Always the Last to Know


“Liberals Are Now Shocked, Shocked at Obama’s Culture of Intimidation,” Peter Wehner writes at Commentary:

Now that the Obama administration has conducted an unprecedented intrusion into newsgathering activities, it’s dawning on liberals – four years and four months into the Obama presidency – that something is slightly amiss.

For example, the New York Times, Dana Milbank and Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post have all expressed concerns about the Obama administration tactics. They have done so, of course, with a fraction of the umbrage they would be showing if this had occurred under a Republican administration. But at least it’s progress.

It’s late in coming, however, And let’s be honest: it would have been helpful if liberals had expressed some alarm years ago when top Obama White House aides like David Axelrod and Anita Dunn were targeting Fox News in an effort to de-legitimize it. Some of us warned at the time that “The White House’s effort to target a news organization like Fox is vaguely Nixonian.” Yet very few members of the elite media shared those concerns. In fact, they seemed to be sympathetic to what the White House was attempting to do.


Of course — having survived the eight years that proceeded from an event that many on the left viewed as traumatic an occurrence as 9/11 — when the election of 2000 was finalized and GWB became president-elect, they believed in January of 2009 that the revolution was at hand, and “We Are All Socialists Now.” Or as John Judis of the New Republic wrote at the time:

A decade ago, I might have been embarrassed to admit that I was raised on Marx and Marxism, but I am convinced that the left is coming back. Friedrich Hayek is going to be out; Friedrich Engels in. Larry Kudlow out; Larry Mishel in. And why is that? Because a severe global recession like this puts in relief the transient, fragile, and corruptible nature of capitalism, and the looming contradiction between what Marx called the forces and relations of production evidenced in unemployed engineers and boarded up factories and growing poverty amidst a potential for abundance. As capitalism itself–or at the least the vaunted miracle of the free market–becomes problematic, the left is poised for an intellectual comeback.


If they had to break a few eggs in the process, well, the resulting omelet would undoubtedly be delicious. And concurrently, they managed to convince themselves that an unknown Chicago machine hack pol was the second coming of Lincoln, FDR, JFK, and God Himself* all rolled into one man inside of a size 40 long bespoke suit with trouser creases passing that keen David Brooks test. (Scroll through the — I think — unintentionally hilarious archives of the blog called Is Barack Obama the Messiah? if you need a refresher course for how zany the 2007-through 2009 period feels for those of us who never drank the Obama Aide.)


In any case, we noticed the Nixonian-like tone of the Obama administration early on, with posts bearing titles such as “Ron Ziegler’s Revenge” and “Ron Ziegler Redux.

But hey, didn’t those horrible Red Staters have it coming anyhow? How dare they build networks such as talk radio, the Blogosphere and Fox News? It’s like…a counterculture to our obviously far superior liberal overculture! And countercultures must always be tamped down. (The left has experience with this, given that they devoured their earnest mid-century liberal predecessors in the mid to late 1960s.)

Besides, if you view a television network as the equivalent of the Nazi propaganda machine, as Ted Turner said in 1996, then you’re giving yourself maximum leeway in defeating it:

When Fox News started out, it got a generally skeptical and unfriendly reception from the journalistic establishment. Even reporters, who generally view any news media organization as a good thing (not to mention a potential source of employment), were largely disapproving. But no one greeted Fox News with more pure vitriol than CNN founder Ted Turner.

“I look forward to crushing Rupert Murdoch like a bug,” Turner told the press. He compared Murdoch to Hitler, which would make Roger Ailes a reincarnation of Goebbels, and followed up with an explanation, quoted by the Los Angeles Times [in October of 1996]: “The late Führer, the first thing he did, like all dictators, was take over the press and use it to further his agenda. Basically, that is what Rupert Murdoch does with his media.  .  .  .” The Nazi analogy was too much for the Anti-Defamation League, which rebuked Turner for trivializing the Holocaust. Turner apologized, but that didn’t prevent him from likening Murdoch to “the late Führer” a year later; or, in 2005, comparing the success of Fox News to the rise of Hitler.


If you’re looking for a central Rosetta Stone to connect up the scandals, as Jim Geraghty writes, “All of Obama’s Scandals Are Ultimately About Information Control,” but then, all of Obama’s actions since taking office were an attempt to run An enormous and diversified country through the White House, the same dream as FDR in the 1930s and (to a lesser extent) LBJin the 1960s. And it’s doomed to failure. As Milton Friedman illustrated, based on an essay by fellow economist Leonard Reed, no one man can design a pencil, let alone run the largest economy on the planet. Or its media:

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The old joke about the repeated failures of Communism is that “This time, it’s sure to work.” The same can now be said about its cousin, the centralized, top-down economy, or to give it another title, Liberal Fascism. But then, David Horowitz’s long-running Front Page Website recently adopted the slogan, “Inside Every Liberal Is a Totalitarian Screaming to Get Out.” The left’s inner totalitarian has gotten quite a workout in from 2008 through the present day, not just from the Obama itself, but from those who have heeded their dog whistles. And despite the sclerotic feel of 20th-century-style “Progressivism” the left’s inner totalitarian won’t be volunteering for retirement any time soon.


* Or perhaps, Obama is the Green Lantern. He does have a sort of  Dr. Shelden Cooper vibe going on at times, doesn’t he?  Except that Obama’s case, his Monsters of the Id can easily be summoned up via a phone call or memo.

Related: From Doug Ross: “TREY GOWDY SPRINGS A TRAP: Did former IRS commissioner Doug Shulman commit perjury today?”

As Doug writes, “When the history books are written, Richard Nixon will look like a guy who stole a few boxes of Girl Scout cookies compared to Barack Obama.” But compared to actual accomplishments, “I knew Richard Nixon, Richard Nixon was a friend of mine, and you, Barack are no Richard Nixon.”

Hey, just ask your average New York Timesman.


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