Ed Driscoll

When Cognitive Dissonance Strikes the True Believers

“Obama Scores as Exotic Who Says Nothing,” leftwing journalist Froma Harrop wrote on the day after Christmas of 2006 at Real Clear Politics, in an article whose headline and timing signaled the arrival of the man whom the MSM would quickly come to worship as “sort of God,” and for those with a bit more sense, was also a warning of the vacuity of their object of affection.

Today, true believers remain, such as the Politico, which recently published the astonishing sentences, “No one will ever mistake Obama for warm and fuzzy. But when he tries even a bit, he can’t help being winning. His smile remains dazzling, even if he flashes it less often.”

Remember, the Politico was founded in 2007 by two former Washington Post staffers who wanted a harder-hitting vehicle whose reporting would delve into  much more in depth coverage than the broadly-focused Post could ever hope to accomplish.

No really, stop laughing; that was the plan. But back on planet earth, while the Politico remains in teenage groupie mode over what they describe as Mr. Obama’s dazzling smile, others in the hermetically sealed world of the elite MSM are least gradually becoming somewhat aware of the president’s myriad flaws. But as Neo-Neocon asks, “They may be seeing Obama’s feet of clay—but then what?”

I’ve written extensively about the phenomenon of political change. But that can obscure the fact that political change is rare, even when people are confronted with dissonance that should be a challenge their beliefs. It is just too painful, too threatening (too “difficult,” as expressed in the title of my series) for most people to actually change their political affiliation, despite whatever challenges their beliefs might encounter.

There are other aspects of political change that are hard. Prominent among them are the social negatives I’ve also written about many times: rejection by friends and family if one is leaving the fold, or at the very least social awkwardness and the need to avoid certain topics if peace is to be maintained. But serious and sobering though that prospect is, it pales in comparison to the more basic potential alienation: separation from the previous self and its beliefs. And so it is hardly surprising that most people will do almost anything to avoid such a rift.

In other words, despite their deeply held messianic love of The One and those sweet, sweet memories of the good old days so long ago in 2008 and early 2009, the MSM would much rather toss him to the curb, than dare commit the thoughtcrime of questioning the narratives that guide their lives.

But who to replace with him — dishwater dull old retreads like Hillary, Biden, or Kerry? Or somebody like Obama in 2006 and 2007, new and unknown who will score as an exotic who says nothing, but flashes a dazzling smile? Who’s the likely next Bright, Shiny Leftwing Object of Affection for our ever-gullible MSM?

Related: “So When Can We Expect Obama’s Malaise Speech?”