The Deep Impact of the Obama Asteroid
RD Brewer writes at Ace of Spades blog that "Obama Is the Left's Chicxulub."
What? Obama is in the Cthulu Chicks? He's the second coming of Beetlejuice?
No. Kate McMillan of Small Dead Animals has a long running series of posts she calls "Not Waiting for the Asteroid" on the continuing implosion of the Dinosaur Media. Brewer posits that Obama is the asteroid:
A while back, Ace quoted from an essay by Daniel Greenfield who was critical of ABC's decision to hire Christiane Amanpour:Her hiring is only the latest manifestation of a media that is too radicalized to save itself. Bringing in a personality from the sinking ship that is CNN was obviously a bad idea on commercial grounds alone. Amanpour left CNN, for the same reason that Campbell Brown did. And ABC News taking Amanpour in, demonstrates that they share CNN's bad judgment.
. . .
Lenin called on Communists to seize the telegraph offices, telephone stations and post offices in order to control the means of communication. The American left has seized the means of cultural communication, hijacking the media, the educational system and entertainment, and turning them into vehicles for their brand of political indoctrination. And they've managed to badly devalue all three. The American educational system is a shell of what it used to be, the media is imploding and the entertainment industry keeps hitting new lows. Just as in the USSR and Venezuela and everywhere else, what the radical left controls, it also destroys.
(Emphasis added.) Another quick example would be the "No Pressure 10:10" environmental video short, the one that had people exploding in a bloody mess if they didn't wholeheartedly tow [sic] the reduced carbon emissions line. The makers of that short were completely caught off guard by the negative reaction it generated. They were attempting to increase awareness of what they regard as anthropogenic climate change. Instead, they only increased negative feeling toward their organization and disregard for their point.
There won't be a point when liberals suddenly change their minds about about big government, no matter what evidence appears before their eyes. Think of all the left-leaning, high-tax, big-regulation, big-government states and countries that are suffering right now. In fact, one would think Obama would be somewhat of a catalyst. He has been busily creating a better, more effective case for smaller government than conservatives could have on their own--and more quickly.
Although Obama is the left's asteroid, as with Chicxulub, he will not become their "aha!" moment. As we have seen, there are rarely such moments--even when something as clear as a strike by a six mile wide asteroid is revealed. As in the case of the opponents of plate tectonics, the proponents of big government will slowly die out as the evidence slowly accumulates. That's my statement of faith, anyway. In the short term, cultural inertia, not mere stubbornness, and the philosophical momentum behind socialism is enough for it to weather even Barack Obama's failure.
It'll be the president's problem or the messaging or the packaging, not the philosophy. Never the philosophy. But maybe over time newer generations with less of a stake in big-governmentism will see the Obama failure and move away from it.
As Brewer wrote, "Although Obama is the left's asteroid, as with Chicxulub, he will not become their 'aha!' moment." Which brings us to Timothy Egan, writing in the Jurassic Times itself, who advises his fellow leftists to "Stop Waiting for Superman:"
And the Superman hype [which Obama was happy to gin up himself --Ed] — that came with the froth of the 2008 campaign, when his words seemed strong enough to break up a storm [perhaps by lowering the oceans -- Ed], and the idea of a black man becoming leader of a nation born with slavery was so potent.
As president, he’s been a sober, cautious, tongue-shackled realist — a moderate Republican of the pre-crazy, pre-Tea Party era. Having failed to come up with a Big Idea to guide his presidency, he will sink or swim now on strengths that don’t lend themselves to large rallies or passionate enthusiasm. Sobriety and moderation, by definition, are boring.
Urban liberals, labor, blacks and Hispanics, environmentalists, the young – the core of Obama’s army in 2008 — are disappointed in the president of August, 2011. They’re right when they say he caved on the debt talks: the evidence is House Speaker John Boehner’s boast that he got 98 percent of what he wanted from the president.
But instead of waiting for an arm-flapping populist to emerge from the genteel summer redoubt on Martha’s Vineyard, the left should focus on the coming ground war, and try to fill Congress with new people who can at least tell fact from fiction.
As opposed to 2007 through 2010, when Democrats controlled both houses of Congress, and beginning in 2009, the White House as well.
The paragraph in bold is the tell. Let's break it down, starting on the next page, like Oliver Stone staring at individual frames of the Zapruder Film, or Andrew Sullivan and Paul Krugman contemplating the uterus and clip art of a former governor.
Egan wrote, "As president, he’s been a sober, cautious, tongue-shackled realist..."
