Saturday, November 12, 2016

The Humbling of Obama

The biggest loser Tuesday night was Barack Obama. After Obama, the next biggest losers were the hordes of people who had pinned their hopes and dreams on his presidency-- on his liberal politics, his will to expand the government, his anti-war propensities, his refusal to call the enemy Islamist terrorism, his sellout to Iran. Those who believed that the Obama presidency would herald a new progressive and even socialist era are sorely discommoded today.

With the single exception of the 2012 presidential election, the Obama years have been a disaster for the Democratic Party. Strangely enough, while many people thought that Donald Trump would destroy the Republican Party, after Tuesday night Republicans control all branches of federal and state governments.

Obviously, Trump does not get all the credit. In truth, the shift began in the first congressional elections of the Obama years. The calamity of the Obama presidency was self-inflicted.

Frank Bruni sums it up well:

We geniuses in the news media spent only the last month telling you how Donald Trump was losing this election. We spent the last year telling you how the Republican Party was unraveling.

And here we are, with the Democrats in tatters. You might want to think twice about our Oscar and Super Bowl predictions.

Despite all the discussion of demographic forces that doomed the G.O.P., it will soon control the presidency as well as both chambers of Congress and two of every three governor’s offices. And that’s not just a function of James Comey, Julian Assange and misogyny. Democrats who believe so are dangerously mistaken.

Other factors conspired in the party’s debacle. One in particular haunts me. From the presidential race on down, Democrats adopted a strategy of inclusiveness that excluded a hefty share of Americans and consigned many to a “basket of deplorables” who aren’t all deplorable. Some are hurt. Some are confused.

Bruni explains that liberals lost because they were anything but liberal minded. The Democratic Party morphed into a radical leftist movement, one that treated everyone who disagreed with contempt:

Liberals miss this by being illiberal. They shame not just the racists and sexists who deserve it but all who disagree. A 64-year-old Southern woman not onboard with marriage equality finds herself characterized as a hateful boob. Never mind that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton weren’t themselves onboard just five short years ago.

Political correctness has morphed into a moral purity that may feel exhilarating but isn’t remotely tactical. It’s a handmaiden to smugness and sanctimony, undermining its own goals.

George Friedman—the only Friedman worth reading—explained that Democrats had lost the middle class, people whose values were at severe variance from those touted by the liberal elites. Again, as I and numerous others have pointed out, these people have been treated with contempt:

Pride that comes from working hard and making a good living for their families was lost. They found that values they had regarded as commonplace were now regarded as phobias, illnesses they must overcome in order to be politically correct. Values they were taught as children could no longer be expressed in public.

In a just world Barack Obama would feel humbled. He was not up to the job. He lacked the experience to do the job. He thought that he could get by on his brilliance. He couldn’t.

In truth, Obama has recently been showing signs of humility. Perhaps he was bracing for defeat, but before the election, at one of his last rallies, Obama shouted down his audience for disrespecting a Trump supporter who was protesting at the rally.

Considering that during his presidency it has been customary for conservative speakers to be shouted down or disinvited from college campuses, this shows a shift of focus. It tells us that the president should have used his own bully pulpit to shout down some of the college administrators and zealous student activists who were suppressing free speech.

And let’s not forget, his Education department issued a directive that deprived any college student accused of sexual assault of all rights to due process.

Obama has mostly been very gracious about the Trump victory. He should redouble his efforts to call on his supporters to calm themselves down and to tamp down their tantrums, but he did accept the result of the election and did announce that the sun will rise tomorrow morning.

And he received the Trumps at the White House graciously because, as he put it, the Bushes could not have been nicer to him and his family during their transition. It was one of the few generous thing he has said about people that he has tended to demonize.

So, Obama has been humbled. He has always presented a calm and decorous demeanor, so we would have expected as much. And yet, sad to say, he could not miss one parting cheap shot. Since custom dictates that the current president and his wife take a picture with the incoming president and his wife, when Obama failed to honor that custom it felt like an unnecessary slight.

On that score Obama could not resist. Or perhaps, he was taking advice from the wrong advisor.


Trigger Warning said...

I suggest, Schneiderman, that it's a bit early on to suggest Barack Obama has been "humbled".

Maybe you're right, but I personally believe the oceans are not receding, America has not been healed, and that Barack Obama is the same man today that he was last Monday.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

The last 4 days have been enormously entertaining. I haven't said anything to anyone. I've just listened. It's been a true joy to watch all of this. The nonsense, cowardice, hand washing, triggering and rioting is simply riveting.

And I think people are missing something. They're putting this all on Obama. I don't agree. Surely Obama created the opening, but someone had to walk through and take it. That man was Donald Trump. Trump saw opportunity in the Democrats' 2016 coalition: wealthy bobo/hipster hypocrites, world-class victims, and ignorant. He dismantled the Democrats by taking their working class voters. He saw that opportunity, and he won. That was his genius, and it required great courage. None of the other 16 GOP candidates could have delivered Tuesday's result. Not one. And most of them didn't help, either, violating their pledge. (Spit!)

