January 22, 2009

"How was I going to photograph one man, in a suit, for many years to come?"

Photographing George Bush.

***

The Anchoress writes:
[T]he second photographer ... describes the "cult of personality" he saw developing around W after 9/11, and says he found it "shocking" to see in America. Because this is about Bush, we do not know what he thinks about the Mega-cult and magic thinking surrounding Obama.
There are hugely important differences. Bush fought his way into office as a normal politician, a decent guy, not any sort of hero or god. Then, he was the man who happened to be President when dramatic events events occurred, and the people looked to him to do what was needed. Any glorification of him was a consequence of those events and not through a conscious campaign to inspire a cult of personality. (There is an exception or two. I'm thinking of "Mission Accomplished.") When the love subsided, he and his people did little — too little — to pump us up again. Bush soldiered on accepting the hatred and — apparently — doing what he thought was right, with the solace that history would — ultimately — respect him.

By contrast, the entire plan to bring Obama into office depended on the glorification of the man, whose actual experience was so bizarrely limited that it took some nerve to claim to be ready. Magic was required. The cult grew up not as he held power and needed to respond to a crisis. The cult was the campaign to bring him into power. It depended on our projecting all sorts of hopes and dreams onto him, and he knew it. Inside, he may have felt embarrassed by the whole enterprise, but he'd figured out that it could work, and he was right. Now, I think this worked because he really is a solid, normal person who remained grounded in the middle of all this craziness. And I like to think that, now that he's President, with his steely nerve, his intelligence, and his groundedness, he'll do the job that must be done. The trickery is over.

102 comments:

Paul Zrimsek said...

Any glorification of him was a consequence of those events and not through a conscious campaign to inspire a cult of personality. (There is an exception or two. I'm thinking of "Mission Accomplished.")

I assume you're really talking about the stunt of having him fly the plane out to the carrier? The use of the passive voice in the banner itself seems like the last thing you'd want if you're trying to create a personality cult.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

There are hugely important differences an important differences

huh?

Horace said...

Oh yea, the trickery is over.

"Just let me use trickery until I get into the White House, then I'll stop; I promise.

"Oh, wait...just let me use the trickery for the first month, then I'll stop; honest.

"Oh, wait...just another month; they haven't passed [insert inane legislation here] yet."

Xmas said...

Don't hate the player, hate the game Ann.

Michael H said...

And I like to think that, now that he's President, with his steely nerve, his intelligence, and his groundedness, he'll do the job that must be done.

Projection.

AllenS said...

What has he ever done well? After his stint as community organizer in Chicago, things are not better there, in fact, things are worse. Are there more jobs in Chicago? No, no there isn't. The Annenberg Educational Mess? Are more children completing high school? Did test scores go up? When he was a legislator, did he pass important legislation? Right now, the only thing good about Obama is the simple fact that he's one step above Biden. He seems to be good at getting elected to positions that he works at for about 2 years max.

Michael S said...

The trickery is over.

Indeed, there is Hope.

No voting 'present' in this new role.

Invisible Man said...

I guess by normal politician, you mean "son of a former President". And by not any sort of hero, your ignoring all of those people who prayed and prayed during his campaign that W had a divine purpose to be President and his quotes about "God speaks to me". And by no cult of personality, you mean to ignore the frequent photo-ops cutting the brush, acting like a good-old boy and the whole "decider" thing. Oh, never mind.

TheCrankyProfessor said...

That is an excellent summary, Prof. Althouse. Excellent.

Terri said...

And I like to think that, now that he's President, with his steely nerve, his intelligence, and his groundedness, he'll do the job that must be done. The trickery is over

You are joking right? Or do you actually believe this? Of course you believe it since you cast your vote for him......

Me? I think he's in way over his head and he's gonna need help. The scary part is to whom he will turn for that help. This is the man who chose Joe Biden for his vice president. That in itself is cause for alarm.

m00se said...

I agree, an excellent summary.

However, it amazes me all the more that you voted for him.

I guess it was the magic?

Skyler said...

"Now, I think this worked because he really is a solid, normal person who remained grounded in the middle of all this craziness."

Or he is a megalomaniac. I think this is more likely, because solid, normal people don't encourage a cult of their personality.

My brother asked me why I support Palin. I don't, but he thinks I do. I told him that with Palin I can project whatever I want onto her, just like he does with Obama.

I think a lot of people's projections are going to be wrong.

traditionalguy said...

She is still in Hope for change herself. She hopes Obama wants to do the right thing. Meanwhile Obama plans to re-distribute all she ever hoped for to his picked Representatives of People. She knows that Socialism reduces the size of the pie while selecting the few decision makers at the top to recieve more. As a result many must adjust to having less. Tha Anchoress Hopes it's not really happening to her. After all, aren't Black leaders morally superior?

Original George said...

"I think this worked because he really is a solid, normal person who remained grounded in the middle of all this craziness."

I think this is what psychiatrists call "projection."

