Thursday, June 14, 2012

He's Bold

I have to say this much about Obama – he's no wimp. He is running the most “in your face” presidency since, I would say, that of Lyndon Johnson – meaning that he doesn't care a whit what people think, he's going to do what he wants to do, and do it his way, and the hell with Congress, and the courts, and anyone among “the people” who doesn't agree with him. He has, in fact, turned himself into a fine dictator – and even though we know this is all appearance, and not reality, he is doing a good job of making it look real. And he never forgets to demonize, on cue, his opponents – right up to and including the Supreme Court as they sit haplessly listening to his State of the Union addresses. His political behavior is, in my opinion, much more surgically precise and less gaffe-prone than that of, for example, Bill Clinton, who was so far removed from the norm that he truly did not understand (and doesn't to this day) what motivates normal people – what their hopes, dreams, values, and priorities are and what those things signify. Obama, in other words, is a consummate politician, but is at least of the same species as the rest of us, whereas Clinton might as well have been an alien beamed down from a UFO.

But that is part of what I'm getting at here. Obama has enlisted, as one of the point persons for his re-election campaign, none other than... Bill Clinton! Has he forgotten that one of the main reasons he was able to defeat Hillary for the nomination in 2008 was that she was walking around, like Pig-Pen in the old “Peanuts” strips, in a murky cloud of Clinton sleaze? What I suspect is that he has not completely forgotten that, but that he knows that Bill Clinton retains rock-star status among certain segments of our society, and that if he tells them to vote for Obama they will, and with a song in their hearts. And really, is hiring Bill Clinton for your campaign going to turn anyone off who might otherwise have voted for you? Not likely. So what might appear to be a foolish choice turns out to be, in fact, quite astute.

Then we have Obama's open declaration of war on the Catholic Church, which is one of the predictable side effects of his health-care “reform”. Risky? Suicidal? Not at all. It will, number one, endear him even more (if such a thing is possible) to liberals and certain “persecuted minorities”... it might win him votes among independents who cling to that fetish called “the wall of separation between church and state”... it could very well win him votes among the Protestants, for whom the Catholic presence in this society has always been an occasion of loathing and unease... and so on. The main risk he takes in this regard is that he might lose some of the habitually Democrat-voting Catholic white ethnics – you know, those people who promised their Polish-American steelworker father on his deathbed that they would never, under any circumstances, vote Republican. Some of them might, in fact, wander off the reservation... but compared to the advantages, 'tis a small thing, truly. And after all, since the long-term goal of ObamaCare is to make government the only health insurer and the only health provider, the sooner we can get those pesky Catholics, with their schools, hospitals, and social services, out of the way, the better.

Plus, there's another angle here. Good politicians are characterized by, above all, an exquisite sense of timing. Now, the “pedophile priest” scandals have been going on for years, but at present, in Philadelphia, there's a very real possibility of a church official going to jail not for being a “pedophile”, but for failing to hot-line suspected “pedophiles” to the police. So what better time to mount an attack on the Catholic Church – since, in most people's opinion (according to the mainstream media) it has lost all moral authority and therefore the right to make any pronouncements whatsoever when it comes to the moral consequences of health-care laws and regulations. Besides, “most Catholics use contraception”, etc., as outfits like the Pew Research Center are reminding us on a daily basis on NPR. 

What else is Obama doing right? He's keeping us involved in as many overseas debacles as possible, and adding new ones every day – which keeps the armaments makers happy, the neocons happy, and the Evangelicals at least placated (“He may have liberal social policies, but at least he's waging war against Islam.”). He continues to kowtow, bow and scrape, and say “Yassuh, boss” to Israel, which (again) keeps the neocons and the Evangelicals happy, not to mention the mainstream media. He mouths words about “big business” and Wall Street, but remains their loyal servant. He mouths words about preserving the middle class, but continues to attack it on all fronts.

