In the days since the Tucson shootings in January, we have all been striving to heed President Obama’s call to communicate “in a way that heals, not a way that wounds.”
Good citizen that I am, when I gave my Book-TV presentation on “Deconstructing Obama” last month, I did so in the spirit of Tucson.
Indeed, I dissected the authorship of Barack Obama’s books as dispassionately as a musty old scholar might dissect the authorship of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
I said nothing unkind about the president beyond that he was not much of a writer and that, like other politicians before him, John Kennedy most notably, he proved willing to take credit for the work of others.
This past weekend, however, after my Book-TV presentation aired on C-SPAN 2, I could see that our progressive friends were having a harder time honoring the president’s clarion call to civility than I.
I got a dozen or so replies from our friends on left. To reach me took some effort. A respondent had to find my website, locate my contact portal and then disregard the cheerful howdy-do, “Jack welcomes all civil inquiries.”
The first response, however, was encouraging. “I’ll always be a mix of socialist and progressive,” wrote the open-minded fellow. “Nevertheless, I hate a phony. Your book ‘Deconstructing Obama’ has proven to me that he is one. One less vote in 2012.”
The rest of the responses, alas, fell somewhat short of the president’s plea for words that heal. The reason may be that, unlike the pranksters on Amazon who review books they have not read, these poor souls actually suffered through the presentation.
One fellow conveyed his hard-earned knowledge by alluding to my discussion of Malcolm Gladwell’s “10,000 hour rule,” the belief that a master of any craft needs to put in roughly 10,000 hours of practice to succeed.
Wrote the fellow in the “subject” slot of the email, “I don’t think you have been a manipulative, lying, race baiting scumbag for 10,000 hours yet, because you suck at it jack.” That was the entire message, and the collective’s best stab at humor.
Unfortunately, old habits die hard, and many of the respondents yielded to that last resort of the die-hard progressive, the urge to classify all political opponents as racists.
Jack Cashill’s literary investigation uncovers revelations galore about Obama’s alleged life narrative. Order the new book “Deconstructing Obama: The Life, Love and Letters of America’s First Post-Modern President”
Ironically, however, the only time I mentioned race in my prepared remarks was to point out the fate that awaits blacks who defy the liberal orthodoxy.
As examples I cited Obama biographer David Remnick’s dismissal of Obama’s 2004 Republican Senate opponent Alan Keyes as “a demagogic fool” and a “60 Minutes” summary of Justice Clarence Thomas as “a sullen intellectual lightweight.”
That I referred to Keyes as “the smartest guy I have ever stood next to” scored me no points among my new progressive friends.
“Go back out on that racist, brainless golf course where you belong,” wrote one woman in response to my joking comparison of me as golfer to Obama as writer.
“You are a racist bigot a**hole Nazi, just like Limbaugh and other cretins who suck on the tit of Rupert Murdock,” wrote another new online pal.
“I’m sure getting paid from Fox Media to fuel the WHITE PANIC and fear of the black man will make you very happy,” wrote still another email buddy.
“You convinced me of nothing except the fact that you are a racist Pres Obama hater who cannot live with the fact that a Black American is sitting in the White House/Oval office as our USA Commander-in-Chief,” wrote a fellow Irish-American, adding for effect, “I spit on you! You shame me!”
The one self-identified African-American apparently missed Obama’s Tucson speech entirely: “Why are you such a Miserable Douche Bag?? I guess you are making money off of other Miserably ignorant and stupid a** whites, and there are plenty of you in the U.S.”
The reader will notice in these comments an assumption that I will write any scurrilous thing I can think of as long as it makes money, and that the making of money is implicitly evil.
“You are now, and have been for years, a shill for the Corporate States of America,” wrote one of the more polite respondents, a woman. I only wish that these Corporate States would actually pony up.
“Please,” wrote another woman, “national television is not the place to hide your stupidity, even when making money is the obvious goal.”
This woman, by the way, offered the only specific criticism. “One ridiculous statement that I have heard only from you,” she wrote, “was that President Obama did not write from age 22 to 33. A graduate student does an enormous amount of writing, rewriting and editing.”
I wrote back with the polite reminder that Obama did not go to graduate school. I noted too that Obama had written only one unsigned case note while in law school or afterwards, a freakish non-performance for the president of any law review, let alone Harvard’s.
The one malady that seems to have abated not a whit since Tucson is PDS, the emotionally crippling “Palin Derangement Syndrome.” Although I had spoken of Sarah Palin for less than 30 seconds, my new pals responded as if I had spent the hour arguing for her beatification.
“There is NO F***ING WAY that b***h wrote any of the books she takes credit for,” wrote one viewer unaware that Palin, unlike Obama, does acknowledge her collaborators.
One fellow accused me of being “a fan of The GOP Imbecile de Jour (sic), S. Palin.” Another reminded me that Palin “is a blithering moron … a demagogue and an insult to any one with a functioning brain.”
Let me cite one more unflattering comparison, this in an historic vein: “Palin makes Forest Gump sound like Alexis de Tocqueville.”
Skeptics doubt that anything anyone says can dissuade the Obama faithful from their idolatry. I would answer that we do not need all of the faithful or even most.
For the next election, one out of 12 will do just nicely. And that, experience tells me, is doable.