For much of last year, a standard trope of President Obama’s speechwriters was that there were certain things only government could do. “That’s how we built this country — together,” he declared. “We constructed railroads and highways, the Hoover Dam and the Golden Gate Bridge. We did those things together.” As some of us pointed out, for the cost of Obama’s 2009 stimulus bill alone, you could have built 1,567 Golden Gate Bridges — or one mega–Golden Gate Bridge stretching from Boston to just off the coast of Ireland. Yet there isn’t a single bridge, or a single dam (“You will never see another federal dam,” his assistant secretary of the interior assured an audience of environmentalists). Across the land, there was not a thing for doting network correspondents in hard hats to stand in front of and say, “Obama built this.”
Until now, that is. Obamacare is as close to a Hoover Dam as latter-day Big Government gets. Which is why its catastrophic launch is sobering even for those of us who’ve been saying for five years it would be a disaster. It’s as if at the ribbon-cutting the Hoover Dam cracked open and washed away the dignitaries; as if the Golden Gate Bridge was opened to traffic with its central span missing; as if Apollo 11 had taken off for the moon but landed on Newfoundland. Obama didn’t have to build a dam or a bridge or a spaceship, just a database and a website. This is his world, the guys he hangs with, the zeitgeist he surfs so dazzlingly, Apple and Google, apps and downloads. But his website’s a sclerotic dump, and the database is a hacker’s heaven, and all that’s left is the remorseless snail mail of millions and millions of cancellation letters.
For the last half-century, Obama has simply had to be. Just being Obama was enough to waft him onwards and upwards: He was the Harvard Law Review president who never published a word, the community organizer who never organized a thing, the state legislator who voted present. And then one day came the day when it wasn’t enough simply to be. For the first time in his life, he had to do. And it turns out he can’t. He’s not Steve Jobs or Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos. And Healthcare.gov is about what you’d expect if you nationalized a sixth of the economy and gave it to the Assistant Deputy Commissar of the Department of Paperwork and the Under-Regulator-General of the Bureau of Compliance.
Politics, the late Christopher Hitchens used to say, is show business for ugly people. But it’s also ugly business for show people. Thatcherism is a political philosophy; Obamaism is a vibe, a groove, a pose, an aesthetic. When his speechwriters are cooking, he’ll get them to work up a little riff about how it’s not about Big Government vs. Small Government, it’s about “smarter” government. A few months ago, he even gave it a hashtag! #SmarterGov. How cool is that? “Smart” refers less to the product than to the guys pitching it. “He’s probably the smartest guy ever to become president,” said the historian Michael Beschloss the day after Obama’s election. In an embarrassing effusion even by his own standards, another smart guy, the New York Times’ house conservative David Brooks, noted the incoming administration’s narrow range of almae matres and cooed: “If a foreign enemy attacks the United States during the Harvard–Yale game anytime over the next four years, we’re screwed.” Obama and his courtiers were the smartest guys in town, so naturally their government would be smarter than all previous governments. A few weeks before Obamacare’s launch, one of the smart set, Dan Pfeiffer, promised it would be “a consumer experience unmatched by anything in government, but also in the private sector.” And he was right, kind of.
It’s a leader’s job to be skeptical of grand schemes. Sorry, that’s a conservative leader’s job. It is a liberal leader’s job to be skeptical that grand schemes will work as intended. You have to guide and goad and be careful.
And this president wasn’t. I think part of the reason he wasn’t careful is because he sort of lives in words. That’s been his whole professional life—books, speeches. Say something and it magically exists as something said, and if it’s been said and publicized it must be real. He never had to push a lever, see the machine not respond, puzzle it out and fix it. It’s all been pretty abstract for him, not concrete. He never had to stock a store, run a sale and see lots of people come but the expenses turn out to be larger than you’d expected and the profits smaller, and you have to figure out what went wrong and do better next time.
