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Ed Driscoll

Liberal Fascism

Obamaville, RFD

August 29th, 2014 - 5:33 pm

Now is the time when we juxtapose, Small Dead Animals-style:

Documents obtained from the Department of Health and Human Services reveal that the Obama administration spent $3,184,000 in taxpayer funds to produce and air national television ads promoting Democrats’ health care overhaul plan.

The ads, starring television icon Andy Griffith, were meant to educate “Medicare beneficiaries, caregivers and family members about forthcoming changes to Medicare as a result of the Affordable Care Act.” However, multiple media outlets, including the nonpartisan FactCheck.org, called the ads misleading.

“How Much Did Taxpayers Pay for Andy Griffith to Promote ObamaCare?”, the Blaze, December 1st, 2010.

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) slammed President Barack Obama’s foreign policy, and characterized him as “Barney Fife” who has “his head buried in a hole somewhere on the first green” on Thursday’s broadcast of “Hannity” on the Fox News Channel.

He reacted to Obama’s announcement that the United States does not have a strategy on ISIS by saying, “He did say we don’t have a strategy, but he followed that up by saying the strategy is to nip it in the bud. Well, unfortunately it’s not in a bud, it’s full blossomed, and do you know who made that line famous? Barney Fife. We have Barney Fife running our foreign policy now.”

“Gohmert: Obama Is ‘Barney Fife’ on Foreign Policy,” Breitbart TV, yesterday.

Elia Kazan’s classic A Face in the Crowd is a good primer on Barack Obama’s rise and fall. Lonesome Rhodes [played by an astonishingly manic Andy Griffith in an early star turn -- Ed] arises out of nowhere in the 1957 film, romancing the nation as a phony populist who serially spins yarns in the most folksy ways — confident that he should never be held to account. Kazan’s point (in the film Rhodes is a patsy for conservative business interests) is that the “folks” are fickle and prefer to be charmed rather than informed and told the truth. Rhodes’s new first name, Lonesome, resonates in the film in a way that Barack does now. Finally, an open mic captures Rhodes’s true disdain for the people he champions, and his career crashes.

–”Our ‘Face in the Crowd’”, Victor Davis Hanson, August 17th, 2014.

I’d ask when we can expect the ghost of Aunt Bee to become intertwined with the hapless Obama administration, but she appears to be shilling for Elizabeth Warren these days.

Ferguson Fizzles

August 29th, 2014 - 3:41 pm

“It was televised, but it wasn’t the revolution,” Charles C. W. Cooke writes:

Michael Brown’s death remains a great mystery. The witnesses’ accounts disagree, there is confusion as to which pieces of evidence are legitimate and which are not, and the police officer at the heart of the matter has not yet spoken. In lieu of hard information, two possible routes have presented themselves: speculation or patience. By and large, the American people have opted for the latter.

Which is to say that when Harvard Law School’s Charles Ogletree proposed this week that Brown’s killing was similar to the murders of Emmett Till and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. he had it precisely backwards. The cases of Till and of King were so powerful because they were so clear-cut — because both victims were self-evidently innocent parties whose lives were publicly taken from them by hate-filled men. Michael Brown, by contrast, could still turn out to have been the villain of the piece. We simply do not know what happened. This has made it difficult for those with an agenda to profit from the case. Ambiguity does not national outrage make, nor can effective political conversations be scripted by know-nothings.

The riots, too, served only to muddy the waters. It was damaging enough to the emerging narrative that those responsible for the unrest had so prematurely determined the officer’s guilt, but it was fatal that their anger was directed at private businesses whose owners and customers were unconnected to the matter at hand. The most effective revolts are simple in nature and morally clear. Legally, it would not have been more acceptable if Ferguson’s mutineers had elected to burn down the police station or to sack the town’s courthouse. But it would have brought their complaint more clearly into focus. Rash and irresponsible as their cry of “injustice!” was, agitators were nonetheless trying to convey to the general public that they are routinely mistreated by the system — that, in other words, Michael Brown is just one of many. There are many among us who would not dismiss this claim out of hand. Most of them, however, will fail to see the connection between striking a blow for the universal rights of man and burning down a QuikTrip. It is tough to keep the attention on the participants in the fight when you have, by your actions, created another set of victims on which the newspapers may fixate.

Gee, you mean taking your protest strategy from the ending of Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing is a pretty stupid idea? Other than 99 percent of the American public, who knew!

Related: Rather than dwell in the lurid revenge fantasies crafted by Lee and other “Hollywood Violence Profiteers” as Michelle Malkin dubs them in her new column, “Blacks Must Confront Reality,” Walter E. Williams writes at Townhall:

The Census Bureau pegs the poverty rate among blacks at 28.1 percent. A statistic that one never hears about is that the poverty rate among intact married black families has been in the single digits for more than two decades, currently at 8.4 percent. Weak family structures not only spell poverty and dependency but also contribute to the social pathology seen in many black communities — for example, violence and predatory sex. Each year, roughly 7,000 blacks are murdered. Ninety-four percent of the time, the murderer is another black person. Though blacks are 13 percent of the nation’s population, they account for more than 50 percent of homicide victims. Nationally, the black homicide victimization rate is six times that of whites, and in some cities, it’s 22 times that of whites. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, between 1976 and 2011, there were 279,384 black murder victims. Coupled with being most of the nation’s homicide victims, blacks are also major victims of violent personal crimes, such as assault, rape and robbery.

Unfortunately for everyone in America, the elite left cannot preach what it practices, as Charles Murray brilliantly put it, and instead, quietly practices conservative day-to-day values which they refuse to pass on to others less fortunate who would benefit from them as well:

That’s because the new upper-class has “lost self-confidence in the rightness of its own customs and values, and preaches nonjudgmentalism instead.” Non-judgementalism, he writes, “is one of the more baffling features of the new upper-class culture. The members of the new upper class are industrious to the point of obsession, but there are no derogatory labels for adults who are not industrious. The young women of the new upper class hardly ever have babies out of wedlock, but it is impermissible to use a derogatory label for non-marital births. You will probably raise a few eyebrows even if you use a derogatory label for criminals. When you get down to it, it is not acceptable in the new upper class to use derogatory labels for anyone, with three exceptions: people with differing political views, fundamentalist Christians, and rural working-class whites.”

As Marco Rubio said last month, “I was taught certain values that led me to live my life in a sequence that has a proven track record of success. In America, if you get an education, find a good job, and wait until marriage to have children, your chances of achieving economic security and professional fulfillment are incredibly high.”

But success and self-reliance don’t feed the left’s ever-growing victim-industrial complex, which helps to explain why elite leftists  can’t preach what they quietly practice amongst themselves.

