A Candidacy About Nothing

“Senator Obama is very eloquent, but he is also going to be very, very expensive. It may turn out that an angry, inflation-pressed America just wants to vote for an aura. Feel free, so to speak. John McCain’s job will be to explain the price of voting for eloquence.”

— Daniel Henninger, Wall Street Journal, 5/29/08

I agree with the general sentiment–but “eloquence” based on wrong ideas is a contradiction in terms. In fact, it’s flattering Obama too much to even say that he has ideas. He talks of “hope” and “change.” These are vague emotions that nobody can argue with, and indeed are conceptually neutral. He offers the prospect of emotional states without any ideas that can be subject to verification or refutation. This is the psychological equivalent of the politician who offers material goods for nothing. Obama is philosophically vapid and psychologically untenable. He can be expected to offer and support the same wrong policies that the “moderate” Democrats and “conservative” Republicans have been dishing up for many decades now–transfers of wealth from one sector of the economy to the other. There’s nothing new about this, and to package it as something new or inspiring insults not only the moderate Clintons and conservative Bushes who did the same thing; it also mocks the truly inspirational thinkers who founded this country, such as Madison, Jefferson, Thomas Paine and Benjamin Franklin. Obama is a big, flat zero. The fact that millions of people mistake him for something better than that is the only thing that makes him dangerous.