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  • Why do They All Hope He is Lying?

    Posted by Lexington Green on June 18th, 2008 (All posts by )

    Zenpundit has discussed the boring and mainstream makeup of Obama’s newly announced National Security Working Group. Zen links to Matthew Yglesias, whose commenters are not entirely happy with the low quotient of “change” this group represents. But they hope he is just pointing to these people to get elected, and then the real Barack the “change guy” will come to the fore.

    It is weird how so many who claim to like Obama hope he is lying. Three examples come to mind immediately:

    1. People who like free trade hope he was lying to the voters of Ohio about tearing up NAFTA. He can’t really have meant that.

    2. People who like the idea of bipartisanship ignore the fact that he is the most partisan Senator in the whole chamber.

    3. People who want to believe he will be an incarnation of Leftist hopes and dreams will try to believe that this list of stodgy foreign policy advisers is a subterfuge.

    Usually you hope someone you want to vote for is telling the truth. You hope that he will carry through consistently with his track record, and that he will do what he says he will do.

    Why is Obama different?

    My speculation: Because Obama’s vacuous campaign of “change” is meant to create a blank whiteboard that everyone can project their fantasy scenarios onto. It is a brilliant marketing gimmick. Every time that Obama seems to suggest an actual direction, it jars with the fantasy, and causes cognitive dissonance and irritation, and a pronouncement that the REAL Obama is the one in my head, not the one who intermittently articulates the ghostly outline of a coherent policy position.

     

    42 Responses to “Why do They All Hope He is Lying?”

    1. Shannon Love Says:

      You beat me to a post on this subject. I agree he is a tabla rassa onto which people project whatever they want. He’s literally all things to all leftist because he reflects back their own image.

      If a conscious strategy on Obama’s part it suggest a very cynical and narcessitic world view. He appears to believe that the point of his campaign is to get him as an individual into office by any means. He seems to have little grasp that he needs to sell his ideas so that he has a mandate.

      If so, then he is Clinton with a tan. He will enter office without a mandate and when he will grow wildly unpopular very quickly.

    2. Jonathan Says:

      I agree with this analysis. He is going to do whatever he wants if he is elected, and Congress will egg him on.

      I do not hope that he is lying or not lying. I take him at his word. I observe that he is willing to change his story as is expedient, that he is arrogant, that he has few reservations about using government power, that he does not recognize many failures of government in the events of the past forty or fifty years, and that he has prominent hard-Left friends but no prominent conservative or libertarian friends.

      My main hope is that he does not get elected.

    3. Lexington Green Says:

      “My main hope is that he does not get elected.”

      Intrade suggests this hope is not well-founded.

    4. Jonathan Says:

      That’s why it’s my hope, not my expectation.

    5. Lexington Green Says:

      Terminological exactitude has ever been your forte, sir.

      I should have discerned that distinction, but failed to do so.

      Or as we say nowadays: My bad.

    6. Jonathan Says:

      Maybe one day someone will write a folk song about the 2008 election. It could be based on the ridiculously bathetic ballad of the Springhill mine disaster. This election ballad will sing mournfully of trapped voters living on hopes and dreams. But no one will know whether the reference is to Republican or Democratic voters.

    7. Tom Says:

      Lex, have you read Interface by Neal Stephenson? It’s not up there with Stephenson’s best work, but I’m starting to get the same sort of feel from Obama I got from the presidential candidate there, of showing what face he’s “supposed” to show to whatever the current audience is (see this WSJ interview for a good recent example).

    8. Lexington Green Says:

      Tom: I have not read Interface. I have only read Diamond Age, which is one of my all time favorites, since I am already a sort of Neovictorian. I have Cryptonomicon read to go for vacation later this Summer.

    9. zenpundit Says:

      Senator Obama is a weaker candidate for president than he appears through the MSM lens. Not “weak”, the man has strengths and smarts, but “weaker”.

      The social and career incentives in the average newsroom mitigate against tough analysis of Barack Obama. Hillary was not exactly a lovable figure but Obama really scored only an electoral TKO on her, not a roundhouse knockout. He’s also untested in any kind of serious crisis. The Rev. Wright flap doesn’t cut it. the man has not faced life-altering, careeer-ending pressure yet. He might weather stress or he might crack like a Dukakis on live TV. No one knows.