To make the relationship acceptable, we imagine that the other party possesses the characteristics that you want that person to have---solid normality--when, in reality, these are your own strengths while solid normality may be lacking in that person who is, in reality, the living breathing manifestation of "craziness." Conflict arises when you realize that you actually have within yourself what you want the other person to possess while the other person is having within you what he wants to possess within himself but does not realize because he is secretly a hollow shrieking void and a loon until there is a mutual self-realization of the actuating potentialities of the unconscious and it is only when you realize that you are nuts and he is sane that the healing rebuilding can begin in the smoking rubble of the relationship.

Ann Althouse said...

@Bushman. Thanks for the typo heads-up. Fixed.

Ann Althouse said...

"However, it amazes me all the more that you voted for him."

I was given a choice between Barack Obama and John McCain. I chose Barack Obama, and I believe I was right. I think a lot of people who voted for McCain see that too.

Maguro said...

I'm curious how you came to the conclusion that Obama is notably "grounded". Stopping the rise of the oceans, the Greek columns, giving the finger to Hillary, the seal of the "Office of the President-Elect"...these are the actions of someone who is grounded? Or does he just get that much credit for living with his mother-in-law?

SMGalbraith said...

And I like to think that, now that he's President, with his steely nerve, his intelligence, and his groundedness, he'll do the job that must be done. The trickery is over.

Good post, Ann. The point is, we never know.

During the Bay of Pigs, Schlesinger recounts how he saw JFK literally weeping at the reports of the dead anti-Castro troops and that he was shocked over the physical appearance of JFK the next day. He said he had never seen the President look so bad.

JFK handled the event incredibly shakily. As well with Khrushchev in Vienna.

So, even someone "cool" and tested during war like Kennedy stumbled on the first tests of his presidency.

One pulls the lever and then we hold our breaths over the next four years.

Big Mike said...

@Ann, some of us who voted for McCain still think you're wrong.

Before you get too excited about St. Barack, how about waiting until we see him in action? Terrorist leaders, foreign leaders -- including those of nominal US allies -- and even Pelosi and Reid are clearly intending to test the new guy, and I'm not at all confident that his nerves are as "steely" as you project. I'd also like to think that McCain would not have selected crooks (Richardson, Holder) or tax cheats (Geithner) for key cabinet roles. Not to mention that gaffe-a-minute Joe Biden seems to be demonstrating with every utterance that he is even less qualified to be VP than Sarah Palin was.

So I'm still waiting the see the person that you already claim is there. Until then he's an empty suit.

Ann Althouse said...

"Before you get too excited about St. Barack..."

To characterize my support for Obama that way is absolutely wrong. You are lumping me together with other people in a way I do not deserve.

Salamandyr said...

I voted for John McCain, but I can see thinking Obama is the better candidate. McCain in 2000 was interesting, McCain in 08 was a befuddled mess.

And there is a silver lining to all this mess for conservatives. McCain would have stabbed us in the back almost as many times as Obama will do it to our front, all the while claiming this is what it means to be a "Real Conservative". And a lot of Republicans would go along with it, because holding on to the trappings of power is more important to them than holding on to principle (after all, with McCain siding with Democrats, and half of Republicans going along for the ride, honest conservatism would be the smallest party in town). At least with Obama, the GOP gets to be honest opposition. They get some time to look at what's really important, and rebrand themselves accordingly. With McCain, conservative Republicans would have all of the responsibility, get all the blame, and yet have none of the power to actually enact things.

Tibore said...

Due to the excessive exaltation apparent in the campaign and on the part of the media, I admit to a measure of cynicism in Obama's presidency myself. But unlike Limbaugh, I want him to succeed. Like it or not, he's now our President, and his failures are the nation's failures, so I have great incentive to want him to do well against terrorists, in Iraq and Afghanistan, and with the economy. If he does, then it's to America's benefit. If he doesn't, we all suffer.

k*thy said...

It’s a well done essay, but I would disagree that Bush fought his way into office. His political aspirations never appeared to be his own. Name recognition and connections helped him a lot, to start. He’s a self-described loner (who often didn’t appeared comfortable in his role), so an organic personality cult isn’t likely to happen. Outside events dictated that.

Obama read the situation, knew and believed in what he had to offer. Two very different and contrasting men and approaches to life and the office.

Ruth said...

I wish Obabma well on a personal level. On a political level I wish for gridlock as usual. The Congress is out of control, or if it is controlled, it is by ultra liberals who call themselves "progressives". In my younger days progressives were proud communists. I think some words have been redefined in order to make them more palatable to the public.

Balfegor said...

I was given a choice between Barack Obama and John McCain. I chose Barack Obama, and I believe I was right. I think a lot of people who voted for McCain see that too.

Yeah. His cabinet picks and pronouncements post-election have made me cautiously optimistic that his entire campaign was built 100% on lies from beginning to end. Hope springs eternal.

Big Mike said...

@Ann, then I apologize.

But the main point stands -- we won't know how "steely" his nerve is until he's tested. And even people in his own party are in line to test him.

Richard Dolan said...

Terrific analysis, extremely well said. Very minor quibbles.

