November 17, 2008

The media's gone mad for Obama.

Howard Kurtz is agonizing over the adulation of Obama. (Oddly, he illustrates his column with the cover of the new issue of The New Republic, which I think has one of the worst pictures of Obama I've ever seen.)
Each writer, each publication, seems to reach for more eye-popping superlatives. "OBAMAISM -- It's a Kind of Religion," says New York magazine. "Those of us too young to have known JFK's Camelot are going to have our own giddy Camelot II to enrapture and entertain us," Kurt Andersen writes. The New York Post has already christened it "BAM-A-LOT."

"Here we are," writes Salon's Rebecca Traister, "oohing and aahing over what they'll be wearing, and what they'll be eating, what kind of dog they'll be getting, what bedrooms they'll be living in, and what schools they'll be attending. It feels better than good to sniff and snurfle through the Obamas' tastes and habits. . . . Who knew we had in us the capacity to fall for this kind of idealized Americana again?"...

"Obama is a figure, especially in pop culture, in a way that most new presidents are not," historian Michael Beschloss says. "Young people who may not be interested in the details of NAFTA or foreign policy just think Obama is cool, and they're interested in him. Being cool can really help a new president."
Let's adulate Obama for the sake U.S. interests in international trade and foreign affairs?

Anyway, obviously, at some point, Obama will start governing, and the giddy/inane enthusiasm will end. Whether these high expectations will help in the long run, who knows?

72 comments:

Rick Lee said...

bad link

Rich B said...

Setting the stage for the inevitable counter movement toward revulsion. How long before they hate him? Not all, but a significant fraction.

John Burgess said...

Setting up too high expectations can only have one outcome.

TMink said...

I can relate to one aspect of Obamisk: I am proud that America elected a president from a racial minority.

This does not effect my didsain for Senator Obama's stated positions on the issues, but still, I am happy and proud that America has done this in that aspect of our culture.

In the same way, I was proud and happy when blacks were quarterbacks for football teams, and minority success in golf and business and white guys in the NBA.

All these things make me happy.

To an extent. 8)

Trey
Trey

Meade said...

rick lee said...
bad link

*click*
"Bad Request
Your client has issued a malformed or illegal request."

Illegal request?

And she... a law professor!

Ann Althouse said...

Link fixed. Sorry.

halojones-fan said...

I've thought for a while now that Obama is latching on to the cult-of-personality movement that's always been a strong part of the Democratic philosophy (and only got stronger once they went Left.)

And indeed--I'd be okay with that. Because it was a HUGE issue that Kennedy was Catholic, and afterwards nobody cared either way. With any luck, Obama being elected will let the blackophiles get their rocks off, and race relations will be improved immensely.

Host with the Most said...

It is soooooo deliciously ironic to watch those who ridicule religious belief in others now engage in worship of their new annointed one.

Ann Althouse said...

John Burgess: Thanks. Love that song.

I like this version too.

SteveR said...

I just hope that all these leg tingling "journalists" that have been wetting themselves for the last couple years won't be, in a few years, telling us how naive and shallow we were for electing someome we really did not know much about.

I, for one, will only be pleasantly surprised at anything he doea that is not a disaster. As for the media, "going mad" would be a better explanation than what appears to be a complete lack of objectivity and otherwise an insult to anyone who is really "mad".

Roger J. said...

I guess ole Howie won't be invited to the inauguration now.

Apparently not many of the commentariat remember JFK's presidency. History repeats itself.

laura said...

I must be out of the loop, but I keep watching our retirement account evaporate and reading layoff headlines. This little distraction at wondering what dog the kid's will get, isn't such a bad thing.

AJ Lynch said...

That Howie Kurz - he sure knows how to uncover a bombshell of a news flash!

AJ Lynch said...

Here is a clue to how Obama is very decisive. The 60 Minutes piece disclosed the Obamas will take another six months to decide on a dog!

dualdiagnosis said...

Kurtz is one to talk.

sonicfrog said...

The'll move on, once they realize there is whale shark poo to be interviewed...

Windbag said...

Here's a little something for the media when the time comes...which it will.

jdeeripper said...

