02 July 2008
Obama and the Privileges of Power
The news that Senator Obama received favorable terms when he took out a mortgage after his election does not expose any particular character flaw or belie any of his policy proposals, but it should make you question his credentials as a man of the people. His roots may lay with common folk, but he seems to have assumed unquestioningly the privileges of power and prestige. Perversely, once his income took a great leap upward, and he acquired political power, lenders eagerly made it easier and cheaper for him to buy a house. In his defense, Obama quite possibly wasn't aware that he was getting a better deal than the average person. He may not have realized this until it became news this week. If that's the case, then he ought to acknowledge the injustice of the situation and admit that something is wrong with this picture. Instead, it looks like the Obama campaign is content to claim that there's nothing to see here. As far as they're concerned, if there wasn't any quid-pro-quo that benefited the lender, if Obama did nothing politically to favor the institution, then there's no scandal. There may not be a personal scandal here, but the public ought to be scandalized just the same, not at Obama himself, but at a social order that discriminates in favor of the rich and powerful and probably does similar favors for richer and more powerful people all the time.