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Works and Days

Lord Obama

May 26th, 2014 - 5:04 pm

If we were living in normal times, the following scandals and failures — without going into foreign policy — would have ruined a presidency to the point of reducing it to Nixon, Bush, or Truman poll ratings.

Think of the following: the Fast and Furious scandal, the VA mess, the tapping of the communications of the Associated Press reporters, the NSA monitoring, Benghazi in all of its manifestations, the serial lies about Obamacare, the failed stimuli, the chronic zero interest/print money policies, the serial high unemployment, the borrowing of $7 trillion to no stimulatory effect, the spiraling national debt, the customary violations of the Hatch Act by Obama cabinet officials, the alter ego/fake identity of EPA head Lisa Jackson, the sudden departure of Hilda Solis after receiving union freebies, the mendacity of Kathleen Sebelius, the strange atmospherics surrounding the Petraeus resignation, the customary presidential neglect of enforcing the laws from immigration statutes to his own health care rules, the presidential divisiveness (“punish our enemies,” “you didn’t build that,” Trayvon as the son that Obama never had, etc.), and on and on.

So why is there not much public reaction or media investigatory outrage?

In one sense there is: an iconic, landmark president was ushered into office with a supermajority in the Senate and a solidly Democratic House, at a time the public felt angry over the Iraq war and the 2008 financial meltdown. Six years later, Obama’s poll ratings bottomed out at about 43%. He lost the House in 2010, and he probably will see the Senate gone in 2014. But that said, amid such failure Obama will never descend to 30% approval ratings, and that again bring to mind the question: why?

Obvious answers:

1) His record support among minorities will not change since 70-90% of various hyphenated groups see the Obama tenure as long-overdue representation of their own interests — economic, ethnic, and symbolic. It does no good to cite rising unemployment rates among African-Americans or a deterioration in household income among Latinos. The point is that Obama feels their pain, even if his policies helped cause it. In this view, expecting blacks, to take one example, to defect from Obama would be as if right-wing rural Texans would have abandoned Bush in 2006, or the Malibu set would have given up on Clinton during Monicagate. In short — unlikely.

2) The media is not just overwhelmingly hard left, but hard left with a chip on its shoulder that its own views are neither accepted by the majority nor usually implemented by government.

All the above scandals and embarrassments would have ruined a Bush, given that such mishaps would have been headlined daily  in the New York Times (e.g., “VA, Benghazi, AP, NSA, IRS overwhelm sinking Bush administration”) or Washington Post (“Bush Cabinet Paralyzed by Scandal”).

For the media, Obama is not Jimmy Carter or even Bill Clinton whom they overwhelmingly supported. He is quite different — the first gold-plated liberal president since FDR, and probably the last for a while, intent on fundamentally transforming the United States, by redistributing income and accumulated wealth, and recalibrating the American profile abroad.

The media believes that both are socially just and long overdue. Why then nitpick a president on details, when his intentions are noble? Extraordinary ends sometimes require tawdry means. Note here: when Obama leaves office, and should he be replaced by a Republican president, then we will see a press playing catch-up, intent on restoring its shattered image by exposing cabinet members who violate the Hatch Act and the insidious revolving door between Wall Street/ banking and White House billets. But for now, the media is invested in seeing Obama as a once-in-a-lifetime emissary of its own politics.

3) The well-off are indifferent to the Obama record, interested only in its symbolic resonance. Doctrinaire liberalism resonates mostly with the very wealthy. We see that by the voting patterns of our bluest counties, or the contributions of the very affluent. In contrast, Republicanism is mostly embedded within the middle class and upper middle class, while liberalism is a coalition of the affluent and the poor.

The result is that the Kerrys, Gores, and Pelosis are dittoed by millions of the affluent in Malibu, Silicon Valley, the Upper West Side, the university towns, Chicago, academia, the arts, highest finance, corporate America, foundations, the media, etc. Their income and accumulated wealth exempt them from worries about economic slowdowns, too much regulation, higher taxes, or the price of gas, electricity, or food. That under Obama gasoline has gone from $1.80 a gallon to $4.10 is as irrelevant as it is relevant that he has so far not built the Keystone Pipeline. That the price of meat has skyrocketed or that power bills are way up means little if global warming is at last addressed by more government.

