Ed Driscoll

Quote of the Day, Part Deux

“Q: Will Barack Obama be a one-term president? A: Yes, he might last that long.”

–The Politico’s Roger Simon, one of the few instances where he’s as witty as the real Roger Simon. And yes, I know I’m late to this one, but still, I wanted to mention it. More from Ace, who adds:

This is definitely not a read the whole thing; frankly, I made you read that much just because I’m annoyed that I read it so I’ll inflict it on you.

Roger Simon’s bleat — all these idiots say the same thing — is that Obama is just too principled and too brilliant for his own good; he is such a wholly white-light being that he hath not the tongue for falsity.

And all that crap.

Is that really the problem, Roger? Is the man who swore up and down on his typical white person grandmother’s life he would not raise a “single dime” in taxes on anyone making less than $250,000 really without capacity to lie to the public?

Of course he can lie. He lies ten times a day, and that’s even on a typical day when he spends six hours at the golf course.

It’s that he’s too liberal and too proud and too arrogant to lie about something like this, something crucial to the liberal sense of self-worth: The need to preen and lecture to the commoners.

Without that, what is a liberal? Nothing, really. Just someone who complains a lot and never has any interesting solutions.

He has lied forever about his stance on gay marriage. Everyone knows he supports it — that’s why the left constantly denigrates the right’s position on gay marriage, despite the fact that as a formal matter we have the exact same position as Obama. But the left knows it’s a lie; so do we on the right. If the left believed him, they’d savage him in the same terms of “hate” and “homophobe” they reserve for us; but of course they do not.

For they know full well it’s a lie. Obama barely pretends otherwise.

And yet — his blessed tongue hath not the practice at pretense? He hath not acquired the art of artfulness?

No, Obama knows how to lie. And he’s rather good at it, having had an ample need for convenient lies throughout his image makeover from radical community organizer and member of the socialist radical New Party into “moderate centrist above ideology or the tired old schisms of left and right.”

But some lies he enjoys telling — he enjoys telling the middle-class they will not see their taxes go up a “single dime” because it is part of the leftist more to lie shamelessly to the middle class, which are bourgeois, and therefore, impediments to the Great Changes Which Must Be Made.

He gets credit from the left for such lies, I mean. They admire him for his skill at deceiving those who must be deceived.

But some lies bother him — lies that would cause him to suffer in the opinion of those who really matter, the radical left vanguard. He is nothing without their love and adoration and unending effusive praise; he courts them like lovers.

Meanwhile, as that brief “we are socialists” moment fades back into reality, the meme of two Americas re-emerges, a topic that James Poulos explores at Ricochet, linking to Ross Douthat’s latest column in the Gray Lady:

Yep, there it is: that last line. For too many Americans, what Ross calls “the second America” has no wisdom to offer, only irrational hatred. For these Americans, “the second America” has been a constant impediment to America’s success, and folks in “the second America” implacable opponents of justice, fairness, and enlightenment. Too many Americans have something seriously approaching zero respect for most of the defining concerns, commitments, convictions, and attitudes of folks in Ross’s “second America.”

Those who despise the second America wish to see its power and authority taken away by any political or legal means necessary. It’s an attitude disturbingly similar to the one that the second America is alleged by its enemies to hold toward Islam. To be sure, there are those, like Andy McCarthy and now Newt Gingrich, who are feeding what seems to me to be a growing and errant hysteria over all things (and all people) Muslim. They do not speak exclusively for the second America, of course, but it is time their critics consider why their rhetoric has gained such traction.

Dave Weigel suggests that Barack Obama’s inability to move the needle of US-Muslim relations in any sigificant way has made it possible for second-American extremism to gain a frustrated, concerned audience. Though that may well be a contributing factor — what Obama’s selling just isn’t working — the real appeal is a widespread understanding within the second America that the second America is increasingly considered an enemy to be defeated, not a broadly aligned coalition of fellow citizens.

It does a disservice to both sides to say that the left, pure and simple, has radicalized the right. But for too many on the left, the right already is so radical — so unreasonable, irrational, kooky, atavistic, and unthinking — that it hardly matters whether the second America tries to protect and advance its interests politely or viciously. When it plays nicely, they believe, the second America is engaged in the tactic of papering over the bigotry that animates it at a foundational level. The only thing the second America can do to earn goodwill from this influential segment of the left is to abandon and denounce its primitive worldview and its cruel policies. Not quite convert or die, but — almost worse from the far left perspective — convert or be ruthlessly marginalized and stigmatized.

In an earlier post, Ace squared the circle, along with helping to explain the sort of leftwing pivots mentioned in the previous post:

The “elite” are not made up of the rich. Sure, there are many rich in the elite, but that’s not what makes them elite. There are many poor “elite” who claim to be elite not due to their salary or position but due to thinking what the other elites think only.Similarly with education — yes, the elite contains many educated people (many overeducated people, who proclaim things so stupid only an intellectual could believe them) but, again, this “elite” is not just comprised of those who hold post-graduate degrees. Or college degrees. Or high school degrees. Or even GEDs, for that matter. No, once again, “elitehood” is conferred not by any extrinsic indicator like level of education but by proud proclamation of agreement with others presumed to be in the “elite” class.

It is based on this phenomenon, of course, that trolls who clearly do not have a high school education to their credit come on to this blog and tell us how dumb we are.

So my brilliant observation, as opposed to Steve’s pedestrian, sloven-brained one, is that these positions largely proceed not by mere happenstance to dispute the commoners’ opinions, but indeed wind up in that conflict by design.

They must take a position opposite the common people, otherwise, how could they be elite? One cannot be elite if one holds common positions, can one?

No, I think there is something more to this, a subterranean need to differentiate themselves from the common, and signal themselves to other supposed elites, to define their tribe not by what it is, as a primary matter, but by what it is not, and what it is not, and can never lapse into being, is so regrettably, unfortunately common.

And this allows them to put themselves, of course, where they always seek to be: In a position where they can preen and posture and deign to lecture their fellow Americans about how unenlightened us lot are.

Which is why, to bring this post full circle, our Roger Simon has taken to calling the left reactionaries.

Or as Mackubin Thomas Owens wrote in September of 2002, “9/11 revealed an emerging geopolitical reality: that the world’s most important fault line is not between the rich and the poor, but between those who accept modernity and those who reject it.”