Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Obama’s First Blunder?

Lots of interesting chatter about Obama’s cosmic musings about the Virginia Tech shootings, where he stretches the metaphor of violence as far as outsourcing of jobs overseas, and other things that display the kind of unseriousness that damaged liberals in the 1960s and 1970s. Not a good sign. Radley Balko of Reason and Ben Smith of The Politico are suitably harsh on Obama’s rhetorical extravagance and the intellectual flabbiness it suggests.

Discussions - 19 Comments

I do not know if you heard, but Obama just joined the Mexican terrorist organization La Raza: http://conservativetimes.org/?p=409

There's certainly some silliness to Obama's comments, as reported. They remind me of a grad school professor I knew--a woolly-headed Scandanavian who habitually referred to "structural violence," by which I think he meant inequality.

But there's a way of engaging his remarks that serves a more serious purpose. To the extent that there's anything "systematic" reflected by this horrific incident, there's probably no law or policy that could have headed it off. Stricter gun control, for example, likely wouldn't have worked, as it didn't in Canada and the U.K. when shooters managed to do a lot of damage. Had there, however, been a more effective community in which he was embedded, people might have gotten hold of him in ways that could perhaps have headed off this nightmare. Our privacy laws and rules have something to do with hindering this, as does our more generally libertarian culture.

We don't have to devalue the word "violence" to address this issue. But we can talk about a permissive culture, about responsibility for ourselves and one another, about family, and about community. We don't have to adopt Obama's solutions, if he has any, but we can address the questions he raises.

I agree with the criticism of the "libertarian" culture and the lack of community it leads to. But built into the concept of community is the idea of the outsider. A community which encompasses the known universe of humans is not exactly communal. Globalism and individualism are two sides of the same coin.

Obama's reputation for being smart and articulate seems to rest mostly on the reluctance of anyone to point out his deficiencies.

He's a lib, his "intellectual flabbiness" was always going to reveal itself. It was just a matter of time.

For intellectual flabbiness, veering toward vacuity, see his book. Has anyone here actually managed to slog his way from one end of it to the other? I couldn't. Anyone who fancies himself a Stoic should put himself to the real test: Obamian prose.

Joe, what you said is simply thinking wisely about the situation. Philippe Beneton develops your theme at length by speaking of "souless institutions" in which endlessly mulitplying "procedures" take the place of authorized and responsible leadership. It's in his must-read
Equality by Default .

But what you said is NOT "a way of engaging his (Obama's) remarks," nor is any "service rendered" by engaging with his ill-chosen words for any purpose other than to judge his fitness for the highest office in our land. A writer needs springboards, of course, but let's remember the reason for why Obama's words matter.

re Dan:

He's a lib, his "intellectual flabbiness" was always going to reveal itself.

THAT'S intellectual flabbiness.

Piker, sure it is, but it also has the virtue of being accurate.

Liberalism is not the mind in combat, it's the mind adhering to the fashions of our time. It's more a fashion statement than a coherent, intellectual explanation of and prescription for the problems of our time. Liberal economic theory seems derived from the endless viewing of "How Green was my Valley" and "The Grapes of Wrath." Liberal foreign policy seems seems to have "Full Metal Jacket" on a continual loop. There's more to America's economy than the Dust Bowl. And there's more to foreign policy than stale, albeit mildly clever analogies to 'Nam.

Hussein Obama is a wholly orthodox lefty. There's no there there. Or as Dick Morris quipped: "What's Act II?" Other than wowing Oprah, what's he done? What will he do?

At least Howard Dean would unleash the occasional primal scream to keep us all entertained. What's Obama got to redeem him?

And Piker, go read Steve's biography of Reagan. He lays it all out how Liberalism found itself exhausted and clueless as far back as the '60s.

Obama hasn't anything new to offer, he's nothing but wrapping and ribbon adorning an empty box. Or as our Texan President might say, "all hat, no cattle."

Well, I can't argue with you there, Dan. It's not that I don't disagree with you, it's just that most of what you say is name-calling, unsubstantiated accusations and self-contradictory to boot. You do know Bush isn't really FROM Texas, don't you? He's from Yale.

You do know Bush isn't really FROM Texas, don't you? He's from Yale.

Huh? He was born and raised in New Haven?

