What a week! Obama is making enemies everywhere. He’s pissed off pretty much the whole political and military class on Benghazi. The news world finally took a hit with the AP wiretap scandal. And now the Tea Party groups have one more reason to hate Obama due to his a) special targeting of them in the IRS and b) handing off their confidential information to political enemies–one of which was decent enough to belatedly reveal this.
We sometimes wonder how did such horrible men as Pol Pot or Hitler or Stalin get it done. Didn’t everyone just hate their guts? Well, all these men had lots of enemies with whom they dealt very harshly. But the average supporter or man on the street, who was neither an angel nor a monster, consoled himself with thoughts like, “these are just overzelous underlings . . . if only Dear Leader knew this would never happen.”
This kind of combination of partisanship and wishful thinking has really gone into overdrive in recent weeks among a great many perfectly ordinary Obama supporters. Obama and his buddy Holder are banking on the assumption that such delusional blame shifting will continue and maintain their respective moral purity amidst all these scandals.
Only a fool would believe Obama is anything other than a political operative willing to do nearly anything to win and crush his opponents. That’s the whole meaning of the Saul Alinsky inspired community organizing he did, his association with Weather Underground terrorists like Bill Ayers, and his dirty tricks used to win elections in Chicago. He believes he’s right, he wants power, and he has no serious compunction about playing hardball with the right wing, because he thinks they’re a bunch of evil rich racists that deserve what they get in the end.
He speaks soberly and thoughtfully, but his views are pretty extreme, and this was apparent to anyone living in Hyde Park in the 90s. Indeed, anyone who could get elected there at that time had to be politically left and extremist. It was a university town interspersed with black power activists like Farrakhan. It’s about as far from ordinary America and the life most people lead as you can imagine.
Finally, whether explicitly told or tacitly permitted, there’s a reason certain types of scandals happen in certain administrations. There’s a reason Abu Ghraib happened under Bush, for example, or that petty financial scandals like Teapot Dome hit the Harding administration, whereas pretty low brow sexual scandals hit Clinton’s. The scandals each exemplify the fatal flaw of the president involved, whether it was excessive certainty, cupidity, or outright lust.
Think about this. Bush clearly treated al Qaeda and its supporters as ultra vires and subject to extrajudicial treatment. He was convinced of his rectitude and purity of intention. He spoke in grandiloquent terms of vanquishing terrorists form the earth once and for all and ushering in an era of peace and democracy in the Middle East. The stakes were high and the “evil doers” were spoken of in the harshest possible terms. The old rules from Panama or the First Gulf War did not apply. This filtered throughout the command environment. Three letter agencies, unspoken acts of necessity, all occurred alongside the uniformed military, creating a kind of lawless environment in the field. It was all for a good cause, but people got carried away and thought that nearly anything was permitted.
Was it the worst thing ever? No. But it was emblematic of the man, his times, and the kinds of “faults of overzealousness” one might expect under his command and in the circumstances our country faced at the time.
Obama, on the other hand, has an agenda at once much more expansive, but also much more ordinary. He doesn’t just want to defeat al Qaeda and Iraq, as Bush did, but he wants to defeat a certain cohort of America. He wants to transform (or bury) that old, fuddy duddy, “bitter clinging” group of rednecks, businessmen, gun owners, and the entire class of people who believe in genuinely American notions of self-reliance and not Marxist notions of common collective welfare. In other words, his unifying principal–like Nixon to whom he has been compared as of late–is power and hatred of opponents coupled with a messianic zeal to teach them the right way. But he wants to do so by giving away cell phones, minor tax credits, and forcing us to get expensive health insurance. In other words, the “pot of gold” really ain’t much to get too impressed with.
So, for such a familiar, but unusually ambitious type of politician, there is no characteristic scandal. One minute he’s spying on political opponents. The next he’s harassing political opponents. Then he’s sending guns to Mexico as part of some elaborate attempt to demonize gun owners. And then he’s spying on the media. Then he’s comparing gun owners to spree shooters. It’s all narrow and provincial, though. It’s like the crappy politics of Chicago, where people are always getting hush money and giving bribes of some kind to Alderman, and things get done but don’t really change much for the better, but Obama dresses it up like he’s Don Henley waxing nostalgic for Woodstock.
People often say history repeats itself, and they really don’t mean anything in particular when they say it. That said, history does provide parallels, lessons, and demonstratives of the human personality writ large.
I’m reading a good book right now on the imposition of the Iron Curtain in Eastern Europe. One of the most striking things is how the communists were just so angry and simultaneously confused by their opposition. They had a pretty good concept of reaching young people, starting off moderate, infiltrating every sector of society, dividing the majority from the so-called rich, controlling media and culture and the like. But, the real striking thing was their fanaticism and simultaneous confusion. Like Muslims, they were willing to proselytize for a moment or two, but if you didn’t agree after that, you were simply being defiant, reactionary, a wrecker, saboteur, a spy an ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE.
Obama and his hair-brained rhetoric has this quality too. He starts of appearing even-handed and looking at both sides. But when one side remains convinced and becomes defensive in the face of attacks, he just completely loses it and loses whatever perspective he once had. We see this especially when he thinks he’s among friends, knocking gun owners and Christians and defending crooks like Trayvon Martin.
So Obama’s scandals have all the pseudoidealism, certitude, discredited leftism, power hunger, busy-bodyness, duplicity, and all around pettiness that characterize Obama himself.
I hope this does him in, but the guy has nine lives, and certain Republicans are cooperating with his efforts to “elect a new people.”