"Bush soldiered on accepting the hatred and — apparently — doing what he thought was right, with the solace that history would — ultimately — respect him." Mostly, I think Bush took solace in knowing that he did what he thought was right -- at bottom, it was really an audience of one. A man and his conscience, alone in a personal relationship with his Saviour -- that's an idea that has a lot of resonance for a born-again Protestant and was an essential part of Bush's character and personality. It's another area whare Bush was the real deal and Obama is finally free to get past the trickery.

Reasonable people will differ as to which is better in a chief executive.

Richard Fagin said...

"Inside, he may have felt embarrassed by the whole enterprise, but he'd figured out that it could work."

Pray to God Mr. Obama was at least a little embarassed, even if he knew it would work. Without that little bit of humility, he could turn out to be a first class tyrant and a disaster as President.

Khornet said...

THE DAY ANN LOST ME.....

Goodbye, Ann.

Michael said...

"I was given a choice between Barack Obama and John McCain. I chose Barack Obama, and I believe I was right. I think a lot of people who voted for McCain see that too."

Based on what? What's happened since election day... except that now being in the Obama club is more appealing than ever and nobody wants anything to do with McCain?

Andrea said...

So THAT's why Zero hung out with Bill Ayers & Rev. Wright. It wasn't for the ideology, he was just studying their Cult of Personality techniques.

Erich said...

Ann said, "I was given a choice between Barack Obama and John McCain. I chose Barack Obama, and I believe I was right. I think a lot of people who voted for McCain see that too."

Those weren't your only two choices Ann. I voted, but I didn't vote for either of them - on principle. Please don't hind behind the "that's the only choice I had!" excuse.

Kelly said...

"What's happened since election day"?? Well, it's day two and we haven't been attacked! I call that a major success. As far as showing steely nerve, I'm going to have to await judgement on that. Having the press, Hollywood numbskulls and a weepy Oprah voter base in your corner hasn't really called on Obama to show much of anything.

jeff said...

"But unlike Limbaugh, I want him to succeed."

How strange. I, like Limbaugh, also want him to fail if he insists on implementing huge government, redistribution and generally the entire socialist agenda. On the other hand, should he tack to the middle and govern from there despite the wishes of the democratic congress and some of his more vocal supporters, then I, like Limbaugh, hope he succeeds.

Doug Santo said...

I can't believe the last paragraph of this post.

This is the rational for voting for this man? What evidence exists that Obama knows and understands the cult type following that was at least partly responsible for his coming into power? What evidence exists that Obama felt embarrassed by the whole enterprise? What evidence exists that Obama is a solid, normal person who remains grounded? What evidence exists of Obama's steely nerve in the face of international crises?

Unbelievable.

Doug Santo
Pasadena, CA

West said...

"And I like to think that, now that he's President, with his steely nerve, his intelligence, and his groundedness"

Please. Do you have any evidence whatsoever that Obama possesses these attributes? I am willing to posit that he can count on his fingers, but 'steely nerve"? The toughest situation this guy has been in has been to decide which Armani suit he will wear on a given day.

'Groundedness'? Just WTF is that, anyway? And even if you could define that term in less than a paragraph, you have no evidence other than your own projections (H/T Michael H) that he possesses the attribute.

Once more, for the thousandth time, Ann proves to me that she is an intellectual lightweight. I don't understand the cult of personality that surrounds HER!

West said...

"And I like to think that, now that he's President, with his steely nerve, his intelligence, and his groundedness"

Please. Do you have any evidence whatsoever that Obama possesses these attributes? I am willing to posit that he can count on his fingers, but 'steely nerve"? The toughest situation this guy has been in has been to decide which Armani suit he will wear on a given day.

'Groundedness'? Just WTF is that, anyway? And even if you could define that term in less than a paragraph, you have no evidence other than your own projections (H/T Michael H) that he possesses the attribute.

Once more, for the thousandth time, Ann proves to me that she is an intellectual lightweight. I don't understand the cult of personality that surrounds HER!

West said...

"And I like to think that, now that he's President, with his steely nerve, his intelligence, and his groundedness"

Please. Do you have any evidence whatsoever that Obama possesses these attributes? I am willing to posit that he can count on his fingers, but 'steely nerve"? The toughest situation this guy has been in has been to decide which Armani suit he will wear on a given day.

'Groundedness'? Just WTF is that, anyway? And even if you could define that term in less than a paragraph, you have no evidence other than your own projections (H/T Michael H) that he possesses the attribute.

Once more, for the thousandth time, Ann proves to me that she is an intellectual lightweight. I don't understand the cult of personality that surrounds HER!

West said...

"And I like to think that, now that he's President, with his steely nerve, his intelligence, and his groundedness"

Please. Do you have any evidence whatsoever that Obama possesses these attributes? I am willing to posit that he can count on his fingers, but 'steely nerve"? The toughest situation this guy has been in has been to decide which Armani suit he will wear on a given day.

'Groundedness'? Just WTF is that, anyway? And even if you could define that term in less than a paragraph, you have no evidence other than your own projections (H/T Michael H) that he possesses the attribute.

Once more, for the thousandth time, Ann proves to me that she is an intellectual lightweight. I don't understand the cult of personality that surrounds HER!