It also helps to explain why, “After Hearing What a Tea Party Group Recently Did in Ferguson, You Likely Won’t Be Surprised That You Haven’t Heard About It.”

(Click here for my recent interview with Murray on his new book, The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Getting Ahead.)

What If There’s No There There?

August 29th, 2014 - 2:58 pm

Jay Cost is asking if the clothes have no emperor, in the Weekly Standard:

Toward the end of Ronald Reagan’s second term, a friend of Vice President Bush encouraged him to think carefully about what a Bush presidency should look like. According to Time, Bush responded, “Oh, the vision thing.” Fairly or unfairly, this phrase came to characterize the Bush 41 tenure. Despite his impressive résumé spanning three decades in government, he seemed not to have a clear view of what he wanted to do.

When Barack Obama campaigned for the White House in 2008, that hardly seemed like his problem. Obama would take in the whole sweep of American history in his speeches to suggest that his candidacy was its culmination. His heavy-handed propaganda​—​from the Greek columns to Shepard Fairey’s “Hope” poster​—​suggested a man with a vision surplus.

In the sixth year of his presidency, it is clear that Obama does not have much of a vision at all. Sure, he is a man of the left and possesses a commitment to its goals; he thinks government should grow larger and taxes should increase. Beyond that, he does not seem to have a firm sense of the reforms he should implement, how to implement them, how he fits into the constitutional schema, what a sensible U.S. foreign policy should be or how to execute it.

This is not to say that the White House does not offer positions on the issues. We are inundated with Obama positions. We are also treated periodically to longer “think pieces” from sycophantic authors granted extraordinary access to reinforce the point that this is a president deeply engaged in the issues of the day, struggling to bring order from chaos.

Yet the constant positioning and propagandizing belie deep-rooted ambiguities in this administration, which​—​it must be noted​—​has taken flak from left and right for years. Radical academic Cornel West recently suggested that Obama is a corporatist stooge, while Rand Paul fretted about the “socialist nightmare” the president is creating. Some might think these critiques accidentally demonstrate that the president is down-the-center. More likely they point to the absence of “the vision thing.” Sometimes he’s a corporate crony, sometimes a socialist; it all depends on what side of the bed he wakes up on.

Read the whole thing. Of course, corporatism and socialism have been deeply intertwined by their very nature since the days of Otto Von Bismarck, as Jonah Goldberg noted in Liberal Fascism. And as Jonah writes in his latest G-File regarding Mr. Obama’s own lack of the vision thing:

The reality, alas, is that Obama is — and has always been — out of his depth on the international stage. Given the prestige of the presidency and the incredible institutional forces behind the office, particularly when a liberal is elected, it takes time to burn through all of the political capital that comes with the job. But Obama has been throwing that political capital on an Oval Office bonfire like so much kindling on a clean and safe Anchorage night. In yet another metaphor that threatens to burn out the dilithium crystals , the credibility inferno is reaching China Syndrome proportions (“You should have said ‘literally’ a lot! Literally means ‘pay attention to how smart my metaphors are.’ Wheeeeee!” — Joe Biden). For a depressing but brilliant analysis of this meltdown, see Bret Stephens’s piece in the new Commentary coincidentally titled “The Meltdown.”

Remember the famous SNL clip where Phil Hartman plays Ronald Reagan? He’s an amiable dunce in public, but get him behind closed doors and he’s a master strategist? Well, maybe that stuff about Obama being the liberal opposite of Reagan is true. Out in public, he seems like he’s the Chess Master (though I never saw it). But get him behind closed doors and he’s in the chair next to Biden shouting “I can spin faster than you!”

Unlike Reagan, who was a master orator at the podium, while the introverted GWB was often painfully inarticulate on the world stage (there are many, myself included, who sympathize deeply with his fear of public speaking), as left-leaning pundit Jonathan Rauch noted in the Atlantic back in 2003 in “The Accidental Radical,” Bush #43 came to Washington with a clear vision of reform, much of which came from observing the mistakes his father made, and set about executing his plan.

In his new article, Cost compares the distance between Obama’s mesmerizing performance on the campaign stump in 2008 and 2012 and behind-the-scenes, his sleepwalking haze as chief executive to FDR and LBJ, who were excellent campaigners and could shape policy behind closed doors. But FDR had been Assistant Secretary of the Navy and governor of New York before becoming president, and LBJ spent decades in both houses of Congress before circumstances thrust him into his own role as an accidental radical.

In sharp contrast to the long careers of both men, Obama made three brilliant calculations to leapfrog so quickly into the White House: One: Since the McGovern debacle, Democrats often nominate a chameleonic newcomer to the national scene onto whom they can project whatever policies they wish to advance that year. Two: Race trumps gender on the left, and a majority of Americans would be thrilled to vote for a black president, provided he wasn’t a radical far left bomb thrower in the Al Sharpton/Jesse Jackson mold. And finally, even though Obama was precisely that, given the background he marinated in all his life, from his radical parents to his years at the foot of Rev. Wright, that the media would be similarly thrilled to push all of that aside for him. And he was certainly right about that:

As MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough told Hugh Hewitt a couple of weeks ago, the memoirs to come from Obama White House insiders will make for astonishing reading, once the former president makes it official and leaves office:

This president wants yes men around him. And again, I hear that from my Democratic friends, I hear that from his own former chiefs of staff. If anybody steps out of line, they’re immediately insulated and pushed out. You know, I said this on set after the cameras were turned off to a couple of people who I knew wouldn’t say it on the air. I said guys, you know as well as I do that the second this administration is over, the books are going to come from former secretaries of state. The books are going to come from former chiefs of staff. The books are going to come, and this president is going to have to deal with 20-30 years of disparagement from his own side, calling him one of the least effective presidents, because he’s one of the most insulated presidents.

I suspect the material that emerges will be alternately thrilling, terrifying, and laugh-aloud funny, often within the same sentence. Not the least of which being when we discover how the famous conclusion of Robert Redford’s 1972 movie The Candidate played out in real life, once a real-life far left tyro senator won the biggest political title in the land in 2008:

Say what you will about the man, but at least until today, the one thing Obama could do reasonably well was look sharp in a suit — hence all of the “clothes have no emperor” gags, dating back to 2008 when conservative blogs attempted to warn voters, Cassandra-like in retrospect, to think twice about the national purgatory they were about to inflict upon America. (And it’s actually not a bad suit; but it is such a dreadful choice when you’re trying to project power on the world stage that you have to wonder if he chose it deliberately for that purpose. But to paraphrase Hanlon’s Razor, never attribute to conspiracy that which is adequately explained by incompetence.)

