Ed Driscoll

Dog Day Aftermath

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At Human Events, John Hayward ponders how many character attacks Team Obama can make on Mitt Romney his supporters before the taint of all that mudslinging starts to tarnish their boss’s halo. Or as Hayward writes, “You can only declare so many Two Minutes Hates before the public stops thinking of you as a nice young man:”

The point of the exercise, for Team Obama – which, let us never forget, was very serious about pounding Romney with the Seamus story, because they were worked into a lather by focus group studies that showed it hurt his likeability ratings – was to plant these little viral memes into the public consciousness.  You were supposed to roll into November thinking that Mitt Romney cruelly strapped his dog to the roof and made him sick.  That was meant to become a detail that “everybody knows,” without quite remembering where they heard it.

And that’s why this whole episode is such a hideous disaster for Team Obama, because now the one thing everyone will remember is that Obama ate a dog.  It’s hardly the sort of thing that will turn an election, and it’s not logically relevant to his performance in office… but the Obama campaign wasn’t planning on running with logic and facts.  Their entire effort is based on creating total public amnesia over the period 2009 – 2012, and making the election about “likeability,” an area where Obama is thought to hold the advantage.

Not to get overly enthusiastic about the Mitt Romney cuddle factor, but the Obama campaign’s likeability calculations were always suspect, particularly given the ugly, divisive edge they’re shooting for in their re-election effort.  They’re also underestimating the hit Obama’s charisma will take from his endless finger-pointing and scapegoating.  You can only declare so many Two Minutes Hates before the public stops thinking of you as a nice young man.

In today’s New York Post, John Podhoretz goes “Behind the dueling dog tales,”After first walking us through the background of the left’s manufactured hyperventilation of the Romney dog story, Podhoretz writes:

The tone of Obama’s sentence from “Dreams from My Father” is one of nonjudgmental, multicultural, oh-look-how-colorful-my-life-has-been pride. He was “introduced to dog meat (tough), snake meat (tougher), and roasted grasshopper (crunchy)” by his stepfather, Lolo, he wrote.

The message of Treacher and everybody who followed him was this: You want to make a political issue out of a decades-old dog story? Fine, then. Here’s one that makes your guy look really weird. How do you like dog stories now?

There will always be a dog story. Treacher’s amazing stunt indicates that, in part due to the Internet-driven democratization of opposition research, there will always be a counter-dog story, too.

Podhoretz’s sentence about the tone of that passage in Obama’s book is worth spotlighting. Because beyond the sheer fun of the pushback itself, the story isn’t really about what Obama did as a child. Obama could have neutralized much of the outrage, had he written a passage* along the lines of “as a lover of animals in general, and dogs in particular, I don’t look back at those days with much happiness. While we can all learn much from the Third World, there are some practices that make me truly glad to be an American.” But no, as David Goldman noted yesterday at his “Spengler” column here at PJM, Obama really is at heart, much more proud of the Third World than the nation he sought to govern:

I wrote in February 2008, nine months before Obama was elected:

America is not the embodiment of hope, but the abandonment of one kind of hope in return for another. America is the spirit of creative destruction, selecting immigrants willing to turn their back on the tragedy of their own failing culture in return for a new start. Its creative success is so enormous that its global influence hastens the decline of other cultures. For those on the destruction side of the trade, America is a monster. Between half and nine-tenths of the world’s 6,700 spoken languages will become extinct in the next century, and the anguish of dying peoples rises up in a global cry of despair. Some of those who listen to this cry become anthropologists, the curators of soon-to-be extinct cultures; anthropologists who really identify with their subjects marry them. Obama’s mother, the University of Hawaii anthropologist Ann Dunham, did so twice.

Obama profiles Americans the way anthropologists interact with primitive peoples. He holds his own view in reserve and emphatically draws out the feelings of others; that is how friends and colleagues describe his modus operandi since his days at the Harvard Law Review, through his years as a community activist in Chicago, and in national politics. Anthropologists, though, proceed from resentment against the devouring culture of America and sympathy with the endangered cultures of the primitive world. Obama inverts the anthropological model: he applies the tools of cultural manipulation out of resentment against America. The probable next president of the United States is a mother’s revenge against the America she despised.

It really isn’t unfair at all to bring Obama’s canine consumption to public attention. The president isn’t really one of us. He’s a dog-eater. He tells the story in his memoir to emphasize that viscerally, Obama identifies with the Third World of his upbringing more than with the America of his adulthood. It is our great misfortune to have a president who dislikes our country at this juncture in our history.

The reference to Obama’s parents brings us to yesterday’s manufactured story from the left, and its counter-attack. “Oops! Dem Governor Bashes Romney for Polygamist Roots – Forgets About Obama’s Polygamist DAD,” Jim Hoft writes at Gateway Pundit. And the Bam Bites Dog story as a whole demonstrates the power of Twitter, the Blogosphere, and the right story, to neutralize Journolist-style manufactured outrage amongst the left, as blogger “Moneyrunner” notes:

We may be seeing the end of an era dominated by ability of Leftist comedians like Jon Stewart, Bill Maher or the cast of SNL to create a false image of a political figure. Perhaps the trashing of Sarah Palin was the high point of their power, just as Watergate was for the MSM.

Ridicule is the most potent political weapon. Obama is rapidly looking less and less like a President and more and more like an inept pol who’s also something of a doofus. Romney looks like a President, he acts and talks like a President; Obama was always surrounded by a rock star aura. But a rock star is not blamed for high unemployment or soaring gas prices. Obama will always have his groupies, but his hold on the Oval Office is slipping away.

Speaking of Saturday Night Live, tomorrow will be quite a test for Lorne Michaels & crew. Having been handed comedy gold, will they use it to punch up and satirize the president (you know, that half century old “speaking truth to power” cliche that left used to pay lip service to before they became the power?), punch down and attack the viewers (you and I), or stick their heads in the sand (or other powdery substances that were once associated with the show — and the president, come to think of it) and ignore the story? Elsewhere in the world of establishment palace guards posing as television funnymen, at Big Hollywood, John Nolte pondered yesterday, “Do Stewart & Colbert Know Obama Ate a Dog?”

Of course they do. But do they want their viewers to know? And if so, how will they frame the story to (a) let the president skate and (b) make the right look bad? But again, this brings us back to Moe Lane’s recursive thesis on twitter: “Heh: there’s no way that the media can tell people that Obama eating a dog isn’t so bad without telling them that Obama ate a dog.”

* Or as Ace quips, “how mad is Obama right now at Ayers for tossing that Multi-Culti Feel-Goodery into ‘his’ autobiography?”