People say Mr. Obama never had to run anything, but it may be more important that he never worked for the guy who had to run something, and things got fouled up along the way and he had to turn it around. He never had to meet a payroll, never knew that stress. He probably never had to buy insurance! And you know, his policies were probably gold-plated—at the law firm, through his wife’s considerable hospital job, in the Illinois Legislature, in the U.S. Senate. Those guys know how to take care of themselves! Maybe he felt guilty. Maybe that’s to his credit, knowing he was lucky. Too bad he didn’t know what he didn’t know, like how every part has to work for a complicated machine to work.
Here I will say something harsh, and it’s connected to the thing about words but also images.
From what I have seen the administration is full of young people who’ve seen the movie but not read the book. They act bright, they know the reference, they’re credentialed. But they’ve only seen the movie about, say, the Cuban missile crisis, and then they get into a foreign-policy question and they’re seeing movies in their heads. They haven’t read the histories, the texts, which carry more information, more texture, data and subtlety, and different points of view. They’ve only seen the movie—the Cubans had the missiles and Jack said “Not another war” and Bobby said “Pearl Harbor in reverse” and dreadful old Curtis LeMay chomped his cigar and said “We can fry a million of ‘em by this afternoon, Mr. President.” Grrr, grrr, good guys beat bad guys.
It’s as if history isn’t real to them. They run around tweeting, all of them, even those in substantial positions. “Darfur government inadequate. Genocide unacceptable.” They share their feelings – that happens to be one of the things they seem to think is real, what they feel. “Unjust treatment of women—scourge that hurts my heart.” This is the dialogue to the movies in their heads.
There’s a sense that they’re all freelancing, not really part of anything coherent.
For four years I have been told, by those who’ve worked in the administration and those who’ve visited it as volunteers or contractors, that the Obama White House isn’t organized. It’s just full of chatter. Meetings don’t begin on time, there’s no agenda, the list of those invited seems to expand and contract at somebody’s whim. There is a tendency to speak of how a problem will look and how its appearance should be handled, as opposed to what the problem is and should be done about it. People speak airily, without point. They scroll down, see a call that has to be returned, pop out and then in again.
It does not sound like a professional operation. And this is both typical of White Houses and yet on some level extreme. People have always had meetings to arrange meetings, but the lack of focus, the lack of point, the sense that they are operating within accepted levels of incoherence—this all sounds, actually, peculiar.
And when you apply this to the ObamaCare debacle, suddenly it seems to make sense. The White House is so unformed and chaotic that they probably didn’t ignore the problem, they probably held a million meetings on it. People probably said things like, “We’re experiencing some technological challenges but we’re sure we’ll be up by October,” and other people said, “Yes, it’s important we launch strong,” and others said, “The Republicans will have a field day if we’re not.” And then everyone went to their next meeting. And no one did anything. And the president went off and made speeches.
Because the doing isn’t that important, the talking is.
Clay Shirky describes how government IT cannot effectively translate planning into reality, avoids testing, and insists on shunning a phased roll-out approach but then finds itself experiencing exactly that.
It’s certainly true that Federal IT is chronically challenged by its own processes. But the problem with Healthcare.gov was not timeline or budget. The problem was that the site did not work, and the administration decided to launch it anyway.
This is not just a hiring problem, or a procurement problem. This is a management problem, and a cultural problem. The preferred method for implementing large technology projects in Washington is to write the plans up front, break them into increasingly detailed specifications, then build what the specifications call for. It’s often called the waterfall method, because on a timeline the project cascades from planning, at the top left of the chart, down to implementation, on the bottom right.
Like all organizational models, waterfall is mainly a theory of collaboration. By putting the most serious planning at the beginning, with subsequent work derived from the plan, the waterfall method amounts to a pledge by all parties not to learn anything while doing the actual work. Instead, waterfall insists that the participants will understand best how things should work before accumulating any real-world experience, and that planners will always know more than workers.
This is a perfect fit for a culture that communicates in the deontic language of legislation. It is also a dreadful way to make new technology. If there is no room for learning by doing, early mistakes will resist correction. If the people with real technical knowledge can’t deliver bad news up the chain, potential failures get embedded rather than uprooted as the work goes on. ...
