August 10, 2008

Jimmy Carter managed "to fool the voters with his toothy grin and pleasant countenance during most of the long 1976 campaign season."

It's weird — isn't it? — that Obama is letting himself appear so downbeat.

Yeah, it's weird — especially since Obama initially got popular by making people believe in hope.

What's going on? Is he downbeat about America? Conceivably, he's confident enough in the positive image that he's established that he feels he can say some things that — at least to some people — are "reminiscent of Jimmy Carter's gloomiest, malaise-based assessments of America during his awful presidency."

Is there some idea that the candidates should cheer us up more? I've been thinking for a long time that Obama's greatest strength is that his election will cheer up a lot of people.

IN THE COMMENTS: Bissage writes:
Nobody ever said it better than George Costanza: “Jerry, just remember, it's not a lie if you believe it.”

Mr. Obama is basically an honest person caught up in a game where the winners are expert dissemblers. To compete successfully you have to turn your back on a part of yourself that you used to deeply believe made you a good person . . . made you special . . . made you worthy of love.

Only the busiest of us can look into the eyes of a seven year old girl without seeing a part of our old selves in the reflection.

Mr. Obama has been under a lot of stress lately and he’s worn-out and he’s having a personal crisis of self-confidence.

And he’s seeking the comfort of what once was.

He’s reverting to the truth of how he really feels.

But it’s no big deal, really. It can happen to the best of us.

59 comments:

PatCA said...

Being depressed about America is the underlying dogma of the New Left, isn't it? Communism is a failure, capitalism hurts people, we're all bigots at heart, there is no objective truth...it all leads to paralysis and ennui.

The Dems these days leave governance and war to others.

Maguro said...

What's going on? Is he downbeat about America?

Sure he is. Why would we need Hope and Change unless the country was in terrible shape?

I would love to know what Obama thinks America's golden age was. To what year do we need to set the wayback machine to make America what it once was?

Bob said...

Obama's solutions about America's problems are Jimmeh's solutions: scold, tell us to put a sweater on and turn the thermostat down. Inflate our tires. Thomas Friedman has an op/ed in the NY Times about all the measures that the US should be taking, I'm sure that Obama supports them all.

rhhardin said...

Happy Times Are Here Again is the Dem theme song.

It means handouts.

Eight years later the Republicans are elected to fix things.

= sad times.

Factor that cycle out and ask again.

rhhardin said...

Friedman's suggestion to emulate Denmark was right on. Don't flush for everything.

Also, discover North Sea oil.

AJ Lynch said...

I think it was Friedman a few years ago who built a 10-12,000 sf McMansion in the DC area.

Someone should coin a nickname for enviro hypocrites like him and Al Bore.

EnigmatiCore said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
EnigmatiCore said...

"Is there some idea that the candidates should cheer us up more? I've been thinking for a long time that Obama's greatest strength is that his election will cheer up a lot of people."

Obviously there is some idea that the candidates should do that, since your statement right after the question says just that.

How widespread that idea is, I haven't a clue.

While electing Obama may (or may not!) cause a net gain in the number of cheery people in the very short term, the national feeling of cheer long term is more dependent on things such as 1) how the economy does, 2) how secure people feel, 3) how dangerous the world seems, and 4) if we can find a way to produce better musical talent than Britney Spears.

As such, I think choosing a candidate because you think he'll cheer up some people is not a good idea. Choosing a candidate who will best influence the other things is the way to go.

Bissage said...

Nobody ever said it better than George Costanza: “Jerry, just remember, it's not a lie if you believe it.”

Mr. Obama is basically an honest person caught up in a game where the winners are expert dissemblers. To compete successfully you have to turn your back on a part of yourself that you used to deeply believe made you a good person . . . made you special . . . made you worthy of love.

Only the busiest of us can look into the eyes of a seven year old girl without seeing a part of our old selves in the reflection.

Mr. Obama has been under a lot of stress lately and he’s worn-out and he’s having a personal crisis of self-confidence.

And he’s seeking the comfort of what once was.

He’s reverting to the truth of how he really feels.

But it’s no big deal, really. It can happen to the best of us.

Jeff with one 'f' said...

Speaking of toothy grins...

Pogo said...

People do want a leader who is optimistic. FDR and Churchill come to mind regarding WW2, and Reagan in overcoming the dark malaise of the 1970s.