      I am not a big John McCain fan but he’s being seriously underestimated right now. If we hit election day and Obama is leading by anything less than 5 % in *all* key battleground states then I call John McCain as the winner.

    10. Vince P Says:

      I view Obama as a Trojan Horse. I dont know who he is the horse for, I suspect Marixsts.

      Mark Steyn wrote the following:

      (Mark Steyn:) By the time he wrapped up his “victory” speech last week, the great gaseous uplift had his final paragraphs floating in delirious hallucination along the Milky Way:

      “I face this challenge with profound humility and knowledge of my own limitations. But I also face it with limitless faith in the capacity of the American people … . I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal … . This was the moment – this was the time – when we came together to remake this great nation.”

      It’s a good thing he’s facing it with “profound humility,” isn’t it? Because otherwise who knows what he’d be saying. But mark it in your calendars: June 3, 2008 – the long-awaited day, after 232 years, that America began to provide care for the sick. Just a small test program: 47 attendees of the Obama speech were taken to hospital and treated for nausea.

      Everyone else came away thrilled that the Obamessiah was going to heal the planet and reverse the rise of the oceans: When Barack wants to walk on the water, he doesn’t want to have to use a stepladder to get up on it. There are generally two reactions to this kind of policy proposal. The first was exemplified by the Atlantic Monthly’s Marc Ambinder:

      “What a different emotional register from John McCain’s; Obama seems on the verge of tears; the enormous crowd in the Xcel Center seems ready to lift Obama on its shoulders; the much smaller audience for McCain’s speech interrupted his remarks with stilted cheers.”

      The second reaction boils down to: “‘Heal the planet’? Is this guy nuts?” To be honest I prefer a republic whose citizenry can muster no greater enthusiasm for their candidate than “stilted cheers” to one in which the crowd wants to hoist the nominee onto their shoulders for promising to lower ocean levels within his first term. As for coming together “to remake this great nation,” if it’s so great, why do we have to remake it? A few months back, just after the New Hampshire primary, a Canadian reader of mine – John Gross of Quebec – sent me an all-purpose stump speech for the 2008 campaign:

      “My friends, we live in the greatest nation in the history of the world. I hope you’ll join with me as we try to change it.”

      I’m in the “Is this guy nuts” category. It’s amazing to me how reporters are being struck down in awe and adoration for Obama. I think to myself.. just how gullible are these people that they’re falling for this charalton.

      How could someone whose entire political history consists of associating with Nation of Islam, Marxists, Far Left Terrorists, the most corrupt politicians in Chicago/Cook County/State of Illinois, Communists, Pro-HAMAS Palestinians, Black Liberation Theology (fusion of mutant Christianity and Latin American Marxism)/Deranged Catholic Priests

      and think this guy has been Mr. Hope and Change!

      Reporters and the people are being manipulated by masters of PR.

      If the United States is great now.. why does Obama keep emphasising he wants RE make it?

      We’re great because we didn’t go the European way. We’re great because we explicitly REJECTED European ways. Europe is in its last throws, WW-I has started a process which has resulted in a culture that is on the road to Cultural and Demographic Suicide.

      America must not be remade.

    11. Andrew Garland Says:

      A New Kind of Politics
      Mr. Obama gets support by saying that he is a new kind of politician, not like those terrible old types of politician.

      The same is true for Mr. McCain, Ms. Clinton, Mr. Edwards, Ms. Pelosi in Congress, and all of the other members of Congress. All of the state governors, too. Politicians are all promising change this year, as opposed to the old, horrible, non-change of their past performance.

      All of these people have seen the light of change, and want to give us a lot of it. There is no explanation for why they didn’t give us change last year or five years ago. Well, let’s be thankful for change now. The particular plans will be announced as soon as they are put together. For now, great change is written on cocktail napkins all across this nation. They will focus their minds on the details as soon as the pressure of being elected has passed.

