Get PJ Media on your Apple

Belmont Club

Hitting the Snooze Button

December 18th, 2013 - 1:25 pm

Barbara Walters recently told Piers Morgan that she was disappointed in Barack Obama. “We thought he was going to be the next messiah”, she said.  Both host and guest were presumably crestfallen, though it is difficult to see why either was surprised, given Obama’s lack of a substantial track record.  He self-admittedly failed at the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, wrote nothing either at the Harvard Law review or during his time as a law professor, voted “present” during his legislative career and even called himself a “blank screen” on which others — presumably he had Walters in mind — could project their fantasies.

And they thought he was going to be the Messiah? Why?

Peggy Noonan is also disappointed in him.  In a piece titled Incompetence she argues that not only has he proved incompetent, there are no obvious limits to his incompetence.

I would add that in recent weeks I have begun to worry about the basic competency of the administration, its ability to perform the most fundamental duties of executive management. One reason I worry is that I frequently speak with people who interact with the White House, and when I say, “That place just doesn’t seem to work,” they don’t defend it, they offer off-the-record examples of how poorly the government is run….

I’m worried, finally, that lines of traditionally assumed competence are being dropped. The past few weeks I can’t shake from my head this picture: The man with the football—the military aide who carries the U.S. nuclear codes, and who travels with the president—is carrying the wrong code. He’s carrying last month’s code, or the one from December 2012. And there’s a crisis—a series of dots on a radar screen traveling toward the continental U.S.—and the president is alerted. He’s in the holding room at a fundraiser out west. The man with the football is called in and he fumbles around in his briefcase and gets the code but wait, the date on the code is wrong. He scrambles, remembers there’s a file on his phone, but the phone ran out on the plane and he thought he could recharge in the holding room but there’s no electrical outlet. All eyes turn to him. “Wait—wait. No—uh—I don’t think that’s the code we use to launch against incoming from North Korea, I think that one takes out Paris!”

The epiphany came to her she said, as she recalled how Obama stood next to a fake sign language interpreter at Mandela’s funeral. The man later turned out not only to be a fraud but insane, and probably a murderer to boot. “If no one is keeping enough of an eye on the Secret Service” then no one is keeping an eye on the country.

David Brooks has a theory about how things have come to such a pass. He blames the rise of the Thought Leader for the delusional state of our civilization. There was a time, he said when people wanted to grow up to be astronauts or at least engineers, firemen or cops. But now they want to be gurus.

The Thought Leader is sort of a highflying, good-doing yacht-to-yacht concept peddler. Each year, he gets to speak at the Clinton Global Initiative, where successful people gather to express compassion for those not invited. Month after month, he gets to be a discussion facilitator at think tank dinners where guests talk about what it’s like to live in poverty while the wait staff glides through the room thinking bitter thoughts.

He doesn’t have students, but he does have clients. He doesn’t have dark nights of the soul, but his eyes blaze at the echo of the words “breakout session.”

These men bestride the world. Their faces are on billboards and command big bucks at every speech. You know the sort and may even have worked for one. But in fairness to the Thought Leaders, where would they be without the Thought Followers? The groupies who follow the Thought Leader around, imbuing his vague pronouncements with oracular meaning.  Who imprint his likeness on their t-shirts or who march around singing praises to his name. Who dress up in pajamas and drink chocolate in order to sell their parents on his health insurance plan.

The Thought Leaders would be flipping burgers that’s where. Or working in some low rent storefront selling snake oil to the gullible. It is the Thought Follower who makes the Thought Leader possible, just as it was the Gatekeepers who made Barack Obama president.

Brooks might be right about the deleterious effect of Thought Leaders but that is all water in the bilge now.

What happens next? Well Peggy Noonan tells us that the New York Democratic party has seen the error of its ways and is planning corrective action. They’re hoping Hillary will save them. “To the degree they ever loved the president, don’t love him anymore, and have moved on. They are not thinking about what progress he might make in Washington next year, they’re talking about what Hillary might do the year after that.”

What might she do, pray tell? What might she do?

Recently White House adviser John Podesta accused the Republican Party of being “a cult worthy of Jonestown”. Now Jim Jones was a hard-core leftist, and not a member of the Republican party, but then Abraham Lincoln was a Democrat. However Jones only persuaded 909 people to drink poisoned Kool-aid. The New York Democrats are looking forward to electing Hillary as president of what is effectively the world.

Speaking of poison Nancy Astor once told Winston Churchill that “if I were your wife, I’d put poison in your coffee,” to which Churchill replied “if I were your husband, I’d drink it.” Noonan’s observation about the NY Democrats enthusiasm for Hillary suggests that even in Jonestown some people asked for seconds.

Mark Twain once said “it ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so” that gets you in trouble. But I think Twain was wrong. It’s what you know for sure but won’t admit that’s really fatal. Pass the sugar please.


Did you know that you can purchase some of these books and pamphlets by Richard Fernandez and share them with you friends? They will receive a link in their email and it will automatically give them access to a Kindle reader on their smartphone, computer or even as a web-readable document.