Of course, today’s tweet was only a matter of time from Esquire — after all, this is the far left magazine which declared “John Kerry: Political Badass” on its cover in June of 2004, and was so in the tank to the Democrat party, it was publishing throne-sniffing “Summer of Obama” pieces around this time in 2011:

Before the fall brings us down, before the election season begins in earnest with all its nastiness and vulgarity, before the next batch of stupid scandals and gaffes, before Sarah Palin tries to convert her movie into reality and Joe Biden resumes his imitation of an embarrassing uncle and Newt and Callista Gingrich creep us all out, can we just enjoy Obama for a moment? Before the policy choices have to be weighed and the hard decisions have to be made, can we just take a month or two to contemplate him the way we might contemplate a painting by Vermeer or a guitar lick by the early-seventies Rolling Stones or a Peyton Manning pass or any other astounding, ecstatic human achievement? Because twenty years from now, we’re going to look back on this time as a glorious idyll in American politics, with a confident, intelligent, fascinating president riding the surge of his prodigious talents from triumph to triumph. Whatever happens this fall or next, the summer of 2011 is the summer of Obama.

No really, Esquire honestly allowed that to be printed, and I don’t even think they meant it at all ironically. Twenty years from now, we’re going to look back at this time in which a nation’s pundit class went absolutely insane — and no matter how badly they disclaim knowledge of their past writings, it’s up to the rest of us to preserve their glorious nonsense as a warning to future generations.

Of course, in his defense, Obama could just claim that hey, at least I wasn’t stupid enough to trust Esquire’s latest fashion advice

(That last link via Kathy Shaidle. I for one, prefer to remember a much more elegant Esquire, from a relatively more civilized time.)

Update: Also in the president’s defense, he can claim that he wasn’t stupid enough to take Vox’s sartorial advice:

Meanwhile, Glenn Reynolds goes all contrarian on his readers.

By the way, Esquire speaks about being the president of Sears as if it was a bad thing.

Is There Nothing It Can’t Do?

August 28th, 2014 - 5:38 pm

Shot:

Chaser:

As Britain’s Malcolm Muggeridge noted a half century ago, there’s no way for any satirist to compete with real life — and real leftists — for pure absurdity.

(Of course, the moral equivalence that compares global terror with global warming is nothing new for the far left. Freud called it displacement — as did columnist Julia Gorin, when she noted the connection in 2006 in the Christian Science Monitor.)

With Obama publicly declaring that his administration has yet to formulate a plan to combat ISIS — hey those golf courses don’t play themselves when you’re on summer vacation, you know — Tony Lee of Big Government offers up a pair of nice callbacks:

After Obama accepted the nomination in front of Greek columns on August 28, 2008, Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin asked, “But when the cloud of rhetoric has passed, when the roar of the crowd fades away, when the stadium lights go out and those Styrofoam Greek columns are hauled back to some studio lot, when that happens, what exactly is our opponent’s plan?”

Palin also predicted in 2008 that Russia could invade Ukraine if Obama became president. She was mocked for these prophetic remarks:

After the Russian Army invaded the nation of Georgia, Senator Obama’s reaction was one of indecision and moral equivalence, the kind of response that would only encourage Russia’s Putin to invade Ukraine next.

When Mitt Romney recently declared that Obama was even worse then he expected, Glenn Reynolds quipped, “Really? Because he’s pretty much exactly like Sarah Palin predicted.” Which makes the unexpected shot at Palin in an otherwise solid piece in the new issue of Commentary by the Wall Street Journal’s Brett Stephens on “The Meltdown” of the Obama administration rankle so much:

Should any of this have come as a surprise? Probably not: With Obama, there was always more than a whiff of the overconfident dilettante, so sure of his powers that he could remain supremely comfortable with his own ignorance. His express-elevator ascent from Illinois state senator to U.S. president in the space of just four years didn’t allow much time for maturation or reflection, either. Obama really is, as Bill Clinton is supposed to have said of him, “an amateur.” When it comes to the execution of policy, it shows.

And yet this view also sells Obama short. It should be obvious, but bears repeating, that it is no mean feat to be elected, and reelected, president, whatever other advantages Obama might have enjoyed in his races. In interviews and press conferences, Obama is often verbose and generally self-serving, but he’s also, for the most part, conversant with the issues. He may not be the second coming of Lincoln that groupies like historians Michael Beschloss (who called Obama “probably the smartest guy ever to become president”) or Robert Dallek (who said Obama’s “political mastery is on par with FDR and LBJ”) made him out to be. But neither is he a Sarah Palin, mouthing artless banalities about this great nation of ours, or a Rick Perry, trying, like Otto from A Fish Called Wanda, to remember the middle part. The myth of Obama’s brilliance paradoxically obscures the fact that he’s no fool. The point is especially important to note because the failure of Obama’s foreign policy is not, ultimately, a reflection of his character or IQ. It is the consequence of an ideology.

“Artless banalities.” Shades of how JFK’s elitist liberal inner circle turned on his successor, despite Lyndon Johnson taking all of JFK’s policies and with the Great Society, super-sizing them, Texas-style. Which was the problem: Johnson’s Texas mannerisms, southern drawl, and lack of Ivy League hauteur trumped his actual politics — which the Beltway crowd adored, but couldn’t reconcile with the artless banalities of the person advancing them, as Jeffery Lord noted a couple of years ago at the American Spectator in a piece titled, “JFK and the Death of Liberalism:”

The attitude toward Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson that was evidenced by Kennedy’s liberal leaning staff, by the Washington Georgetown set, by Washington journalists — slowly seeped into the sinews of liberalism itself.

Recall Caro’s descriptions of people who were “in love with their own sophistication,” who were “such an in-group, and they let you know they were in, and you were not.” Think of the snotty arrogance displayed as these people laughed at LBJ’s accent, his mispronunciations, his clothes, his wife (“Uncle Cornpone and his Little Pork Chop“).

Slowly, and then not so slowly, these elitist, arrogant and if not outright snotty attitudes sought out a new target during the years when LBJ was sitting in the White House — when, in the view of these people, “Uncle Cornpone and his Little Pork Chop” had replaced the King and Queen of Camelot.

That new target?

The American people themselves. They had, after all, elected LBJ in a landslide in 1964. Now Uncle Cornpone was the elected President of the United States. To make matters more unbearable, LBJ was using his newfound power and popularity to actually pass the liberal agenda of the day, which Johnson labeled “The Great Society.” Uncle Cornpone, it seemed, wasn’t such a ridiculous figure after all when it came to getting the liberal wish list through the Congress.

