The Return of the Face

A few days ago Peggy Noonan demanded of the political class in the Wall Street Journal to answer the question “who do they think we are?”   Our leaders she said, were treating the public like moronic children on the subject of Ebola.


It is my impression that everyone who speaks for the government on this issue has been instructed to imagine his audience as anxious children. It feels like how the pediatrician talks to the child, not the parents. It’s as if they’ve been told: “Talk, talk, talk, but don’t say anything. Clarity is the enemy.”

And why not? For altogether too long the political elites have thrived on the strategy of treating the public like “low information voters” and being rewarded for it. But that act is seemingly losing its appeal. Sheryl Stolberg of the New York Times writes that the “Black Vote Seen as Last Hope for Democrats to Hold Senate.”

WASHINGTON — The confidential memo from a former pollster for President Obama contained a blunt warning for Democrats. Written this month with an eye toward Election Day, it predicted “crushing Democratic losses across the country” if the party did not do more to get black voters to the polls….

Yet the one politician guaranteed to generate enthusiasm among African Americans is the same man many Democratic candidates want to avoid: Mr. Obama.

Not even the Clinton show can put gas in the old tank any more. Peter Sullivan and Bernie Becker of the Hill write “self-proclaimed Clinton Democrats are struggling this election cycle, and not even their powerful namesakes may be enough to save them.”

Both Bill and Hillary Clinton have tried to turn on their charms to help centrist Democrats in Kentucky and Arkansas. But as candidates in both states are slipping, help from the party’s preeminent power couple is falling short. … In Kentucky, Alison Lundergan Grimes has clung tightly to both Bill and Hillary Clinton as she tries to unseat Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell(R).

The former president has already campaigned with the Democratic hopeful twice and will head to the Bluegrass State again next week. The former secretary of state held a rally with Grimes on Wednesday, coming as Grimes kept emphasizing she was a “Clinton Democrat through and through” after flatly refusing to say whether she voted for President Obama.

The former president — a master of the retail politics central to places like Arkansas — is the featured guest in his native state this weekend. There, Democrats are trying to save vulnerable Sen. Mark Pryor (D) and push former Rep. Mike Ross (D) into the governor’s mansion. Pryor even took a selfie on stage with Clinton this month, in an attempt to illustrate how close he is to his state’s favorite son.


Hillary stumps. Bill blusters. But it’s not working so far. Senator Elizabeth Warren is reported in the Washington Post as preparing the Base for hard and heavy tidings. “The game is rigged, and the Republicans rigged it,” Warren said to loud cheers.

At least there were cheers for Warren. The president would have welcomed some in Maryland, where he was stumping for Anthony Brown. Reuters said the crowd walked out on Obama. “A steady stream of people walked out of the auditorium while he spoke, however, and a heckler interrupted his remarks.” And this was friendly territory.

The Maryland fiasco is an indication that pure palaver doesn’t cut it any more. The president has to show some moves. The flock is losing faith.

He is therefore trying for a big win, somewhere anywhere. The US has ramped up airstrikes against ISIS in Kobane. “The U.S. military says its cargo planes have delivered weapons, ammunition and medical supplies from Kurdish authorities in Iraq to Kurds battling Islamic State militants in northern Syria,” according to VOA, whether the Turks approve or not.

The Turks definitely don’t want the Kurds armed. “Turkey wouldn’t agree to any U.S. arms transfers to Kurdish fighters who are battling Islamic militants in Syria, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was quoted as saying Sunday, as the extremist group fired more mortar rounds near the Syrian-Turkish border,” ABC News said.


But maybe the Turks know the moves only need to be temporary. Because with any luck, the Ebola fears will begin to fade from the headlines in the coming week. And with that and a well publicized miracle or two the president can venture out into range of the cameras again. And the Face can work its magic once again.  Then maybe he can start on the last lap. Breitbart reports that preparation for large scale immigration amnesty has begun.

Unnoticed until now, a draft solicitation for bids issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Oct. 6 says potential vendors must be capable of handling a “surge” scenario of 9 million id cards in one year “to support possible future immigration reform initiative requirements.”

The request for proposals says the agency will need a minimum of four million cards per year. In the “surge,” scenario in 2016, the agency would need an additional five million cards – more than double the baseline annual amount for a total of 9 million.

“The guaranteed minimum for each ordering period is 4,000,000 cards. The estimated maximum for the entire contract is 34,000,000 cards,” the document says.

Or something like that. Obamacare 2, 3 or 4. The Brass Ring. Something. Thirty four million and game over. The present is, depending on how you look at it, either the last gasp of the Narrative or the eve of its final triumph.  Nothing in between. The setbacks of the last two years notwithstanding, the liberal cause is ready for its comeback.  The president is like a faded movie star who is convinced that that he’s still big.  It was politics that got small.


Joe Gillis: I didn’t know you were planning a comeback.
Norma Desmond: I hate that word. It’s a return, a return to the millions of people who have never forgiven me for deserting the screen.

Norma Desmond: We didn’t need dialogue. We had faces!

Joe Gillis: [sarcastically] They’ll love it in Pomona.
Norma Desmond: They’ll love it everyplace.

A little stardust, that’s all that’s needed. Peggy Noonan would have understood; the Left has long treated the public like children. All they need is for them to remain children just a little longer until they can be persuaded never to grow up. You might think that no sane person would agree. But do you know what? Maybe the liberals are right about human nature after all.  Humanity doesn’t think.  All it needs is a little lighting, drama and music.  And then … voila … the return.

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