For the liberal grandee, there is a margin of safety to ensure that the California legislature takes up questions like prohibiting the sale of Confederate insignia or ensuring restrooms for the transgendered or shutting down irrigated acreage to please the delta smelt. In their view, Obama represents their utopian dreams where an anointed technocracy, exempt from the messy ramifications of its own ideology, directs from on high a socially just society — diverse, green, non-judgmental, neutral abroad, tribal at home — in which an equality of result is ensured, albeit with proper exemptions for the better educated and more sophisticated, whose perks are necessary to give them proper downtime for their exhausting work on our behalf.

But one objects that these one-percenters — the Steyer brothers, the Sean Penns, the George Soroses, the Paul Krugmans, the Al Gores, etc. — are very few. Yes, but these few million are enormously influential, given that their money and ideologies are manifested not just in nice homes, vacations, and perks, but in public venues, movies, universities, newspaper editorials, NPR, PBS, the major networks, foundations, PACs, political donations, etc.

I leave you with one final paradox. Is one reason that Obama resonates so well with the very wealthy his assurance to them that the muscular successful classes will not be following them into the elite?

Whom does the liberal elite detest? Not the very poor. Not the middle class. Not the conservative wealthy of like class. Mostly it is the Sarah-Palin-type grasping want-to-be’s (thus the vicious David Letterman jokes or Katie Couric animus or Bill Maher venom).

Those of the entrepreneurial class who own small businesses (‘you didn’t build that’), who send their kids to San Diego State rather than Stanford, who waste their ill-gotten gains on jet skis rather than skis and on Winnebagos rather than mountain climbing equipment, who employ 10 rather than 10,000, and who vacation at Pismo Beach rather than Carmel. The cool of Obama says to the very wealthy, “I’m one of you. See you again next summer on the Vineyard.”

Obama signals to the elite that he too is bothered by those non-arugula-eating greedy losers who are xenophobic and angry that the world left them behind, who are without tastes and culture, who are materialistic to the core, and who are greedy in their emphases on the individual — the tea-baggers, the clingers, the Cliven Bundy Neanderthals, the Palins in their Alaska haunts, and the Duck Dynasty freaks. These are not the sort of successful people that we want to the world to associate with America, not when we have suitably green, suitably diverse zillionaires who know where to eat in Paris.

Finally, Obama has “cool.” Or what his wife calls “swag.” The very wealthy are with him also because he instructs them how to indulge, to ignore the problems of others, to be narcissistic and self-absorbed with a veneer of hipster cool. Golf, shoot hoops, wear shades, hang with Jay-Z and Beyonce, talk about your rap menu on your iPhone, fluctuate your cadences, do you Final Four predictions — all that means you can be cool and very rich and very self-absorbed while fooling hoi polloi and feeling great about your privilege at the same time. If you are a jean- and T-shirt wearing Silicon magnifico, Obama is your guy. The palatial estate, the imported cars, the indulgent hobbies — they are not really one-percenter excesses (try water skiing for that), but the swag that assures others that outsourcing, offshoring, tax-avoiding, lobbying, and insider cronyism are just part of the hip deal.

Before we reach November of 2016, we will see unimaginable things under this administration, but one of them will not be a defection of his constituencies.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
America did not learn its lesson in 2008. This con artist/faculty lounge marxist was elected T W I C E .
Those who voted for him both times STILL cannot admit that they made a mistake. It's congress' fault (meaning republicans.) Things would have been WORSE without him. His HEART is in the right place. The litany of excuses is without end.
Not a single one of them will face how stupid and craven they've been until America is in ruins. Even then, a sizable core of them will blame the end of America on some dark, twisted plot of their ideological/theological enemies.
If you live in a blue state, FLEE. Find a way. But make sure no Progressives follow you to a Red state. They are a cancer.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
I will never vote for a woman or a minority. if you elect one you have to live in a wonderland of denial, race and gender criticism, threats and repression. Moreover you can't get rid of them no matter incompetent and destructive they are. Mr. Obama taught the county an important lesson if the people are listening.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
"His record support among minorities will not change since 70-90% of various hyphenated groups see the Obama tenure as long-overdue representation of their own interests — economic, ethnic, and symbolic. It does no good to cite rising unemployment rates among African-Americans or a deterioration in household income among Latinos."

They are a very low and stupid zombie bunch and will drag us all down with them. i could phrase the truth more tactfully, I suppose, and without that much effort, but why sugar coat it when they don't deserve it?
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (140)
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Great stuff as always, VDH.
A suggestion: please proofread for grammatical errors before posting. A good argument never leaves room for criticism.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
"[S]hould he be replaced by a Republican president, then we will see a press playing catch-up, intent on restoring its shattered image by exposing cabinet members who violate the Hatch Act...."