      Have you ever seen a certain memo from your managers at work? It said that greater profits (or smaller losses) would be possible if everyone would just work harder, or smarter, or pay attention. Everyone should pull together and do a better job, with less sickness, fewer errands, quicker sips from the water cooler, and reusing the coffee cups. Above all, everyone should be proud of their company and support their great managers. Did this make you feel better? Was it successful?

      When a politician says “I will bring you change”, you must expect him (or her) to deliver the plan, not just the plan for the plan. You have a right to see the details, and see the analysis that others make of the details. Without that, you have only a promise, one that has been made for hundreds of years.

    12. listing to starboard Says:

      “Because Obama’s vacuous campaign of “change” is meant to create a blank whiteboard that everyone can project their fantasy scenarios onto. It is a brilliant marketing gimmick.”

      Very astute.

      And the more I learn of him, the more I think that isn’t even his own idea. He just isn’t that smart, as his multiple gaffes attest.

      He really is a “sock-puppet” for whomever is shelling out all that dough to market the chocolate covered cotton balls. I can just hear them when O’Bummer starts trying to appear to have an opinion, “We don’t pay you to think. Just stick to the play-book!”

      If elected, will it be him or the puppet-mastah that will call the shots? Will it be smooth sailing after inauguration, or is his wife going to be the loose cannon that ultimately sinks the good ship EmptyBox?

    13. Jeremiadbullfrog Says:

      I don’t recall exactly where it is in one of his books, but Obama has openly stated that he sees himself as something of a blank screen on to which others may project their desires.

    14. capital L Says:

      “…intermittently articulates the ghostly outline of a coherent policy position”

      He’s a quantum candidate! Like an electron, or Schroedinger’s proverbial cat, he is able to, in a sense, occupy two states simultaneously! Only the act of observation creates an actual position, which I suppose is why many of his supporters don’t want to look too closely…

    15. mike d Says:

      Obama’s vacuous campaign of “change” is meant to create a blank whiteboard that everyone can project their fantasy scenarios onto. It is a brilliant marketing gimmick. Every time that Obama seems to suggest an actual direction, it jars with the fantasy, and causes cognitive dissonance and irritation, and a pronouncement that the REAL Obama is the one in my head, not the one who intermittently articulates the ghostly outline of a coherent policy position.

      This statement correctly and exactly matches every single person I know who is an Obaman. Most of them are apolitical in the first place, and not one can name a single thing the guy has ever accomplished or any particular issue he has led the way towards. They have less than no idea who James Johnson is, or who Tony Rezko is, or that he has not one Senatorial victory to point to that recommends him to the Presidency.

      But none of this matters one bit to the Obama folks I know personally (dozens of them). The guy could turn out to be a serial killer with body parts in his car and these folks would a) excuse it and b) blame Bush.

    16. MarkJ Says:

      Obama: Living proof that life really can exist in a vacuum.

    17. Tully Says:

      Obama’s vacuous campaign of “change” is meant to create a blank whiteboard that everyone can project their fantasy scenarios onto.

      We’ve been calling him a Rorschach candidate for over a year now. We’ve even got a logo for him!

    18. Martin L. Shoemaker Says:

      Based on comments I’ve read, I would add:

      4. Liberals who think that a hasty withdrawal from Iraq would be a disaster on the human rights and international security fronts (and there are some, few though they may be) fervently believe that Senator Obama is dissembling when he promises a hasty withdrawal. They believe that he will do nothing different in Iraq, but that he’ll do nothing different better.

    19. Morgan Says:

      What’s worse, to me, is the libertarian-ish folks that would seem to know better. Althouse, McCardle, most of Reason, etc. It’s infuriating how cavalier they all seem about what is certainly an increase in authoritarian use of government.

      Taxes, the economy and guns. Without that, free speech is worthless, what’s to talk about? And Obama is admittedly AWFUL on taxes, and demonstrably anti-gun.

      Anyway, it’s a constant source of frustration, and I think it mainly comes out of people with higher education. I would love any of them to articulate which of the multitude of positions he’s outined that they a) agree with and b) believe he actually means.