Good to see that Howard "I'm a year and a half late" Kurtz finally noticed the over the top adulation.

Host with the Most said...It is soooooo deliciously ironic to watch those who ridicule religious belief in others now engage in worship of their new annointed one.

Obama is for White folks who've gotten tired of Jesus.

Theo Boehm said...

AJ, that's actually a very hopeful sign. If he puts of making any other major decision for, say, four years, I'm certain we'll all be better off.

That, of course, holds for most Presidents. When one of my kids was in 4th grade, they were doing a unit on the US Government, including, of course, the 3 Branches, etc. Kid comes home and asks, "Dad, what are the duties of the President, again?"

I said, "Smile and wave, Son. A President who does any more than smile and wave is a President who causes trouble."

He put that on a test, and the teacher got all bent out of shape at the cynical attitude he was learning at home. I later ran into the teacher and asked her, from her perspective, if it wouldn't have been better if George Bush had done nothing but smile and wave for the past five years?

She had to admit I had her on that one.

A lot of conservatives are hoping Obama will be another Jimmy Carter. From my perspective, I'm hoping that Obama will be another Calvin Coolidge, and leave us the hell alone.

A lot of liberals are hoping Obama will be another John Kennedy, but I really don't think we want to go there again. Others are hoping he will be another FDR, but the difference is that FDR was an obvious leader. Obama is an obvious cipher.

The times we're in may in fact call for another FDR, but what we're going to get is Obama. Given everything we know about him, 4 years of smiling and waving may be the best we can do.

The Drill SGT said...

I can't wait for Obama to go down the the Tidal Basin an make the "waters recede" and the "earth begin to heal".

sounds like a budget bump for the ACOE and EPA to me :)

The WaPo had a front page story today that they seemed to miss before the election. Apparently bama wrote letters distributed through public employee unions with tailored messages to 7 different departments about the changes he intended to make. Close to being Hatch Act issues IMHO

The one that gagged me was to HUD, which said in part:

"Hiring Leaders (at HUD) who were knowledgable about and committed to the Agency's affordable-housing mission"

Paging Barney Frank for HUD Secretary!!

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Here is a clue to how Obama is very decisive. The 60 Minutes piece disclosed the Obamas will take another six months to decide on a dog!

It's just like the cake. The dog is a lie.

OldGrouchy said...

Seriously folks, we're thinking seriously about getting a puppy so'd we have a use for old newspapers, meaning we'd been buying newspapers on a regular basis. Otherwise, we couldn't care less whether traditional news sources continue.

Still, it'd be difficult to consider reading blogs on my laptop over morning coffee but it could work.

Maybe newspapers and network TV can emulate Circuit City and dump their highest paid reporters. worked for CC?

Maybe The One, PBUH, will correct this problem for everyone by censoring everything not pleasing to His eye.

AJ Lynch said...

DBQ:

The cake?? Don't understand that reference.

dbp said...

Theo, I was thinking along the same lines earlier today. Here is the actual IM dialog:

RN: Did you see 60 min. last night?
RN: Obama interview for an hour
dbp: Never watch it.
dbp: Especially wouldn't if Obama was the only subject.
dbp: Life is too short.
RN: wellllll I mean, it gives a little insight into his poise, etc...
RN: He's grown over the last 2 years
RN: One has to be optimistic now ...
RN: I'll give him 3 years and see how he's doing at this time
RN: We really need him to motivation and inspire the Congress to act !!
dbp: He will be President, hopefully he will do as little as possible.

Alex said...

Althouse and her liberal friends continue to have a case of serious "buyer's remorse" months ahead of the inauguration! This is just too rich. Thanks Althouse, it will make for great entertainment as Rome burns.

dick said...

Looks to me like the WaPo commenters have the right idea. Too bad the country did not vote that way. What happens when they realize that the media has sold a poisoned bit of good and he tries to vote present as is his habit. Think the country will blame the media then and will the media even report the bad stuff. They reported despicably all during this campaign and I hope they suffer for it.

Trooper York said...

It means they are going to leave the dog out in the rain like they did with the cake.