No one better than JFK would have known instantly what a huge mistake this elitist attitude would be. Discussing the relationship of a presidential candidate with the American people, JFK had told historian and friend Theodore H. White, author of The Making of the President series, that, in White’s re-telling, “a man running for the Presidency must talk up, way up there.” It was a principle Kennedy surely would have applied to his own party — and did so while he was president. Not from JFK was there a drop of elitist contempt — from a man who unarguably could claim the title in a blink — for his fellow countrymen.

But in a horrifying flash, JFK was gone. And the elitist tide spread.

To both sides of the aisle in the Beltway media, it seems.

Update: Foreign Policy’s Blake Hounshell in 2008: “Palin’s Russian invasion of Ukraine ‘extremely far-fetched scenario.’” He had plenty of company to share that bit of conventional wisdom with, including Time, Foreign Affairs, and other establishment leftist publications, as recently as earlier this year.

More Mush from the Wimp

August 28th, 2014 - 2:49 pm

“Obama REFUSES to call 1,000 Russian troops and tanks in Ukraine an ‘invasion’ and sticks to sanctions but McCain says he’s living in ‘Putin’s Orwellian universe,’” the London Daily Mail notes, reporting on the former president’s speech today. I’m not sure why the “But” is included in their headline though:

President Barack Obama refused to label Russia’s military action inside eastern Ukraine as an ‘invasion’ on Thursday, calling it an ‘incursion’ despite facing a reporter’s specific action [sic] about his choice of words.

Following a conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Obama told reporters that the two leaders agree ‘that Russia is responsible for the violence in eastern Ukraine. … Russia has deliberately and repeatedly violated the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.’

‘And the new images of Russian forces inside Ukraine make that plain for the world to see.’

He insisted that the Russian tanks filmed rumbling through Ukraine on Thursday are merely ‘a continuation of what’s been taking place for months now.’

* * * * * * *

Arizona Sen. John McCain, the Republicans’ top dog on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, reacted angrily before Obama’s brief press conference.

‘Russia’s ongoing aggression in Ukraine can only be called one thing: a cross-border military invasion,’ he said. ‘To claim it is anything other than that is to inhabit President Putin’s Orwellian universe.’

‘A sovereign nation in the heart of Europe is being invaded by its larger neighbor,’ McCain declared. ‘This runs completely contrary to the civilized world that America and our partners have sought to build since World War II.’

Of course, as Victor Davis Hanson writes today in “Obama’s Hazy Sense of History,” the recently retired president apparently believes that postwar world was something that merely happened organically:

Obama often parrots Martin Luther King Jr.’s phrase about the arc of the moral universe bending toward justice. But King used that metaphor as an incentive to act, not as reassurance that matters will follow an inevitably positive course.

* * * * * * *

A Pollyannaish belief in historical predetermination seems to substitute for action. If Obama believes that evil should be absent in the 21st century, or that the arc of the moral universe must always bend toward justice, or that being on the wrong side of history has consequences, then he may think inanimate forces can take care of things as we need merely watch.

In truth, history is messier. Unfortunately, only force will stop seventh-century monsters like the Islamic State from killing thousands more innocents. Obama may think that reminding Putin that he is now in the 21st century will so embarrass the dictator that he will back off from Ukraine. But the brutish Putin may think that not being labeled a 21st-century civilized sophisticate is a compliment.

As VDH concludes, “Obama’s naive belief in predetermined history — especially when his facts are often wrong — is a poor substitute for concrete moral action.”

And speaking of a lack of concrete moral action, “President Obama said Thursday he doesn’t have a strategy yet for defeating Islamist militants in Syria,” the Washington Times adds:

“I don’t want to put the cart before the horse,” Mr. Obama said in a news conference at the White House. “We don’t have a strategy yet. As our strategy develops, we will consult with Congress.”

Really, Mr. Obama will consult with Congress? Well, there’s a first time for everything I guess. (Not the least of which is the former president’s tan gaberdine suit. It’s a nice choice — if you’re hoping to project an image that says, “Hey, I’m a friendly laid-back toff enjoying this fine summer day. Say, who’s up for a few Mojitos at the bar!” And Putin, if not ISIS, will very likely understand the semiotics of the president’s rather blasé image.)

Speaking of which, if the former president does sound rather blasé about Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, or ISIS slaughtering troops and journalists and uploading videos of the carnage to YouTube, there is one foreign affairs issue that fires him up and finds him “enraged” and ready to punch back twice as hard:

In a neighborhood featuring Hamas, ISIS, Hezbollah, Syria, and Iran, just to name a few of the actors, President Obama was “enraged” at … Israel. That’s right, Israel–our stalwart ally, a lighthouse of liberty, lawfulness, and human rights in a region characterized by despotism, and a nation filled with people who long for peace and have done so much for so long to sacrifice for it (including repeatedly returning and offering to return its land in exchange for peace).

Yet Mr. Obama–a man renowned for his lack of strong feelings, his emotional equanimity, his disengagement and distance from events, who New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd refers to as “Spock” for his Vulcan-like detachment–is not just upset but “enraged” at Israel.

As Peter Wehner of Commentary writes, “It’s clear to me, and by now it should be to others, that there is something sinister in Barack Obama’s constant anger aimed at Israel.”

Great priorities there, Barry. By the way, if you’ve lost CNN…

Update: At Strategy Page, Austin Bay notices the timing of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine:

In August 1939  — 75 years ago this week — Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin signed the Hitler-Stalin Pact. In the wake of the Russo-German alliance, newspaper wits coined the term “ComunNazi.” Communist-Nazi. Yes, “red” and “brown” entwined as the dictatorships they are.

The two dictators’ legions of liars hailed the deal as a peace treaty. Peace? Eastern Europeans in the dictators’ gun sights scorned the falsehood.

“Peace in our time, ” Neville Chamberlain had proclaimed after the wretched Munich deal of 1938, which gave Hitler permission to annex slices of Czechoslovakia. Of course, when given a slice, Hitler annexed the whole.

Expansionist dictators take until stopped by superior power.

Or until blinded by really sharp lightweight bespoke summer suits, and/or the power of the #hashtag:

More: “Wish he was as angry with ISIL as he is with the GOP.”

Ahh, the catty wars of the distaff Democrat newsreaders. “Couric Accused Sawyer Of Trading Head For Headlines,” the Daily Caller quips, quoting from the err, juiciest detail from Sheila Weller’s upcoming book, The News Sorority:

It’s a battle of the female news anchors in veteran journalist Sheila Weller’s tell-all book, “The News Sorority,” which outlines the fiercely competitive careers of Katie Couric, Diane Sawyer and Christiane Amanpour. Though the book doesn’t hit shelves for a full month, its revelations are prematurely exploding everywhere.