    20. Melancholy Korean Says:

      The O man is gonna win ’cause he is a great politician. He fudges and dodges with the best of ’em. I’m still voting for him, though, like a lot of Republicans I know. After the November disaster, we can have out the civil war in our party. It’s gonna be a hell of a fight, and I can’t wait. The neocons (neo-Trotskyites) and their visions of global justice, democracy, and permanent revolution can go back to the Communist Party where they belong. They’ve done enough damage to our party and the cause of conservatism.

      Who has awakened the untamed beast of populism and class warfare? This war certainly didn’t help things, but then again, wars never do. Like Vietnam, Iraq is going to usher in massive (ugly) social change. It’s starting now, especially if this economic crisis gets any worse. So, unfortunately, we’re stuck. Obama is a hell of a lot better than Edwards or the Hill-Billy, even on taxes, certainly on preserving capitalism. McCain is hopeless because he’s gonna lose.

      Force Obama to the center. That’s the best hope. Plus, I like him. No insecurities here about elitism or higher education, I’m afraid. Maybe that’s another thing we can change about our party. It’s ok to be rich. It’s ok to go to private school. It’s ok (encouraged) to be Ivy.

    21. Mwalimu Daudi Says:

      Morgan:

      People with higher education are not necessarily intelligent people. Keep in mind that wacky conspiracy theorists like the so-called 9/11 Truthers are knee-deep in some universities. And how much intelligence does it take to reject established engineering and material science facts in favor of politically-appealing lunacy like “secret controlled demolitions”?

      Never underestimate the ability of higher education going to a person’s head without making it to the brain.

    22. Turfmann Says:

      This has already happened in the election of Duval Patrick as governor of Massachusetts. A man elected upon the guilt of the liberal elite. Patrick was elected by highly educated voters by using an incomplete sentence as his campaign slogan “Yes, We Can”. We have found out what we can do a) buy Duval a new Cadillac – a Coupe D’val, b) New drapes for the corner office in the state house. You get the picture.

    23. Incognito Says:

      Brilliant analysis as always Lex.

    24. Mugsy Says:

      This is similar to the wilful ignorance of Obama’s proclivity to commit mulitiple gaffes – the guy is more gaffe prone than Quayle ever was. Yet, people ignore the gaffes, because it does not “fit” with their mental image of him.

    25. Mister Snitch Says:

      Linked you here, as part of an ongoing commentary on this issue.

    26. Poulette Says:

      Shannonlove, I agree completely on the projection. Not so sure he’d be unpopular quickly, though–very un-PC that would be.

      [One tiny, itty-bitty nitpick: tabla rassa would be some sort of Indian drum originating from a small town in Italy. tabula rasa, otoh, is “blank slate.”]

    27. jms Says:

      There’s already been a folk song written about the Obama campaign — Ken Nordine’s “Flibberty Jib.”

    28. Jay Manifold Says:

      “He’s a quantum candidate! Like an electron, or Schroedinger’s proverbial cat, he is able to, in a sense, occupy two states simultaneously! Only the act of observation creates an actual position, which I suppose is why many of his supporters don’t want to look too closely …”

      Capital L, the box opens on November 4th. Or perhaps January 20th.

      While my reading of Albion’s Seed suggests that Obama will go the way of Humphrey, Muskie, McGovern, Mondale, Tsongas, Dukakis, Kerry, et al, if he does not, look for some very decisive action between 11/4/08 and 1/20/09, including Israeli termination-with-extreme-prejudice of the Iranian nuclear program.

    29. Sam Says:

      If Americans are dumb enough to elect Obama then we deserve the disaster that follows. I no long have faith in the people of this country.

    30. Heather Says:

      If Americans are dumb enough to elect Obama then we deserve the disaster that follows.

      Sorry, but I don’t deserve that.

