Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Party Like it’s 1992

Was in which Barack Obama’s campaign imitates or echoes that of Bill Clinton’s campaign in 1992:

1. “The Man from Hope” and “The Audacity of Hope.”

2. A “New Democrat” and “A different kind of politician.”

3. “The worst economy in fifty years” and “our economy is in recession” (If we’re lucky the economy will be growing at 4% annually by the last quarter of this year, as it did in 1992, but I’m not holding my breath.)

4. In 1988 Clinton put himself on the map with his speech at the Democratic Convention in 1988 (even if he was not praised for it, it did get his name out there). Obama’s star began to rise with his speech to the Democratic Convention in 2004.

5. Sister Souljah and Rev. Wright?

There are many others. Discuss.

Discussions - 11 Comments

Well, there doesn't seem to be a great deal to discuss. Seems you hit the cycle, tagged all the bases.

Except noting the hypocrisy of Obama, and his wife, who criticize the Clintons while imitating their ways, emulating their style.

There's very little I put past the Obamas, especially the wife.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Karol Wojtyla often remarked that "it's all there in the face." Solzhenitsyn and Wojtyla. Those two men truly did "see it all," in complete contrast to Obama, who despite the bizarre utterance of his wife, did not even come close to "see[ing] it all." Hell, he doesn't even know what "all" of it is. .

So what do we see when we scrutinize the visage of Michelle Obama. What do we discern?

It's not a pleasant picture; it's not a pleasant face.

I liked it even if it makes me want to transition to Hegel's discussion of Phrenology, and from there to the Nazi scientists back to Aristotles discussion of livers and from there to Descartes, mathmaticians and my economic proffesors who always accused me of being postdictive, overfitting and employing too many degrees of freedom. If we optimize too much with Obama we will end up knowing more about the past than the future, in addition to this if Obama is like Slick Willie Republican livers are in trouble in November.

Solzhenitsyn provided pictures too, for he expanded at some length on his theory of it "all" being there "in the face."

For instance just take a look at the photos of Naftali Frankel, which can be found in his epic, The Gulag Archipelago. You'll see immediately what A.S and the Pope meant when they said "it's all there in the face." Without reading anything about Frankel, without knowing anything about him, your breath will still be taken away by the evil oozing from that face. As for his deeds, the Gulag camp structure and regime was said to be devised by Frankel himself. He was the one who tailored productive output to food allotments. Which in effect put a human being on a tread wheel from which he could never get out, except by death. Solzhenitsyn said his face oozed an anti-human animus. And so it does.

Or compare the elderly faces of two women, two Hollywood stars, long after their film careers ended. One is Olivia De Havilland, the other is Bette Davis. Just picture those two faces.

Or here is another pairing: Ave Gardner and Lauren Bacall.

The type of life a man leads sooner or later betrays itself in his face. Picture the face of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Aren't their former lifestyles reflected in their present visages? One needn't select extreme examples however. Just picture Tiger Woods. Woods looks as focused as a bullet in flight. He's mission oriented, and his mission is to beat The Golden Bear's record of most major victories.

Of course Solzhenitsyn presents his case in chief much better than I have.

Steve's article is interesting. But it's not precisely on point.

Solzhenitsyn also makes a similar point regarding surnames. And again, he develops his case at some length.

Dan, your physiognomy of Michelle Obama was not exactly to the point, either.

Thank you, Steve Thomas, that was fun.

And Michelle Obama? What does Dan claim to see in her face that he does not hear from her voice?

Otherwise, comparisons are odious, but not in this election, where they are truly ubitquitous
and give us something to talk about as the campaign drags on.

At the risk of being simplistic about it, I don't really care if you appeal to Solzhenitsyn...the argument that Obama has an ugly wife seems rather subjective at best and downright racist at worst. These sort of attacks are guaranteed to loose for republicans. I don't know what Solzhenitsyn's argument could be about surnames...but I do know that Levitt makes an argument about such things from a quantifiable perspective in Freakonomics. I think you sense the perceivable racism in your argument and therefore supplement it with praise for Tiger. Nevertheless such arguments are typically out of bounds, and I am unscientifically sure that they are a net vote looser if voiced. The reason being is that in general those who find Michelle Obama to be ugly or vicious may also not tend to find black women attractive in particular, therefore as long as Michelle Obama opperates against Obama unconsciously, she is a plus for Republicans...but as soon as republicans try to stir up a vicious steriotype of Michelle Obama the natural impulse among white people is to question this as racism...therefore your strategy makes racism more of an issue and ends up working in favor of Obama. In addition to this attacking someones wife should be off limits, and this is not even figureing out what the reaction is among women. I am guessing women may be turned off by Michelle like white people in general until she is attacked.