Tongue-shackled? A president giving speeches questioning the patriotism of his opponents and railing about sippin' Slurpees and driving cars into ditches and invoking pitchfork metaphors isn't exactly the second coming of Silent Cal.
"...a moderate Republican..."
That has to be the left's new talking points mantra on the JournoList Mark II. Because it's been used in recent months by Ezra Klein, Krugman, Bill Maher, plus other assorted lefties at the HuffPo, Truthdig, etc. Hey, whatever gets you through the night, but that's a far cry from the heady days of late 2008 and early 2009 when Obama was being compared to FDR by Time magazine. Or James Carville promising a 40-year Democratic rule. Or Newsweek insisting on its cover that "We Are All Socialists Now."
But then, this sleight of hand is nothing new. Back in 2004, when unemployment averaged 5.5 percent and John Kerry was trying to position himself as a moderate (and getting plenty of help from the now-expected quarters), Ann Coulter wrote:
To the contrary, both parties run for office as conservatives. Once they have fooled the voters and are safely in office, Republicans sometimes double-cross the voters. Democrats always do.
Trying to reposition Obama into being the second coming of Ike or Gerry Ford (both of whom were hated by the left while in office) with the four-trillion dollar paper trail he's run up seems like quite a challenge, but hey, keep Baracking that chicken, fellas.
"...of the pre-crazy, pre-Tea Party era."
Back when bankrupting the nation was considered the very definition of sanity.
"Having failed to come up with a Big Idea to guide his presidency..."
Other than passing ObamaCare, nationalizing two-thirds of the American auto industry, and running up the biggest debt in the history of mankind (after telling voters in 2008 that President Bush's spending was "unpatriotic" because of the debt it would pass on to future generations). And promoting high-speed rail, Sputnik moments, "green" jobs, promising to bankrupt whole industries, raiding others, and super-sizing the entire New Deal/Great Society playbook, yeah, he's been a do-nothing, reactionary kind of guy. That's why so many business owners (the people who create jobs) love him so.
True, the original New Deal playbook was similarly a mess, as its own designers would later admit:
Today [in late 2007] many liberals subscribe to the myth that the New Deal was a coherent, enlightened, unified endeavor encapsulated in the largely meaningless phrase “the Roosevelt legacy.” This is poppycock. “To look upon these programs as the result of a unified plan,” wrote Raymond Moley, FDR’s right-hand man during much of the New Deal, “was to believe that the accumulation of stuffed snakes, baseball pictures, school flags, old tennis shoes, carpenter’s tools, geometry books, and chemistry sets in a boy’s bedroom could have been put there by an interior decorator.” When Alvin Hansen, an influential economic adviser to the president, was asked—in 1940!—whether “the basic principle of the New Deal” was “economically sound,” he responded, “I really do not know what the basic principle of the New Deal is.”
But who wouldn't call the New Deal, or its second coming under LBJ "a Big Idea?" Particularly someone at the New York Times, where FDR still walks on water. But then, as James Taranto recently noted, "Obama isn't betraying the left, the left is betraying Obama--and they are doing so precisely because he has done what they say they want him to do."
Taranto would later explore "The Five Stages of Obama" adding that "The New York Times offers therapy for a gravely ill presidency." Which brings us back to more from Timesman Egan, still doing just that:
"...[Obama] will sink or swim now on strengths that don’t lend themselves to large rallies or passionate enthusiasm. Sobriety and moderation, by definition, are boring."
So having spent like a drunken sailor (insert the Gipper's reminder that that's an insult to drunken sailors here) for three years, now he'll discover sobriety and moderation?
By the way, the "Waiting for Superman" analogy is an interesting one. Is Obama pro-school choice?
But to return back to RD Brewer's analogy at the start of this post, the asteroid has already struck. At this point, we're just arguing over how big the destruction and radioactive fallout will be.
Related: Writing on Mort Zuckerman, Obama, "and the imaginary 'competency crisis," Karl of Hot Air echoes the observations about the left from James Taranto we quoted above. Linking to the recent anti-Obama op-ed in the Wall Street Journal by the liberal New York Daily News publisher and disillusioned 2008 Obama supporter, Karl writes:
Zuckerman suffers from cognitive dissonance because he backed a progressive ideologue for the presidency in 2008. In nerdspeak, Mort’s complaints are not bugs, but features of a progressive presidency. He is complaining that a shark is acting like a shark.
To be fair, jilted lovers in New York often feel like they've got a dead shark on their hands.