Instead I see Mr. and Mrs. Obama as the English nannies on television who come to teach the kids how to behave and then everything is all better.

Proof? Obama now supports Hillary's version of national health care.

John K. said...

The fatal flaw in Obama's "pessimistic" rhetoric pushing "change" is the false assumption that government is the potential solution to, rather than itself the most fundamental source of, society's problems. In this, though, he's no different than any other politician. They're all correct to the extent that they see that America is in terrible shape. But they all refuse to see that their particular brand of snake oil is worse than the disease.

patca in the first comment on this post implies that Obama is part of the "New Left." Such labels sure are slippery. To the contrary, Obama is merely the latest representative of the old, liberal "left." What used to be properly described as the New Left (which was really not so new, as it was merely a reaffirmation of "classical liberalism"), espoused by people like Karl Hess (a former speechwriter for Barry Goldwater), had very much in common with what was properly known as the Old Right. Both the Old Right and the New Left were all about decentralizing political and economic power. They were both all about freedom. That's not where Obama's brain is. That's not where McCain's brain is either.

P. Rich said...

"...Obama's greatest strength is that his election [del will] will [would temporarily] cheer up a lot of [gullible] people."

Corrections gratis, Althouse. Just being helpful. Neurons and synapses affected by the shiver syndrome?

Clown Effect

McCain 0

Obama 1

AJ Lynch said...

No one I know has ever known anyone named "Barry" who was well liked. Odd but true.

Beth said...

Oh, stop whining.

Sarah said...

My guess is that it's bait. Obama is hoping that McCain will pick up the Gramm meme that everything is fine and dandy.

garage mahal said...

Proof? Obama now supports Hillary's version of national health care.

As do solidly the majority of the American public. Also how dare Obama recognize the 80% of the public that believe the country is on the wrong track. Once again, he didn't see the criticism from the 20 percenters like Newsbusters and Rush Limbaugh coming.

Ben (The Tiger) said...

Well... others noticed this a long time ago...

Obama's entire message is a downer.

Pogo said...

"As do solidly the majority of the American public. "
I need proof that a solid majority of the USA wants socialized medicine.

Yes, I know you can find any number of surveys that support this or that in health care, but none explicitly discuss plans and taxes to pay for them. At a minimum everyone needs to have some health care insurance for catastrophic illness.

No one thinks otherwise, except for Ayn Rand and DTL.

But the last time there was a vote, or nearly a vote, on the matter, it went down in flames. The Democrats are doing the old salami-by-the-slice game, adding a program here and a regulation there until the whole shebang is nationalized.

I admit it is quite possible that maybe now we do live in an America that wants the minority to pay for the majority, i.e. socialization.

If so, our demise as nation founded as a free republic is nigh. But that has been the Democrat's dream since Woodrow Wilson to follow in the steps of Marx and Aristotle. Madison predicted it.

Anyway, it fits Florence King's dictum that if the majority favors it, it's probably wrong.

vbspurs said...

I've been thinking for a long time that Obama's greatest strength is that his election will cheer up a lot of people.

Who cares about Susan Sarandon and people who are INTERMINABLY down on the USA?

They only love, respect and think America is doing right when it follows their worldview.

Why pander to them, and dismiss those of us who love the US unqualifyingly?

Obama just came back from an extended trip abroad. He must've picked up even more downbeat-on-America microbes whilst there.

Cheers,
Victoria

Zeb Quinn said...

Being depressed about America is the underlying dogma of the New Left, isn't it?

The politics of relative deprivation has been the left's main calling card at least since FDR.

Trooper York said...

"No one I know has ever known anyone named "Barry" who was well liked. Odd but true."

Hey everybody loves Barry Bostwick. He even played George Washington.

garage mahal said...

So Obama is now the Downer Messiah. Got it!

AJ Lynch said...

Maybe Troop but no one I know knew Barry Bostwick.

Obama's new slogan as penned by Althouse:

"Vote For Barry! He will make Americans happy (well at least 50.1% of us)."

Zachary Paul Sire said...

There you go again...

basing an argument on a 22-second video clip that is cut off after one sentence. Does anyone know how Obama answered the question? So much for context.

