What kind of delusion is this?

Watched Charlie Rose last night. He and some of his guests were discussing President Obama’s political fortunes – post a Scott Brown victory – and what the President might do in order to reverse the downward trend. To give you a flavor of the conversation, I present the following excerpts from the transcript:

CHARLIE ROSE: Joining me now, Jon Meacham, editor of “Newsweek”
magazine, in Washington, Tom DeFrank of the “New York Daily News,” and Anne
Kornblut of “The Washington Post.” I’m pleased to have all of them here as
we take a look at this week, which is important for the president, and a
state of the union which is very important to him.”….

: “Well, he has clearly found that history is a more
complicated matter than the speechifying and the glamour, really, of the

In politics, you don’t get credit for what didn’t happen. So I think
we should say that he did in concert with the outgoing administration and
with his own folks, he did keep us out of a more severe downturn in 2009.”….

To my mind, the real problem has been that he has a kind of
intellectual snobbishness about being simple and clear about what he wants
the country to be. What does he want it to look like when he leaves? And
it sounds odd to say that sound bites are important, but they are. Jesus
spoke in them, and his stuff has aged rather well.”….

THOMAS DEFRANK: “Why is he where he is today? I think it’s because they made a real
miscalculation on health care. They thought they could sell it. They
didn’t sell it. They lost control of the message. The critics have
controlled the message on health care for the last four or five months, and
it’s a negative message.”….

ANNE KORNBLUT: “I guess it’s confusing to me why it’s so difficult for
them to show what his emotions are. All of us who have been around him or
covered the campaign know he isn’t a robot. He actually does have emotions
and a family he cares about, and he’s extremely good at talking about the
feelings he felt growing up in extraordinary circumstances.” ….

Seriously, the entire transcript and conversation are like that: He’s misunderstood, he’s misrepresented, he’s under appreciated for all that he has done! What?

10 thoughts on “What kind of delusion is this?”

  1. OPS,
    I agree; I have seen this in several journalistic sources as well was from people in the administration. It’s amazing the amount of self-delusion. It kind of reminds me of the summer I lived in DC. The city lives in a bubble and really can’t see beyond it or understand how others looking in perceive it.

  2. You know, I was really bothered by Obama’s arrogance, his pomposity, his evident disdain for America, and a litany of other things, but hearing that he’s not just good but extremely good at talking about his feelings makes me think I should –
    no, still hate him.

  3. Jude Wanniski had a great story. He likened the two parties as offering an electoral chicken and an electoral eagle to the people while the people wanted an electoral parrot and was reduced to looking at the particular chicken and eagle on offer to see which was more parrot like.

    It’s still true. Obama’s problem is that Obama campaigned like a great parrot but is governing like a chicken. No eagles are currently on offer so wishful thinking is taking hold that the eagles, this time, will finally be more parrot like. And who knows, maybe they will be. If it happens though, it will be by coincidence because there is no institutional shift in the GOP to produce more parrot-like eagles in a sustainable way.

  4. I find it disturbing that a lot of people seem to expect the President to be the Emoter in Chief. Worse, they seem to believe that the people are easily swayed by such emotional displays. It’s rank elitism.

    They forget that Bill “I feel your pain” Clinton suffered the same catastrophic loss of popularity and for the same reason. Clinton too ran as a moderate and then governed far to left, squandering his first year in office on socializing health care. He could blubber with the best of them but it didn’t matter because the people didn’t like him because of his deception and his bad policy choices.

  5. I think it’s that they sincerely, fundamentally believe that the benefits of central economic planning, an expanded welfare state, and the nationalization and subsequent bureaucratic allocation of health care are so self-evidently good, no one of good faith or intelligence could possibly be against them.

    They literally cannot conceive that people of sound mind and moral fiber could oppose these items. So if they are being rejected by the lumpen masses, the only explanations are:

    a) they aren’t being explained clearly enough, in language simple enough that even the lowest commoner can understand, or;

    b)the masses are too stupid, or too evil.

    I’m guessing that in a few months, we’re going to see outright hatred being expressed by the Beltway crowd for us peasants.

  6. Thank you all for the comments. Wonderful discussion!

    The SOTU address should be interesting, if only to see if the President doubles down on the self-delusion. Some of my friends to the left of me are unhappy with the troop escalation in Afghanistan, some of my friends kinda sorta in the middle are unhappy about the economy, and my friends on the right (and me here on the right, too) just think he is spending too much and shoving the country in an unacceptably statist direction. And then, to have the types excerpted above not even discuss specific concerns, but discuss the problems in a personality driven TMZ/Reality television way is completely bizarre.

    The above transcript is notable for very little discussion of specifics in terms of policy, budget numbers, poll numbers etc. It is so loosey-goosey that even Charlie Rose becomes visibly flustered. “But what should the President do,” he asks plaintively, to be met with vapid chatter.


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