Thursday, September 09, 2010
Our Waning Obama Worship: We Americans know not what we do
A touch of sarcasm from Victor Davis Hanson
In just 20 months, President Obama’s polls have crashed. From near 70 percent approval, they have fallen to well below 50 percent. Over 70 percent of the public disapproves of the Democratically controlled Congress. Hundreds of thousands of angry voters flocked to hear Glenn Beck & Co. on the Washington Mall. Indeed, things have gotten so bad that the cherubic Mormon Beck might outdraw Barack Obama himself on any given Sunday.
All this was not supposed to be — and it has evoked a lot of anger. Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson thunders, “The American people are acting like a bunch of spoiled brats.”
You see, hoi polloi want “easy solutions” — like trying to close an open border, cut federal spending, and balance the budget. Instead, they should be manning up to pay more for gas, more in taxes, and more for entitlements for more to come across the border.
Worse still, the uninformed voter cannot seem to appreciate the brilliance of Barack Obama, who has deigned to suffer on our behalf, in offering only unpopular but necessary solutions. Obama has tried his best to prepare an immature nation for amnesty, borrowing at record levels, cap and trade, and additional trillions of national debt — the castor oil that the obese and now constipated public for some reason just won’t swallow.
Cynthia Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution chimes in with the thought that Neanderthal Americans can’t really distinguish between cause and effect. So in clueless fashion, they blame big deficits, big spending, and high unemployment on Obama, when what they’re really afraid of is the “browning of America.” In other words, we remain a nation of primitives resisting the future. “Successful black and brown professionals have had to learn to be comfortable in a sea of white faces, but most white Americans have not experienced the reverse. And many are not eager to have that experience. While some prognosticators were naïve enough to believe that Obama’s election signaled the beginning of a post-racial era, it prompted something altogether different: a backlash against the browning of America.”
Vanity Fair just ran yet another hit piece on the now-worn subject of the ogre Sarah Palin. Uppity Sarah, you see, is still on her hind legs — even after the 2008 swat from the Katie Couric set, the jogging-suit photos, and the true-story revelations from the philosopher Levi Johnston.
Worse still, Sarah is no longer quite the white-trash yokel with the snowmobiling husband and pregnant teenage daughter that so appealed to Cynthia Tucker’s backlash America. Instead, Palin has had the gall to have devolved into a fake yokel, with Michelle Obama–like fashion pretensions. So Vanity Fair shocks us with the dirt that the now-clothes-hungry former mayor of Wasilla is making some money speaking. She is not the sandwich-making mom of five that she used to be. And she doesn’t really do the moose-and-fish thing any more.
Still, in reading Vanity Fair’s bill of particulars, we wonder, “Compared to what?” Is Ms. Palin making any more money than the aggregate $100 million collected by good ol’ boy Bill Clinton — as he jetted his way around the globe between 2001 and 2009, offering his “aw shucks” global initiatives to any creepy foreign thug who would pony up the near-million-dollar fee? Are the now-orphaned Palin children missing their careerist mother more than, say, the Obama children missed their absentee father huckstering on the campaign trail for two years in 2007–2008? And is Ms. Palin really less of a game-eating shooter than the duck-hunting camouflaged John Kerry was in 2004?
The New York Times is just as let down with the volatile American mob that has stormed out in the middle of the sermon on the mount — after once so bravely thronging to the “god” who assured us that he would stop the flooding and cool the planet. Vero possumus indeed.
Americans, and even liberal New Yorkers, poll over 70 percent opposed to the so-called Ground Zero mosque — even after our president gave a courageous standing-ovation pep talk to a group of anguished Muslims at a White House Ramadan dinner. “New Yorkers,” the Times scoffed, “like other Americans, have a way to go.” My god, you would have thought that we had given a discount to moveon.org to run a slanderous “General Betray Us” ad, as an American general came back from the front to Washington to save a war.