The War of the Words for $3.99, Understanding the crisis of the early 21st century in terms of information corruption in the financial, security and political spheres
Rebranding Christianity for $3.99, or why the truth shall make you free
The Three Conjectures at Amazon Kindle for $1.99, reflections on terrorism and the nuclear age
Storming the Castle at Amazon Kindle for $3.99, why government should get small
No Way In at Amazon Kindle $8.95, print $9.99. Fiction. A flight into peril, flashbacks to underground action.
Storm Over the South China Sea $0.99, how China is restarting history in the Pacific
Tip Jar or Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
Well, Wretchard, perhaps someday some of these same liberals who put an unqualified affirmative-action candidate in the most important executive position will come to understand the presidency is no place for on the job training. If that happens, no doubt it will be very nice.

In the meantime:
1. The US faces over 17 Trillion dollars in debt and climbing - much more when you factor in things like social security, medicare and medicaid.
2. Unemployment is still higher than what was considered unacceptable when a white Republican was in the White House.
3. Obama regulation is choking the economy.
4. Obamacare will wreck the health care industry - and get people killed.
5. Racial tensions are higher than I have ever seen.

And that is just in the US.

Abroad, well, lets see:

1. North Korea is producing nukes.
2. Iran is marching towards nuclear weapons - and nuclear terrorism will no doubt follow.
3. Libya is a playground for terror groups of all types.
4. Egypt is bankrupt and without Saudi money would starve.
5. The death toll in the Syrian civil war is, according to the media, 130,000 and climbing.
6. Iraq and Afghanistan are crumbling.

In short, Al Qaida is alive and Detroit is bankrupt.

And one more thing: the liberals who supported Obama have spent the past 5 years calling me and everyone else who disagrees with them stupid, racist, sexist, etc; They have spent this time encouraging Obama to take money out of my pocket to give to democratic voters so they could feel good about themselves. And, they have happily insulted and belittled, every day in every way, the values and ideals I hold dear.

In short, liberals have been pouring acid into the machinery of society, machinery that didnt work perfectly to begin with. The social design margin has been eroded. I do not and will not advocate civil war, that is madness. But I no longer am willing to tolerate the left. Where this will go I do not know, but if liberals think Hillary will magically solve all of the above they are dangerously mistaken.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Governing a free country and people under the strictures imposed by a Constitution is hard. It requires intelligence, real world skills, empathy with your fellow citizens even when you disagree with them, and a sense of humility that just because the solutions you propose may seem right to you, they are not necessarily so to those you could force them on. These, and other traits, can be lumped together in this instance and called "competence".

If you do not have these traits, and are not competent, it seems superficially easier to dispense with all those hard strictures and just make everyone do as you say. So being incompetent, that is what you do.

This does not have the desired effect, because you are missing these traits and what you force is not guaranteed to work just because you are you. Reality intrudes every time you screw the pooch, no matter how you insist.

But there is a mirror image of this. Living as a free person, with the intermixed obligations to others, the government, and society; intermixed with the necessity to both make the right choices in life, and bear the consequences [good or bad] is hard. Too hard for those who lack the intelligence, real skills, drive, self reliance, pride, and honor to do so. So they desperately seek someone to take that burden off of them. For they fear the burden of freedom more than they fear the chains of submission.

Our political class, regardless of nominal party, is incompetent. For too long reality has not intruded on their dreaming and nothing they do bears consequences for them. And they have separated themselves from the realities of the lesser beings they rule, so their "solutions" become more and more counterproductive.

As for a bare majority of our fellow citizens and those illegally here; they lust after the chains of unearned transfer payments and welfare, and their mess of pottage comes not in a clay bowl, but in the form of an EBT card. They are incompetent to be citizens, but qualified to be subjects en-route to serfdom.

Reality cannot be avoided in the long run, entropy never sleeps. When they tag-team our poor country, the reaping is going to be horrendous, and which side will prevail is highly in doubt. But those with a knowledge of human history have no grounds for optimism.

Subotai Bahadur
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
The capacity for people to fool themselves, and then to deny that they are being fooled, is nearly limitless. Despite Syria, Libya, Egypt, and Iran, my synagogue friends who voted for Obama, with but a solitary exception, still support him and metaphorically (and some even literally) still blame Bush.

It is not Obama but the voter who worries me and makes me tremble at our future. I fear that nothing short of collapse and the harsh hand of a harsher reality will strip away the deception. And even that may not work.

Entropy is inexorable. It takes enlightenment and effort to keep civilization going. I was at a magnificent performance of Verdi's Falstaff last week and at a wonderful orchestral performance the next day. I was thinking of the enormous accomplishment that this was. Great composers and great authors being performed by great musicians in beautiful auditoriums or broadcast via a technology that is itself remarkable. How much effort over centuries that took! How easily it could all be lost.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (67)
All Comments   (67)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
My old friend Bugs Bunny stated it best about RINO squishes like Noonan:

"What a maroon".