The Daily Beast published some highlights, and perhaps the most shocking is how Katie Couric and Diane Sawyer allegedly fought for exclusive stories:

“When Diane beat Katie on an interview with a 57-year-old woman who’d given birth to twins, Katie mused aloud, according to a person who heard the comment: ‘I wonder who she blew this time to get it.’”

And speaking of whom, “As Diane Sawyer Signs-Off, a Look Back at Her Fawning Chats With Repressive Dictators,” from Scott Whitlock of NewsBusters:

World News anchor and long-time ABC journalist Diane Sawyer signed off for the last time on Wednesday night. The host’s final show included a music montage as she offered a behind the scenes look at how the program is created. Sawyer praised World News as “the flag ship broadcast of ABC where Peter Jennings created a signature of such curiosity and courage.”

Talking to viewers, Sawyer said of the people behind her show: “Determination and the certainty of purpose: They’re doing it for you.” [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Sawyer joined ABC in 1989 and if there’s been one constant during her long career, it’s been fawning, credulous reporting on dictators. On February 19, 2008, she cooed over Fidel Castro: “From a tiny island, a larger than life personality….Castro knew life is a stage and played the part of the dashing revolutionary, coming to New York, getting rock star treatment.”

Here are some of Sawyer’s most gushing reporting on repressive regimes, starting off with a trip to North Korea:

Whitlock notes that while meeting with a group of young brainwashed North Korean students, Sawyer described them as living in “a world away from the unruly individualism of any American school.”

Yes, we wouldn’t want our viewers to have to deal with too much of that unruly American individualism! And Diane’s rival Katie Couric certainly doesn’t — just a reminder, during Thanksgiving week in November of 2009, as the late Noel Sheppard of NewsBusters spotted back then, Couric used a rewritten version of “The Night Before Christmas” to plump for Obamacare:

Twas just weeks before Christmas and what do you know

Senate Democrats are once again praying for Snowe.

They won 60 votes to start the debate

But they’re back to square one and the just have to wait.

Wait for Blue Dogs like Nelson and Lincoln

Who say a public option would mean the economy sinkin’.

Wait for Joe Lieberman who says it won’t pass

And hope Mary Landrieu can change her mind fast.

The Republican votes right now total zero

But a trigger could make one woman a hero.

The moderate who hails from the land way up north

Could save Harry Reid’s Christmas with a deal she brought forth.

Urging government plans for when private ones fail

To think: both sides happy, can both sides prevail?

At this point no compromise looms within sight

That means after Thanksgiving it’s on with the fight.

Enjoy your turkey and know we’ll be here

To help make this tough topic just a little more clear.

Gosh, and to think viewers tuned her out droves shortly thereafter — I wonder why?

And finally, from the world of distaff Democrats with bylines, Rachel Maddow transformed herself into a neocon so slowly, only Moe Lane happened to notice:

Mind you, I agree that ISIS needs to be squashed like an absolute bug.  I just wish that I had a time machine.  It would be priceless to see the reaction on 2004-Rachel Maddow’s face when she saw video evidence that 2014-Maddow was now committing herself to a morals-based, easy-to-escalate campaign in Iraq and Syria.  Or, shoot, the look on June-2014 ‘Iraq is the new South Vietnam**!’ Maddow’s face.  Because I’m pretty sure that Maddow was kind of arguing back then that, hey, the Communist takeover worked out all right over there, hey? She certainly didn’t want to go back into Iraq then.

Seriously, this is why you pick your principles first, and then let your policy positions be informed by them.  Because when you don’t – when you pick what you want to do, and don’t bother working out why you would want to do it – then you end up like Rachel Maddow.  Because she’s not really a neoconservative, you see.  If Maddow was, she’d have a moral center to her universe that was simply better than Barack Obama wants to do this, and I trust him implicitly. And she wouldn’t be required to change her opinions every three months, because the problem here is that Barack Obama here has no moral center that’s better than I want to do this, and I trust myself implicitly.

Presumably Maddow is simply returning to the opinion she and the rest of the American left held in 1998:

Let’s give Diane Sawyer the exit quote, which connects the dots on this post rather nicely. “You know, I wanted to sit on a jury once and I was taken off the jury. And the judge said to me, ‘Can, you know, can you tell the truth and be fair?’ And I said, ‘That’s what journalists do.’ And everybody in the courtroom laughed. It was the most hurtful moment I think I’ve ever had.”

News You Can Use

August 27th, 2014 - 7:17 pm

And/or your Quote of the Day:

Instead of propagandizing young people with the fear-mongering lie how a homeless person is just the same as anyone else but for a few bad breaks, Miley would have done our culture a greater service by having her prop (let’s be real, he wasn’t really her date) admit to all of the awful life choices he made that led him to living on the streets.

How about this for a speech:

I’m homeless and I’m living on the streets and I don’t want this to happen to you. So don’t do what I did. Don’t break into an apartment, don’t smoke pot, don’t break parole. Get an education and have a solid and dependable plan for a job. Don’t move to LA (one of the most expensive cities in the country) and don’t try to be a model (one of the most unreliable professions in the world.)  

Live right. Get an education. Get a real job.  

It may not be a formula for fame and fortune, but it’s a formula for not being homeless.

“Miley’s Date Deserves To Be Homeless,” Larry O’Connor, the Washington Free Beacon, today.

“CNN: Hey, Our Suspicious Shooting Audio with More Shots than a Battle in Fallujah Might Be Real!”, Bryan Preston quips at the PJ Tatler:

Well, this is funny — and a little too representative of today’s so-called mainstream media.

So CNN was asking two guys who know nothing about the case to speculate about an unconfirmed alleged audio from an unidentified man.

The experts both expressed their strong doubts that the audio was real.

The CNN time-waster had a strong rebuttal, though.

After the first guest says it’s most likely a hoax, and might just be a Howard Stern prankster, he allows, more out of politeness than conviction, “But it could be real.”

And it could very easily be fake. No one knows, which is the point.

Bryan lists several reasons why CNN should have been suspicious about the audio — the one that jumped out at me on his list was “No one on the recording reacts to the supposed gun shots,” which if they’re loud enough to be picked up on audio, had to have been even louder in person. If you’re on the phone and hear gun shots — even a car backfiring — human emotion would force even the most intent hot chatter away from his reverie to respond, “Geez, what was that??” Plus, “There are at least ten audible ‘shots,’ more than any autopsy of Michael Brown has revealed (Officer Wilson may have missed some, but police will know from the number of shell casings at the scene, testimony, etc).”

Rather than vet the audio before airing, CNN of course rushed it out and just about put in a loop yesterday; from their ratings-hungry perspective, the “timing of the release made perfect sense,” John Nolte notes at Big Journalism:

The leftwing network dropped the audio the day after treating the funeral of Michael Brown as though he was a head of state. With the death porn concluded and the Ferguson streets quiet, CNN needed to fill the race-baiting vacuum with something.