Alex said...

Just keep smilin' and wavin' Barry.

veni vidi vici said...

That photo isn't the worst. The cover of Rolling Stone where he's smiling and looking down is the worst; he looks like Eeyore or some other donkey. Maybe that was the point; he's a Democrat after all, and nothing if not symbolic.

Synova said...

LOL... I don't know what it means (likely nothing at all) but I didn't even think "cake in the rain" though I might have if I'd read carefully and seen the original reference to cake... so I thought, "the cake is a lie."

:-P

But... the dog and the kids... that's *normal* interest for new Presidents isn't it?

Plus, it's something that even those of us who think, "He said *what* to Canada about NAFTA?" something to be happy about... hope the girls get a puppy and not an arthritic rescue dog.

LonewackoDotCom said...

The MSM didn't elect BHO in order to turn on him; they'll probably keep defending him to the end.

The thing to do is to hold all his public supporters - including Althouse - responsible for everything he does. When he does something stupid, remind everyone of their support.

That has to be done on a sliding scale: less for those who supporting him with many reservations, more for those who supported him wholeheartedly or because they can't figure things out (e.g., Althouse).

LonewackoDotCom said...

And, regarding Kurtz, he's on this partial list of the WaPo's lies and smears they printed to support BHO.

AJ Lynch said...

I am too lazy to register at WAPO so the cake will remain a mystery to me.

Theo:

I agree with you comments especially the "smile and wave" advice to your son.

LutherM said...

I.

It was roses, roses, all the way,
With myrtle mixed in my path like mad:
The house-roofs seemed to heave and sway,
The church-spires flamed, such flags they had,
A year ago on this very day.

II.

The air broke into a mist with bells,
The old walls rocked with the crowd and cries.
Had I said, ``Good folk, mere noise repels---
But give me your sun from yonder skies!''
They had answered, ``And afterward, what else?''

III.

Alack, it was I who leaped at the sun
To give it my loving friends to keep!
Nought man could do, have I left undone:
And you see my harvest, what I reap
This very day, now a year is run.

IV.

There's nobody on the house-tops now---
Just a palsied few at the windows set;
For the best of the sight is, all allow,
At the Shambles' Gate---or, better yet,
By the very scaffold's foot, I trow.

V.

I go in the rain, and, more than needs,
A rope cuts both my wrists behind;
And I think, by the feel, my forehead bleeds,
For they fling, whoever has a mind,
Stones at me for my year's misdeeds.

VI.

Thus I entered, and thus I go!
In triumphs, people have dropped down dead.
``Paid by the world, what dost thou owe
``Me?''---God might question; now instead,
'Tis God shall repay: I am safer so.
--------------------------------
ThePatriot,

AN OLD STORY.

by Robert Browning

John said...

They will never turn on him. Too many people have too much of their self esteem wrapped up in Obama. If they were to admit that Obama is anything other than perfect, they would have to admit that they were duped. If they were duped, that would mean they are not as smart as they think they are. None of them could ever admit that they are not as smart as they think they are.

It is interesting how black people seem to be geniunely happy one of their own is in the Whitehouse. I don't get near the sense that Obama is a cult of personality for them. His white supportors in contrast are down right creepy.

Original George said...

Giddy enthusiasm?

We haven't seen anything yet!

Imagine Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in the White House.

Palladian said...

"Imagine Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in the White House."

That's nothing: Imagine Michael Moore and Rosie O'Donnell in the White House. You know they'll get an invite.

John Stodder said...

"Camelot" is a myth. JFK was only intermittently popular during his presidency. His first year in particular was a rough one, as he himself admitted. He was on the upswing in summer '63 for reasons both political (test ban treaty) and personal (he & Jackie had a son who died days later), and was favored to win re-election over Goldwater, but he wasn't worshipped til after his murder.

So whatever Kurt Anderson and others think they're missing, they didn't miss it, and they won't be able to recreate it.