BarrySanders20 said...

Khornet,

Another sign that your are part of the cult is an inability to abide any criticism, however mild, of Dear Leader.

West said...

"And I like to think that, now that he's President, with his steely nerve, his intelligence, and his groundedness"

Please. Do you have any evidence whatsoever that Obama possesses these attributes? I am willing to posit that he can count on his fingers, but 'steely nerve"? The toughest situation this guy has been in has been to decide which Armani suit he will wear on a given day.

'Groundedness'? Just WTF is that, anyway? And even if you could define that term in less than a paragraph, you have no evidence other than your own projections (H/T Michael H) that he possesses the attribute.

Once more, for the thousandth time, Ann proves to me that she is an intellectual lightweight. I don't understand the cult of personality that surrounds HER!

West said...

"And I like to think that, now that he's President, with his steely nerve, his intelligence, and his groundedness"

Please. Do you have any evidence whatsoever that Obama possesses these attributes? I am willing to posit that he can count on his fingers, but 'steely nerve"? The toughest situation this guy has been in has been to decide which Armani suit he will wear on a given day.

'Groundedness'? Just WTF is that, anyway? And even if you could define that term in less than a paragraph, you have no evidence other than your own projections (H/T Michael H) that he possesses the attribute.

Once more, for the thousandth time, Ann proves to me that she is an intellectual lightweight. I don't understand the cult of personality that surrounds HER!

West said...

"And I like to think that, now that he's President, with his steely nerve, his intelligence, and his groundedness"

Please. Do you have any evidence whatsoever that Obama possesses these attributes? I am willing to posit that he can count on his fingers, but 'steely nerve"? The toughest situation this guy has been in has been to decide which Armani suit he will wear on a given day.

'Groundedness'? Just WTF is that, anyway? And even if you could define that term in less than a paragraph, you have no evidence other than your own projections (H/T Michael H) that he possesses the attribute.

Once more, for the thousandth time, Ann proves to me that she is an intellectual lightweight. I don't understand the cult of personality that surrounds HER!

Sean said...

By contrast, the entire plan to bring Obama into office depended on the glorification of the man, whose actual experience was so bizarrely limited that it took some nerve to claim to be ready.

Ann, I really cannot believe you wrote that - and you still voted for him.

That's some cognitive dissonance inducing prose right there.

AllenS said...

West said...

"Once more, for the thousandth time..."

Please, don't repost a thousand times. Control yourself.

Mike K said...

Had McCain been elected, he would have been Eisenhower again. He had done all this for years. He would not have been exciting but he would have known what to do. On domestic policy, gridlock would be just fine, and that includes the stimulus bill which will be a pork Christmas tree.

I don't know what Obama will do and I expect he doesn't either. The most worrisome part is the description of him from several of the conservative writers who had dinner with him. Several of them described him as very self assured. I fear this will make him brittle when he finds out how tough the job is.

Mike K said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eric said...

The hand-waving trickery is still in use. Witness all the media coverage about Gitmo being closed, when Obama has not actually ordered it closed (much less actually had it closed), when all he has done is said that he will order it closed at some point or another. The idea appears to be telling the people X in the hope that they absorb it as truth and fact, and judging by the media reporting it has worked.

Khornet said...

BarrySanderzo, I meant that after the things Ann has said, she still voted for him. I don't have time for people who think like that. So, goodbye.

Deana said...

Ann -

I love this post. Thank you.

I, too, don't understand your vote for Obama but that is ok. I simply appreciate your views and analysis on things.

Deana

Seerak said...

By contrast, the entire plan to bring Obama into office depended on the glorification of the man, whose actual experience was so bizarrely limited that it took some nerve to claim to be ready.

This bizarre focus on "experience", rather than the candidates ideas, was a key part of why he succeeded via this method. Elections are supposed to be about ideas... at least in a healthy polity, they are. "Experience" makes it about the person instead -- and you can't beat someone like Obama on that battlefield.

By the time McCain made a half-hearted, tiny jab about "socialism" somewhere, it was far too late... not that McCain was any sort of credible critic on that front anyhow.

Now that the mainstream is fully statist, elections henceforth will be all about bread, circuses and personalities -- not ideas. Welcome to Weimar, people.

Jamie said...

Invisible,

"I guess by normal politician, you mean 'son of a former President.'"

You're aware that Bush isn't the only President to have had family or other strong connections to the Presidency before his election.

"And by not any sort of hero, your ignoring all of those people who prayed and prayed during his campaign that W had a divine purpose to be President and his quotes about 'God speaks to me.'"

However, it's patent that you're unaware of how Christianity works; of course Bush's Christian supporters would pray that he was being called by God to this horrible task, and that he would continue to be guided by God in it. And of course Bush would pray for the same things, and would perceive the voice of God in answered prayer (which isn't always answered "yes"). How else does one discern a calling? By taking a poll?

"And by no cult of personality, you mean to ignore the frequent photo-ops cutting the brush, acting like a good-old boy and the whole 'decider' thing."

Because no President has ever been photographed enjoying himself or in the course of his everyday life. And because no President should ever acknowledge that the buck does in fact stop at his desk, and that when a decision must be made, he's the one who must make it, by definition of the job.

