Roger L. Simon

Fear and Shame on the Campaign Trail #4 — Arrested Development

How bad will it actually be if Barack Obama is reelected?

That was the question lurking over, under, and through Dinesh D’Souza’s new movie 2016: Obama’s America, which I saw today. (Capsule review: go.)

My guess is that it will be pretty bad. Maybe real bad.

But the worst of it won’t be the economy, as you would expect, although that’s likely to head south even more rapidly than it has been for the last few years, pushing us closer and closer to fiscal Armageddon.

It will be in the area of foreign policy. The world will go rudderless as America increasingly abandons its leadership position. Forget the clowns at the United Nations, forget even NATO, without the USA at the helm, the citizens of planet Earth are on their own. I suspect even Vladimir Putin is secretly concerned.

But not Barack Obama. As D’Souza convincingly shows us, he lives in a world deeply nostalgic for an anti-colonialism that was at its most popular somewhere around 1968 when Barack was seven.

I wasn’t, of course. As a college student then I shouted “Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh” as loud as the next man, only I realized pretty quickly that the anti-colonialist Chairman Ho was just another communist despot who threw his opponents in forced labor camps when he didn’t shoot them.

The folks who surrounded the young Obama then, as D’Souza again convincingly shows us, remained on the other side. More than that, they promoted it. And those still around still promote it, overtly and covertly — a mass case of arrested development.

So that is what we see all around us now on the campaign trail, more even than fear, shame, and the usual loathing — arrested development. It accounts for the absolute glee expressed by liberal Democrats that some moronic Republican congressman from Missouri said something Neanderthal about rape. (Barbara Boxer practically had an orgasm.) It accounts for the relief, also seemingly quasi-orgasmic, from mainstream media outlets that they can devote themselves exclusively to this dim bulb’s utterances without having to spend a second more on the economic catastrophe that threatens to upend us all, including their children.

And in another way it accounts for the almost rabid responses to the most banal of revelations — that Paul Ryan dated a black woman. (Who didn’t?) The reactionary liberal press doesn’t know how to wrap its hive mind around this one. It must be a trick. And even if it’s not, Ryan’s policies must still be anti-African American. Some wag at the Washington’s Post’s “The Root” blog went so crazy at the revelation as to compare Ryan to Strom Thurmond because the dead segregationist fathered a mixed-race daughter. Talk about arrested development.

Oh, well. We live la vie à l’envers, life upside down, as never before. Make it la vie à l’envers squared … or cubed.

But it’s been going on for a long time, hasn’t it, this arrested development causing an absolute disconnect from reality, this inability… or even unwillingness… to see what’s in front of your face?

I’ll close with a story as an example:

Back around 2003, when I was first blogging, I got an email from a man named Michael Berman, asking to meet me. I didn’t know who he was, so I enquired. He turned out to be the brother of Howard Berman, the long-time liberal congressman from West L.A.

So I went to have lunch with Michael Berman, who was curious about the cause of my political transition, which had been the subject of much of my blog. He guessed it was 9/11 and I pretty much agreed, although it was more complicated than that.

Then Michael Berman — who, it also turned out, was not only the brother of Howard but also the political mastermind behind most of the California liberal campaigns of that era, including those of his brother, Henry Waxman, John Tunney, Jerry Brown, etc., and the inventor of targeted mailings — said he was way ahead of me. He had made his transition years before. Back in the early nineties.

What? I was stunned. Michael Berman, Democratic political operative, was no longer a liberal? I asked him why.

Because of what the Democratic Party did to black people, he said.

How right he was. La vie à l’envers all over again.

Almost ten years later, in this midst of this political season, it gives me the shivers.