"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." -- Theodore Roosevelt

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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Peter Wehner, Obama's CSPAN Deception, and the Pending Image Makeover

An interesting observation by Peter Wehner (h/t Leary at Backyard Conservative) in Commentary. From his short essay:

"Sometimes in the life of a politician, a particular moment, word, or act defines them — and badly damages them. This much-viewed montage of comments by Barack Obama, repeatedly promising that he would allow C-SPAN to broadcast health-care negotiations, may well qualify. The reason is that it requires no commentary or interpretation by others; it is Barack Obama in his own words — words we now know to be false, cynical, and (quite literally) unbelievable. My hunch is that this episode will do considerable harm to Obama’s standing with the public, in part because it annihilates what had been at the core of the Obama campaign and the Obama appeal: the belief that he embodied a new, uplifting kind of politics; that transparency would be a watchword of his presidency; that he would 'turn the page' on the practice of cynical politics. It is not simply that the negotiations will not appear on C-SPAN; it is that the process itself has been a model of payoffs and backroom deals, of dishonest arguments and false claims, of secrecy and cynicism.

"It’s important to recall that Obama was not elected because of his record or personal achievements or the power of his ideas; by those standards, Obama offered very little. His appeal was to the aesthetic side of politics; his supporters spoke of him, and at times Obama spoke of himself, in almost mythical terms. He would not only govern well, they believed; he would transform the way politics was practiced. Mr. Obama was so good, so pure, so very nearly perfect that, as one liberal person I correspond with wrote me, our country did not deserve him. (I responded that I agreed our country did not deserve Obama as president — but for the opposite reasons.)

"It turns out it was all an elaborate, beautifully packaged, wonderfully choreographed, and deeply dishonest game. Before this concern was inchoate; now, thanks to the 'these negotiations will be on C-SPAN' video, it is metastasizing. (It cannot be reassuring to the White House that Jon Stewart ridiculed Obama last night on his program; see the link to 'Stealth Care Reform' here.)"


"The health-care debate has involved pushing through massive, extremely unpopular, and incoherent legislation. In the process Mr. Obama has shattered the most appealing aspects of his image. The direct and collateral political damage of this entire enterprise on Mr. Obama and his party will be almost incalculable."

It's hard to say what the lasting effect of Obama's obvious deception is. Much depends on just how disastrous the resulting legislation will be in the short to medium term, if it even passes as more then just a spending bill (outrageously this is probably the best case outcome of any passage), if it is satisfying (on some level) to the Left and the Obama rah-rahing media. Certainly, no matter the results of these other factors, some damage has been done to Obama and the Dem's image. "Almost incalculable" is overstating the matters a bit.

The "mythic" status of Obama has long been since abandoned by all but the most die hard OFA Obamatons-- and nothing short of Obama eating babies will change their minds. Too much damage has already been done as Obama's and the Democrats current leader's hard Left agendas have become apparent. Independent voters are moving to the right and describing themselves as conservative rather than moderate, moderate Democrats are under assault by the Pelosis and Maxwells of their party, and the fed's astronomical spending has yielded results that are, in the kindest and most optimistic light, almost completely unapparent. Obama has never accepted an iota responsibility for any mis-step, and has blamed Bush so much that even the Obamatons have begun to be embarrassed by it. How much lower can Obama's current image go until he is held in open contempt by the majority of Americans?

Most likely we will soon be treated to a presidential makeover. Obama will do some softball interviews, try to come off as personable and not an elitist after much coaching (good luck on that one), and then sort of ease into the acknowledging disingenuously that "mistakes were made," and that he'd "do things differently" if he had the chance, and so on and so forth. We all know the routine. Of course, then we'd then all be treated to more of the same since Obama is now doing exactly what he wants to be doing (the bad results are simply not his fault, and it will work if we keep working and spending and stand firm, etc.).

So my prediction is some additional damage to Obama's already tarnished image, followed by an image reboot, and then more of the same both in policies, politics and attitude. I think most of Obama's people hold Americans in enough contempt to believe that they can do this indefinitely.

1 comment:

  1. An excellent essay. Thanks for the heads up.

    ". . . now, thanks to the 'these negotiations will be on C-SPAN' video, it is metastasizing."

    Yes. Check out this video at Pundit and Pundette.