Does this mean he's a hypocrite? No – what it means is that he's a politician. Hypocrites at least acknowledge the existence – and, by implication, the validity – of moral and ethical principles. It's just that their behavior doesn't quite measure up to their expressed values. (And, for that matter, whose does?) Obama, on the other hand, has a moral and ethical principle-free administration, following close on the model provided by Bill Clinton. It all boils down to politics, and most of the time it doesn't even have to be boiled down; the political agendas are right out in the open. But this is another facet of his “in your face” approach – he, basically, dares anyone to stand up and protest against political business as usual... and, so far, the Republicans have been singularly unable to mount such an attack, probably because they are just as guilty in their own way. He is not beating them at their own game; he's beating them at a game that the Democrats have always been masters at, while the Republicans looked on with envy. So the moral “dumbing down” of government continues apace, and no one has the stature to protest. In this sense, the Republicans are experiencing poetic justice. They really are hypocrites, unlike the Democrats, who seldom even claim to have any moral or ethical principles – and they have compromised so often, and so thoroughly, that they have no arguments left. Romney can say all he wants about “politics” being the sole motive behind the actions of anyone in the Obama administration – but all one has to do is look back at Bush II, or Bush I, to realize that the Republicans are in no position to judge. I imagine that, should Romney win in November (not gonna happen), and be inaugurated in January (ditto), the waters of hypocrisy, corruption, and sleaze would rise quickly and engulf his administration, just as they did that of Bush II. It's unavoidable! An American president, even assuming that he has principles of some sort (the ones missed by the various “vetting” committees along the way), enters office immediately compromised, and immediately a captive of the true powers-that-be. They find out soon enough who's in charge, and it ain't them. The only question at that point is, how do they handle that insight? Do they become delusional, like Bush II? An oval office playboy like Clinton? A practitioner of deep denial like Obama? I guess it all depends on what they bring with them, personality-wise, to the office. What happens when someone with a towering ego encounters the Real Truth? One thing that does not seem to happen is that they recoil in horror, and immediately go public with the knowledge of what they have learned about how things really work. Imagine being inaugurated president, then finding out in your first 24 hours in office that you actually work for George Soros... or for Israel... or for any number of other elite “masters of space and time”. Kind of upsetting, right? Then it comes down to, what am I supposed to actually _do_ for the next four years? Follow orders? And the answer is “yes”, and if you don't like it, here are some family photos of JFK's last minutes on earth to remind you of who's really in charge. 

I pity these fools; I really do. But they have chosen their path and have stuck with it, and so any sorts of consequences they encounter are richly deserved. But even within this depressing scenario, there is a kind of “wiggle room” of sorts. There are more masterful politicians, and less masterful ones. Bill Clinton was (and is) a political genius; that is a significant factor in his demonic power over other people. He has power over human beings precisely because he is not human – at least not in the usual sense. He can stand aloof, and look down upon human weaknesses and foibles, and exploit them as he sees fit. Bush II, on the other hand, was an obvious dolt, so his administration had to be a matter of rule by committee, rather than by a single personality. Obama, however, has brought the personality cult back to the presidency – and, I say, in a more competent way than Bill Clinton. OK, let me clarify that. Clinton had, and has, his hard-core adoring groupies – people (especially women) who would be literally willing to die for him (and not a few have). But they are a relatively minor (not to mention pathetic) demographic. What Clinton had, in the main, was a coterie of hangers-on, who decided that he was the star they had to hitch their wagon to – and many did, and many found out too late what that entailed. Clinton was the crack cocaine of politics – the biggest rush ever, but it'll kill you eventually. Whereas Obama has a solid base, as I've discussed previously. Yes, it's emotional, it's adoring, it treats him like a god, but it's not self-abnegating the way Clinton's was; it's more bottom line-oriented. “What's in it for me?” And, “Where's my piece of the pie?” Whereas in Clinton's case it was more like “I am not worthy!” And “Use me, abuse me, treat me mean.” It is, in other words, pragmatism as opposed to neurotic emotional needs. Clinton was (and is) an object of worship, whereas Obama is a combination of Santa Claus and Robin Hood – and if he doesn't come up with the goods, the masses might eventually turn against him (although they show no signs of any such tendency at this point). Obama is celebrated primarily for what he can provide in the material sense, whereas in Clinton's case it was all about feelings (inferiority complexes in the case of his groupies, and a wish to identify with – and, if possible, actually be – something infinitely superior).

