Monday, November 12, 2012

The Full Obama

For nearly a week now Democrats have been gloating. They are convinced that the American people have affirmed their view of a multicultural America.

Some Republican pundits are sheepishly throwing in the towel on immigration reform, even though the Romney position was at serous odds with the positions of many senior Republican officials. Some are vowing to fight Barack Obama to the bitter end.

This morning Ross Douthut introduced some rationality into the mix, arguing that Republicans need to develop an economic agenda that will appeal to voters across the spectrum.

I would add that they also need a concept, a principle around which to articulate and communicate their policies.

By the Republican calculus, large segments of the American population voted against their economic self-interest. Voters whose communities have borne the brunt of the failed Obama policies turned out in droves to affirm their support of Obama.

In so doing they were saying that capitalism, not Obama, had failed them. One suspects that they are about to get a rude awakening.

One does not want to contemplate how much misery they will need before they will start thinking clearly.

Taking the other side of the question, Abe Greenwald suggests that it's really the Democrats who should start worrying. By Greenwald’s calculation Obama did not win on his record; he won on his demagogic persona, his ability to attract a cult following.

When the cult leader retires from the scene four years from now, what will be left of the Democratic party?

Greenwald wrote:

The president’s reelection is not evidence of a new liberal America, but rather of the illogical and confused experience that is infatuation. For multiple reasons, Americans continue to have a crush on Barack Obama even after his universally panned first term. No longer quite head over heels, they’re at the “I know he’s no good for me, but I can change him” phase. Whatever this means, it surely doesn’t suggest conservatives would be wise to move closer to policies that aren’t even popular among Obama supporters.

Why isn’t soul searching underway on the left? When the personality at the center of the cult leaves the stage in four years, Democrats will own his results without the benefit of his appeal. We can’t know quite what a second Obama term will bring, but if his first term is an indication, there’s little reason to expect his party will be crowing. The fiscal cliff is here but a whole landscape of steep drops comes next: the economic cliff (over which lies a possible double-dip recession), the Obamacare cliff (over which lies an unprecedented bureaucratic behemoth), the Iran cliff (over which lies a nuclear bomb), and so on. A precipice in every direction and a president who’s given us no reason to presume he can steer clear. Have Democrats stopped to wonder what initiatives they’ll have to defend when the dust settles in 2016?

He continued:

It is in the nature of personality cults to fail at most things beyond generating and disseminating propaganda. This inability is the result of two things. First, the personality’s popularity is not results-driven. Since adoration hasn’t been earned by achievement but by the advent of charisma, why kill yourself trying to get results. Second, few people are willing to candidly critique the personality at the center of the cult, so there is little chance of course correction. None of this bodes well for Barack Obama. And for the country’s sake, let’s hope it’s wrong.

It’s always possible that the Democrats will rally to another cult leader, but it is hard to imagine that anyone can match the demagogic appeal of  Barack Obama.

If the Democrats are doomed, as one likes to think, they will most likely be brought down by their own hubris. Watching Democrats gloat, one is reminded of an old Biblical proverb.

Here is the King James translation:

Pride goeth before destruction,
and a haughty spirit before a fall.

Aristotle counted magnanimity as one of the most important virtues a leader can possess.

A magnanimous leader tries to bring people together. He reaches out to his opponents. He does not worry about consolidating power; he seeks to win the respect of all those he will govern.

Obama seems incapable of being magnanimous. He and the Obamaphile left consider conservatives and Republicans to be evil, thus needing to be destroyed.

Paul Krugman, Frank Rich and E. J. Dionne insist that one should never compromise with evil Republicans.

Of course, if the country is headed in the wrong direction, as most American seem to think, and if the economy is going to contract sooner rather than later, then the issue is going to be: who is going to be saddled with the blame.

Bill O’Reilly said last week that if the economy falls apart on the Democrats’ watch, the Obama victory might be a death knell for liberal policies.

Commenting on the Richard Fernandez blog at Pajamas Media, Leo Linbeck III also called Obama’s victory Pyrrhic:

The President ran a brilliant campaign. He ran overwhelmingly negative ads, early and focused and targeting the battleground states. He was able to define Romney, and his messaging was perfectly calibrated for his target audiences. Given his first term record, he really had no other choice, and his execution was first-rate.

But now he will reap what he sowed. His pretense of being a uniter, someone who can reach across the aisle and work together to solve pressing problems, lies in ruins. Whatever reservoir of goodwill and trust that existed in January 2009 is now bone dry.

So, yes, he won. But it will almost certainly be a Pyrrhic victory. He chose to divide the country deeply to win his second term. He will find that the nation he will again lead is not governable by him, and he may have tipped it to where it is not governable by anyone. He is so deeply despised by so much of the country that he will never be able to do what needs to be done (assuming he even wanted to, which does not appear likely).

The reaping will begin sooner than he probably expects. The ship of state is heading toward the Scylla and Charybdis of the fiscal cliff (in 2012) and Obamacare (in 2013). At work, we have been looking at the impact of Obamacare, and all I can say is that the average person has absolutely no idea how enormous the impact will be on their life. It will be an enormous shock to the system, and it will hit almost everyone in the country.

If Linbeck and O’Reilly, and, by the way, Jim Rogers are right, Obamacare and a flood of new regulations, coupled with tax increases will probably precipitate a new recession.

Republicans now need to ask themselves whether they should try to obstruct the Obama agenda, no matter the cost, or step aside and let Obama fail on his own.

Why not trust the free markets to offer the ultimate verdict on the Obama presidency?

Republicans have been diminished by the election. They cannot promote their own agenda. They do not have the political muscle to do so and besides, their flirtation with Mitt Romney has left them agendaless..

One hesitates to condone policies that will damage the economy, but, what other options do Republicans have?

