Obama and the Delusions of an FDR Moment

Megan McArdle writes, “When Obama Beat Hillary, We All Lost.” focusing on how Hillary — chastened by her own signature attempt at nationalization of the healthcare industry and how its implosion led to Gingrich revolution in 1994 — likely wouldn’t have ramrodded through another attempt at socialized medicine, particularly with the American economy still on the ropes in 2009:


I think that Hillary Clinton would have pulled back when Rahm Emanuel (or his counterfactual Clinton administration counterpart) told her that this was a political loser and she should drop it. I’ve written before about how my Twitter feed filled up with comparisons to 1932 the night that Obama took the presidency, and it’s quite clear to me that the Obama administration shared what you might call delusions of FDR. It thought that it was in a transformative, historical moment where the normal rules of political caution didn’t apply. The administration was wrong, and the country paid for that.

It wasn’t just that the administration was wrong — it was an inside-the-Beltway feedback loop between the administration and its MSM cheerleaders all convincing themselves that 2009 was 1933 all over again.

In retrospect, it’s possible to witness key moments in the birth of this delusional frenzy.

In mid-November of 2008, Time-Warner-CNN-HBO photoshopped Obama into FDR for the cover of Time magazine. Early the following month, Virginia Postrel noted that a lot of left-liberal pundits had a hots-on case of what she dubbed “Depression Lust;” by Christmas eve of 2008, John Judis of the New Republic openly declared, “A decade ago, I might have been embarrassed to admit that I was raised on Marx and Marxism, but I am convinced that the left is coming back.” And in February of 2009, the Washington Post let it all hang out and trumpeted, “We Are All Socialists Now” on the cover of its then-subsidiary publication, Newsweek.


As Glenn Reynolds notes in response to McArdle’s post, “They’ve been wrong about a lot of things, and we’ve paid — and will pay — for that:”

But the sheer “I won” in-your-face immaturity of the Obamaites — remember the “Hey, Hey, Goodbye” chant to Bush at the inauguration* — ensured that people would be angrier than normal. And they did that on purpose because a sharply divided nation suited them politically. Now Ron Fournier wonders if Americans would rally behind Obama after another 9/11 the way we rallied behind Bush, and I think the answer is no — because Obama has spent his entire time in office flicking boogers at half the country.

As I’ve said before, the reason why presidents traditionally act “presidential” isn’t because they’re stiffly formal, it’s because acting presidential, rather than purely political, lets you appeal to the whole country in ways that a pure partisan can’t. Obama doesn’t care, and we may very well pay for that, too. But elections have consequences, and when you elect a guy like Obama, the consequences are bad ones.

As Big Government noted on Sunday, over the weekend, Obama whined to his (de facto or otherwise) ghostwriter, frequent golfing partner and fellow liberal fascist Thomas Friedman of the New York Times that:


What you’ve seen with our politics, partly because of gerrymandering, partly because of the Balkanization of media so people just watch what reinforces their deepest biases, partly because of big money in politics, is increasingly politicians are rewarded for taking the most extreme, maximalist positions.”

But it was the very “Balkanization of media” that had led to Mr. Obama’s election and his initial disasters. Youthful leftwing rock star Obama was beloved by the Kos kids and limousine leftist Huffington Post contributors in 2007 far more than staid ol’ establishment liberal Hillary, lack of experience be damned. In 2008, the balkanized JournoList did everything it could to punish the rest of the MSM for pushing bad news and/or the truth about Barry’s excesses and errors. And once elected, it was the lack of a reality check with the rest of the country that led to the feedback loop between the White House and the MSM that caused the fiscal trainwreck in 2009, culminating in the cram-it-down-the American peoples’ throats partisan Obamacare vote the following year. Had the Obama administration and its Democrat operatives in the MSM had remembered the dangers of an us-against-the national media in 2009, they would have saved themselves an enormous amount of aggravation today.


And possibly this November, as well.

Exit quote:

*As Jim Treacher likes to say, “If there’s anyone angrier than a liberal who just lost, it’s a liberal who just won.”


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