So what it really adds up to is the triumph of politics, as practiced by the best of the best – not only Obama but all of his supporters and facilitators – his political infrastructure, if you will. Like any president, he's not running a one-man show here; he's just the guy at the top of the totem pole. But he does have charisma, as well as an atypical form of “blackness”, and that's all to the good. He has managed to go 3 ½ years without having his chops busted by fools – although Eric Holder comes close (and we'll see how close if Holder gets fired prior to the election). He continues to use, with profit, the excuse that “it all started with Bush” -- which is, all by itself, a remarkable bit of politicking. He maintains his image as “a man of the people” even as he and his wife regularly lord it over the lowly and unworthy. He's an unabashed advocate of abortion “rights” -- a position which has clearly cost him no votes, even if it has gained him none. His attacks on the middle class and on small business have gone unanswered, except by “tea partiers”, and they have been declared beyond the pale by the mainstream media. The middle class is, truly, disarmed, and that's because they were never armed. There has never been a felt need, by the middle class, to defend itself or its status – unlike the ruling elite, that always knows when to raise the drawbridge and release the alligators into the moat... or the proles, who always know exactly when to pour into the streets with Molotov cocktails at the ready. The middle class is defenseless, in other words, because it never saw any need to defend itself. (One might even say that this complacency defines the middle class – and is its downfall.) Even the New Deal, which was all about “the common man”, did not attack the middle class directly; that had to wait until the cultural revolution of the 1960s, which attacked middle class values, mores, and life style... but still held off in the economic arena until now. Even Bill Clinton – a culture warrior if there ever was one – did not mount the full frontal attack on the middle class that Obama has (although he did preside over plenty of harassing actions, like tax hikes). Obama has made it clear, through his policies, that the middle class's days are numbered – even as he mouths words in its favor. If you destroy small business, you've taken a good chunk out of the middle class right there. Then if you consistently act against their traditions, values, morals... well, eventually there's not a whole lot left. And we can thank the “tea partiers” for at least waking up to this state of affairs before it's totally consummated – but consummated it will be, because it's gone too far to be stopped at this point. The time to have pushed back against all of this would have been... well, really, the 1930s. But failing that, the 1960s... and failing that... well, you get the idea. The longer liberalism, collectivism, and totalitarianism are allowed free rein, the harder it is to reverse the trend. At some point, one's only hope (if one can call it that) is a complete collapse of the system... and, hopefully (as a result), a moral cleansing. But even that is not assured. After all, the Soviet system collapsed of its own weight, but can we really say that what came after – today's Russia, AKA Putinistan – is better? Perhaps it is better in practical terms, but in principle? I have yet to see any evidence of this. 

And, one might say – especially if one were an “activist” -- well, if people aren't willing to defend themselves, and their lifestyle, then they deserve whatever happens. This is assuming that politics always has to be adversarial – always a battle, or even a war, among contending factions. It also assumes that politics is a zero-sum game – that for one person to win, someone else has to lose. Apparently the traditional American “spirit of cooperation” was nothing but a delusion. My question is – if we're talking about basic human rights – whatever happened to the idea of a man being able to sit under his vine and fig tree in the cool of the evening, and not have to spend every waking moment defending his rights – especially against his own government? Why do we all, now, have to become accountants and tax lawyers just to keep from being beggared (or a similar word) by the government? Wasn't the entire idea of this country, and its founding documents, to relieve the burden of living under arbitrary rule and random violence? Isn't one of the “Four Freedoms” the freedom from fear (of government – although that clearly wasn't what FDR had in mind). Wasn't peace supposed to be the new baseline and the foundation of our prosperity? But somewhere along the line certain people discovered that war paid more handsomely than peace – that totalitarianism yielded greater profits than liberty – that a mountain of laws and regulations provided consolations, and opportunities to accrue and exert power, that more simple pursuits could not. Hence, we got the government that... well, that we deserved, based on our lack of vigilance? Perhaps. But if we now have the government we deserve, then we also have the politicians we deserve – so most of the complaining about Obama and/or Romney should be done at home in front of a mirror.

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