[Emphasis added:] The vision of “technology” as something you can buy according to a plan, then have delivered as if it were coming off a truck, flatters and relieves managers who have no idea and no interest in how this stuff works, but it’s also a breeding ground for disaster. The mismatch between technical competence and executive authority is at least as bad in government now as it was in media companies in the 1990s, but with much more at stake.
Law Professor Jonathan H. Adler, who posts at Volokh, is just not as intelligent as Barack Obama. Consequently, he cannot understand how the president simply waving his hand at a press conference, and announcing that he does not intend to enforce his own federal law can practically serve as a solution which will preserve insurance policies cancelled as a result of the Obamacare law. You have to be as intelligent as Barack Obama to understand the operation of the dialectic in the interaction between these things.
Yesterday, the President announced a purported fix to the problem that, under the PPACA [aka Obamacare], insurance companies are not allowed to renew policies that fail to comply with PPACA requirements, even if consumers like their existing plans. ...
According to the President’s announcement, insurance companies will be allowed to renew policies that were in force as of October 1, 2013 for one additional year, even if they fail to meet relevant PPACA requirements. What is the legal basis for this change? The Administration has not cited any. ... According to various press reports, the Administration argues it may do this as a matter of enforcement discretion (much as it did with immigration). In other words, the Administration is not changing the law. It’s just announcing it will not enforce federal law (while simultaneously threatening to veto legislation that would authorize the step the President has decided to take).
Does this make the renewal of non-compliant policies legal? No. The legal requirement remains on the books so the relevant health insurance plans remain illegal under federal law. The President’s decision does not change relevant state laws either. So insurers will still need to obtain approval from state insurance commissioners. This typically requires submitting rates and plan specifications for approval. This can take some time, and is disruptive because most insurance companies have already set their offerings for the next year. It’s no wonder that some insurance commissioners have already indicated they have no plans to approve non-compliant plans.
Yet even if state commissioners approve the plans, they will still be illegal under federal law. ... Given this fact, why would any insurance company agree to renew such a plan? It’s nice that regulators may forbear enforcing the relevant regulatory requirements, but this is not the only source of potential legal jeopardy. So, for instance, what happens when there’s a legal dispute under one of these policies? Say, for instance, an insurance company denies payment for something that is not covered under the policy but that would have been covered under the PPACA and the insured sues? Would an insurance company really want to have to defend this decision in court? After all, this would place the insurance company in the position of seeking judicial enforcement of an illegal insurance policy. If there’s an answer to this, I haven’t seen it . ... It’s almost as if the Administration has not thought this through.
The young Barack Obama, preparing for the presidency.
Mark Steyn looks on in admiration as Barack Obama legislates via press conference pronouncement, then proceeds to analyse the great man’s “So-let-it-be-written-so-let-it-be-done” style of presidential leadership.
On Thursday, [Barack Obama] passed a new law at a press conference. George III never did that. But, having ordered America’s insurance companies to comply with Obamacare, the president announced that he is now ordering them not to comply with Obamacare. The legislative branch (as it’s still quaintly known) passed a law purporting to grandfather your existing health plan. The regulatory bureaucracy then interpreted the law so as to un-grandfather your health plan. So His Most Excellent Majesty has commanded that your health plan be de-un-grandfathered. That seems likely to work. The insurance industry had three years to prepare for the introduction of Obamacare. Now the King has given them six weeks to de-introduce Obamacare.
“I wonder if he has the legal authority to do this,” mused former Vermont governor Howard Dean. But he’s obviously some kind of right-wing wacko. Later that day, anxious to help him out, Congress offered to “pass” a “law” allowing people to keep their health plans. The same president who had unilaterally commanded that people be allowed to keep their health plans indignantly threatened to veto any such law to that effect: It only counts if he does it — geddit? As his court eunuchs at the Associated Press obligingly put it: “Obama Will Allow Old Plans.” It’s Barry’s world; we just live in it.
The reason for the benign Sovereign’s exercise of the Royal Prerogative is that millions of his subjects — or “folks,” as he prefers to call us, no fewer than 27 times during his press conference — have had their lives upended by Obamacare. Your traditional hard-core statist, surveying the mountain of human wreckage he has wrought, usually says, “Well, you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.” But Obama is the first to order that his omelet be unscrambled and the eggs put back in their original shells. Is this even doable? No. That’s the point. When it doesn’t work, he’ll be able to give another press conference blaming the insurance companies, or the state commissioners, or George W. Bush . . .