I worry most about Obama's in-box. I would hope if I were him that I would have the luxury of focusing on health care. But unfortunately labor is going to force him to deal with the UAW, er, "automakers" bailout and card check. The second issue might remain obscure enough to slip past the public, but the bailout will be incredibly unpopular.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

The cake is a lie. A geek inside joke ....sorry about that

"Roughly translates to "your promised reward is merely a fictitious motivator". Popularized by the game "Portal" (found on Half-Life 2's "Orange Box" game release for PC, X-Box 360, and PS3). During the game, an electronic voice encourages you to solve intricate puzzles using cake as a motivating perk. When you have "broken out" of the game's initial testing phase (from threat of death), you find scrawls on walls of the innards of the testing center warning you that "the cake is a lie". "

Basically, the whole thing about the dog is a fake out...come on.. to pacify the kids and probably the slavering Obamabots. No dog.

Balfegor said...

It's just like the cake. The dog is a lie.

The cake is a lie!

Perfect slogan for Obama.

Trooper York said...

"Imagine Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in the White House."

Does that mean they are going to be adopting another kid?

Balfegor said...

It is interesting how black people seem to be geniunely happy one of their own is in the Whitehouse. I don't get near the sense that Obama is a cult of personality for them. His white supportors in contrast are down right creepy.

Not all of them. A lot of them seemed to support him on the assumption that his whole campaign was a lie, and that after the voting was done, he'd take off his mask and stand revealed as the pragmatic moderate they hoped he would be. After all, he's a Harvard man -- he can't really believe all that stuff can he?

But yes, I know what you're talking about. He has a lot of creepy supporters.

John said...

"After all, he's a Harvard man -- he can't really believe all that stuff can he?"


Yes he is a Harvard Man. I didn't know until this election year and hearing that statement that William F. Buckley had a mentally handicapped son. Christopher seems to have done really well for himself considering that he is obviously very "special". I can't get over how hard it must have been for the Buckleys to keep it a secret all these years.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

The cake is a lie!

Perfect slogan for Obama
.

Yay...I'm not the only geek who posts on Althouse.

John Stodder said...

A lot of them seemed to support him on the assumption that his whole campaign was a lie, and that after the voting was done, he'd take off his mask and stand revealed as the pragmatic moderate they hoped he would be

No, he campaigned as a moderate. Many of us assume that his whole campaign was authentic and he would govern the way he campaigned, as a moderate with liberal leanings.

If we worry, we worry that Democratic special interests will push him around, as they did Carter and (to a lesser extent) Clinton and selfishly ruin his presidency by forcing him to prioritize their agendas over his own.

John said...

"If we worry, we worry that Democratic special interests will push him around, as they did Carter and (to a lesser extent) Clinton and selfishly ruin his presidency by forcing him to prioritize their agendas over his own"

You could solve that worry by electing a Republican Congress to work with him in 2010. Something, however tells me that not many members of his cult would be very happy about that.

AJ Lynch said...

The Onion video on Obama supporters. Stodder will enjoy this:

http://www.theonion.com/content/video/obama_win_causes_obsessive

Balfegor said...

No, he campaigned as a moderate.

I don't think his positions on trade (protectionism e.g. revising NAFTA) on international diplomacy (breaking with the international consensus re: Iran, direct presidential level contacts with all comers, etc.) or on the economy in general ("spread the wealth", increase capital gains taxes even if it reduces tax revenues, abolition of the secret ballot for union votes) were particularly moderate. He delivered it in a moderate package (i.e. with a phlegmatic deadpan), yes, and there were one or two issues where he hinted at a possible willingness to edge towards the centre (e.g. educational reform) but he is far and away the most left-wing candidate we've had in a generation.

jdeeripper said...

AJ Lynch said...I am too lazy to register at WAPO so the cake will remain a mystery to me.

Google headlines or quotes. That's a way to get around it.

John Stodder said...

You could solve that worry by electing a Republican Congress to work with him in 2010. Something, however tells me that not many members of his cult would be very happy about that.

Hey, don't look at me! I would've preferred such a result in 2008.

I like divided government, generally. I just didn't think McCain was a suitable president.

The problem is, it couldn't possibly have happened in 2008 because Republicans did such an embarrassingly bad job running Congress in the years they had the majority. For the same reason, it won't happen in 2010 either, unless Obama's presidency is a fiasco. Which, you know, isn't something to root for.