This is the second time CNN has been unforgivably irresponsible with audio. Using unintelligible audio of George Zimmerman’s 911 call, CNN falsely claimed Zimmerman had described Trayvon Martin as a “f**ing coon” before fatally shooting the teenager. CNN not only fabricated this evidence against Zimmerman, after it was proven Zimmerman didn’t use the racial slur, CNN continued to lie to its audience and claim he had.

“Credit CNN for self-auditing,” P.J. Gladnick adds at NewsBusters, “but only after the fact. Their vetting capabilities still remain incredibly woeful. It was only this past Sunday that they got pranked for the umpteenth time by [infamous Howard Stern show fan, Captain Janks aka Tom Cipriano] while they were covering the Napa earthquake in California.”

Yesterday, in my post titled “How to Lose Friends and Alienate Customers,” I mentioned that the late Ginny Carroll, of the then-Washington Post-owned Newsweek, admitted on C-SPAN that during the 1992 Republican Convention, she wore a button that said, “Yeah, I’m with the Media — Screw You.” Carroll was as a bureau chief for Newsweek in first Detroit and then Houston — no doubt her professionalism, or the lack thereof, filtered down to the employees there who reported to her.

On Twitter today, Howard Mortman of C-SPAN spotted my post and pointed me to this clip from C-SPAN’s archives of Carroll and other Democrat operatives with bylines fuming to segment host Brian Lamb about how they were treated by delegates at the 1992 Republican Convention. It’s a brilliant example of journalists dropping the mask and demonstrating both their undeserved hauteur and their visible loathing of their customers:

“My reaction to that button [`Rather Biased'] and others, in part, is a button I bought yesterday that says `Yeah, I’m In The Media, Screw You!’….I do understand why a lot of people are upset with us, why we rank somewhere between terrorists and bank robbers on the approval scale. We do criticize. That’s part of our role. Our role is not just to parrot what people say, it’s to make people think. I think that sometimes I want to say to the electorate `Grow up!’”

When Matt Drudge became the first person to very visibly take advantage of the newfound freedom of the Internet, the revulsion that the MSM demonstrated towards him in the late 1990s was visceral. This pattern would be followed by how the MSM responded to the launch of the Blogosphere a few years later, and then the Tea Party.

And they wonder why many on the right cheer when there’s news of fresh disaster concerning old media. This clip and others like it, such as this example featuring the late Peter Jennings and Mike Wallace sneering at the US military, are reminders of how much the MSM despises their readers — and much of America in general. Just ask them.

(Thumbnail image on PJM homepage created using a modified Shutterstock.com file.)

Tom Brokaw, NBC Execs Fuming at New Boss

August 27th, 2014 - 12:27 pm

“NBC News president Deborah Turness had to apologize after infuriating top execs and talent by announcing the network news organization had been asleep for 15 years:”

Turness, who came to the job from Britain’s ITV News one year ago, dropped the tactless clanger in a New York Times interview on Sunday, saying, “NBC News hadn’t kept up with the times in all sorts of ways, for maybe 15 years . . . I think the organization had gone to sleep.”

Sources tell us Tom Brokaw, managing editor and anchor of NBC’s “Nightly News” from 1982 until 2004, Turness’ predecessor Steve Capus (NBC News president from 2005 to 2013 and now executive producer of “CBS Evening News”) and CNN chief Jeff Zucker “are apoplectic” over Turness’ remark.

One network insider fumed, “Turness is making enemies. Her ‘asleep’ comment is incredibly disrespectful to many of NBC’s top journalists, especially Tom Brokaw and Brian Williams, and her predecessors Steve Capus, Andy Lack, Neal Shapiro and Jeff Zucker.”

Damn straight — just look at the brilliant product that NBC puts on on a regular basis — and how tightly edited is. I mean, we’re talking down to the sentence here:

Its investigative resources always on the alert to uncover the dirt voters need to know about political poseurs on the eve of a critical election:

And then there’s the professionalism of its hosts, growing by leaps and bounds every day:

How does Furness improve upon that? This is the finest product NBC has put out since the glory days of Fred Silverman in the late 1970s:

Product so good, its ratings should be investigated!

You Stay Classy, Zara Clothing

August 27th, 2014 - 11:49 am

And by “classy,” read: grotesquely anti-Semitic:

I missed the memo — who set the world’s clock back to 1939?

Spot the Correlation

August 26th, 2014 - 11:48 pm

Shot:

Chaser:

 

Earlier: How to Lose Friends and Alienate Customers.

Related: “If I have understood this ridiculous situation correctly, the EPA is now in a position in which it may have to admit in court that some of its previous official statements about ocean acidification were not supported by available evidence.”

And from Roger L. Simon: “Climate Change to the Rescue?”

“Vox.com’s Matt Yglesias wants you to know that he’s ‘no angel,’” as spotted by James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal, who reads Vox.com so you don’t have to:

I had an “encounter” with the police when I was eighteen and getting ready to head off to college. . . .

I also dabbled in drugs and alcohol. Even used Swisher Sweets to roll blunts from time to time. For that matter, I also did some shoplifting. Got caught one time by a security guard at the K-Mart on Astor Place who confiscated the stuff I’d stolen and yelled at me a bunch. So I suppose that, when an undercover officer came upon me and two friends smoking cigarettes and drinking beer on a park bench that night, he could have shot us dead.

As Taranto quips, “We’d like Glenn Kessler or somebody to fact-check these claims. Why should we think Vox has street cred if it doesn’t have any other kind of cred?”

Fact checking is always necessary when ever Matt Yglesias speaks or sets fingers to a keyboard. Just ask Matt Yglesias:

yglesias_sophistry_8-10

Breaking News from 1987

August 26th, 2014 - 8:04 pm

“Al Sharpton Is a Huge Fraud,” shouts…Vice.com?

Sharpton’s tardiness in denouncing police militarization is perhaps partly explainable by the fact that, per his own reckoning, he literally operates as a proxy for the Feds—namely the Obama administration. CBS’s 60 Minutes reported on this posture as such: “He’s decided not to criticize the president about anything, even black unemployment that’s twice the national rate.” Since acquiring his own MSNBC show, Sharpton—a former FBI informant, it was revealed in April—has regularly glommed onto highly charged controversies (such as the killing of Trayvon Martin) by presenting himself as a sort of de facto emissary between the White House and the “community” he purports to represent.

