Signal to noise
There's a thread that runs through these articles. Obama's Nation of Islam Staffers, Obama’s Muslim Summit, As Campaign Surges, Obama Working to Quell Jewish Fears. The answer to what the common thread is may appear "obvious". But it only appears so. Many of the answers given will actually be different. For some the articles represent "swiftboating". Still others will think they are indications of a debate between competing voting blocs in the electorate. There will be some who will say the articles are about race, or Islamophobia, or about AIPAC. A small minority might even ask themselves if the substantive questions raised in the pieces are true. But they are probably going to be in the minority.
The most amazing thing about the subject of Barack Obama's relationship with Israel is that it carries such a weight of messaging that there's actually information fratricide. Tens of thousands of words have been composed on the subject of the man and his policies and yet many are still unsure of what he represents. Jonah Goldberg recently described the reaction of a liberal blogger to one of the Man of Hope's barn-burners which perfectly illustrates Mac Johnson's remark that the Obama was above all, a "political Rorschach test". The blogger wrote:
Obama's finest speeches do not excite. They do not inform. They don't even really inspire. They elevate. They enmesh you in a grander moment, as if history has stopped flowing passively by and, just for an instant, contracted around you, made you aware of its presence and your role in it. He is not the Word made flesh, but the triumph of word over flesh, over color, over despair.
The other great leaders I've heard guide us toward a better politics, but Obama is, at his best, able to call us back to our highest selves, to the place where America exists as a glittering ideal and where we, its honored inhabitants, seem capable of achieving it, and thus of sharing in its meaning and transcendence.
But when the mesmeric spell is broken; after the confetti has settled on the floor; when the chairs have been stacked against the wall; when you've driven halfway home from the rally, stopped at all-nighter for a cup of coffee, it may come to you: what did you really hear? There's a thread that runs through those articles. If only we knew what it was.