Sunday, May 20, 2018

Andrew Sullivan's Obamaphilia

Surely, Andrew Sullivan is one of the more talented writers out there today. At times, he offers sober and sage commentary on the passing scene. At times, he becomes overwhelmed by emotion and whines all over the page.

Friday was one of the latter occasions. In order to defend Obama against Trump he distorted Obama's record beyond recognition. He was writing like a flack, or perhaps a fanatic. Or even a man who is in love with an idol. It’s a sad moment, a moment where a capable writer embarrasses himself… all for love of Obama.

Sullivan’s distortions are so rank that they take one’s breath away. As for his basic core concept: he argues that President Trump has undone Obama’s legacy in seventeenth months.

It is a fair point. Yet, Sullivan, believing that Trump is a mere autocrat who governs by his pen and his telephone, forgets that much of the Obama legacy was enacted by extraconstitutional means. Obama could have submitted his Iran deal to the senate as a treaty. He called it a deal and said that he did not have to. The same applies to the Paris Climate Accord. At that point both deals are vulnerable to cancellation by another president.

Sullivan is so caught up in his complaints that he ignores the simple fact that the American people elected Donald Trump on an agenda to roll back Obama’s overreach. Not only did the American people elect Trump, they elected a Republican Congress, Republican governors and Republican state legislatures. 2016 was an electoral bloodbath for Democrats. President Trump is doing what people elected him to do. With the exception of the 2012 presidential election, all national elections since 2008 have repudiated Obama. It does not make Sullivan love Obama any less, but still, presenting Trump as an imperious autocrat is dishonest.

Sullivan pictures Obama as a master of fiscal discipline:

In economic policy, Obama’s slow winnowing of the deficit even in times of sluggish growth has been completely reversed. We too easily forget that the biggest accomplishment of Trump’s term in office so far — a massive increase in debt in a time of robust economic growth — is the inverse of Obama’s studied sense of fiscal responsibility. 

This is absurd to the point of being an outright lie. Barack Obama doubled the national debt in eight years. He larded on around $9 billion in debt… debt that hangs like a sword of Damocles over the American and the world economies. Denouncing Trump for unexampled “recklessness” distorts the record. After all, Trump has been in office for around a year and a half.

Sullivan then accuses Trump of “fiscal vandalism:”

The fiscal vandalism is also a massive U-turn in terms of redistribution. If Obama managed to shift resources, ever so incrementally, toward the middle class and the poor (by allowing Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy to expire, by bringing millions of the working poor into health insurance), Trump has done the opposite, by doubling down on unprecedented economic inequality, and borrowing unimaginable sums to disproportionately benefit the unimaginably wealthy.

He is charging Trump with failing to redistribute income. Sullivan often calls himself a conservative. Here he is bemoaning Trump’s failure to be as socialistic as Obama. He says nothing about the stock market and the unemployment numbers over the past seventeen months. Those numbers would show that the stock markets and the job markets are not as wedded to income redistribution as is Sullivan. If more people are working, isn't that a sign of a successful economic policy?

Naturally, Sullivan presents Obama as an intrepid warrior against climate change. He hates Trump for walking away from the Paris Climate Accord. Dare we say that the whole anti-climate crusade is far from being settled science? And that much of the Paris Accord punished America and redistributed massive amounts of American wealth to underdeveloped countries—the better to signify that America was the problem and that American needed to be punished.

If said accord was so important, and if Sullivan cares so much for the constitution, why did he not criticize Obama for not submitting it to the senate for ratification. Obama did not do so. Apparently, he did not believe in the balance of powers.

As for Obama’s foreign policy, Sullivan only sees goodness. Clearly, he has been blinded by the sunlight:

In less than two years, he has wrecked an Atlantic alliance that every president has defended and advanced since the Second World War, and that Obama nurtured. No European government can or should trust America from now on: They know they’re on their own. And then there is the volte-face in the Middle East. Obama’s core achievement in foreign policy was to shift America from embattled enmeshment in the region to a more offshore balancing role. By getting out of Iraq, and reaching out to Tehran, as well as maintaining our links to Jerusalem and the Saudi theocracy, the U.S. increased its options and leverage, while bringing Europe into the mix through the Iran deal. There was even, believe it or not, an attempt at first to restrain the Greater Israel lobby, to use what leverage the American president has to restrain the settlements project.

Trump has asserted America’s traditional role as leader of the Atlantic alliance. He rejected the weak-kneed open borders policy of Angela Merkel and has worked to establish better relations with France. Obama manifested craven submission to the demands of the Western European intelligentsia, people who have created a massive problem with Muslim refugees. People voted for Trump because they did not want what they were seeing in Germany happen here. About all of that Sullivan has nothing to say.

Obama betrayed our allies in Israel, in Egypt and in Saudi Arabia. In truth, they all despised him. Sullivan’s rant against the Israel lobby shows us that the Obamaphile left seems inexorably drawn to anti-Semitic tropes. Sullivan sympathizes with Palestinian terrorists and fails to notice that Trump’s turn toward Israel has been supported by many Sunni Arab states.

Apparently, Sullivan did not notice. Siding with Iran was cowardice and appeasement. Siding with the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism is not an act of courage. Appeasing a nation that considers homosexuality a capital offense, punishable by hanging, does not deter gay activist Sullivan from thinking that we should submit to them.