Sharpton postures as a fearless critic of state violence, but one can’t simultaneously be an honest broker about what’s going on in Ferguson—the federal government at Obama’s direction is complicit in extreme terror, escalation, and civil liberties infringements—while simultaneously affirming that the chief executive of the federal government ought to be off limits for scrutiny.

“Sharpton has a long and well-documented history of leveraging his civil rights profile for his own benefit,” journalist Wayne Barrett, who chronicled his travails for 37 years at the Village Voice, wrote on the sordid occasion of Sharpton’s 2011 ascension to the 6 PM MSNBC time slot, replacing Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks. Uygur had garnered excellent ratings in the preceding months, so the removal seemed somewhat puzzling—until Uygur revealed that network executives summoned him to a cartoonishly melodramatic closed-door meeting in which they issued a threat: Think twice before saying anything that might upset certain unnamed “people in Washington.” Uygur didn’t do that, and not long thereafter, he was replaced by Sharpton, a reliable peddler of pro-administration talking points.

Gee fellas, what took you so long to notice?

(Incidentally, who at NBC isn’t a reliable peddler of pro-administration talking points?)

Update: “MSNBC Continues Ratings Slide Despite Sharpton, Ferguson.” As James Taranto quips, responding to Newsmax’s headline, “Fox Butterfield, Is That You?”

How to Lose Friends and Alienate Customers

August 26th, 2014 - 6:35 pm

Now is the time when we juxtapose, Small Dead Animals-style:

“Today’s elite loathes the public. Nothing personal, just a fundamental difference in world view, but the hatred is unmistakable. Occasionally it escapes in scorching geysers. Michael Lewis reports in the New Republic on the ‘96 Dole presidential campaign: ‘The crowd flips the finger at the busloads of journalists and chant rude things at them as they enter each arena. The journalists, for their part, wear buttons that say ‘yeah, I’m the Media. Screw You.’* The crowd hates the reporters, the reporters hate the crowd — an even matchup, except that the reporters wield power and the crowed (in effect) wields none.”

David Gelernter, from his book Drawing Life, 1997.

Unless you have a monopoly, you can’t get away with sneering at your customers for very long. The newspaper’s monopoly died in 1995, when the internet brought information to the fingertips of anybody with a modem. The dinosaur media never understood that they were in a tar pit from that moment on, and now it’s too late for them to change their ways and crawl back out.

—Blogger Will Collier, 2009.

Print newspapers are going to die; at this point they’re living off coupons, on the print side, and old people, on the readership side. Newspaper circulation has fallen only a little bit among readers older than 65, but it has started low and fallen lower among the under-35 demographic. It doesn’t seem reasonable at this point to believe that those folks will ever pick up the newspaper habit. So as the readers die, and the advertising fades, the newspapers, too, will die one by one. The magazines, which already look anorexic compared with their earlier ad-stuffed selves, will undoubtedly follow.

“Stick a Fork in Your Newspaper,” Megan McCardle, Bloomberg View, yesterday.

*The late journalist and editor Ginny Carroll wore a button with that exact slogan when she appeared on C-Span in 1992:

“My reaction to that button [`Rather Biased'] and others, in part, is a button I bought yesterday that says `Yeah, I’m In The Media, Screw You!’….I do understand why a lot of people are upset with us, why we rank somewhere between terrorists and bank robbers on the approval scale. We do criticize. That’s part of our role. Our role is not just to parrot what people say, it’s to make people think. I think that sometimes I want to say to the electorate `Grow up!’”

When Carroll died in May of 2001 of hypertensive cardiovascular disease at age 53, the Chicago Tribune reported the above quote in her obituary, and that she had spent a decade as Newsweek’s bureau chief in first Detroit and then Houston.

Newsweek was founded in 1933 by a former editor of Time. The Washington Post purchased the magazine in 1961 for $8,000,000, and offloaded it for one dollar in 2010, perhaps having concluded that they had sufficiently alienated enough former and potential customers. Its new ownership would cease publishing a print version of the magazine at the end of 2013, and offload the tainted brandname itself last year.

Oceania Has Never Been At War With Eastasia

August 26th, 2014 - 5:47 pm

Past performance in no guarantee of future results:

We spoke of 9/11 as though it were somehow equivalent to Pearl Harbor, the beginning of a global war against enemies bent on, and at least theoretically capable of, destroying the American way of life (unlike al Qaeda, a ragtag band of extremists with limited punch). We spoke of cultural wars and a divided world. We reorganized our entire security establishment to go after a few thousand bad guys. We went mad.

And now, as we are recovering our senses, withdrawing from Iraq, and soon starting to exit Afghanistan, having buried bin Laden and hosts of his henchmen, we are beginning to be able to see this. At least in theory we can. For the next couple of weeks, we will witness documentary after editorial mega-feature, interviews with victims and heroes, the American legend machine producing historical bumpf at full blast. That is not, by the way, to diminish the brutal blows struck 10 years ago or the deeply felt human experiences associated with it and its aftermath. Rather it is to say that once again we will seek to frame 9/11 as a great event, the definer of an era, when in fact, its greatest defining characteristic was that of a distraction — The Great Distraction — that drew America’s focus and that of many in the world from the greater issues of our time. That distraction and the opportunity costs associated with it were bin Laden’s triumph and our loss — and our ultimate victory will come as we get a grip back on reality.

“The Black Hole of 9/11: As we assess the legacy of the 10th anniversary of America’s seminal terrorist attack, it’s worth looking at 10 events from the past decade that have actually been more important,” Foreign Policy, August 29th, 2011.

According to a report in the Washington Post on Friday, the administration has prepared options for legal authority to use force against IS across both Iraq and Syria. They include temporary justification under the War Powers Resolution, constitutional authority for emergency action to protect U.S. citizens, and consulting with the Congress for open-ended authorization to fight IS. But the same article states that the president has not requested to see contingency plans for broader airstrikes in Syria. If the administration goes the open-ended consultation route with Capitol Hill and the president ignores the contingency plans, it might be a signal that he is not serious about defeating IS.

But if the president does adopt a strategy to include Syria, the American people can be persuaded with an Obama-like 2008 address — such a midcourse correction is optimally-timed to save his presidency from further ignominy. As Daniel Pipes wrote, however, “I do not customarily offer advice to a president whose election I opposed,” I also hesitate to make suggestions that might save the Obama presidency. But the national interest in preventing IS from using Iraq and Syria as launching pads to execute attacks overrides political concerns.

According to Real Clear Politics, the president’s overall popularity is quite low: Between July 29 and Aug. 20, 42 percent approved and 52 percent disapproved of the overall job he was doing across nine different polls. The numbers were worse for his handling of foreign affairs, which, between July 29 and Aug. 12, only 35.8 percent of those polled approved versus 53.8 percent who disapproved over six polls.