The nation got duped a second time by Barack Obama. Why not let them have the full Obama?


Terry Lohrenz said...

Again, let Obama own the train wreck.

Terry Lohrenz said...

But we need a coherent strategy for cleaning up the mess.

Anonymous said...

One does not understand the dynamic of central planning (or the power and bias of the popular media/entertainment industry or the capacity of most humans for illogical thinking) if you think blame will ever be assigned to the Democrats for the destruction they will visit on us in the next four years.
If leftists were in even tenuous contact with reality, Obama would never have been re-elected.
The economic disaster coming will be seen as even more reason for central planning, big government programs, and the cult of personality (see FDR for a example of precisely that effect).
America, get over yourself, you're done.

james said...

Is magnanimity relevant when the way you hold your coalition together is by demonizing the enemy? They cannot fulfill the promises they make (explicitly, sometimes) to their supporters, so they have to blame somebody else. Forever.

The Dark Lord said...

step aside and let Obama tax his way to growth ... in fact raise the stakes and propose a big tax hike on true millionaires and billionaires ... say 50% on income above 1 million with no deductions ...

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Central planning has failed whenever it has been tried. The problem was really how much damage it caused before people figured it out.

As for FDR,he was elected 4 times-- for now that seems impossible for BHO.

vichris said...

Obama won with 15% real unemployment, gas prices sky high, $6 trillion dollars in new debt, poverty & food stamps at an all time high, crime, murder, drug addiction, and mayhem on the rise, citys in ruin and going bankrupt ....etc etc etc.
Let us fully implement all of the liberal ideas for the next four years. Yes we will all suffer, but sometimes REAL excruciating pain is ...all that people will understand. Let’s stop drilling, close down the coal fired power plants, build those wind farms, Fully implement obamacare, punitively raise taxes, increase regulations, cut off the Keystone pipeline, open the borders, legalize drugs, celebrate Homo marriage and abortion and infanticide. These are all things that Democrats advocate.

If we as a country have chosen to go to hell, let’s do it in a hurry. Let’s have the full Monty. Let’s let the children have all of the candy they want. We've tinkered around with their ideas for the past few years and half the country still hasn't learned. Lets give them what they want. We need to stop fighting them. It has done us conservative no good at all. We just get the finger of blame. Its time that they/we EXPERIENCE what its like to live in Detroit, Spain or Greece.

flynful said...

"When the cult leader retires from the scene four years from now, what will be left of the Democratic party?"
What makes you think he will retire in 4 years? The Constitution has not stood in his way this far so why would he feel constrained from running for a third term, if we even have elections. I agree with Anonymous above, the more problems he creates the more will be the clamor for him to remain in office. He is the new FDR and Bush the reincarnation of Hoover. If we have elections we will be hearing about the spendthrift Bush for 50 more years.
Today is better than tomorrow. Tomorrow will be better than the next day. It will only grow worse. Get used to it.

Dennis said...

One of the things that Mao stated was: " In advantage lies the seeds of disadvantage. In disadvantage lies the seeds of advantage." Before one runs off yelling the "sky is falling" one needs to look at what can be accomplished to change the path we are currently on. All the whining and moaning to the contrary does not approach analyzing the positives and negatives with which we have to deal.
One can bet that the other side wants us to be despondent and to do stupid things like give up. Battles may be lost, but wars are one by staying in the "arena." I win a lot because I never give up.
In what appears to be an Obama advantage lies many seeds, scandal, political corruption, et al, that are already extant and like any good infection these will only spread. All the more so if we help it a long.
In our apparent disadvantage lie so many advantages, the ability to be innovative and utilize Obama's advantages against him, et al if we only take the time to recognize them. The Cuban American vote went for Romney by an overwhelming advantage so ................
A place to start. What are the primary motivating factors that drive this country's infatuation with a person who is this incompetent and lacks leadership skills of Obama? How can they be undermined and used against him? Take a look at education. Take a look at race and ethnicity? Take a look at survival, safety and security needs.
One only becomes a loser if they give up and cede the field of battle to their opponent. Grow up.

JPL17 said...

Stuart -- I wish that you and Abe Greenwald were correct, though I have my doubts. In particular, I doubt that the Cult of Personality of which you speak will end when Obama leaves office. Cults of Personality historically often DON'T die with the death of the original cult leader. Look at the Soviet example. In due course after Lenin's death, the Lenin Cult was simply passed on to the next cult leader, Josef Stalin. A similar "cult succession" has been on display in North Korea. In the current-day U.S., I can easily see the rise of the "Cult of Hilary" or (as insane as this currently sounds) the "Cult of Michelle."

The reasons this is now possible in the U.S. are (a) that a majority of American voters now have an urgent "need to believe" that magic is possible on a national scale and that a cult leader will be able to work such magic; and (b) we now have a delusional, ideological, and sycophantic media that's more than willing to encourage and sustain such a cult.

Events of the past week have only convinced me more than before that Leftists are beyond the point of no return in their cultic thinking. Their mindless calls to boycott employers forced to lay off workers due to Obama's reelection, and denunciations of Hostess because it made good on its warning that it would close plants if its unionized workers went on strike, are only the beginning. I expect the Left to defend its delusional ideology against all evidence, no matter how bad things get.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Your points are well taken... I have a few doubts myself and I suspect that Greenwald does too.

The examples of cult leaders being succeeded by other cult leaders are totalitarian governments. As long as they do not repeal the amendment limiting presidents to two terms, we are more or less safe.

I applaud you for drawing attention to the thuggish tactics employed by Obama supporters. In some way I hope that these tactics become more flagrant, to the point where they cannot be ignored... so that people will finally figure out what they voted for.

Sam L. said...

What stands in his way? Hillary! will have him whacked.