Giving Iran eventually legitimate access to nuclear weapons was not outreach. It was folly. Iran has used the money to further destabilize the region, to finance terrorism against Israel… while starving its own people. True, Obama walked out of Iraq and abandoned Syria. The result was the advent of ISIS and the destruction of Syria. Sullivan fails to mention that the Trump administration got rid of the ISIS caliphate in nine months. It was part of the Obama legacy. Somehow Sullivan did not notice.

Sullivan’s notion that Obama could “quarantine barbarism” is laughable. If you don’t believe me, ask the people who were living under ISIS during the Obama years.

Naturally, Sullivan denounces Trump for being a racist:

What drives Trump is racial essentialism, a rage at the post-racial, integrative center that the mixed-race Obama represented.

Is it not possible that Trump’s supporters were driven by the their belief that the Obama administration had failed? Racial essentialism has so completely taken over Sullivan’s mind that he sees only goodness in Obama… on racial grounds? He shows no judgment, no rational evaluation of the good and bad of Obama. He sounds like Paul Krugman, a brilliant mind that has been infested with zealotry to the point where his views boil down to: Obama all good; Trump all bad.

That is the picture of racial essentialism that Sullivan pretends to denounce.

Sullivan believes that Obama, who spend twenty years lapping up the swill coming from race-baiting America-hating preacher Jeremiah Wright, disposed of the indoctrination in a twenty minute speech. The human minds does not change its habits with a single speech. The speech was simply a lie. Sullivan does not see it because he does not care to see it.

Sullivan is dismayed to see that America has become more divided by race. He is appalled at the descent into tribalism. And yet, he cannot connect the dots and see that this all took place during and as a direct consequence of the Obama presidency.

Such is blindness, and perhaps even love. The only thing Sullivan forgot to mention was that Trig Palin is the love child of Britol Palin and Donald Trump.


Anonymous said...
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Sam L. said...

Sullivan uses pretzel logic of The Worm Ouroborous. I gave up on him well before he started specializing in Sarah Palin's uterus.

Anonymous said...

Sullivan is a conservative.

Mueller is a Republican.

Comey is a Republican.

Who are you going to believe?

Anonymous said...


That may have been true when it was ;politically expedient to be so. Almost anyone who spends too much time close to DC and the levers of power become corrupted to the point where they have little allegiance to the citizens of this country. They gradually, in many cases, become a "deep state" denizen without realizing it. That is usually followed by justifications for their corruption.
Much of this is why I would like to see a rotation out to the hinterlands every 2 to 4 years and term limits for those who need to remember who they actually represent.
I am not sure why in every election Shummer and Pelosi should not be on the ballot for every democrat because almost every democrat party member will do what they are told. Do we really need them? At least the republicans fight with each other given the fact that the opposition seems to consist of mind numbed robots following chuckle and nancy.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

As Alan Dershowitz said yesterday-- Mueller probe filled with Republicans who hate Trump... or else, RINOs---

Anonymous said...

Whatever the case, this Russia thing is an astonishing scandal, based on what we know now. More to come as this whole thing unravels, and we see how deep the rabbit hole goes.

Some people had better go to jail for this, or we are going to see a lot more if it in the future.

Obama weaponized the most powerful, intrusive agencies against U.S. citizens who'd decided to become politically active because of his policies. And now it looks like the "intelligence community" was weaponized to shape the outcome of a presidential election. What else are we missing? If Hillary had won, we would not know any of this! What we're looking at is the Church Committee in reverse, with the subjects of investigation being the heretofore moralizing globalists who are so convinced of their monopoly on virtue. O yes, they know what's best for everybody!

People like Sullivan talk about race, race, race all day, like we're in 1692 Salem. Meanwhile, Obama didn't create any racial healing. Instead, he fanned the flames for his party's political benefit. You know, the party where presidential candidates weren't allowed to say "all lives matter."

I'm convinced that Hillary lost the election because of the shooting of the 13 Dallas police officers in July 2016, but no media covered it that way. The Dems used BLM to show political activism, but it spun out of control. By November, the vote showed people had enough.

Ares Olympus said...

Stuart: Sullivan is so caught up in his complaints that he ignores the simple fact that the American people elected Donald Trump on an agenda to roll back Obama’s overreach. Not only did the American people elect Trump, they elected a Republican Congress, Republican governors and Republican state legislatures. 2016 was an electoral bloodbath for Democrats.

Of course this isn't fully true. Yes, the 2010 midterms were a "shellacking" to the Democrats, losing 63 seats in the house and 6 in Senate, gaining back 8 house and 2 senate in 2012, losing another 13 in house and 9 in senate in 2014, while in 2016, the Dems gained by 6 in the house, as well as 2 in the Senate, with a 52-48 lead that now has fallen to 51-49.

The House Republicans got 49.1% (63,173,815) of the house vote in 2016, and our offensive president won with a bit less, 46.1% (62,984,828), although magnified into 56.5% of the electoral college, coming down to some 56,000 votes in 4 midwestern states.

But of course its true - Clinton represented a status quo which was not working for many people, and they expressed their ire in voting for a candidate who can stick it to the elite. I don't claim to understand populism, but we'll find out in November if more or less voters are satisfied whether breaking things as governing. It is scary to imagine that's what democracy becomes when we can't identify real problems - partisan wrecking balls swinging back and forth every election.