(All masculine pronouns should be construed traditionally - that is, as inclusive of the feminine.)

exhelodrvr1 said...

Balfegor,
"have made me cautiously optimistic that his entire campaign was built 100% on lies from beginning to end."

I feel the same way. Either he and his campaign staff were incredibly naive and/or stupid, or they were very dishonest. I hope it was the latter, which unfortunately says a lot about the sad state of the Democratic Party, and the nation as a whole.

m00se said...

I am certainly not infering that you voted for him due to his charisma. You voted for him due to your rejection of McCain.

The issue I had with the election was that, either way, we were going to wind up with someone who was either ill-prepared to lead or erratic and unreliable as a leader. In either case it was not a reasonable choice.

I chose to not vote for either of them, knowing that in that fashion I could go to bed knowing that I didn't *directly* contribute to either coming to power. In that small way I derived some level of comfort.

Obama is coming to office with the highest levels of expectation and defensiveness surrounding him I have ever seen, even with Reagan.

I cannot imagine that this is going to go well. Criticsm of him will be analyzed in the most exacting fashion, and their will be the almost constant suspicion of racism in response to such criticism.

Contributing to this cultism will come back to haunt us, and the struggle with racism, in our near future. I can only see the Obama Presidency yielding bitter fruit.

PatCA said...

Intelligent, yes, perhaps grounded, although I would call it phlegmatic, as you did.

But steely nerve? When has he never made a tough decision or faced down an adversary when the odds were against him?

Fat Man said...

"the "cult of personality" he saw developing around W after 9/11"

After the contentious election of 2000 Democrats, including their media wing, began an intense campaign to ridicule and delegitimize President Bush. He got a few weeks of slack after 9/11, but to call that a "cult of personality" is a severe distortion.

memomachine said...

Hmmm.

@ Invisible Man

"And by no cult of personality, you mean to ignore the frequent photo-ops cutting the brush, acting like a good-old boy and the whole "decider" thing. Oh, never mind."

Are you suggesting that someone cutting brush and doing yardwork is somehow a method for instilling a Cult of Personality?

Let's see how this plays out:

Man: "OMG! Bush is cutting brush! He is ... like a GOD to me!!!!"

...

I don't think I quite see the connection there. Want to detail it a bit?

Simon said...

Salamandyr said...
"And there is a silver lining to all this mess for conservatives."

Every silver lining has a cloud -- and this one's is huge, black as coal, and crackling with dangerous discharges.

Ann Althouse said...
"The trickery is over."

Heh.

Simon said...

m00se said...
"I cannot imagine that this is going to go well. Criticsm of him will be analyzed in the most exacting fashion"

He has set the tone already - remember that in his inaugural address, he dismissed his critics were "fear[full]" "cynics" who don't get it and whose concerns are irrelevant.

Fatboy A13370 said...

Ann voted for Obama over Mccain... not over some hypothetical decent president.

Would Mccain have had a silly cult of personality? Yeah, he would have. He's an ego machine, largely because he's actually got a reason to be from decades ago. It's always about John Mccain in Mccain's world.

I still think Ann should have feared Dems controlling both congress and the white house more than fearing Mccain confusing the political spectrum (if that's what she was worried about), but it's not like we had a great choice to make in this awful election.

Kelly said...

"the "cult of personality" he saw developing around W after 9/11"--

Have to throw in my 2 cents.

That "cult" is what you see around any moment of crises in American life. People turn to the President, they pray for the President, they want the President to lead us to a successful conclusion of the crises. That seems fairly natural.

The first time I observed this I was fairly young, it was Reagan at the funeral for the Marines killed in Lebanon. It made a huge impression on me and you could say there is somewhat of a cult that has sprung up around Reagan, but remember--he's DEAD, so that isn't dangerous. Obama is alive and kicking--as I want him to be, but I want his cult (mostly those in the media) to go away.

Seneca the Younger said...

It depended on our projecting all sorts of hopes and dreams onto him, and he knew it.

I like to think that, now that he's President, with his steely nerve, his intelligence, and his groundedness, he'll do the job that must be done. The trickery is over.

I think these two sentences make an interesting comparison.

Bruce Hayden said...

First, I think that those who are dissing Rush are missing something. He said he hoped Obama would fail IF HE TRIED TO IMPLEMENT A SOCIALIST AGENDA. It was not directly aimed at the man, but rather his policies. This is the problem with things taken out of context, as this most assuredly was.

And, I agree with that sentiment 100%. I didn't vote for Obama because he is a lightweight with less relevant experience than the much maligned Sarah Palin. BUT he is now our President for at least the next 4 years (and after watching Biden in action again yesterday, I am going to pray daily for Obama's continued good health). So, as long as his policies are not off the deep end, I will support him and wish for his success.