The most telling line, the one that encapsulates the gulf between the boundless fantasies of the faculty-lounge utopian and the messiness of reality, was this: “What we’re also discovering is that insurance is complicated to buy.” Gee, thanks for sharing, genius. Maybe you should have thought of that before you governmentalized one-sixth of the economy. ...
[A]s historian Michael Beschloss pronounced the day after his election, he’s “probably the smartest guy ever to become president.” Naturally, Obama shares this assessment. As he assured us five years ago, “I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors.” Well, apart from his signature health-care policy. That’s a mystery to him. “I was not informed directly that the website would not be working,” he told us. The buck stops with something called “the executive branch,” which is apparently nothing to do with him. As evidence that he was entirely out of the loop, he offered this:
Had I been I informed, I wouldn’t be going out saying, “Boy, this is going to be great.” You know, I’m accused of a lot of things, but I don’t think I’m stupid enough to go around saying, “This is going to be like shopping on Amazon or Travelocity,” a week before the website opens, if I thought that it wasn’t going to work.
Ooooo-kay. So, if I follow correctly, the smartest president ever is not smart enough to ensure that his website works; he’s not smart enough to inquire of others as to whether his website works; he’s not smart enough to check that his website works before he goes out and tells people what a great website experience they’re in for. But he is smart enough to know that he’s not stupid enough to go around bragging about how well it works if he’d already been informed that it doesn’t work. So he’s smart enough to know that if he’d known what he didn’t know he’d know enough not to let it be known that he knew nothing. The country’s in the very best of hands.
Michael Beschloss is right: This is what it means to be smart in a neo-monarchical America. Obama spake, and it shall be so. And, if it turns out not to be so, why pick on him? He talks a good Royal Proclamation; why get hung up on details?
Until October 1, Obama had never done anything — not run a gas station, or a doughnut stand — other than let himself be wafted onward and upward to the next do-nothing gig. Even in his first term, he didn’t really do: Starting with the 2009 trillion-dollar stimulus, he ran a money-no-object government that was all money and no objects; he spent and spent, and left no trace. Some things he massively expanded (food stamps, Social Security disability) and other things he massively diminished (effective foreign policy), but all were, so to speak, preexisting conditions. Obamacare is the first thing Obama has actually done, and, if you’re the person it’s being done to, it’s not pretty.
The president promised to “fundamentally transform” America. Certainly, other men have succeeded in transforming settled, free societies: Pierre Trudeau did in Canada four decades ago, and so, in post-war Britain, did the less charismatic Clement Attlee. And, if you subscribe to their particular philosophy, their transformations were effected very efficiently. But Obama is an incompetent, so “fundamentally transformed” is a euphemism for “wrecked beyond repair.” As a socialist, he makes a good socialite.
But on he staggers, with a wave of his scepter, delaying this, staying that, exempting the other, according to his regal whim and internal polling. The omniscient beneficent Sovereign will now graciously “allow” us “folks” to keep all those junk plans from bad-apple insurers. Yet even the wisest King cannot reign forever, and what will happen decades down the road were someone less benign — perhaps even (shudder) a Republican — to ascend the throne and wield these mighty powers?
Hey, relax: If you like your constitution, you can keep your constitution. Period. And your existing amendments. Well, most of them — except for the junk ones . . .
Fouad Ajami, in the Wall Street Journal, comments on the recent dissolution of the illusion.
The current troubles of the Obama presidency can be read back into its beginnings. Rule by personal charisma has met its proper fate. The spell has been broken, and the magician stands exposed. We need no pollsters to tell us of the loss of faith in Mr. Obama’s policies—and, more significantly, in the man himself. Charisma is like that. Crowds come together and they project their needs onto an imagined redeemer. The redeemer leaves the crowd to its imagination: For as long as the charismatic moment lasts—a year, an era—the redeemer is above and beyond judgment. He glides through crises, he knits together groups of varied, often clashing, interests. Always there is that magical moment, and its beauty, as a reference point. ...
