Ed Driscoll

Footiejammies from the Id!

Charles C.W. Cooke describes “Pajama Boy” as “The Obama Machine’s Id. The new face of Obamacare is a man in a plaid onesie. Of course:”

Put a bunch of these people in a room with a few MacBook Airs and a shared copy of Adobe Photoshop, and this is the character they come up with by themselves. Because Pajama Boy is OFA; and OFA is Pajama Boy. The vaguely androgynous, student-glasses-wearing, Williamsburg hipster isn’t a clever marketing idea. It is the id of the Obama machine made public. Of course he’s made it onto the propaganda.

My former National Review colleague Dan Foster once rather depressingly suggested to me that The Big Bang Theory’s star geek, Leonard Hofstadter, was far from the loser that he needs to be for the joke to work, but instead the “voice of our generation.” One need only look at MSNBC for examples of this. The strapline du choix over at 30 Rock is “#nerdland”; the native tongue is the cretinous lingo of the graduate school; this season’s style is Earnest Ph.D. Candidate No. 6. Pajama Boy is, as Obama might put it, a composite character: part Chris Hayes, part Rachel Maddow, part Lena Dunham. One of the funnier photoshops from last night features the caption, “Mommy said I could stay up late tonight.” If so, he isn’t waiting for PBS to broadcast the boobs and bad language on imported British comedies, as overgrown children once did; he’s ignoring his bedtime to ensure the Howard Zinn special on All In records properly.

To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, to screw up one Obamacare personification may be regarded as a misfortune; to screw up them all looks like carelessness. Or, perhaps better: ignorance. The harsh truth is that the advertising machine behind the Obama administration seems not to really know what normal human beings are like. In Colorado, when OFA-wannabe group, ProgressNowColorado, was charged with selling the law to young people, it drew on the worst of cartoons. All the women were sluts; all the men were idiots; all the girls were playing extremely violent sports.

On the other hand, “If You Think ‘Pajama Boy’ Looks ‘Effeminate,’ You Need to See How Obamacare Is Being Marketed to Actual Gays,” Scott Shackford writes at Reason. “The advertisement is by Out2Enroll, created by the Sellers Dorsey Foundation to promote the Affordable Care Act’s benefits to the LGBT community:”

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And when it comes to discussing the other side of the aisle, the rest of the Obama White House are also more than willing to pander in base cliches:

According to interviews in recent weeks with an array of Obama insiders and a dozen current and former senior aides, Podesta’s hire is explicitly meant to shake things up inside the White House. In effect, I was told, it represents the clearest sign to date of the administration’s interest in shifting the paradigm of Obama’s presidency through the forceful, unapologetic and occasionally provocative application of White House power. Podesta, whose official mandate includes enforcement of numerous executive orders on emissions and the environment, suggested as much when he spoke with me earlier this fall about Obama’s team. “They need to focus on executive action given that they are facing a second term against a cult worthy of Jonestown in charge of one of the houses of Congress,” he told me.

Shhh…nobody tell John Podesta that Jim Jones was one of his fellow lefties:

The horrific scene in a Guyanese jungle clearing could have been avoided. Thousands of miles north, for years leading up to Jonestown, San Francisco officials and journalists had looked the other way while Jones acted as a law unto himself. So what if he abused children, sodomized a follower, tortured and held temple members at gun point, and defrauded the government and people of welfare and social security checks? He believes in socialism and so do we. That was the ends-justifies-the-means attitude that enabled Jim Jones to commit criminal acts in San Francisco with impunity. The people who should have stopped him instead encouraged him.

Mayor George Moscone, who would be assassinated days after the Jonestown tragedy, appointed Jones to the city’s Housing Authority in 1975. Jones quickly became chairman, which proved beneficial to the enlargement of the pastor’s flock–and his coffers, as Jones seized welfare checks from new members. One of the Peoples Temple’s top officials becoming an assistant district attorney, a man so thoroughly indoctrinated in the cult that he falsely signed an affidavit (ultimately his child’s death warrant) disavowing paternity to his own son and ascribed paternity to Jones, similarly enhanced the cult’s power base within the city. How, one wonders, did victimized Peoples Temple members feel about going to the law in a city where Jones’s henchman was the law?

Going to the Fourth Estate was also a fruitless endeavor, as San Francisco media institutions, such as columnist Herb Caen, were boosters of Jones and his Peoples Temple. When veteran journalist Les Kinsolving penned an eight-part investigative report on Peoples Temple for the San Francisco Examiner in 1972, his editors buckled under pressure from Jones and killed the report halfway through.

And as Ed Morrissey adds at Hot Air, Podesta’s description of the GOP as a cult “contains no small amount of irony, especially coming within hours of Barbara Walters’ admission that the media saw Obama as ‘the Messiah’ in 2008.”

Peggy Noonan explores another way that being inside the White House bubble can distort rational thought:

“They mistook the White House for the government,” said an experienced old friend, a journalist and Democratic sympathizer. We were having holiday dinner and the talk turned to White House management. His thesis was that Obama and his staffers thought they could run the government from there, from the White House campus, and make big decisions that would be executed. They thought the White House was the government, but the government is a vast web of executive agencies that have to be run under close scrutiny, and within their campuses, to produce even minimally competent work.

I have come to see this as “West Wing” Disease. Young staffers grew up watching that show and getting a very romantic and specific sense of how government works. “The West Wing” was White House-centric. It never took place at the Agriculture Department. But government takes place at the Agriculture Department.

Anyway, my friend made me think of a story about Harry Truman. On leaving the White House after the 1952 election of Dwight Eisenhower, Truman made a small prediction about the general and his presidency. From memory: Eisenhower, Truman said, will pick up the phone and say do this and do that, pull this lever, and he’ll be shocked when nothing happens.

Ike was a general used to giving orders within an organization that takes the order and executes. But a government has to be leaned on every day, through management talent earned by experience. Generals can issue orders but federal agencies must be gently guided and clubbed around the head, every day.

People who run big businesses learn these facts of executive leadership early on. So do leaders of small businesses and great nonprofit organizations, and local political leaders in charge of local agencies whose success or failure can be charted.

Most of the Obama people just don’t have a background in executing. They have a background in communicating, not doing. That’s where their talent is—it’s where their boss’s talent is—and it’s a good talent, but not one that will in itself force a government to work well.

Which dovetails back to Charles Krauthammer’s remarks last week that most of us learn how unwieldy government is at age 17 after a couple of trips to the DMV; instead, Mr. Obama and his colleagues want to keep expanding it ever-larger, transforming its citizens into increasingly docile eloi.