But we no longer have divided government. The nut cases are back in charge for the first time in 14 years. So, we had testimony yesterday that the CBO estimated that much of the "stimulus" package would not be spent until we were well on the way to recovery, and some of it not until after the next presidential election. The response of Dave Obey, Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, was that it was much too important to pass this bill, and they didn't have time to debate what was in it, or whether it actually would do any good stimulating the economy. This was esp. troublesome given the CBO testimony that it wouldn't provide the stimulus that it was being sold as providing.

So, it isn't Barack Obama as President that is scary, but rather, Barack Obama as President with a runaway Congress bound and determined to make up for 14 years of some Republican power, including passing 14 years of delayed Pork in one almost trillion dollar bill. I don't think that he could stop them if he wanted to, but I doubt that he will try very hard, since he probably would have voted for all of the things that this Congress is going to pass, if he were still in the Senate.

So, the best way to minimize the damage of this runaway liberal porkfest Congress may be if President Obama fails.

We shall see.

p.s. For all those from WI, is Obey always so embarrassing?

Simon said...

Fatboy A13370 said...
"Would Mccain have had a silly cult of personality?"

Even if this is true, comparing a hypothetical McCain cult of personality to that around Obama is like saying Dumbledore and Rick Warren both have beards. It's the difference between your bathroom shower and Victoria Falls.

Kelly said...

Fatboy, you're wrong. McCain's cult following (independents, the media) had abdicated to Obama. He would have been viewed as the usurper and worship would have been withheld.

Lawrence Schmerel said...

Ann, you are so full of hope . . .

ricpic said...

In his first executive order Obama is shutting Guantanimo down in the interest of "strengthening national security."

That isn't trickery; that's Orwellian.

JAL said...

Yeah. steely and grounded

Just finished listening to Obama announce (that what it was?) the executive order to close Gitmo (within the next year). POTUS had to turn and ask his counsel (Craig?) about it, and Craig interrupted the POTUS (at a news conference) to add something.

Is it an Executive Order or not?

Don't announce works in progress, fifth drafts or whatever the blank it is. As POTUS -- the CEO of these United States -- one ISSUES an Executive Order.

Done deed.

Me? I want the best for America and Americans.

This is going to be a long 4 years.

JAL said...

Interesting -- first announcement I heard on the radio about the Gitmo executive order stated that Gitmo would be closed "in the near future."

Did not know the near future as much as 12 months away ...

How do Murtha's constituents feel about having some of these guys in their neighborhood? (Does he have early Alzheimer's?)

Ann Althouse said...

"I still think Ann should have feared Dems controlling both congress and the white house..."

I did fear that. It was a huge factor in my decision. I concluded that McCain was so deeply enmeshed in Congress and he has a proven record of seeking approval from the Democrats there. Obama is more of an outsider. He's hardly ever been present -- even to vote present -- in Congress. He's more likely to stand up to those people. Plus, McCain went along over some of the worst Democratic issues. Even if he were independent, would his judgment be good? I didn't think so.

Mark said...

"I'd also like to think that McCain would not have selected crooks (Richardson, Holder) or tax cheats (Geithner) for key cabinet roles."

Oh, he would have had more than a few picks go sour, every President does. The difference would have been that McCain would have been raked over the coals for it.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Obama is too humble to issue anything so adolescent as an Executive Order. What we have here is a Presidential Statement of Direction and Mood, to suggest one of many possible ways in which the rest of us might start to think about moving.

JAL said...

Oh yeah, Craig's a great person to be handling this. (Writing the Gitmos stuff.) Prior to this job he has been working for a Panamanian guy who ambushed and killed (murdered) a US soldier in Panama. Not to mention some of his other un-savory international clients ...

As said above --- the press would take more than a passing interest in this if Obama weren't the President-Who-Walks-On-Water.

Simon said...

Ann Althouse said...
"I did fear that. It was a huge factor in my decision. I concluded that [Obama was] ... more likely to stand up to those people."

You've mentioned this before, and I'm rehashing old ground, I know, but this theory remains the most counterintuitive thing I've ever read from you. Counterintuitive doesn't mean wrong, to be sure. I find it hard to believe that Obama will resist Congress. It has nothing to do with institutional loyalties; it's a question of shared agenda. He won't resist them because he agrees with them. He doesn't understand any worldview but the one in which they are obviously correct - he made that clear throughout last year, and all-but explicit in his inaugural address.

I will shed some of my cynicism about him when he shows some kind of intellectual independence - not from the Congressional Democratic Party, but the mindset that shackles them and him alike. Will Obama veto the Freedom of Choice Act, for example? That would be a tangible demonstration that his rhetoric about moving past the culture wars means something other than demanding the side he opposes giving up.

Chip Ahoy said...

No wait, let me get this straight. That's the Anchoress talking in the indented portion and you talking in the non indented portion?

I agree with your analysis, I was thinking similar thinkie thoughts while reading that yesterday. I was stopped with the "personality cult" remark because I read that as departure from fact, and whatever you want to call whatever support Bush had or has compares favorably with a real-live actual personality cult. Sheesh. But then, I was reading something onTime after all, so one must ever consider the source. I dismissed the remark, filed under T for typical, and appreciated the otherwise excellent photographic essay. I was reminded that's one of the things they do very well over there at Time-Warner.

Big Mike said...