Too late for them. If I were that POTUS, I'd shut the Hatch on them--no need for such rabid clowns in the press room. Cheryl Atkisson & Jonathan Karl could take up the slack. And woe unto them if I'm *not* in the gov't; I've resolved that they *won't* win. Their leftist deities will prove powerless.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
To all you delusional liberals; VDH captured you perfectly with his last sentence: "Before we reach November of 2016, we will see unimaginable things under this administration, but one of them will not be a defection of his constituencies." "The wise lay up knowledge, but the mouth of a fool brings ruin near." Proverbs 10:14
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
"I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion, and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids."
Base Commander Jack D. Ripper

In my lifetime America has gone from the greatest generation to the gayest generation. America is cutting back its military male member as if trying to give itself a sex change operation. Every week new celebrities come out and reveal they are gay. America now lets tens of millions of foreigners penetrate its borders illegally like rapists and no longer bothers to call the police. America is spreading its legs for Mexican spermigrants. How did America become so flaccid, impotent and feminized in a few decades? At first I thought the educational system was the cause because children are raised in part by liberal unionized female teachers. Could there also be an external factor that had a global effect like mass media's impact on American culture? Females do not think or act like males in part because the hormones are different. Estogen does not think or act like testosterone. If every American received an unnatural dose of estrogen for decades could that cause a gradual shift in the American culture? It turns out that estrogen like chemicals such as Bisphenol-A (BPA), an estrogen analog, are present in plastics and food containers and consequently also in the food and water supply. Estrogen analogues are thought to be the cause of ealier sexual maturity in females. The epidemic of obesity might also be related to the estrogen like chemicals all Americans are exposed to. If thinking is affected by these hormones it may be that chemical pollution in the environment elected Obama twice. In the last century an entire nation elected and followed a leader now thought to be insane. Possibly a similar situation is now in effect in America culture due to chemicals in the environment that affect thinking like hormones. Like mass media and advertising the effect would be a global shift in thinking, apparently to the left. The future might regard the current America era as a period of mass insanity that elected delusional leaders on a path to self destruction. The increase in political correctness could be another symptom similar to obsessive compulsive behavior that makes no sense but can't be controlled. There is a theory that lead poisoning was a cause of Roman decline.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Deep thinker VDH: It is the fault of (1) minorities, (2) the media, and (3) liberals.

Because of course they are who is at fault -- they are to blame for everything. One size fits all.

I don't know whats more sad, the fact that this regurgitated, rearranged, reformulated tripe earns a paycheck, or the fact that enough LIVs eat this same meal with such grateful regularity that its worth paying for these articles.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Almost. Read the comment of "philstacy" above. It's Estrogen, yeah Estrogen, that's the ticket.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Are you a METH Chemist ? Burried your head in the sand? Want to see what Obama and Dem party are LOOK at Detoit, Chicago, Philly, CA what the Media, Liberals and Dems have done to those places - Minorities no i dont blame them for being minorities but i DO blame them and Whites WHO steal from the System - from ME and other tax payers
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Interesting (but predictable) comment, EricRohrs. Filled with shades of the truth, like so much of life, today. Jorge Bush was not an enemy of "big government", was he? He was selling a more "compassionate" form of chains to bind us.

And it is true that Reagan had a Republican majority in the Senate for 6 years (Howard Baker and Bob Dole?) but the power was with Tip O' in the Congress, and that's who made the deal with Reagan. Compare Dole with our current Majority leader (Harry Greid) and it's no wonder the spending wasn't cut. (Plus our national debt was under $1 Trillion, and not endangering us to Bankruptcy, was it?)

I won't argue about your assessment of Øbama being a small c conservative when compared to Nixon, et al. (hopefully he'll follow Nixon's final example in office!) but how does that keep our freedoms and liberties, today?

Your screed is just another example of "Bush did it, too!" as if that's supposed to make everything better. And I noticed that you didn't even bother to address the MSM capitulation of truth to the cover up of this administrations lawlessness.

What's up with that, Eric?
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is all too sad, coming from Dr. Hanson who had an endless array of excuses for George W. Bush. Like the former President, the current one is manifestly imperfect, and inspires utter derangement in his political foes. The "Bush Derangement Syndrome" the far left suffered from has now segued into "Obama Derangement Syndrome" that Dr. Hanson obviously suffers from.

Dr. Hanson was full of excuses for W's incompetence from 2001-2009, including missing the warnings leading up to 9/11 (result: 3,000 dead Americans), or his inability to properly secure Iraq after invading the country. All these pale in his mind, however, when compared to President Obama losing 4 dead in Benghazi, and doing poorly in terms of fixing the endemic waiting lines at the Veterans Administration.