Forgive the personal reference, but from the very beginning of Mr. Obama’s astonishing rise, I felt that I was witnessing something old and familiar. My advantage owed nothing to any mastery of American political history. I was guided by my immersion in the political history of the Arab world and of a life studying Third World societies.
In 2008, seeing the Obama crowds in Portland, Denver and St. Louis spurred memories of the spectacles that had attended the rise and fall of Arab political pretenders. I had lived through the era of the Egyptian leader Gamal Abdul Nasser. He had emerged from a military cabal to become a demigod, immune to judgment. His followers clung to him even as he led the Arabs to a catastrophic military defeat in the Six Day War of 1967. He issued a kind of apology for his performance. But his reign was never about policies and performance. It was about political magic.
In trying to grapple with, and write about, the Obama phenomenon, I found guidance in a book of breathtaking erudition, “Crowds and Power” (1962) by the Nobel laureate Elias Canetti. Born in Bulgaria in 1905 and educated in Vienna and Britain, Canetti was unmatched in his understanding of the passions, and the delusions, of crowds. The crowd is a “mysterious and universal phenomenon,” he writes. It forms where there was nothing before. There comes a moment when “all who belong to the crowd get rid of their difference and feel equal.” Density gives the illusion of equality, a blessed moment when “no one is greater or better than another.” But the crowd also has a presentiment of its own disintegration, a time when those who belong to the crowd “creep back under their private burdens.”
The Day the Magic Died
(Lines inspired by the WSJ headline “When the Obama Magic Died.”)
A long, long time ago
I can still remember how that magic used to make ‘em smile
And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make those people dance
And maybe they’d be happy for a while
But October made me shiver
With every paper they delivered
Bad news on the doorstep
I couldn’t take one more step
I can’t remember if I cried
When the papers said I lied
But something touched me deep inside
The day the magic died
And while I read a book of Marx
The party gathered in the park
And we sang dirges in the dark
The day the magic died
So bye-bye, my Obamacare
Took my browser to the website, but the website was bare
And them good old boys were losin’ all their health care,
Singin’ “This’ll be the way that I die
This’ll be the way that I die”
Dan Greenfield deconstructs Barack Obama’s apology to Americans who will lose their health insurance.
Obama’s non-apology apology “I’m sorry that you’re unhappy” is typical of the passive aggressive apology of the twenty-first [century]. What was once character has become branding. What was once manners has become damage control. ...
Obama, Hillary and Sebelius all recite formulaic admissions of responsibility without actually taking any. Hillary was happy to take responsibility for Benghazi, as a verbal statement, without actually accepting political or practical responsibility for any of it. Likewise Sebelius and Obama took responsibility for the ObamaCare website without actually accepting it.
Obama took responsibility and then explained that he doesn’t really know anything about programming so he isn’t responsible. ...
This is the innocence of incompetence. Obama isn’t a programmer; he can’t be held responsible for Healthcare.gov. Hillary Clinton isn’t a soldier or even a real diplomat. She can’t be held responsible for Benghazi. Sebelius is a political appointee whose job is to look into the camera with the baffled incomprehension of the professional civil servant. “I don’t know anything. I just work here.”
Obama had boasted that he was a better speechwriter than his speechwriters and a better political director than his political directors. But apparently he’s not a better programmer than his programmers.
Programming is hard work compared to finding ways to arrange new promises and lies around “Let me be clear” which is the twenty-first century version of “Read my lips”. It requires knowing how to do something more than blame the previous programmer or the programming language.
The ideologues are always innocent because it’s always the implementation that fails; not their ideas. It’s why Communism isn’t responsible for the USSR or North Korea going down the tubes. The ideas were solid, but the programmers did a bad job of coding their brilliant economic theories into a working website.
And so we are told once again that Obama is smart. Really, really smart. Despite this fearsome intelligence, there isn’t one thing they can point to abroad or at home that he did well on his own. And that very uselessness shows how smart he is. Any idiot can fix a car, build a website or make a foreign policy work. It takes a real genius to come up with the ideas and sigh in disappointment as everyone else screws them up.