@Mark, much as I tend to agree with you, Richardson's legal troubles have been known for a while, and Holder's role in arranging the Marc Rich pardon -- something that looks suspiciously like bribery even at 8 years' remove -- was also pretty well known. Geithner's troubles using TurboTax surfaced during vetting.

In a bow to politics as practiced in his home town, he nevertheless attempted to appoint all three to cabinet seats. Scary.

Pity I'm an atheist. I seem to remember something about logs and eyes, and the image pops up every time the Democrats and their lap dogs in the press try to raise the banner of Republican corruption while carefully ignoring the likes of Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, Dick Daley, Murtha, Richardson, Geithner, and others too numerous to mention.

JAL said...

Obama could have demonstrated his "steely nerve" by standing up and stopping the crowd from booing the Bushes and the Cheneys.

His followers booed the wives.

No. Class. (Read "Disgusting")

traditionalguy said...

NB Most of the exercise of presidential power is dependent on a relationship to the country's voters. So long as Congress fears the fallout of stiffing the President's policies, they dutifully vote his wishes or they fear having to ship out next election cycle. Call that a cult of personality or call it doing his job, it's not out of the American tradition since 1828. The toe stumper is whether or not Obama will stay true to Socialism. I fear he will try to, but he wont tip us over too far. I hope not, anyway. The same goes for Professor Althouse. She cannot tip us over too much by being willing to discuss the realities of this fast-changing internet-connected world as she sees it.

Chip Ahoy said...

Booing. That's OK, I was booing Jill's too short red little girl coat and too tall 60's-era boots (but nobody heard me because I was doing the booing inside my head.)

Chip Ahoy said...

The distress of contemplating the deleterious effects of personality cults, real and perceived, is nearly equal to the distress caused by thoughts about paying $6.50 for a pound of fruit salad while deciding on purchasing 2.5 LBs, all the while concluding, "Ya know, later on I'll do better myself."

Crimso said...

"Geithner's troubles using TurboTax surfaced during vetting."

The "troubles" have nothing to do with TurboTax. I'm willing to believe he filed incorrectly as a result of using TurboTax. The problem is that he made things right for the two years he was audited, but did not for the two previous years. Until he was going to be Treasury Secretary. Heinlein's old "tell the truth, just not all of it" way of lying. He readily accepted that he screwed up for the two years he was audited. He must have known that was the case for the two years previous to that, but for some reason didn't own up to it. Until it threatened his nomination.

paul a'barge said...

Obama requires the cult of personality because there is no one home in a very expensive suit of clothes.

Well, there very well may be but the man certainly has no history to show it.

What the second photographer is talking about is not the cult of personality, it is in fact the cult of patriotism.

And let's not mince words. The Liberals and the Hollywood crew and the Democrats never rose to the occasion. These are not patriotic people.

They are narcissists and ego freaks. And without spirit or soul or morals.

Ann Althouse said...

Oh, noooo! Khornet is leaving! It's going to be like a morgue around here without him!

Jim C. said...

It depended on our projecting all sorts of hopes and dreams onto him, and he knew it. Inside, he may have felt embarrassed by the whole enterprise, but he'd figured out that it could work, and he was right.

I doubt he's embarrassed. Con artists usually aren't.

Now, I think this worked because he really is a solid, normal person who remained grounded in the middle of all this craziness.

Do you think successful con artists look crazy and sneaky? If they did, they wouldn't be successful!

And I like to think that, now that he's President, with his steely nerve, his intelligence, and his groundedness, he'll do the job that must be done. The trickery is over.

Your childlike naivete is touching. The trickery's worked fabulously well so far. Surely he'll keep on using it.

Okay, is he really a con artist? We'll see. But my gut says so.

Freeman Hunt said...

Obama is too humble to issue anything so adolescent as an Executive Order. What we have here is a Presidential Statement of Direction and Mood, to suggest one of many possible ways in which the rest of us might start to think about moving.

Heh heh heh. Executive Orders are so ball-busting and autocratic.

jdeeripper said...

The audacity of hope.

Roger J. said...

why dont we alll let some time pass and see what happens?

Revenant said...

I've wondered to what extend Bush's current unpopularity is *caused* by his nearly 90% approval post-9/11. People who had disliked him came to see him, however briefly, as a great President. It is only natural to feel betrayed when a person you looked up to turns out to be mortal after all.

I think something similar happened to Truman, who took over the enormously popular FDR administration.

Registering To Comment With Blogger Sucks said...

Don't hate the player, hate the game Ann.

Man, I detest this phrase. (Almost as much as I detest registering with Blogger to leave comments.)

The phrase is nonsensical. The "game" is its players. "Hate the game" is a way to try deflecting responsibility, to assign blame to some nebulous, unseen power beyond the control of individuals.

It's the sort of thing you hear from people engaged in a "hustle" or some dog-eat-dog endeavor, used as an excuse for contemptible behavior. And it's so very '00s -- it virtually defines this decade. Hopefully it'll be this decade's epitaph, and get buried along with the rest of it by the time we get to 2010.

Richard said...

The trickery is over.

