Perestroika on the Potomac
At the start of 2009, when the World Was Young and Dewey Fresh and Hopenchange was still lingering softly in the air, "We Are All Socialists Now," the Washington Post, under the imprimatur of Newsweek, which it then controlled, were eager to exclaim at the beginning of the Obama administration. The newspaper would also add a touch of Soviet-style command-and-control coordination to numerous leftwing writers via its then-new JournoList system of distributed talking points -- no mid-century-style pneumatic tubes required!
At almost precisely that same moment, Tavis Smiley, an employee of the government run Public Broadcasting System, appearing on the corporatist MSNBC network would exclaim, "we're all working for Barack Obama" and that "we have to help make Obama a great president."
So how's Moscow on the Potomac working out these days?
"Media attacks Obama's 'Soviet-style' publicity policy," the London Telegraph reported yesterday. "Major media organisations protest against being shut out of president's events in favour of official photographer:"
Barack Obama's White House has been accused of producing Soviet-style propaganda by press photographers who are furious at being denied access to the US president.
Mr Obama's aides routinely block independent photographers from capturing him at work, before distributing flattering pictures shot by Pete Souza, his official photographer.
During a tense meeting at the White House, the practice was described by Doug Mills, a veteran photographer for The New York Times, as “just like TASS,” the Soviet Union state news agency.
Curiously, given the Times' long embrace of the former Soviet Union, its current love of Sandinista socialist Bill de Blasio, and in-between, whoever is the designated Pinchurian Candidate du jour, that last sentence quoted above doesn't appear to be a compliment.
But in the mid-1990s, back when Obama was just hitting the book circuit to promote Dreams from My Father, Al Gore, his transformation into a radical far left environmentalist complete, was taken to saying that "Good Enough for Government Work" -- which for over the century, the rest of us used as a kinder and gentler way of saying "doing a half-assed job" meant nothing of the sort:
If you worked in construction back before the turn of the century and someone told you your work was "good enough for government work," you'd have been pleased as punch. In those days, the government's construction standards were higher than anyone else's.
"Good enough for government work" meant the best.
That's a definition that Barack Obama, who's feared and loathed the private sector all of his life, would certainly take to heart. But as with many aspects of how the world works, from learning on the job as president that "there's no such thing as shovel-ready projects," to just this past month, "also discovering is that insurance is complicated to buy,” might be having a twinge of newfound respect for private enterprise. Just a twinge, mind you. It'll pass, and he'll go back to loathing anybody who actually works for a living. But not before this classic moment yesterday:
CHUCK TODD: David, the most interesting thing in this report, right, page one-- it's page three of the report, it says here that, "The team is operating with private sector velocity and effectiveness."
DAVID GREGORY: Yeah.
CHUCK TODD: Okay, that is an acknowledgement that, "You know what? If this was a government operation for a long time and it failed, now we're bringing in the private sector folks." I mean, that is an indictment on the whole idea of government as a solution, frankly, when you look at [unintelligible].
The "unintelligible" is in the transcript -- but then, lots of things that the left thought for sure they knew before attempting their recent gleichschaltung are proving to be unintelligible these days. Unexpectedly -- except perhaps to everyone who didn't conclude he was a socialist upon waking up on January 20th, 2009.
Update: "Our Dear Leader will be pleased by this latest offering from the Associated Press," Jim Treacher writes.
Well, so much for AP pushing back against the president whose Justice Department seized their phone records.