Piker, this is politics. What you deem "name-calling" others term branding. Robert Bork and John Tower were driven into the wilderness by "unsubstantiated" and ridiculous accusations. And when it was all over, I didn't see any Liberals out there deploring their use of "unsubstantiated accusations." And those were unsubstantiated accusations. WHEREAS my comment was based on decades, decades of observation of American liberals in action. Taking a page from the liberal playbook, we Republicans successfully made "Liberal" toxic, and rode that to victory in '80, '84 and '88. And the only reason we lost in '92 was because we had a politician who tried to get beyond branding his political opponent.

You said that what I mentioned was unsubstantiated. But that's precisely my beef with Obama. Where's the "substance" behind his meteoric rise? It wasn't me who said of Obama: "Where's Act II?" That was the comment of a seasoned political pro, Dick Morris. I don't have to take Obama to task, I don't' have to enumerate the particulars of his voting record. And the reason is that so far, there isn't anything there except his wholly orthodox, lefty voting record. He's a lefty. And he's running with the leftist herd down there on Capitol Hill. Can you identify for me or for anyone else situations and issues where Obama departs from the orthodox views of the left?

You took an off hand, off the cuff remark, dashed off on a keyboard almost while I was going out the door and tried to use that as an all encompassing generalization.

I don't mind though. I understand why those left of the political aisle are a bit touchy. I sympathize, I truly do.

Your two main contestants for the nomination of that party are by any evaluation, profoundly unsuited and unready for the office they seek. Their resumes are embarrassingly thin. One, Hillary, only got there by riding the coattails of her husband, and to get where she wanted, she had to endure a public humiliation by her husband that any other woman would have deemed grounds for divorce. And but for him, but for putting up with that public humiliation meted out by him, she would be languishing in well-deserved obscurity somewhere. The other, Obama, has only his voice, his smile and the adulation of Oprah to his credit. He won a Senate seat that was never in doubt, for he won in Illinois, a state totally controlled by the Democrat machine. And yet one of these two people is going to be the nominee of the Party of Jackson, FDR and Truman.

Now just compare for a moment their non-resumes to the resumes of Senator John McCain, to former Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

How can any Democrat not hang his head in shame? I understand. I truly do.

But at the end of this comment thread, there still remains a single, solid, sobering fact. And that's Obama's utterly bizarre utterance, where this supposedly intelligent man equated the mass murder of well nigh a platoon of American collegians with talk radio statements and personalities. At the end of the day, that's what this comment thread is all about. And it's not about me. Nor my derisive remark about Obama and liberals like Obama.

Which was a perfect bullseye, by the way.

Inexperience? Please, a 18-24 year-olds can be said to not have sufficient experience. Obama comes from a political family, is a politician and although he may not have been in politics too long, he certainly is a grown man, married with children. That alone qualifies him for some experience in life.

Weird thing is, Dan, I agree with the assesment of Obama's comments. They were cheap political points which had no place being made in the context of this tragedy. But by the same token, you use them to paint all liberals with the same brush. The way you use the word "liberal" I can assume you agree with everthing that Ann Coulter says. Heck, that's the way all you guys think, right?

For me, nothing he says really matters. Indeed, the only thing he can do that will matter from our perspective is make things hot for Hillary (specifically) and Democratic unity (in general). And, even if the "dream ticket" of Hillary/Obama comes to pass (and I doubt it will), he'll take nothing from us. Voting 90%+ for Democrats means that the black vote is lost anyway. Let Obama run..who cares?