Ann, you must have a love-hate relationship with your own beliefs. It's hard imagine, they way you write about Barak Obama, that you voted for him. You show all signs of seeing right through him, you don't like much of what you see, but you wind up granted him your support anyway. I don't know, is his trickery really over for you?

Ruth said...

Revenant said...

I've wondered to what extend Bush's current unpopularity is *caused* by his nearly 90% approval post-9/11.

According to a quote attributed to James Carville, it was a calculated effort to turn people against him because the Democrats were afraid they would never be back in power if his popularity stayed so high. With the willing help of the news media and the blunders he did make, it certainly worked and I no longer feel comfortable in my own country. I don't know these people, even one of my own children thinks socialism is the way to go. Of course he does have a fence and no trespassing signs on his country property.

Registering To Comment With Blogger Sucks said...

"I've wondered to what extend Bush's current unpopularity is *caused* by his nearly 90% approval post-9/11."

Bush's unpopularity was the product of an over-the-top revisionist campaign by the left. I don't mean that in a paranoid sense -- I'm not sure it can even be called deliberate or calculated, and thus perhaps "campaign" isn't quite the right word.

But it was very much revisionist. If the me of 2003 could have hopped into a time machine and visited 2009, he'd have been STUNNED to discover what had become cemented as conventional wisdom: that the case for war in Iraq was based fundamentally on "WMDs," that a "complicit media" had "rolled over" and let the war happen unquestioned, even that there was "little debate" in the lead-up to the invasion.

All this stuff got shouted loud enough, and repeatedly enough, to finally start sticking. To the point where it really is the conventional wisdom now. These past six years have been a big, fat lesson about the way information works, about the short memories of modern Americans, about the ways mobs work, about the the flaws in the collective human brain.

It's been kind of dizzying to witness, really. I couldn't care less about Bush's reputation -- I'm not a fan -- but I do find the whole episode to have displayed the uglier side of how humans operate, and I feel kind of yuckier for it.

Registering To Comment With Blogger Sucks said...

Veering off topic for a moment: Where do y'all get the time to post comments during the day? This is eternally vexing! I always end up on the bottoms of threads, all over the blogosphere, because I get to read and comment only when I get home from work at night.

I seem not to learn, though. I still venture in and post these lengthy, carefully crafted comments, despite knowing they'll be saddled at the bottom of these threads where all the real action happened while I was stuck at work, aware that they'll get little reaction or response.

What is the trick for you folks, exactly? How are there eight gazillion comments from this morning and afternoon?

Patm said...

"According to a quote attributed to James Carville, it was a calculated effort to turn people against him because the Democrats were afraid they would never be back in power if his popularity stayed so high."

I believe this. I remember a year after 9/11, Bush's numbers were still in the high 70's, and even in 2003, they were in the 50's. What I and a few others have noticed is that it seemed to happen in May 2005, when the Cedar Revolution and the Orange Revolution were going on, suddenly it was like an order had come down from on high and the press and dems just went merciless in their rhetoric, and Bush would not fight back. He seemed to trust people to be able to think beyond rhetoric. More fool him. Between the clear intent to destroy him and his own mistakes, there was no way they were going to let him up from the mat. I remember reading something about how Soros & co were planning to, in his last year in office, make sure his legacy was unredeemable.

I don't think they totally succeeded. But very nearly.

Registering To Comment With Blogger Sucks said...

He seemed to trust people to be able to think beyond rhetoric.

Boom. Yep. This was probably the single biggest strategic blunder by the Bush administration: not battling back as the narrative -- and history itself -- got rewritten before our very eyes.

Oligonicella said...

Althouse --

"He's more likely to stand up to those people."

Based on his acquiescence so far?

Ruth said...

How do I find the time...?
I am 72 and retired. I don't comment unless I think it is important enough to even read the comments, then if I think I have something to add to the conversation, I do so.
I've wondered about all these people who have jobs and blogs and/or comments. Productivity would probably be twice as high with no internet browsing.

jdeeripper said...

Roger J. said...why dont we alll let some time pass and see what happens?

My feelings exactly. And besides if you can't say something nice about someone don't say anything at all.

Now I have to get back to my knitting.

MInTheGap said...

And I like to think that, now that he's President, with his steely nerve, his intelligence, and his groundedness, he'll do the job that must be done.

One wonders if this is indeed the "true" Obama, or whether this is part of the projection. Part of the problem with Obama has always been who he really was-- we really don't know-- and his voting record is scary.

1970_baby said...

I just hope that when dear leader implements his one-child rule, its not retroactive.

EnigmatiCore said...

I can now be the one-hundred and first comment, forever hidden from view for those who never click the "post a comment" button and then over to the "newer comments".

It is interesting to read these words, so close together:

"It depended on our projecting all sorts of hopes and dreams onto him... And I like to think that, now that he's President, with his steely nerve, his intelligence, and his groundedness, he'll do the job that must be done."

It was so clear, what he was doing, yet even people who thought they saw through it were oblivious to when he was taking them in-- "and he knew it."

Maria said...

How do you pick the best suit for you? In order to buy suit choose the best one who have a great offer.