“Stopping the Islamic State Might Be Obama’s Chance to Salvage His Middle East Policy,” Foreign Policy, yesterday. (As the first commenter at Hot Air’s link notes, for the MSM, “Once again, it’s all about the ’0.’”)

And then there’s the Washington Post:

Time is indeed a flat circle:

There’s no doubt that anybody given the name Douglas McAuthur McCain by his parents would have a strong urge to consider enlisting in the military, if only to live up to all of the history implicit in your name (even if the spelling of your middle name isn’t quite spot-on, and your last name was purely a coincidence).

It helps, though, to carefully choose the correct fighting force when volunteering, as NBC reports (yes, I know, but presumably, some of these details might be correct). As Bill Murray and the late Harold Ramis sang while marching in Stripes, goofing on TV recruitment ads, “Pick a service, pick a challenge, set yourself apart: Army! Navy! Air Force! Marines!” Err, ISIS?

The battle in itself seemed tragically normal. Two Syrian opposition groups fought and there were heavy casualties on both sides. Then victorious rebels rifled through the pockets of the dead. One contained about $800 in cash — and an American passport.

Douglas McAuthur McCain, of San Diego, California, was killed over the weekend fighting for the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), according to the Free Syrian Army. Photos of McCain’s passport and of his body — which feature a distinctive neck tattoo — have been seen by NBC News. According to an activist linked to the Free Syrian Army who also saw the body and travel document, McCain was among three foreign jihadis fighting with ISIS who died during the battle.

NBC goes on to note that McCain was “a goofball in high school”:

Douglas McAuthur McCain was born in Illinois on Jan. 29, 1981. His family later moved to Minnesota’s Twin Cities area where he attended Robbinsdale Cooper High School in New Hope as part of the class of 1999.

Classmates at the school – which was described to NBC News as around 75 percent white and 10 percent African American – recalled an “always smiling” joker who liked to laugh and play basketball. McCain wasn’t on the high school team and didn’t come across as religious, according to one basketball buddy.

“He was a goofball in high school,” that classmate told NBC News. “Doug was a fun guy to be around. Played basketball, joked a lot, had a small sense of humor. Got along with most … Wasn’t the best athlete, but liked to play.”

Much more after the page break.

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The Madness of 2008: A Gnostic Too Far

August 26th, 2014 - 2:10 pm

Sometimes a conman makes a first impression so magnetic, the timing of the vaporwear he’s selling seems so perfect, and his marks so eager for his spiel, they eagerly hypnotize themselves without all that much coaxing. Victor Davis Hanson explores “The Madness of 2008:”

Pundits vied for superlatives. On little evidence, Christopher Buckley assured us that Obama possessed “a first-class temperament and a first-class intellect.” For some, proof of Obama’s godhead became almost physical — a “perfectly creased pant” for David Brooks, a tingling leg for Chris Matthews. For Evan Thomas he was a “sort of God”; for one blue-chip historian he was the smartest man with the highest IQ ever running for the presidency. And on and on, as huge crowds acted as if they were watching Paul McCartney on tour in 1966. After the election, there was real apprehension that the country might not make it for the two and a half months until an elected Obama could take power.

Given that there was no evidence from Obama’s legislative career to justify such superlatives, we can only assume that our intellectual elites got caught up in the faux Greek columns, the Obama tutorials for fainting crowds about proper first aid, the teleprompted emphatics of “Let me be perfectly clear” and “Make no mistake about it,” the Latinate motto “Vero possumus” on the faux presidential seal on his campaign podiums, the boast that Obama & Co. were “the ones we’ve been waiting for,” the messianic promise to cool the planet and lower the seas, the Lincoln self-comparisons, and the other embarrassing childish banalities.

Obama, it is true, ran a brilliant campaign in 2008, hinting to the Other that as a non-white he shared both their racial bona fides and their frustrations, hinting to white elites that his own unique heritage would end racial hostilities and thus allow them to square the circle of living largely separate elite lives and not having to feel guilty about it. He dropped his g’s and went into Southern cadences among African Americans, and then back again into wonkish academese to mainstream whites. It was well known that in impromptu talks he stuttered and stumbled with uh’s in deer-in-the-headlights fashion, and used the pronouns I, me, my, and mine ad nauseam, but such unease was ignored given his teleprompted eloquence and the considerable elite investment in his symbolism.

In sum, in 2008 Obama gave America more than enough evidence to doubt that he was ready for the presidency, but when a nation becomes unhinged by trivialities like “hope and change,” there is not much one can do — until the patient wakes up from his trance and in embarrassment asks, “What exactly was all that nuttiness in 2008 about?”

We will be fathoming that strange madness of 2008 for decades to come.

Afterwards, it’s all fun and games until the marks realize they’ve been sold a bill of goods, and then wonder where they go to get their own credibility back — which they’ll need to promote the wears of the next bunco artist.

Perhaps those who willingly allowed themselves to be sold a bill of goods in 2008 atone in strange ways. In his post on far left historian (and alleged plagiarist) Rick Perlstein’s new biography of President Reagan’s rise to power, Orrin Judd dubs Perlstein “The Accidental Hagiographer:”

As you can see here, the premise of this volume is not only hilarious but inflates Ronald Reagan into a mythical hero far moreso than any of the fawning texts we on the right produce: the gnostic reality, known only to the Left, is that America is nothing special and, for one brief shining moment, in the 70s everyone was about to realize that, but Reagan, through the exercise of little more than his personal will, restores the delusion that America is more important than other states.

If Ann Coulter or Rush Limbaugh had given Reagan that much credit for reshaping the world around himself, they’d be dismissed as overenthusiastic cultists.  But Reagan looms so large in the mind of the Left that Friend Perlstein can’t see he’s gone far beyond any Reagan fanboy of the right in his claims for the greatness (let’s say we use the term in its value neutral sense) of the Gipper.

Perhaps in writing about how the mythical heartland of his imagination (insert Pauline Kael reference here) was hypnotized by the ebullient speechmaking of an upbeat presidential candidate offering to restore his party to greatness after its recent, seemingly fatal stumbles on the national stage, and upend the perceived malaise of the times, Perlstein had the right notion, but the wrong presidential candidate. Or simply wished to project his own party’s gullibility onto the other side of the aisle.

Update: “Take a minute today, though, to appreciate that this guy, the epitome of in-touch cultural cool in 2008, is now so at risk of being seen as ‘out of touch’ that Axelrod and Bill Burton have to eat sh*t publicly as damage control. Oh well. As Amanda Curtis could tell you, sometimes even the most practiced Democrat run out of things to say.”

Related: “Top 5 Crazy Lies Told During Campaigns We Fall For Every Time.”