Yes, Obama made it possible. But someone had to step up and stand against all the institutional and establishment lies. Trump is the victor because he saw opportunity, took the risk, and waged a ruthless, unrelenting, unconventional campaign to take working voters away from the Democrat Party. And he suffered much indignity, abuse, contempt and dismissal. He's still facing these things, and likely will throughout his presidency. The Ruling Class has so much to lose. Is he a narcissist? Perhaps. But only a huge ego and a relentless competitor could've withstood all that. This is the "eye of the tiger" confidence boxers have to have, lest they be savaged in the ring.

All the usual suspects said it couldn't be done. All of them said it. There's nothing more to say. Someone had to step up. Trump did it, and I asset no one else could have.

Did I mention I'm enjoying all this???

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Maybe a slightly humbler version...

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

I say bitterly disappointed, with a healthy dose of denial. I don't think he's capable of humility, only hubris.

I wonder how his debrief with George Soros went. I'm sure the boss is disappointed.

And what of dear Valierie Jarrett? I'm sure she'll continue to puff-up Barack as the chosen one.

Trigger Warning said...

Re the pledge violators, I'm not sure I could have voted for Trump if Lindsey Graham, Jeb!, and John Kasich had given him full-throated support. I might have defaulted to Jill Stein, fulfilling my duty as a citizen by voting what was effectively None Of The Above.

Trigger Warning said...

Well, Valerie always has her Section 8 slum tenants to rape. She'll be fine until Barack campaigns for Secretary-General of the UN.

AesopFan said...

Obama is always able to sound good when he wants to; it's one of the things that got him elected twice, and keeps his approval rating high.
Until I just quit listening to him, I would come away from his speeches thinking how wonderful they were -- and then I would start looking at what he actually said (strawmen, false arguments, down-right lies) and wonder at how gullible I was.

Ares Olympus said...

Stuart: Obama has mostly been very gracious about the Trump victory. He should redouble his efforts to call on his supporters to calm themselves down and to tamp down their tantrums, but he did accept the result of the election and did announce that the sun will rise tomorrow morning.

We survived President Reagan and W Bush, it is possible we'll survive a president Trump. Certainly protestors should be nonviolent and respectful (and many clearly are not), but this is certainly time for protest.

And there's still a not insignificant fraction of Conservatives on the "Never Trump" bandwagon, wondering if a conservative Republican party still exists, while it looks more like it'll be the White House of Pence rather than the White House of Trump. Trump is over his head and will delegate every aspect of the presidency that doesn't include adoration or whining.

He did look a little scared sitting in the White House with President Obama, and I'm glad Obama treated him respectfully and seriously, communicating what is expected of being a President.

Still, I do keep wondering if the downfall of Trump won't be from the Left, which has been rendered powerless and inert under a squeaker but solid Republican victory in the Presidency, Senate, and House. The Republicans can now only be stopped by their own incompetence and internal divisions which no one wants to talk about. Being "The party of no" is easier than governing.

And Trump is still a loose cannon for the Republicans, and one that they still have the power to oust. That is on December 19, if I figure 38 faithless electors vote for Mike Pence for President rather than Trump, that'll block Trump's majority in the Electoral college, and force the U.S. House to pick the winner among the top-3 candidates in the electoral college.

So despite my having no interest in a President Pence, at least we can trust he won't be creating Twitter Rants from the White House at 4am when someone has been mean to him. So America certainly has a higher chance of Dignity with a President Pence, even if all the machinery of a Republican administration is identical.

It does seem at the moment that the youthful Left now has chance to show off their violent aggression, and it makes a joke to claim fear against the youthful alt-Right hooligans who are yet a smaller bunch of yahoos. Its not yet a fair fight by numbers, so this is the recruitment time for the new brownshirts to defend America against the Left hoodlums.

Anyway, I hope the Republican electors take their job seriously and that 38 will see the light and vote for Pence (a mere Christian Fundamentalist) over Trump (unstable opportunist). And even if the U.S. House doesn't fall for it, and they crown Trump, at least the lines will have been drawn, and perhaps we'll have made visible the fracture in the republican party that is yet hidden under the shadows of Trump Tower.

Welcome to the land of Trump Inc, or a Republic, if we can keep it.

Trigger Warning said...

I'm sure the Republicans will give your advice all the weight it deserves.

And I seriously doubt Trump will be seeking advice from Lightworker Obama unless he's worried about some jayvee Misunderstanderers of Islam. :-D

Ares Olympus said...

p.s. Here's Obama's humiliating Trump at the White House Correspondence dinner in 2011. Its worth seeing again, to have some idea what gave Trump the drive to run for President, to show everyone he could do it. The Choice 2016 (full film) | FRONTLINE
@4:10 Omarosa Manigault “It just kept going and going and he just kept hammering him,” Manigault said. “And I thought, ‘Ohhhh, Barack Obama is starting something that I don’t know if he’ll be able to finish.”
@5:00 Omarosa Manigault "Every critic, every detractor, will have to bow down to President Trump. It’s everyone who’s ever doubted Donald, who ever disagreed, who ever challenged him. It is the ultimate revenge to become the most powerful man in the universe."

If we assume getting elected was the ultimate revenge, then the revenge is complete, and "The Donald" won't mind if the Electoral college denies him the actual work of running the world, and defects to Mike Pence.

Losing the popular vote doesn't help avoid a Republican presidendency, but does give Republican Electors reason to consider Trump isn't someone to be trusted with power.