And even if one simply does look at just those 22 seconds (half of which are taken up by the local news reporter!), isn't he merely stating a fact? This country has and will continue to do great things, but no one can deny that things aren't so great right now for a lot of people.

Pogo said...

"...no one can deny that things aren't so great right now for a lot of people."

Which can be said of every period in human history.

vbspurs said...

The politics of relative deprivation has been the left's main calling card at least since FDR.

Since Marx.

After the Industrial Revolution, non-Marxist Leftism had been predicated on self-improvement, even if it meant helping others improve themselves by force.

This Victorian need for progress had a strong religious undertone ("God helps those who help themselves"), as well as the triumphalism of civilisation that modern Leftism finds so problematic.

That's why all the self-improvement organisations such as the Red Cross, the RSPCA, the Salvation Army and other organisations are going strong, and are relevant, whereas PETA and other modern incarnations are laughing-stocks.

Cheers,
Victoria

Zeb Quinn said...

Since Marx

You're almost certainly right about that. What I was trying to say is with FDR and his policies it got woven into American politics as part of the main back and forth dynamic.

vbspurs said...

Zeb, you're right, of course. American politics veered from Jefferson to Jackson to Lincoln to Roosevelt to FDR in almost pendulum fashion.

PatCA said...

When 80% in polls say they believe we are on the wrong track, how do we know what those 80% consider to be the wrong track?

Maybe they are like me and think we are turning to the Left, Big Government, to solve every problem big or small. Sure, we could make a dent in gas prices if we all inflated our tires, lost weight, and drove slowly, but can you imagine the government apparatus (Obama's civilian security forces?) needed to enforce these measures?

EnigmatiCore said...

Everyone loves this Barry.

Synova said...

Being down on America is a short-hand way to brand one's self as an intellectual. You are, after all, smart enough to see what is going on and brave enough to face the truth.

Fat, dumb and happy? What I don't know can't hurt me?

In our colloquial speech we've embedded the notion that ignorance is bliss.

Happiness is not an attribute accompanying perspicacity.

Maguro said...

I knew Barry Bostwick. Barry Bostwick was a friend of mine. And you, Senator, are no Barry Bostwick!

Middle Class Guy said...

The problem is Obam's addiction. He first started peddling Hopium. Then he started using his own product. A very bad idea. Hopium starts out giving one a feeling of euphoria. But after you are addicted to it for awhile, Hopium tends to lead to depression and a fatalistic viewpoint.

Look at all the others addicted to Hopium. They only see a bleak future and no real way out.

AJ Lynch said...

Acually has the makings of a good cheer..Barry, Barry, Barry!

blake said...

Hey everybody loves Barry Bostwick. He even played George Washington.

And he most famously played opposite Susan Sarandon, and later Michael J. Fox.

The man's a uniter, not a divider!

AJ Lynch said...

Blake:

Be careful on that desk/ treadmill buddy.

blake said...

AJ--

How'd you know I was going to suggest Bostwick for President?

AJ Lynch said...

Bostwick for president? Don't understand your question.

I was just cautioning you against overusing the treadmill desk cause if you ended up like Isaac Hayes, Trooper wold be writing your obit.

bleeper said...

Marx? "I like my cigar, too, but occasionally I take it out of my mouth."

What, not Groucho? Dang...

blake said...

AJ--

Damn, I didn't know Hayes had died.

I'm not a 65-year-old black man with a past like Isaac, though. I hope that counts for something.

It might not. If I vanish, that's probably why.

Trooper York said...

Despite what our blog mistress says, Cedric the Entertainer better watch his ass.

blake said...

Actually, I thought Cedric when I heard Bernie.

I kept thinking "They nailed his ass!"

Middle Class Guy said...

Jimmy Carter not only managed to fool the voters... he conned them. He then conned them for his whole administration. He was the worst president in my lifetime.

He was also a coward and an incomopetent. He gutted the intelligence community and and emascualted the military. He ignored the rise of Islamist Terrorism. He is as responsible for our current international problems as that other poltroon, Uncle Festus Clinton.

Just goes to show you cannot put white trash in the White House.

Pogo said...

White trash that finds money or gets elected tend to wreck the furniture, invite their no-good friends over, and generally leave a big mess behind.

At least Clinton and Carter didn't leave a burned-out school bus up on blocks abandoned on the White House lawn. I mean, at least we got to thank them for that, huh?

vbspurs said...

generally leave a big mess behind.