    31. leishman Says:

      OK–the gold-digging woman is “in love” with the rich guy. Yes, he’s fat, ugly, mean-spirited, philandering, doesn’t bathe often, smokes cheap cigars, isn’t really all that smart, and drinks too much–you get the picture. But she’s “in loooooove” with him (read–his money), and it’s easy to predict where things go after the wedding ceremony. BHO, with his slender resume of actual accomplishments, has his (half-)blackness, his youth, his Jim-Jones-like magnetism, and half the electorate is “in looooove” with him (read–the promise of expiation from consumerist/racist guilt). Sadly, only a few of his current adherents will come to see the Emperor’s new clothes for what they are. Meanwhile, the gold-digger’s friends who try to wise her up are “just jealous”. Fortunately, there are still 4+ months for Dorothy and Toto to peer behind the curtain to see who the Wizard really is.

    32. that_guy Says:

      Wow, Leishman, three metaphors in one post. That’s a rhetorical cocktail if there ever was one.

    33. Vince P Says:

      I’m still voting for him, though, like a lot of Republicans I know.

      I fail to comprehend this.

    34. steve Says:

      Sam, I too am dismayed that so many people want this guy in the White House. Even if he were to lose in November, the mere fact that he survived the primaries makes me ill. And with his support coming largely from the younger generation, he or someone just as bad would be back with even stronger support next time. So it looks inevitable.

      When Carter won in 76, I remember my father saying it wasn’t so bad — because that guy was sure to turn people off in a hurry and lead to something better next time around. Prophetic words. But while we recovered from Carter, we may not be so lucky with Obama. It just may not be possible to put things back together.

    35. Brutus Says:

      Lex, read Snow Crash first, then Cryptonomicon. I didn’t think he could blow me away with the latter as much as the former, but he did!

      Turfman, DEVAL Patrick (with Obama’s man Axelrod helming his campaign) ran a content-free campaign against a weak Republican candidate and won going away, which is no surprise in the people’s Republic of Massachusetts, where 75% of voters with party affiliation are Democrats. There was the same disconnect between what people heard and what they projected on his cult. Now, 16 months later, Patrick’s approvals are in the toilet and he’s been at odds with the 80% Democrat legislature. People who supported him are now coming to me in the coffee shop and saying that I must be happy that he’s been such a failure. I tell them, no, I’m not happy, and I’m especially not happy with IDIOTS LIKE YOU who voted for someone that you disagreed with on 70% of the issues but voted for him because he seemed like a good guy (the Biden clean/articulate black guy quote most assuredly obtains here).

      By the way, the $25K Deval spent on his office drapes brings them up to the level of “window treatments”!

      And Mwalimu Daudi correctly points out, education is NOT intelligence. I was out with friends this past Saturday evening, and one stated that he may be ready to jump on the Obama bandwagon because he really didn’t like the McCain 100-years in Iraq policy. I asked if he got any information other than what he read in the Boston (Pravda) Globe; he said he hadn’t. I told him he had to go home and Google the two Michaels, Totten and Yon. Until then, his license to talk about Iraq was revoked, and I would personally beat him senseless if he did (as you can with someone you’ve been friends with since 1st grade).

      And that’s the problem. There are many out there willing to spit on their franchise by not being informed, which in the Internet Age is criminal. I have personally cost Obama three votes in the general election just by educating lazy family members. Not every Obama suppoter has drunk the Kool Aid, and they need to be informed as to what this guy really stands for.

    36. Lexington Green Says:

      “…I’m especially not happy with IDIOTS LIKE YOU …”

      Brutus, don’t do this.

      The lack of civility is getting me down.

      Make your point courteously. It is more effective.

      It is going to be a vicious and contentious campaign year.

      Let’s all take the high road in our conversations and arguments.

      Nothing less will be tolerated on my posts.

      This goes for everybody. Me included.

      If you see me fall below that standard, say so in a comment.

    37. Jonathan Says:

      Lex, I think that you misread Brutus’s comment.

    38. Lexington Green Says:

      OK, Brutus is quoting what he said to someone else. No harm, no foul.

      But, I will leave my comment up as a general statement, even though it is not particularly responsive to Brutus.

    39. Brutus Says:

      Lex, my discussions with folks remain as civil as they want it to be. When talking politics with people retreating, when cornered with logic, to blah blah blah, racist or blah blah blah, evil neocon, my response is measured and appropriate.