The president himself is grieved by these polls and the Beck-led protests. Indeed, he derides it all as the “silly season.” He does not mean “silly” as in Michelle Obama’s Marbella–to–Martha’s Vineyard odyssey, or his own mini-recession summits on the golf links. Instead, like Robinson and Tucker, he is bewildered that millions don’t appreciate that our godhead is “making decisions that are not necessarily good for the nightly news and not good for the next election, but for the next generations.” I suppose here the president means that he is on schedule to add more debt than all previous presidents combined — just the sort of bravery that the “next generations” who will pay for it will appreciate.
In the case of Obama worship, the tone is always set at the top. So we are back to 2008, when candidate Obama likewise attributed any rejection to the inability of yokel America to appreciate his inspired leadership — “it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”
In short, a frustrated America has let the liberal elite down. And it is all the more disheartening when you think that just two years ago we proved sort of redeemable by electing Barack Obama — amid the hysteria following the financial panic of September 2008, the lackluster campaign of John McCain, Obama’s own faux-centrist veneer, the glow of electing America’s first African-American president, and the first orphaned election since 1952 when no incumbent of either party was running.
Apparently the liberal elite did not consider that perfect storm of events that elected a northern liberal in a way that had been impossible with George McGovern, Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis, and John Kerry. Instead, they really believed that Obama’s election was proof that at last America had shed its odious -isms and -ologies. America was now ready for an updated FDR New Deal — as if, after seven decades, America had never tasted Social Security, unemployment and disability insurance, a 40-hour work week, and trillions in unfunded pensions and entitlements. In this “never let a crisis go to waste” teachable moment, the cognitive elite was convinced that America had at last crossed the liberal threshold and so evolved from the passé equality of opportunity to the promised equality of result.
But now a grouchy elite and a petulant president see that they were sorely mistaken about us, and Mr. Obama’s election was more flukish than predestined. Americans were given government takeovers of business, multi-trillion-dollar deficits, promised higher taxes, a path to socialized medicine, and an end to building the odious border fence — with, to top it all off, accusations from the likes of Van Jones and Eric Holder, apologies and bows abroad, and the beer summit. And yet the rustic ingrates are rejecting both the benefactor and his munificence.
Forgive us, Barack Obama, for we know not what we do.
Tea Partiers give an answer to decades of Leftist slanders about conservatives
It will come as news to no one that conservatism has long had a PR problem. The political question of 2010 is this: do America's voters finally "get" conservatism?
For a half-century or more, conservatism's public image has covered a vast spectrum ranging from the Neanderthals on one end to Genghis Khan on the other. Conservatism has been depicted as the political doctrine of Klansmen, inbred backwoodsmen, paranoids, and religious fanatics. (Timothy McVeigh, an atheist and anarchist, is almost always characterized as a "right-wing Christian.. I know of no case where this assertion has been corrected.)
Joe McCarthy (a former New Deal liberal) added an unsavory element of power abuse, Richard Nixon (who governed as a leftist exceeded only by Barack Obama) a dank aura of personality disorder. Derived from all this was the implication, long hard-pedaled by the left, that no decent or moral person would have anything to do with such types, much less vote for them or offer moral or political support. This slur has proven effective for decades. It has acquired the status of an axiom, demanding no proof or evidence, reinforced by casual references and asides from all corners of American culture -- music, films, novels, news and commentary, and political rhetoric. It remains in force today, as the treatment of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Sarah Palin clearly reveal....
Leftist influence on media and education also put them in a position to debase the conservative image. "Extremist" became the term of choice. Conservative fascination with Europe enabled the left to tar conservatives with the fascist brush. A concerted effort was made in the 1961-64 period to associate the new conservatism with wild-eyed fringe types. News reports from monopoly wire services and Big Three networks featured bizarre and often fake stories about "right-wing" paramilitary groups such as the Minutemen (no relation to the current organization) and the Rangers drilling in the backwoods, spiced with conspiracy theories concerning U.S. military coup plans. All quite familiar from our vantage point, but a novelty at the time.
The American public perhaps only half-bought into all this, but they were deluged with it constantly by an unchallenged national media operating from ultraliberal New York City. On the smoke/fire principle, many thought better than to associate with such "extremists" even though the "extreme" positions were no different from those of the average American. The conservative "extremist" label was one of liberalism's most brilliant ploys, one that was to pay them enormous dividends over the ensuing half-century.
