as ‘just politics’; some people said it was necessary. (Not me.)

More than anything, Obama is ambitious, and despises being embarrassed. Without Wright, there’d have been no speech. Both parts of the episode were all about Obama’s ambition, and nothing else.

So I wish Westen had written about race in relation to the Wright issue, because while he made a beautiful speech (probably written by Westen), it was the repudiation of the friendship, and the way he did it, that revealed most about Obama’s character.

Nearly three years of broken promises and lies later (not to mention his petty potshots at the left), we’ve learned quite a lot about that. But at the time, most of us tried to ignore his public humiliation of Wright, the man who’d both enabled him, and been his friend—and we projected sterling character onto the race speech, instead. We managed to ignore his actions in favor of the words he delivered—a warning of what lay ahead.

An argument could be made that Westen’s not feeling compelled to address the issue of race represents better than anything Obama’s claim that we now live in a post-racial society. Simply, that he saw no need.

But then of course, Hayden would have had nothing to posture about.

We all decide for ourselves. For me, this has the ring of Hayden standing by his man. Oh, and doing so has given him a chance to flash his own credentials, an opportunity Hayden (unlike Westen), never likes to miss. Pity about that, too.

Novelle Saarinen

San Francisco

Aug 11 2011 - 10:22pm

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