As it is, I'm rooting for Coleman to stave off the skeevy weasel Al Franken so as to keep the Dems under 60 in the Senate.

Synova said...

He campaigned as a moderate by portraying McCain as a far-right uber conservative out to usher in fascism.

It's all relative.

LonewackoDotCom said...

Balfegor I don't think his positions on trade (protectionism e.g. revising NAFTA)

Even BHO admitted to being misleading about that. Don't worry, he's CFR-approved, right down to writing an encrypted editorial supporting a secretive Bush trade scheme.

Eric said...

No, he campaigned as a moderate.

I'm getting tired of that word. "Moderate" seems to always be calibrated to the speaker. "I'm a moderate - everyone to the right of me is right wing and to the left is left wing."

Balfegor said...

I'm getting tired of that word. "Moderate" seems to always be calibrated to the speaker. "I'm a moderate - everyone to the right of me is right wing and to the left is left wing."

Pshaw! I'm a Rightist in the politics of every country I care about. Moderation is for squishes!

montana urban legend said...

Everyone knows that competent governance is NOT cool. We must therefore seek a way to overdramatize it. Maybe then it would become cool.

dick said...

ohn Stodder,

Have to disagree with you as to how he campaigned. He campaigned against Hillary as a leftist. He then shifted some of the tone of the campaign as if he were really a centrist like McCain. Net result is he campaigned as a shape shifter which I think is the way he will "govern" and that is a sure recipe for a disaster. What bothers me about it is that now that the votes have been counted, all his supporters will be expecting and demanding that he govern as they saw him to campaign and since he was all over the map with his promises he will end up losing the support of all of them. Net result is a government that will be shifting and slipping and sliding all over the place with no central theme at all. If anything he might even be worse than Carter and that is about as bad as it can get.

Celia Hayes said...

I have always rather grumpily agreed with P.J. O'Rourke on this matter. In a review on a book about the Kennedy family, he wrote -

"A desire to adore a head of state is a grim transgression against republicanism. It is worse than having a head of state who demands to be adored. It is worse even than the forced adoration of the state itself. And this puts the Collier-Horowitz book in another light. It's ourselves we should be flailing. Trust hubris to bring such trash as the Kennedys to their knees. They are but few and a passing evil. We are another matter. There are 230 million of us, and we'd better start talking sense to ourselves soon. The President of the United States is our employee. The services he and his legislative cohorts contract for us are not gifts or benefices, We have to pay for every one of them, sometimes with our money, sometimes with our skins.
If we can remember this, we'll get a good, dull Cincinnatus like Eisenhower or Coolidge. Our governance will be managed with quiet and economy. We'll have no need to go looking for Kennedys to love. And no need to boil over with hatred for them later."

montana urban legend said...

"He campaigned against Hillary as a leftist."

Absolute bullroar.

For those of us who actually followed the few contentious economic policy differences between the two, two major disagreements arose. Clinton wanted health care to be universal and mandatory, as opposed to Obama's proposals to make it more widespread or more readily available, but not universal or mandatory. Ask Hillary about how seriously she took that dispute if you don't believe me. And Clinton proposed price controls on mortgages - again, something Obama strongly opposed.

Now both Clinton and McCain floated repealing the gas tax, but Obama's opposition to that was based on the advice of economists to not do so - a group of people Clinton derided as "elitists".

Of course, it's possible that none of the above facts might fit the script of Obama as the socialist-commie-pinko-fill-in-the-pejorative blank, but then again Obama didn't run simply to fit every histrionic right-winger's cartoon fantasy of him. He didn't run to provide right-wingers with a caricatured enemy to make them feel more secure in their worldview despite their astounding and utterly predictable losses. But it's amusing watching what many of y'all will come up with in order to pretend that he did.

Eric said...

So now that the election is over, hacks like Kurtz notice they might have gone overboard in their Obama boosterism. I want to believe this is professionalism reasserting itself.

But I don't. It's more likely a jaundiced analysis of the finances. Quick, throw a bone to the conservatives now that it doesn't matter!