Liberal columnists ponder whether Obama is too smart to be president. By that they mean that he’s much too elevated a being to sit around trying to make things work. His proper role would be theorizing how things should work and then putting those theories in book form.
That is something the left is undeniably good at. It’s like an entire movement of flying car inventors who spend so much time describing why flying cars are the answer that they never bother with the question of whether anyone needs flying cars or how to keep flying cars from crashing into things all the time.
Jonah Goldberg discusses how the base philosophy of American government has changed. We are now ruled by people, like Barack Obama, who believe that they know better than we do ourselves what’s good for us.
Several times now, the president has endeavored to explain that it’s not that big a deal millions of Americans are losing their health-insurance plans against their will. The people who had plans they liked didn’t understand that the plans they liked were no good — they were the actuarial equivalent of trans fats, don’t you know? The fact that the people who held them liked them, thought they were good, and wanted to keep them doesn’t count for much, because the government knows best.
The president can’t say it as plainly as he would like, because to do so would be to admit not only that he lied to the American people, but that he thinks the complainers are ignorant about their own needs and interests.
The president’s more intellectually honest defenders have said exactly that. “Vast swathes of policy are based on the correct presumption that people don’t know what’s best for them. Nothing new,” tweeted Josh Barro, politics editor for Business Insider.
Barro’s fairly liberal, but I’d be dishonest if I said that he was wrong from a conservative perspective. The difference, however, is that conservatives tend to see government as a necessary evil, and therefore see policymaking with some humility. Liberals tend to see government as a necessary good, and see ordering people to do things “for their own good” as a source of pride, even hubris.
From a conservative perspective, telling people how to run their lives when not absolutely necessary is an abuse of power. For liberals, telling people how to run their lives is one of the really fun perks of working for the government.
You can see the frustration on the president’s face. It’s almost like the ingrates who refuse to understand that his were necessary lies for their own good are spoiling all his fun.
There’s no sugar-coating it – your votes for Democrats have ensured that you are the first generation in American history that will fail to exceed what their parents attained. Embracing liberalism was a stupid thing to do, done for the stupidest of reasons, and I will now let you subsidize my affluent lifestyle without a shred of guilt.
I’m a 48 year old trial lawyer living on the coast in California – I should have “Hope and Change” tattooed on my glutes. I’d have an excuse to be lib-curious, but you Millennials? Why do you support an ideology that pillages you to pay-off Democrat constituencies? Your time in the indoctrination factories of academia trained you in a form of “critical thinking” that is neither. Somehow, you came to embrace the bizarre notion that conservatives are psychotic Jesus freaks who want to Footloosisze America into a land of mandatory Sunday school and no dancing.
But liberals, in contrast, are nice. Obama is cool. You chose petty fascism with a smile. Not a lot of thought went into it. Facts, evidence – these were mere distractions from the feelings-based validation that came from rejecting us wicked conservatives.
What did you get? The chance to be forced to buy health insurance you don’t want at inflated rates so my rates can be lower. You get to pay more out of your monthly barista take – liberalism ensured that the tanked job market foreclosed a real career – so that I get to pay less out of my lawyer checks. Thanks, suckers.
You fume that conservatives want to spy on you in your bedrooms. Leaving aside the fact that that your tacky boudoir fumblings are the last thing conservatives care about, have you noticed how your precious Big Brother spies on your doings everywhere else? But who cares about that – Mumford & Sons totally digs Obama!
Don’t even get me started on your crappy music.
Enjoy your student loans, Millennials! We tried to tell you that it was a Democrat scam designed to subsidize liberal academia by allowing you to go into decades of crushing debt to pay for a bachelors in Ancient Guatemalan Gender Identity Issues.
Good plan. Now fetch my latte – I’m in a hurry to get to my corner office. And I’ll leave you a tip – next time you decide to vote for a liberal, first be born in 1964.
