When the liberal reflex is coupled with a Ivy League-educated candidate who seems personally remote and uncomfortable with everyday American activities, it's electoral poison. After the likes of Al Gore and John Kerry, Republicans had to be wondering, "Could Democrats possibly nominate yet another candidate easily portrayed as an out-of-touch elitist?" With Obama, Democrats appear to be responding with a resounding "Yes, we can!"
Obama brings a special measure of arrogance to the standard liberal critique of Middle America. His candidacy has always been characterized by two paradoxes. How can he be so hopeful at the same time he and his wife, Michelle, portray America as a sink-pit of despair? And how can he claim to be a uniter when he's an orthodox liberal who has risked little or nothing for bipartisan outreach?
Now, we know. Obama defines hopefulness as liberalism, specifically liberalism as embodied by himself. Only with Obama's election will America be redeemed from its harrowing false consciousness. We will be unified, not by Obama reaching out to conservatives to hammer out compromises, but by conservatives shedding their bitterness and becoming Obama liberals.
This is the underside of hope: arrogance fading into a secular messianism based on the fallenness of everyone who disagrees with Barack Obama. And it's small-town voters who are deluded?