Matt Eckert said...

I thought that he campaigned as an anti-establishment pigmentatarian.

Wolverines!!!!!

road warrior said...

2 things, first i am not sure if the craziness will end with reports say things like "it's my job to help Obama succeed. We might be in for this media attention for a LONG time. Second, this is OLD news! The liberal illuminati have owned the media for years now. It's a huge reason why Obama won the election don't ya thing?

John Stodder said...

In the primary, from what I could see on the blogosphere or heard from friends, the campaign began with "the left" divided between Hillary and Edwards. Obama was the left's second choice. The left got on board the Obama campaign for three reasons, each one influencing the other:

-- They had a visceral response to a speech he made, I'm blanking on the event, but it was in late '07, in Iowa, and he outclassed everyone else. I got lots of e-mails after that speech from friends who sort of woke up to Obama's capabilities at that moment.

-- Partly because of that speech, combined with the ineptitude of the Clinton and Edwards campaigns, Obama started to seem like a potential winner. He wasn't given much of a look before the end of '07 because it was assumed he didn't have the experience to overtake the more experienced Clinton, Edwards and Richardson.

(A footnote to reason #2: The National Enquirer's scoop about John Edwards' love child. The MSM studiously ignored it, it was verboten to discuss on the campain trail, it was equated to starting a rumor that Mickey Kaus had sex with goats, but in reality, most Democratic activists believed it and it eroded his support.)

-- As he became more credible, it was noticed that Obama was able to run to the left not just of Clinton but the entire field on the one issue they cared about the most: Starting the Iraq war. The Democratic primary became a months-long rerun of the war authorization vote from 2002.

Some leftists thought they saw through Obama even then. He was repeatedly called the "corporatist" candidate. His anti-war stance was correctly perceived as a matter of a state senator voting his district. It would have taken massive courage to say anything else.

Eventually, however, Obama inherited all the anti-Hillary vote, some of which was left-wing, some not.

I agree, he ran as a leftwinger on a few other issues, conveniently and somewhat cynically. But he tended to signal a shift immediately thereafter, such as on trade.

The main reason conservatives think Obama is a left-winger is his past associations with Ayers. While I agree the MSM didn't do its work on that issue, I think that if the story had unfolded transparently, you would have seen that Obama used Ayers much more than he agreed with him.

Like I've said a few other times, if you're and up and coming Democrat in a major city, you're not going to join a "moderate" activist group. In a big city, that means you're working for a real-estate developer, and in that context you might as well be a Republican for all the grief you'll get. In a city like Chicago, George McGovern would be seen as a moderate. But it's all about positioning and optics. Lots of city hall types are closet moderates, and I suspected Obama is too. Certainly, his campaign against McCain completely supports the view of him as a moderate. A sincere leftist candidate would not have flipped on the protection for telecoms against wiretapping lawsuits, and would have opposed Paulson's bailout.

My tremblings about Obama have much more to do with his spine than his leanings. Will congress roll him? That's where all the suspense is.

knox said...

I just hope that all these leg tingling "journalists" that have been wetting themselves for the last couple years....

In this case they'd be "tinkling" journalists

montana urban legend said...

"They had a visceral response to a speech he made, I'm blanking on the event, but it was in late '07, in Iowa, and he outclassed everyone else. I got lots of e-mails after that speech from friends who sort of woke up to Obama's capabilities at that moment."


Jefferson Jackson. Extraordinary speech.

He even managed to contrast his reasons for running from Hillary's quite well, if you were able to read between the lines.

montana urban legend said...

It almost made me forget about Pat Buchanan's visceral response to Obama's DNC acceptance speech. Heh.

Seven Machos said...

What a tremendous post by John Stodder.

montana urban legend said...

I don't know, John. If you're worried about Obama being ridden roughshod by Congress, he's already decapitated the House by appropriating the only Dem with a spine (Emanuel), and it looks like he's going to do the same to the Senate by taking out Clinton.

According to someone else on this site, he did it by going to Richardson the next day, thereby appealing to the most obvious gaping weakness in Clinton: Her massively narcissistic and egomaniacal fear of being upstaged.

