I’m going to assume the reason nobody has said anything about this week’s Observer column by Lee Siegel, in which everything is the fault of Obama’s terrible presidency, is that nobody takes Lee Siegel seriously anymore? But in this smugly vociferous piece of work, in which he assails all liberal Americans for being smug and narrow-minded, Siegel does embody almost too perfectly a certain type of thought: he’s one of those people, apparently, who associates intellectual firepower and flexibility with the reflexive rejection of some—or, in his case, all—of his nominal ideology’s basic tenets.
It’s sort of like how Evan Bayh is “honest” and “reasonable” for being a Democrat who doesn’t hold fast to any liberal principles—as if “compromise” in and of itself is the ideal, not to say honorable, outcome of any political transaction. As opposed to, you know, a piece of legislation. Certain people in the political arena—pols, pundits, and everyday votes—self-impressedly force a wedge between themselves and the beliefs they claim to hold, for the sake of appearing “objective” rather than simply “knee-jerk.” (NB: Ideological consistency is something which actually quite often coheres around a well-developed and long-considered ethos!)
I don’t want to spend to much time on this article, because it is horrifying and Lee Siegel is a great fool. So let’s just take apart two sentences and leave it at that.
The current mess began with the election of an inexperienced, unqualified man whose entire career was the product of race-based quotas and liberal guilt and who—incredibly—bore a Muslim name and came to power at a time when America was at war with half the Muslim world. I say this as someone who’s pro-Park 51 mosque, as a believer in mixed-race marriage as one of democracy’s best hopes, as a proponent of protections for illegal immigrants, gay marriage, single-payer health care, higher taxes for the wealthy, an expansion of social entitlements and an immediate end to the Afghanistan war.
Let’s skip how “race-based quotas” is seemingly based on nothing except that Obama is a black guy who went to Ivy League schools, and move right into “A believer in mixed-race marriage.” A BELIEVER IN MIXED-RACE MARRIAGE.
Listing your support for intermarriage as a liberal bona-fide in the year 2010 should probably automatically disqualify you from the role of in-house critic of the Left. Right?
(The comments section is below. Welcome, Lee! Or should I say, “LeeSiegelFan01″.)