Barry The Populist

This has been a really bad week for the Left. It started with Scott Brown driving his pickup truck straight into the Senate over the corpse of health care reform, continued with a Supreme Court ruling that effectively guts the awful McCain/Feingold campaign finance reform law, and concludes with the sound of Air America disappearing from radios.

It’s good to be alive!

None of this seems to have tempered Barack Obama’s colossal ego, however. His take on the defeat of Martha Coakley is not the humble “we hear you” that Bill Clinton managed to say after the Republican takeover in 1994. No, Obama’s take on it is “I guess you’re just not listening to me.” The man who has sucked up more TV, radio, and print than Ryan Seacrest, Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, and Lindsay Lohan combined is now claiming that the only mistake he’s made is that he hasn’t been getting his message out. He’s been too busy solving all of our problems, you see.

If there’s one thing that I regret this year, is that we were so busy just getting stuff done and dealing with the immediate crises that were in front of us, that I think we lost some of that sense of speaking directly to the American people about what their core values are.

He’s kidding, right? He’s got to be kidding.

But notice the underlying message here. Barack Obama does not seek to understand the core values of Americans, he seeks to tell Americans what their core values are. He does not wish to speak with the American people to understand these values, he wishes to speak to the American people.

None of this is really surprising if you’ve been paying attention for the past couple of years. While all Presidents have had a healthy sense of ego, the self-importance with which Barack Obama regards himself is truly astounding. Look to his speeches where the most common noun is some variation on “I.” It is one thing for the mainstream media to believe that Barack Obama can stretch out his hand and part the Red Tape Sea and cross unharmed to the land of Getting It Done; it is another thing entirely for Barack Obama to believe it.

This is why the new word on the street, that Barack Obama will be striking a more “populist” tone from now on, is so ludicrous. It is like asking an ostrich to fly. Obama is about as “populist” as Marie Antoinette. His love of high-minded academics and rabble-rousers is well-documented, and his disdain for the average working man or woman (think Joe the Plumber) is palpable.

The man who ridiculed the idea of Scott Brown campaigning for office in a pickup truck is going to be a populist? The man who said that bitter people cling to guns and religion? The man who accused the police of acting stupidly when they arrested a trouble-making Harvard professor? The man who insinuated that the people attending Tea Parties were some sort of reactionary, angry fringe group of kooks? The man who tried to shove a health care reform package down our throats despite the fact that it was clearly not what the American people wanted? Him, a populist? A Man of the People? Nope, I’m not buying it.

Obama is many things, but a Man of the People he is not. If he does attempt to play the role of the populist, he is doomed to failure. Even now, as he talks about the “fat cats” on Wall Street he sounds as phony as a three-dollar bill. Obama’s election strategy in 2008 was an elaborate con game, designed to present him as brilliant, but pragmatic, non-ideological, and willing to listen to all viewpoints and act on what was best for the country. After a full year of being in office and proving every single day that he is an extreme ideologue completely uninterested in hearing any viewpoints outside of his own echo chamber, he is now going to try to convince the American people that he’s a more liberal version of Bill O’Reilly, looking out for the folks and taking on the pinheads. Well you can fool 53% of the voters some of the time, but you can’t fool them all of the time.

4 Responses to Barry The Populist

  1. I can appreciate that you might pine for the days when we had a president that spoke in mono-sylabic sentences, but I do not understand how you can look at Obama as an idealogue. The left wing, under Obama has gotten little or nothing of what they had hoped to acheive. I’m quoting salon’s glenn greenwald here:
    “The Left wanted a single-payer system, then settled for a public option, then an opt-out public option, then Medicare expansion — only to get none of it, instead being handed a bill that forces every American to buy health insurance from the private insurance industry. Nor was it “the Left” — but rather corporatist Democrats like Evan Bayh and Lanny Davis — who cheered for the hated Wall Street bailout; blocked drug re-importation; are stopping genuine reform of the financial industry; prevented a larger stimulus package to lower unemployment; refuse to allow programs to help Americans with foreclosures; supported escalation in Afghanistan (twice); and favor the same Bush/Cheney terrorism policies of indefinite detention, military commissions, and state secrets.”


    Combine this with the news that Obama will detain 50 terrorists without due process and I really do not think that you have all that much to complain about. On the contrary, you should be elated since Obama is codifying the illegalites if the Bush administration. This will make it even easier for the next (inevitable) Republican administration to maintain and further such policies.

    So I congratulate you. Your victory is complete. But don’t call Obama left wing. Be fair.

    • blaknsam says:

      Far from pining for the days when we had an inarticulate President, I am usually pretty grateful when I hear Obama speak that we have a President who can speak, although without his teleprompter he sounds a lot more like W. than he does Bill Clinton, a truly gifted orator who spoke extemporaneously as well as he did scripted. Because Obama has failed in many of his efforts does not mean that he is not of the Left, it just means that Leftist policies are so incredibly unpopular in this country, and that politicians are so enamored of their own job security, that compromises had to be made (and votes bought) that watered down the undiluted Leftism of Obama, Pelosi, and Reid. As for the War on Terror, I support the additional troops to Afghanistan but believe that Obama and his poodle Eric Holder seem far more concerned with supplying terrorists with taxpayer-funded lawyers than with finding and killing terrorists. Overseas Contingency Operation, indeed. Of course, some concessions to reality have to be made even by ideologues such as Obama and Holder, but you are confusing these concessions with what they would do if granted unlimited power and opportunity. Obama is as far to the Left as any President in American history. Simply because he is constrained by realities that Glenn Greenwald isn’t doesn’t make him any less Leftist. That would be akin to saying that Trotsky was not a Leftist because he wasn’t Stalin. As for victory being complete, that is far from true. This past week has been a good one for conservatives such as myself, but it is merely one skirmish in the fight. The fight over how powerful the Federal government should be goes back to the Founding and will continue for as long as people of good faith differ in how they view the role of government. Cheers.

  2. Gerald says:

    As a reader of your blog for quite some time, I have remained silent and will most likely continue to do so… However, I must say blaknsam, “Very well said”. Cheers to you and thanks for taking the time to write.

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