The uncomfortable fact for Dr. Hanson (and no doubt, many others here) is that Obama is to the right of Presidents Eisenhower, Nixon and Ford in so many ways:

1) Eisenhower's top marginal taxation rate was 90%. Nixon and Ford's was 70%. Obama's proposed top marginal rate, which he did not achieve, was 37.5%.

2) Eisenhower did massive federal spending to build the national highway system, the mother of all public works spending. Nixon and his successor Ford also spent massively on public works, as well as engaging in wage and price controls in a failed effort at controlling inflation.

3) None of these previous Republican Presidents had any kind of deficit issue -- in fact, the debt from World War II was entirely retired during Eisenhower's 8 years in office. It was only with Reagan that debt exploded as taxes on the wealthy were slashed, but somehow his Republican majority in the Senate never got around to cutting spending. W's example follows Reagan's -- big tax cuts for the rich, but even though W trumped Reagan in having a House Republican majority, not one penny of spending was cut.

The bottom line is this -- in the historical context, President Obama qualifies in both domestic and foreign policy as a cautious, small-c conservative Rockefeller Republican well within the tradition of Eisenhower, Nixon and Ford, all of whom were to Obama's left, especially domestically.

Sorry to introduce some actual historical facts to counter your fevered dream, Dr. Hanson, but there it is.

Oh, I voted for McCain in 2008, but for Obama in 2012. The current President is far superior to the rank incompetence that marked the entirety of W's 8 years in office.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
If you honestly think that W was less competent than Obama, I don't know what to say to you. Seriously, W and Clinton were much, much more skilled at management than Obama, who can only give speeches and get elected.

Obama's foreign policy is absolute insanity. He's no Truman or Ike, and certainly no Nixonian realist. He's Carter, without the ability to learn from his mistakes and get tough.

Eisenhower built one of the most successful public works projects in history. The Interstates revolutionized travel in the US. Nixon created the EPA in response to horrendous air and water quality. It mostly succeeded in its mission, and is now trying to regulate what we naturally exhale.

Obama could have built a nation-wide fast rail network, like the trains in Europe or Japan. He could have cleared out the deferred maintenance on all of our roads and bridges, bringing our infrastructure in the 21st century. He could revamped our electric grid, adding networked metering and EMP defense across the nation. He could have done any number of infrastructure projects, with his total control of congress and his 2008 mandate.

Instead, we got a payoff of democrat interest groups, and a non-functional collapsing health care system.

Obama is not FDR. He is not Nixon. He isn't even Carter. He is just a damned narcissicistic fool
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
Obama To the RIGHT of Ike, Nixon and FORD - you are a FOOL - FYI the historians are having a HARD time placing all the blame on Bush they set out to do as the FACTS the media and Liberals LIED about cannot be proven- as C Rice said- "I Believe History will be VERY kind to BUSH"
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
You lost me at W's missing warnings leading up to 9/11. Let's see, he was in office for 7+ months when it occurred. Perhaps Clinton had a bit more responsibility, having failed to do anything during his administration, and thus failed to pass on a successful intelligence program to W?
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
How nasty of you to muddy the waters here with some historical context. The problem with many/most of the folks on this board is that they know/FEEL that Obama is the anti-Christ, or damned close to it. They are angry that big guvment is just a-growing and a-growing (and will continue to do so whether we elect Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin, or Elizabeth Warren.)

I will assert that it has been life-saving common sense from long before this Republic that you have to accurately gauge where the large currents are a-flowing and the prevailing winds are a-blowing and respond accordingly. Many folks from Rush and Sarah on down to unknown flunky/geniuses supervising right wing boards are making a great to passable living attacking the current way we are. But there is something about most of the comments here that is sad and resigned, bitter complaining, without any recompense. Yes, the griping and sniping is needed for checks and balances, but what we really need is a better idea for how to manage life, finance, and politics in 2014. I'm not getting it here, for sure, but then I am not hearing it elsewhere, either.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
It used to be said of the old moneyed classes that they would go "from shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations". The first generation would make scads of money, the second would maintain it and the third would squander it. One can only hope that in these speedier times it will take just one generation for these pretentious aristocrats to find themselves dead broke.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
4th Estate is a 5th Column.

Its not King, but Pharaoh.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
I always enjoy prof. Hanson's writing and agree across the board. Lord Obama would be wise to consider the words of Christ: 'What does it profit a man to gain the world but lose his soul'.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
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