"He spoke as a son--I couldn't help but think of his personal regret over not being by his mother's side when she passed as he said, "Did we spend enough time with an aging parent, we wonder." You could see the devastation insinuate itself onto, and then be quietly willed away from, his face. He spoke as a brother to his fellow public servants, killed and wounded in the events--an eager brother bringing the glad tidings the Gabrielle Giffords had opened her eyes. He repeated it, joyously, three times. But most of all, he spoke as a father--rising to a glorious peak describing the departed 9-year-old, Christine Taylor Green, a girl near the age of his daughters, whose own deaths, perhaps in the line of fire, he had so clearly been thinking about. And he spoke, more broadly, as the head of our national family, comforting, uplifting, scolding a little, nudging us toward our better angels." — Joe Klein
Jan 13, 2011
How hard it must be to hate him
Watching President Obama's almost unbearably moving oration at the Tucson memorial service last night, his best speech since winning the White House, I found myself thinking, as I often do when listening to him, of how the speech was going down with those who hate him, and what superhuman effort it must take, in the face of all the irrefutable evidence to he man's rationality, wisdom, empathy and so on to simply not see it — what backbreaking contortions of illogic, what self-hemorrhaging internal rearrangements, equivalent to the effort required to recolocate your stomach somewhere in your shoulder blades, or knees, or the exertions of a drunk to block the dawn's light from his window, or Othello to disbelieve Desdemona.
How exhausting, above all. It helps explain the extremity of the reaction to him, I think. The implausibility of doubting such an obviously reasonable, moderate-seeming man, necessitates painting him as a shape-changing demon, who's every word is salted with duplicity —"you lie!" — whose very decency is nothing but the most nefarious of tricks. And the more reasonable Obama seems, the more devious must be the con, until he stands next to Hitler — no Satan himself — as sulphurous evil incarnate. For only someone so evil could seem so good.