notes from the interblags: politics politics politics

• (via The Blogora) Conservative Jeffrey Hart, speech-writer for Reagan and Nixon, endorses Obama as a (Edmund) Burkean conservative:

One thing I know is that both Nixon and Reagan would have agreed with Obama’s speech against the Iraq War… But all the organs of the conservative movement followed Bush over the cliff—as did John McCain.

• Inside Higher Ed: David Horowitz will speak at MLA

• I heard on NPR a few days ago, and Stanley Fish reiterated this in a recent NY Times column, that Obama is successful now because of his stoicism. Instead of striking back at McCain’s jabs, he’s keeping to talking points. But Michael Bérubé notes that Obama is striking back, but with a subtle and smart mockery:

But unlike my responses to Horowitz, Obama’s mockery hasn’t been over the top; it’s been dismissive but calm, cool, collected, as when Obama replied to McCain’s charge that he is a radical socialist by surmising that McCain’s next move would be to attack him for being a “secret communist” on the grounds that he shared his toys in kindergarten. Still more recently, Obama took Lord Voldemort’s Dick Cheney’s endorsement of McCain not only as an opportunity to offer McCain his mock congratulations but also as an occasion for mocking Cheney himself:

“Yesterday, Dick Cheney came out of his undisclosed location,” Obama said. “He said that he is, and I quote, ‘Delighted to support John McCain.’ He’s delighted. You’ve never seen Dick Cheney delighted before. But he is. That’s kind of hard to picture.”

So no, Obama doesn’t curse like a blogger. But he has brought some serious snark to the campaign trail, for maybe the first time ever in the history of everything ever. Seriously: just try to imagine Hubert Humphrey, George McGovern, Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry, or (bless her heart) Hillary “that’s not change you can believe in, that’s change you can Xerox” Clinton trying to pull this off. (OK, maybe Adlai Stevenson—now there was a funny guy.) Obama’s fighting back, all right, but in ways no Democratic candidate has even attempted before. He’s not post-partisan, and he’s not Olbermanian either. He merely treats McCain’s attacks with the contempt they deserve, but lightly; and while he performs stability, he also manages to perform seriousness and snarkiness all at once. It’s not easy. But he’s really, really good at it. (more; and read for links as well)

• via The Blogora, the New York Times reports that I am failing to turn my students in pinko commies. Ok, more accurately: “Three sets of researchers recently concluded that professors have virtually no impact on the political views and ideology of their students.”

• Inside Higher Ed: Academic Freedom Under Many Assaults

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