Herewith, a "reprint" of a post from way back in June 2008. Obama at that point -- months before the election -- was already showing signs of being another sheep ready for the shearing, in the Carter tradition -- but a black sheep this time, not the cotton-hued variety represented by "Jimmeh". Now, at long last, many other voices besides mine have joined the chorus, warning (or promising, as the case may be) that Obama is on an unmistakable trajectory towards Carterdom. The evidence is all too clear, and it makes my post... well, with all due modesty... prescient. So read, and be afraid. Or maybe not. After all, a failed liberal presidency should be good news for conservatives, as Rush Limbaugh unsuccessfully tried to point out. It's just that in their failures, liberals tend to drag a lot of people who make an honest living down with them, the way a harpooned whale would. And yet, if one believes in liberty, or even karma, or both, the ongoing descent into chaos, as inconvenient as it may be at times, at least serves as a kind of vindication.
Thursday, June 5, 2008
The Carterization of Obama
He was elected primarily as a reaction to a previous regime that was considered hopelessly corrupt, if not actually criminal. His level of experience and his aptitude for the job were widely questioned. But he was an honest man... a good man... a man of principal. He was intelligent. He was not a political "insider". He had "values", he was sincere, he stood for change. But when he became president, he brought in, like ships spreading the plague, an army of low-grade political hacks, frauds, and schemers, and as a result his presidency became a total disaster area on all fronts. In addition, his idealism tended to get in the way of clear, level-headed, realistic thinking when it came to domestic and foreign policy questions.
This is the conventional wisdom -- or one version of it -- regarding Jimmy Carter. Now, why am I starting to get the exact same "vibe" from Obama and his campaign, and his many hangers-on... and the new hangers-on he will undoubtedly accumulate between now and election day, all of whom will follow him to Washington (in the event he wins), each with his or her own agenda which has very little to do with the welfare of the country?
The problem with idealists down through history is that they are too easily exploited. Their idealism tends to blind them to the perfidy all around them, and the closer it is the more blinded they are. Unlike the cold, realistic cynic who knows how the game is played because they are masters at it themselves -- a person like Hillary Clinton, for example -- these people have way too much faith in humanity, particularly in other politicians. They are easily duped, easily flattered (because they know how good and pure they are, after all), and easily kept in the dark about what is really going on. This is not the same thing as the Bush II model, in which a dull-witted, clueless blockhead is set on high to be used as a whipping boy and scapegoat for all sorts of treacherous and treasonous activities. No, this is about a person who might really have merit... who might "deserve" the level of power the presidency entails, but who -- because no one can do the job alone -- inevitably has to call on friends and acquaintances, most of whom are totally uninterested in ideals or ideas, for help. The outcome in cases like this is usually farcical and depressing, and creates a "never again" movement while enshrining the president in question as "the worst ever" -- at least until the next one comes along.
I have a definite impression that the Carter model is already being reworked and prepared for implementation in January. Do I claim that it is any worse -- in operation or in outcome -- than the Neocon model that John McCain represents (except with the president really in charge this time)? Not at all. Just that no one should be surprised when it kicks in and we are once more treated to four years of Carterism.