What a tool. Obviously I was one of those opposed to Clinton for reasons other than her purportedly insufficiently leftist credentials. Her ego is such a bigger liability than anyone realizes. It overflows from her like water from a sinking canoe.

Emanuel's quite a bit more politically skilled and seems like he'll be pretty loyal to Obama. So were many of the more outspoken Democratic House members. And now he'll have to be.

Hillary's supporters OTOH tended to be more weak-willed... or idiotic (and annoying, think Charlie Rangel)... or just from New York State. (I suppose those categories aren't mutually exclusive of one another). I'll let the reader decide what significance there is to that, other than the obvious point it makes in reference to your concerns.

The rest of the Democrats shouldn't be expected to be any less spineless now than they've been since 2001. But what does that matter? Especially now that they have their leader?

And the Republicans are as impotent and confused as ever.

And then there were none.

If Obama's as pragmatic about governing and as serious about governing well as he was about winning then I suppose that should mitigate the potential for trouble. To some people that's a bigger "if" than it is to others, but that's what he have to go on at this point, for better or worse.

John Stodder said...

Montana,

I think you're absolutely right on. It took me awhile to figure it out, but I love the Emmanuel choice. For all the other reasons you cite, I do feel more reassured that Obama will hold the whip hand.

So, what do you think he'll do first?

Theo Boehm said...

"...If we can remember this, we'll get a good, dull Cincinnatus like Eisenhower or Coolidge. Our governance will be managed with quiet and economy. We'll have no need to go looking for Kennedys to love. And no need to boil over with hatred for them later."

Excellent quote from P.J. O'Rourke by Celia Hayes upthread. Obviously, Obama cannot quite play the dull Cincinnatus, but that's my own personal ideal, hoping that the cult of personality will fade as reality sinks in. Pragmatic and competent governance may not long support arm-waving, teary-eyed enthusiasm, but it should earn Obama solid respect and be for the good of the country. Montana urban legend's last paragraph above speaks well to this point.

Also, I will not retract any of the past criticisms I've leveled against montana urban legend, but I will now be among the first to say that his writing here has taken a dramatic turn for the better. I now look forward with serious interest to anything he has to write. Everyone else should, too. We will not always agree, but montana is now contributing first-rate analysis and a solid basis for discussion. Well done.

Kirk Parker said...

Theo,

"Smile and wave, Son. A President who does any more than smile and wave is a President who causes trouble."

That's awesome, including the encounter with the teacher. I take it you're a big Calvin Coolidge fan, then?

dbp,

You actually IM with Richard Nixon? Cool, if kind creepy...

Theo Boehm said...

Kirk, I'm a big fan of the "First, do no Harm" school of governance. I want that dull Cincinnatus who manages with quiet economy. Everything considered, and given the times, Coolidge was not that bad. Eisenhower, of course, was much better, and a first-rate President for the perilous world in which he served.

Obama, I'm afraid, can be no Eisenhower, because of Obama's breathtaking lack of life experience compared to Ike.

On the other hand, Obama seems to have something that made Eisenhower great: A talent for organization and quiet, but effective political manipulation. Ike was a leader of men, not only because he was well-liked, but because he was a master of out-maneuvering adversaries. Ike could cut your balls off, and you wouldn't know it was happening until it was too late, and there was Ike, smiling and waving, while you were left a bloody pulp. Ike did not become Supreme Allied Commander in World War II and President of the United States by simply waving reassuringly from the golf course.

No, my view is that if a President has Ike's abilities, as Obama may have in his own measure, he should, of course, smile and wave.

If he or she doesn't have Ike's abilities, he or she should smile and wave anyway, and do as little as possible otherwise to screw things up.

Nichevo said...

Also, I will not retract any of the past criticisms I've leveled against montana urban legend, but I will now be among the first to say that his writing here has taken a dramatic turn for the better. I now look forward with serious interest to anything he has to write. Everyone else should, too. We will not always agree, but montana is now contributing first-rate analysis and a solid basis for discussion. Well done.

You're welcome, think nothing of it. I'm just glad he took my advice.