      The bottom line: libertarians and conservatives may consider their “progressive” acquaintances misguided or foolish, but not evil, while most (but not all) of the libs here in the Bay State look at anyone not toeing the Democratic Party line as evil or brain damaged.

      It’s the people who, to paraphrase the aforementioned Neal Stephenson, try to condense fact from the vapor of their beliefs that beggar the imagination. Facts seem to be their enemies.

    40. Rich Rostrom Says:

      I would ascribe it to visions of a lottery jackpot. If Obama in office follows his radical roots instead of his vaguely moderate recent hedging, it would be a gigantic victory for the Left. They wouldn’t get everything they want, but close to it. The upper ranks of the Federal government (including the military) would be purged of patriots, Christians, conservatives, and similar rabble, and packed with feminists, homosexualists, race hustlers, and “trans-national progressives”. Actually, I expect this anyway. But if Obama really tacks left – as they hope, and as his old associations suggest – then expect even more overt radicalism: mass prosecutions of former Bush officials, U.S. soldiers handed over to the ICC or similar bodies…

      In their fantasy universe, the Left program is just what the nation and the world need, and only evil conservatives thwart them from bringing about an Age of Gold. Given this potential upside, is it surprising that many of them want him to be their Trojan Horse?

      BTW, there is no great clash between “Leftist hopes and dreams” and “stodgy foreign policy advisers”; the Left captured the “international institutions” like the U.N. long ago. They have been calling for U.S. submission to these bodies for decades, just like the Old Line foreign-policy types. Indeed the Left has comforted itself with the idea that their agenda is “mainstream”, and Bushism is radical.

    41. listing to starboard Says:

      “He’s a quantum candidate! Like an electron, or Schroedinger’s proverbial cat, he is able to, in a sense, occupy two states simultaneously! Only the act of observation creates an actual position, which I suppose is why many of his supporters don’t want to look too closely…” — Capital L

      Thank you, Capital L, for triggering some disturbing associations, and causing me to have this, hopefully interesting, revelation.

      Though you are on the right track in your very astute observation, closer examination reveals that it is not quite right.

      Since it’s the act of scrutinizing him that forces him to appear to have multiple opinions, he’s the exact opposite of a quantum that has multiple potential trajectories until collapsing it’s probability wave forces it into a specific one. His behavior is just the other way round from real quantum particles.

      Why, if we were to just “believe” and “have faith” and “hope” in him, (i.e., not bum him out by collapsing his happy-wave), he would only have one opinion (though we wouldn’t ever know what it was)m abd everything would go along without a hitch. It’s our interference that is causing his seeming confusion. At least that’s what he keeps telling us when he accuses us of racism when we do that. (Collapsing happy-waves = “racism,” you see).

      So, since he behaves exactly opposite of what one would expect from a quantum, he must really be an anti-quantum, (…unless, of course, we look even harder and find he isn’t? But that’s just too freaky to even contemplate, so let us forget I even brought it up, OK?)

      Actually, it seems he “isn’t” (in the sense of “well defined”) a lot more than he “is,” (unless we make a “racist” observation), so what we may be dealing with here is more a figment of our imagination than reality. It only seems real to those who worry about where he wants to take us, because we see that his message of “hope” and “change” doesn’t behave the laws of classical causality, as we would expect it to for the scale of the events under consideration.

      In contusion, he seems to be (or not, depending on how “racist” you are) that rarest of phenomena, a Left-handed anti-quantum virtual particle-tician with full Democrat spin

      Will it vanish as swiftly and completely as it appeared, hopefully without disrupting reality overly much? Or will it hijack reality, and annihilate it in a burst of quantum darkness as yet unknown in our universe?

    42. sol vason Says:

      According to the Mayan calender, a 26,000 year long rotation of the galaxy will be completed in 2012. The Mayans believe when this happens, there will be Change.

      You suggest a trojan horse, an unseen manipulator. Some power that has guided and shaped Obama’s career. Perhaps Obama is an avatar of Shiva who will bring about a new world order in 2012. There is no question that forces have gathered that will bring about major Change.

      We live in interesting times.