Ed Driscoll

Occupy Wall Street Now Occupies Obama

In Soviet America, community organizes you! If your initials are BHO, that is, James Pethokoukis writes at the American Enterprise Institute’s Website:

President Barack Obama’s amazing news conference yesterday made one thing abundantly clear: America’s #1 community organizer—in a switcheroo—has himself now been organized by a community, in particular those demonstrators up in New York and several other cities across America.

To the extent that the ideological circus of Occupy Wall Street (OWS) agrees on much, it’s that inequality is what really ails America—and more government is the solution. And Obama apparently couldn’t agree more. During the Q&A with reporters at the White House, Obama endorsed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s plan to pay for Obama’s jobs bill with a massive surtax on the rich, saying he was “comfortable” and “fine” with it. Obama then embarked upon a lengthy impression of consumer-teer Elizabeth Warren as he railed against banks trying to make big profits by tricking consumers (while failing to note that few people other than Dodd and Frank think banks are no longer “too big to fail”).

Great. A replay of Al Gore’s grating “people versus the powerful” campaign of 2000. And who knows, maybe it will get Obama’s 2008 electoral coalition wee-weed up enough to carry him to a narrow victory in November 2012. But is the president really going to run a reelection campaign on such phony and distracting issues? Apparently so.

What’s that you say about phony?

President Obama spun a work of creative nonfiction yesterday in his latest pitch for his jobs plan, fudging the facts of a Boston schoolteacher’s White House visit as he cast the man as a poster boy for the hot-button bill.

“I had a chance to meet a young man named Robert Baroz,” the president said at a midday news conference. “He’s got two decades of teaching experience. He’s got a master’s degree. He’s got an outstanding track record of helping his students make huge gains in reading and writing. In the last few years, he’s received three pink slips because of budget cuts. Why wouldn’t we want to pass a bill that puts somebody like Robert back in the classroom teaching our kids?”

Two problems: Obama never met Baroz. And Baroz remains happily employed.

It is technically true that Obama had a chance to meet Baroz. But the closest Baroz actually got to Obama was the front row of a Rose Garden press conference on the jobs bill in September, with a handful of other teachers. He later met with White House aides and Obama’s education chief, but never met the president.

Baroz has in fact received three pink slips in four years, but in each case, his job was saved, either through stimulus funds or the 2010 Congressional Jobs Bill. He now works as a literacy and data coach at the Curley K-8 School in Jamaica Plain, analyzing MCAS data and applying it to teachers’ everyday lessons.

White House spokeswoman Joanna Rosholm said: “The President highlighted the story of a great Boston teacher who is not in the classroom today — because his school, like so many across the country, is facing a budget crunch. If Congress will pass the American Jobs Act, then we can put thousands of teachers like Mr. Baroz back in the classroom.”

Baroz, who supports Obama and his efforts to restore the public sector, told the Herald yesterday he doesn’t mind if the president — or his speechwriters — took some liberties with the facts. It was all in aid of a higher truth, he said.

Sitting in at Ace’s blog, JammieWearingFool writes, “Oh, I’ve got it now. If you’re in pursuit of a higher truth, whatever the hell that means, you’ve got artistic license to make up sob stories so long as it fits your goal of bamboozling the public.”

Yes. Georges Sorel (1847-1922), call your office. Actually, no need to; you’ve done enough work for the administration already. As Lee Harris noted a few years ago at Tech Central Station:

Sorel, for whom religion was important, drew a comparison between the Christian and the socialist revolutionary. The Christian’s life is transformed because he accepts the myth that Christ will one day return and usher in the end of time; the revolutionary socialist’s life is transformed because he accepts the myth that one day socialism will triumph, and justice for all will prevail. What mattered for Sorel, in both cases, is not the scientific truth or falsity of the myth believed in, but what believing in the myth does to the lives of those who have accepted it, and who refuse to be daunted by the repeated failure of their apocalyptic expectations. How many times have Christians in the last two thousand years been convinced that the Second Coming was at hand, only to be bitterly disappointed — yet none of these disappointments was ever enough to keep them from holding on to their great myth. So, too, Sorel argued, the myth of socialism will continue to have power, despite the various failures of socialist experiments, so long as there are revolutionaries who are unwilling to relinquish their great myth. That is why he rejected scientific socialism — if it was merely science, it lacked the power of a religion to change individual’s lives. Thus for Sorel there was “an…analogy between religion and the revolutionary Socialism which aims at the apprenticeship, preparation, and even the reconstruction of the individual — a gigantic task.”

To borrow a related item I wrote last year, “A ‘liberal’ who finds the truth remarkably elastic in order to push his agenda? That’s never happened before!