Saturday, April 3, 2010

Obama Knows Best

President Obama knows how you feel. He knows why you feel how you feel. And he knows what you need.

In fact, he is so confident that he knows what you need that he is going to give it to you, whether you want it or not. You might resist, but resistance is futile. Once you have worked through your resistance you will come to know that he was always right.

To me that encapsulates Obama's attitude, his approach to presidential leadership. It means that he is acting like a therapist and treating the emotions of his countrymen as symptoms to be cured.

Law Professor and blogger Ann Althouse sees it the same way. On her blog she quotes some of Obama's recent pronouncements, made to Harry Smith of CBS. Link here. Later she will offer one of the most incisive descriptions of Obama's attitude, and his approach to presidential leadership.

First, Obama's words: "When you listen to Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck, it's pretty apparent, but keep in mind that there have been periods of American history where this kind of vitriol comes out.... It happens often when you've got an economy that is making people more anxious, and people are feeling that there's a lot of change that needs to take place. But that's not the majority of Americans. But that's not the vast majority of Americans."

Ignore the fact that the majority of Americans do not support Obama's legislative initiatives. Althouse reads that passage and sees Obama "being characteristically understanding in that patronizing way we've seen before."

She then quotes some of Obama's earlier remarks, to the same effect: "And 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 frustration."

There again we have Obama the therapist offering a definitive interpretation of emotion.

Althouse then provides one of the best concise descriptions of Obama's attitude: "Obama understands why you feel those negative emotions. The actual ideas you express don't really matter. They are to be disregarded-- they're the things you say when you get mad or depressed, because of all the problems-- problems that he aims to solve, in his way, for your sake, because he knows better. Now, if you would please, quiet down, and let him get on with the work of giving you what you need."

To me, recovering therapist that I am, this sounds like the meandering mind of a therapist. Of course, we do not know whether Obama was ever in therapy. He has never bothered to release any of his medical records. But we might infer from his attitude and his approach to leadership that, at the least, he has bathed in the fragrant waters of the therapy culture.


Roger said...

If you feel Obama is disregarding your Republican feelings, then you are right of course.

Your ideas ARE to be disregarded, as they do NOT reflect what the majority of voters in this country want.

And if you have any questions about that, feel free to ask (and pay for) a recount of votes in the last presidential election. Maybe Obama actually lost and nobody knows that because there was a miscount!

Or, it could just be that he did win, and you lost - and now you feel dejected.

In that case, feel free to write posts like this to express your feelings. We understand your loss.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Thank you for your kind expression of sympathy. Actually I do not feel dejected and did not say that I was, but I appreciate your concern anyway. I also appreciate your comments; I am sure that you are not alone in feeling this way.

You are right to say that Obama won the election. I am not all that sympathetic to the people who got tricked into voting for him and who now are showing buyer's remorse.

Everyone has a right to make a mistake; even Obama voters.

Public opinion is not static; it changes. And you might have noticed the recent Massachusetts Senate election, an election that was, among other things, a referendum on the health care bill. It seems clear that in one of the most liberal states in America the people spoke loud and clear. They did not want the bill.

Public opinion has shifted over the past 15 or so months. Most Americans no longer believe that Obama merits re-election.The polls on health care are still against it.

Be all that as it may, there is more to life than winning and losing. As I mentioned at some point in the past we need but evoke the example of one Pyrrhus who manifestly won whatever it was that he had to win, but whose name has gone down in history in the phrase: pyrrhic victory.