I lived through the Carter years, and I remember them well. When I speak of liberals, I recall Andrew Young embarrassing the country at the UN, I recall Cyrus Vance resigning in protest because Carter finally tried a military rescue mission. Vance didn't resign because of his diplomatic incompetence in securing the release of the hostages. No. He resigned because he protested the use of the military. I recall his deputy at that time was Warren Christopher. The same man that another liberal named Secretary of State, and the same man who allowed his country and his office to be insulted when he allowed his plane to be left spinning its tires for hours on end on the tarmac in Damascus. Instead of simply ordering his pilot to get airborne, and defy the Syrians to do something about it. I remember the Bork hearing. I watched it. I remember when Bork was queried about his huge legal fees, legal fees that he ran up to pay for an incredibly expensive medical treatment for his first wife. I remember his face, the look of utter disgust and revulsion. For those fees were explained privately to members of the Senate. Yet those same Senators preferred to use those fees to demagogue. And I remember those men, Biden, Metzenbaum, Kennedy and Leahy. I remember that Bork acted like our present President, for he refused to dignify such despicable statements with an explanation or an answer. I remember John Tower getting driven from Washington, {I wasn't some big John Tower fan by the way, I just remember the accusations, that he was a "womanizer," even though he was single, so what was their problem}. I remember picking up the paper and seeing literally every week some new revelation about the woeful state of our nation's defense. Squadrons that couldn't fly for they didn't have enough spare parts, so they resorted to cannibalizing their own aircraft to find those parts. I remember well the Liberals opposing every major weapon system during the Reagan years. The B-1, the M1 Abrams, the F-15 Eagle, the F-16 Fighting Falcon, Fleet Carriers, the Bradley. You name it, they opposed it. The Trident. The Arleigh Burke Destroyer.

I remember it all. And I remember it well. When I speak of Liberals, I bring decades of observation to the table. Close observation.

When Senator Zell Miller spoke at the last GOP Convention, when he went over in detail the many votes of John Kerry, I remember those votes, for I remember the battles over those weapon systems. I remember the battles that Republicans had to wage to properly arm and supply the men in uniform.

I remember the scoffing over the Strategic Defense Initiative, which the liberals mockingly took to referring to as "Star Wars." A name that attaches to it this very day. And that very system may yet save the West and our own cities from the missiles that we are now allowing our enemies in the Mideast to acquire.

I remember the hysteria, the absolute hysteria over the Nuclear Freeze movement.

I remember the efforts to make sure that El Salvador couldn't defend itself. I remember the efforts to make sure that Nicaragua went Communist, and what's more, STAYED Communist.

I remember the efforts to kill Reagan's tax cuts, the very tax cuts that provided the economic power behind America's military buildup. Ronald Reagan's domestic and foreign policy was fought every step of the way, and scoffed at long after its successes became obvious to all but the most obdurate.

I remember it all. Thus when I allow those decades of experience and observation to inform my view of an Obama, how can I pretend that he's any different from what I've seen before, long before. How can I pretend that he's any different when his voting record tells me what he is.

It's not my fault that he's transparent. It's not my fault that he's devoid of substance.

What blame should attach itself to me for arriving at conclusions entirely justified by history and his record?

If Obama wants history to pass a different verdict on him, all he has to do is change his positions, morph himself into an ole' Sccop Jackson Democrat, and a whole different course lies open before him.

The choice of navigation is all up to him. He can chart a course hard left. He can frequent those isles of weirdness populated by Chomskyites and Michael Moore types. Or he can avoid those waters altogether. And break out into the deep blue.

It's all up to him.

Sue, he barely has experience to be a Congressman, let alone a Senator, let alone Commander in Chief.

The last two Presidencies have left us with no doubt about the ungodly pressures that descend upon the men in that office. This is no time to delude ourselves that just because he's married, he has some experience, so he can handle the job. This nation hasn't been led by someone with so little experience since Truman took office after the death of FDR. And this guy doesn't have that hard, unbending ornery nature, that Truman had. Dan Quayle was POSITIVELY seasoned compared to Hillary or Obama. And Quayle was simply running for the Vice Presidency. And I recall too the big to do that Dukakis made of the selection of Quayle, compared to his selection, Lloyd Bentsen, {who should have been the Democrat standard bearer, for he was qualified for high office, whereas Dukakis was only mildly so}.

The nation turned to Clinton when the Cold War was over, the world was moving into a bright period supposedly, free of strife, free of the threat of war, we were told we were going to build that bridge to the 21st Century. But 9/11 told us that we weren't building a bridge, we were trying to establish a bridghead, an embattled bridgehead of order and decency against monsters that crawled out of some hole from the 7th Century.

This is no time for Obama. Nor time for Hillary. Had the Democrats turned to someone like Zell Miller, then I would be forced to give him a serious look. But they won't turn to someone like him, for he's their past. And he's no part in their future.

Dan, the last two comments were among the best I have read in a very long time.

I agree with "someone," Dan. Very clear and very articulate. Your point is driven home perfectly.

I just wish the Dems would (could) run Zell Miller. Miller vs. Giuliani. That would be a great battle.

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