Don’t think that I’m happy about this. I came to Los Angeles after the Gulf War. I had a car and a few bucks I had saved in the desert which went right into paying for Loyola Law School. I had no contacts and no money, but I knew I had endless opportunity.
I worked hard. I could start a business. I could get credit. I could – and did – build my own future.
But can you? Liberalism, with its impoverishing redistribution, crippling regulations and the debt it suckered you into undertaking, has ensured that most of you can’t.
You live with your parents, and Obamacare encourages sponging until you are 26 years old. At 26, I was leading Americans in a war, not begging mommy to pay my bills. The liberals want you to be eternal man-children, wearing cargo shorts and passively pumping money into their socialized medicine nightmare in return for “Brosurance” you don’t want or need.
It breaks my heart to see the young lawyers I hire hobbled by six figures of debt. But hey, your desperation works fine for us established folks. I got 297 applications for a junior associate position. Let me say that again – 297. Most of them weren’t even practicing law – they were brewing coffee, not writing briefs. Now, I understand that most of you learned nothing but liberal clichés in college, but take a guess: As an employer, are the salaries I pay generally more or less when I have 297 people competing for each job?
So feel free to keep voting for the liberals who keep you in chains. I’ll take my cheaper insurance, my future Social Security checks, and the other benefits that come from being established without guilt. The guys who you squander your votes upon certainly won’t change that equation. You’ll tread water in life, but hey, at least those conservatives won’t be in charge!
Eratosthenes wonders aloud how liberals like Obama can lie so blatantly without shame or inhibition.
I was thinking about Barack Obama. And, other liberals. Some of the stuff that comes out of them is just so obviously untrue you have to think, “How did you think you’d be able to sell that line of baloney?” In the President’s case, the one thing that keeps coming up over and over again is “I first found out about this in the last day or two, from reading the newspapers just like you” and now that He knows about it, “nobody is angrier about this than I am.”I know there is a hardcore segment of our population that is still gaga over Barack Obama, but is anyone actually buying this swill?
I think it’s a behavior learned from childhood — to go ahead and try & sell it, no matter how ridiculous it is. I think it’s bad parenting. Was going to start a blog post about it called Bad Mothering or something, but that would have been an exercise in just trying to tick people off, which isn’t healthy. However, the problem must start there. An important part of a parent’s job, and unfortunately it seems to fall disproportionately onto the mothers, is to send the message “That’s not going to fly, if you really want to go through life lying you need to get better at it.” That must be the problem, for there’s only one alternative and I don’t find the alternative credible. I can’t believe Barack Obama and His inner circle meet behind closed doors, go through all their shrewd calculations about what spin will & won’t work, and with all their P.R. talents come to the conclusion that the most winning strategy available to them is: Obama goes out and says “I had no idea this was going on…”…again…for the fifty-seven billionth time or whatever. It must be something far more primitive. Like a gag reflex. The aid comes up and says “Sir, questions are being asked about when You knew the website was going to take a crap,” and inside Obama’s head the instinct is activated — it’s worked this way since childhood. “Barack, did you know such-and-such?” and “No Mom, I had no idea” has always worked. Since the umbilical cord was cut. If something has always worked since then, that can be a powerful motivator.
Obama-Enigma starts to achieve resolution and make more sense when you open yourself to the possibility that President Obama, far from being a deity who hung the moon and sprinkled the stars across the inky canvas of heaven, is actually a tiny man who lives in a tiny world. Someone says “did You know” and the answer is “had no idea.” It’s just expected. And so I think, due to bad mothering, the boss says “had no idea” and the underlings…well, who the heck are they to question it? And so, I infer, they sprint off to the telephones and the computer keyboards and the podiums, and repeat it. Only after that does any real rational thinking enter into it, and of course by then the thinking is institutional, it says “Now that we’ve said it we’ve got to stick to the story.”
These lefty politicians seem to be trying to make a name for themselves, showing off what bad mothering they had. How naturally it comes to them to peddle such clear and obvious lies. It’s like they’ve figured out, the democrat politicians who rise to the power structure and get nominated for the big offices every two years, are the ones who have no shame. Shame weighs you down. So you rise to the top by showing off that you don’t have any.