Conservatives could not shake the "extremist" label or overcome the "fascist" accusation. "Racist" soon joined the lexicon with the belated recognition of the civil rights movement by the Democrats. With such a public image, any crime was plausible -- and the left didn't hesitate to throw every possible innuendo. Many of them stuck.
As a result, the American public, though voting conservative and supporting conservative policies, could not be persuaded to openly march under the conservative banner. Such hesitation is easily understood -- who would happily accept the labels of "fascist" or "racist"? That, in large part, is how it remained until the turn of the century....
The watershed has arrived with the Tea Parties. Triggered by a single cable news broadcast, nurtured by the net and talk radio, the Tea Parties brought out tens of thousands of Americans previously uninvolved in politics, many of whom would have denied any conscious connection to conservatism. They were by no means movement conservatives, of either the Northeast or cowboy variety, but instead average Americans who saw their cherished traditions placed under threat by a runaway central government -- which plainly renders them purer conservatives than any given faction. (It's a disturbing but undeniable fact that many of the conservative East-Coast elite, such as David Brooks and Kathleen Parker, have been dismissive of the Tea Parties, to put it mildly.)
The left, working through the media, opened the customary cans of invective and innuendo on the Tea Parties, attempting to paint them with the long-established labels of "racist" and "extremist." This time, it didn't stick. Was it the waning power of the legacy media, a new maturity within the public mind, or simply the fact that most of these new activists were ordinary, everyday people? Whatever the case, the tried-and-true "extremist" shtick failed. The Tea Parties were able to operate effectively free of the "extremist" myth. For the first time in living memory, a conservative movement was allowed to establish itself through its own actions and rhetoric.
The year 2010 is likely to be a banner year for the conservative impulse in American life. The Tea Parties have already pushed aside several go-along-to-get-along Republican hacks (which in itself repudiates accusations of partisanship). The sweep of corrupt and ideologized Democrats promises to be an order of magnitude larger. But the 2010 election may well turn into no more than another good election season if we don't take advantage of the disarray in the left's messaging system.
We need to look farther and deeper than a single election. We need to bury the calumnies against conservatism that have given the left the advantage for a half-century and longer. To remove the weapon of slander from leftist hands. Elite conservatives failed to attempt this for decade upon decade. The time has arrived to see that it gets done. We must move to change the culture, to establish once and for all the truth that conservatism is a core element of American life, that it is no oddity, no perversion, no dead end. That the modernist political debate is over, with the failure of leftist progressivism manifest and undeniable, and that the game must now be played on American terms.
We will have no better opportunity than this. That most American of political phenomena, the Tea Parties, has established once and for all that conservatism is American and that America is a conservative nation. If we can build upon this, our road will be a lot smoother than it has been.
Castro: Cuban model “doesn’t even work for us any more”: "Cuban revolutionary icon Fidel Castro has joked [sic] that the ‘Cuban model doesn’t even work for us any more,’ the Atlantic magazine reported Wednesday. … Julia Sweig, a Cuba expert at the Council on Foreign Relations who was present at the meeting was quoted as saying Castro ‘wasn’t rejecting the ideas of the Revolution. I took it to be an acknowledgement that under ‘the Cuban model’ the state has much too big a role in the economic life of the country.’”
Entrepreneurs under attack: "Every day, federal, state and local governments stifle small businesses to privilege well-connected incumbent companies. It’s a system of protectionism for influential insiders who don’t want competition. Every locality has its share of business moguls who are cozy with politicians. Together, they use the power of government to keep competition down and prices high.”
Will infrastructure repairs cut unemployment?: "Whenever the economy is in recession, lots of people claim we can ‘put America back to work by rebuilding the infrastructure.’ So I am not surprised that President Obama has decided to continue the ‘infrastructure’ mantra in his latest economic plan. … The $50 billion in ‘front-loaded’ spending likely means Obama will direct money quickly to those states and congressional districts where the Democratic incumbents are in trouble.”
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)
Posted by JR at 8:23 PM