When President Bush's staff arrived for their first day at the White House, they found that President Clinton's staff had removed all the "W"s from the computer keyboards, in what they probably thought was a hilarious joke.

It actually stood for 8 years of Clinton and his trashy shenanigans in office, from basically selling the Lincoln Bedroom to the highest bidder like Barbra Streisand, to the Monica Lewinsky Oval Office facials.

Ugh.

blake said...

Hmmm. I was sure I had read that the "W" thing was an urban legend but I can't find any supporting evidence now.

Funny, tho'.

Seven Machos said...

On removing the Ws from the computers: come on! That actually was funny. It's not like they stole the letters. They left them right there to be put back on. As anyone who has had a letter pop off a keyboard knows, which I imagine is a lot of people, the letters just pop right back on.

I don't like most Democratic policy ideas. But let's give credit where credit is due here.

vbspurs said...

Hmmm. I was sure I had read that the "W" thing was an urban legend but I can't find any supporting evidence now.

Blake, it's in David Frum's book about his time as a Bush speechwriter, called "The Right Man". I believe that's first-hand testimony, since he was there at the time.

Seven Machos, whoopie cushions would've been funnier.

Cheers,
Victoria

M. Simon said...

As do solidly the majority of the American public. Also how dare Obama recognize the 80% of the public that believe the country is on the wrong track. Once again, he didn't see the criticism from the 20 percenters like Newsbusters and Rush Limbaugh coming.

Well sure. But how many think Obama is the right track?

If you believe the polls about 40%.

That is no way to win an election.

M. Simon said...

basically selling the Lincoln Bedroom to the highest bidder

That is a total lie and you know it.

He rented it out.

Michael said...

"Mr. Obama is basically an honest person caught up in a game where the winners are expert dissemblers. "

You ever notice how the failure of the Obama campaign to win over everybody always comes down to, we're just not good enough for him?

Sorry, I think a first-term senator has to demonstrate that he's good enough for the job. (Same for a four-term senator and anybody else, by the way.)

Lola said...

Obama? Honest? Please don't make me laugh. Honestly.

mschaff said...

There is nothing positive about America to Obama's base.

That's what energizes them.

Self hatred and self loathing, once only the domain of elite Democratic Jews and blacks, has infected the entire left wing of the Democratic party.

Pat said...

The vandalism of the White House by the outgoing Clinton staff is not an urban legend. The General Accounting Office investigated the matter and confirmed that it did occur, as documented in this New York Times news story from 2002.

"On removing the Ws from the computers: come on! That actually was funny. It's not like they stole the letters. They left them right there to be put back on."

You are mistaken. The W keys were stolen. Many keyboards had to be replaced, at a total cost of $4,850.

Bruce Hayden said...

Mr. Obama is basically an honest person caught up in a game where the winners are expert dissemblers. To compete successfully you have to turn your back on a part of yourself that you used to deeply believe made you a good person . . . made you special . . . made you worthy of love.

I have seen nothing to make me think that he is any more honest than the average politician, and maybe even less honest, as he hails from the Chicago machine. He only seems honest as compared to many of the others in Congress who have been there a lot longer and have had that much more time to learn to exploit the system.

I don't think a politician all that honest who throws first his mother, and then his preacher under the bus, and who took a sweat heart deal for part of the property for his house. Or, for that matter, having a wife earning almost twice what he makes exploiting her marriage to him as a Senator and his connections to the Chicago machine.

Pat said...

The GAO report on the vandalism of the White House by the Clinton staff is here.

Tscottme said...

You might want to read the numerous articles about Obama, his autobiography, his past over at Steve Sailer's blog isteve.blogspot.com

Steve happened across Obama's two autobiographies years ago and extensively reviewed them and concluded Obama is really quite manic-depressive, among being a self-confessed radical. Obama's great trick was in being honest about some very ugly things, but doing it in a book which puts it off-limits to the vast majority of citizens and reporters.

People see Obama and make up their own version of his history, which is much more attractive than the truth, and then defend Obama like they are defending some prototype ideal to assuage white guilt.

blake said...

Pat, Victoria--

I'm sorry, to believe what you're saying, I'd have to believe that some some liberals lied to me.

And that just strains credulity.