RICO all banksters, IRS, DOJ, DOL, NPS, EPA bureaucrats, and their political hores.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Those not idiots are just incompetent clowns back slapping themselves for what they believe they have done.
Next messiah my ass.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
“We thought he was going to be the next messiah”

I thought Judaism forbid worshipping men as gods. Too bad more of Obama’s followers didn’t proclaim him a god, perhaps his end could have been that of Herod.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Thought Leaders are nothing new. The new phenomenon is the low-budget, internet-based Thought Leader. Thought Leaders just like you, Wretchard! And where would I and scores of other Belmont Club Thought Followers be without you? We’d just be lonely old cranks. Instead – because of you - we are part of a community. Come to think of it, you’re not just a Thought Leader, you are also a Community Organizer. Thank you for that.

By the way, Jim Jones was a small-time Thought Leader and Community Organizer too.

Finally, as explanation for the slow and grudging realizations of not just Peggy Noonan-types, but also of just regular folk, I’d like to point out that the three hardest words to utter are not “I love you,” but are instead “I’ve been had.”
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
An actual comment from someone of "liberal" persuasion who visited the WH recently on official business, as related to me by a colleague: "Everyone over there is wearing diapers. They have absolutely no f*cking idea what they're doing. They're never prepared when we show up for discussions and briefings."
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Obama wasn't a law school "professor," he was simply an instrucotor. The irony is he tuaght Constitutional Law and his lack of investment in that area law shows.

No one I know at Columbia remembers him, at least by that name. It is likely his college admission was based on "exchange student status."

The fellow has no experience and it shows. He has been advocating the benefits of Big Government for five years and now he is suddenly telling the public how difficult and unwieldy Big Government can be.

Geoirge Soros loves him. Idiocy breeds turmoil and turmoil keeps the currency markets active.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Obama was not a "law professor," but rather an instructor. In academia, at least, that is a great difference. That would explain why a purported Constitutional Law authority is so ignorant of the Constitution. Obama attended Columbia, but no one can remember him (at least by that name). In all likelihood he successfully passed himself off to admissions as an exchange student. He's an arrogant amateur with no leadership whatsover. He's been running a country for five years now and he's shocked, shocked, to learn that big government has problem after he's espoused the benefits of big government as nauseum. He's a fraud and George Soros' pocketbook likes how his style stirs up turmoil.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Why all the difficulty in describing our situation? ObamaCare is Barack's Katina and we must follow the sage advice of Gen. Russel L. Honoré and not get "stuck on stupid".
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Why in GOD's name is there no GOP war room that can get the most obvious of ads on the air within days while the irons are hot?

Do you HAVE to be a genius to write the immediate response to John Podesta? How about an ad quoting him verbatim - "Republicans are a cult worthy of Jonestown" - followed by video of vacant-eyed Obamians holding up their hands in unision in that creepy 'O' gesture..... video of that nauseating thing with the Occupy people when the leader would make a statement, and alll the others would repeat it word for word..... of people fainting at Obama rallies...... of the litany of photos of Obama taken with that angel halo around his head..... of some of the appalling 'Velvet Elvis' artwork that people did of the Lightworker....of people calling him a Lightworker....... of Florida Obamagasm boy - "OH, thank you for being here Mr. President, thank you thank you.. ahhhh.. ahhhhhhh.. ahhhhhhhhhhh.. huuhhhhhh..hhuuuuhhhhhh....!!!!"

Come on, it took me all of five minutes to storyboard the whole thing. Where the hell are our people who can do this and get it out there, at least on the Net, if not TV (where it should be)?

(If I am guilty of buck-passing, so be it. I could not video produce my way out of a paper bag, I am sorry to say.)
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Because the Democrats are the Harlem Globetrotters and the GOP is the Washington Generals. Because the Democrats are the Hero and the GOP is Heel.

32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
And the Washington Generals don't go on the court to win the game. They show up to collect a paycheck and make the Globetrotters look good.

Just like the GOP.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Andrew X, I think we know why there is such a disparity in GOP responses and Demoncrat's ability to respond. RINO's don't know how to handle real leadership, they are frightened by it and are as content to be back seat riders as a tick is on a Hound dog.
Can you hear that knocking? its Opportunity, a very big once in a 100 year Opportunity and the Tea Party needs to go for the brass ring, 2014 is the Watershed moment for the Tea Party, if they can get organized and step up to the plate they are very likely (Best chance ever) to hit a Grand Slam, this could easily lead to a 2016 Tea Party Prez! We could be witness to a American Spirit Phoenix event.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
It seems to me that we are approaching the point where the libs/progressives/socialists/communists/TWANLOCs either have to clean up their act or forcibly repress the rest of us.

Their intentions are clear. They will want forcible repression. Question is, what are their capabilities?
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Oilpatch Dave, One thing is certain, the Big City "Military" Police departments will be in lockstep with them, Our National Military today is not the "Patriot" military of days gone by, most the SOF will follow orders and that includes the "Robot" wing!
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
That's what worries me: all that firepower amongst the civilians, military stuff. I've had more than one cop tell me, in a friendly way, that to a cop there are two kinds of people in the world: cops and a**holes. How will they react if there is serious ruckus amongst the ordinary citizens against the government?
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
They will run away because if they don't they get killed at the rate of about 3.5-4 to 1.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
1 2 3 4 Next View All