It is just bad politics, unless...unless you want to guarantee that the Clinton base embraces Obama with vigor, so that McCain has no other option but to embrace the conservative base and not a centrist campaign. Or unless you are lofting up softballs for McCain to shoot down, denounce and repudiate.

In my opinion the left will attack McCain's wealthy wife and Obama will denounce them and McCain will likewise reciprocate with Obama. It seems to me that both McCain and Obama want to return to a politics that was less vicious, less personal, less ideological and more pragmatic. In this sense then I am more attracted to McCain and Obama than to either base who both seem to be living with a delusion about what is possible. McCain and Obama are both drawn to the center by nothing other than the efficient market hypothesis. It is in this sense then that I reconceptualize politicians. Partisans want both sides to make directional plays in the market, but the actual plays that are sensible given the totality of market information is very slim because most fundamentals are already reflected in the price structure. Partisans overestimate the ease of getting what they want just as greedy traders believe that they can bend the market to their particular whims. But no sooner does one candidate go long on the base than the other steps in to short his position and collect the windfall of votes.

On the other hand this does not mean that the market is automatically efficient, this is an academic misconstrual of the market that stems from a misunderstanding of subjectivism. Human nature is real and there are always imballances in the market that a sucessful trader or politician can seize and guarantee profit or victory. On the other hand the difficulties in being a sucessful politician or market maker or poker or blackjack player are greatly gigantically enormously underestimated. Political scientist and casinos and the media and market analysts sell some shady products...they sell you the potential of profit knowing full well that the potential for it will drive you into thinking that you actually approximate the blackjack system...but in reality very very few people can actually find the discipline to play system blackjack and once you can the Casino's will ban you before you ever recoup the cost of the learning curve, to say nothing of its opportunity cost. It is of course the great mass of american citizens reflecting upon their own experiences, albeit succumbing to overfitting that drives and distorts efficient market hypothesis, the way things are isn't necessarily the way they rationally must be for to say this denies the real possibility of being a sucessfull poker or market maker, nevertheless it is a statistically true rationality, that would preclude the great majority of partisans from being profitable if they had to back up their moralizing theories with cold hard cash.

Consider briefly the ridiculousness of tenured academics, now consider how many would be poker players survive and flourish(I survive but hardly flourish), how many would be black jack players, how many would be politicians, how many would be market traders, how many entrepreneurs?

I don't mean to discourage imagination, except to temper my own, the fact of the matter is that margins are always more razor thin than we would think, and while I can still pick off people who are too analytical by sheer instinct, it is a dangerous game. In my model Obama beat Clinton because she was too analytical and system oriented and he changed the rules. McCain I think is going to try Hillary style politics in going long where Obama is long but hedging enough to secure the center. This will work for McCain until enough folks like Dan speak up, then Obama will win because like Slick Willie he is a better poker player.

First off, there is no racism involved in the position of Solzhenitsyn and Wojtyla, nor in mine. Their observations obtain for all men, of whatever clime, whatever ethnicity, whatever skin colour. It hasn't ANYTHING to do with skin colour. And it's intellectual bad faith to try to drag race into every single discussion of the Obamas, Barrack Hussein and Michelle.

That being the case, the accusation that I "used" Tiger to insulate myself from racist charges is altogether groundless. I didn't "use" Tiger to insulate myself, rather I availed myself of his popularity. The reader isn't likely to go find a copy of The Gulag Archipelago, and check out the pictures of Naftali Frankel. I knew that. And I also know that a writer should be considerate towards his reader. So as a courtesy to the reader, I used a face they were much more familiar with, I was first going to use Jimmy Rollins and Derek Jeter, but Woods was a much better example, and more known than Rollins, and because his face is much the stronger, {it evokes the teachings of his father, who was former Special Forces}. Woods looks like what he is, driven, motivated, determined.

One really shouldn't have to go to such lengths to answer groundless racism accusations. But it's an extremely toxic accusation. And I've learned that some accusations must be answered immediately. Despite their being groundless.

As for the article that Steve provided a link for, ---------------------------- well that repeated the ancient Grecian notion of the link between beauty and virtue, between certain physical traits and certain character traits. That idea is wholly separate from the one advanced by Solzhenitsyn and Wojtyla. That's why I said that Steve's article was NOT on point.

I only said it was "interesting" as a courtesy to Steve. I really didn't find it so. But he did provide the link, and I thought it civil to check it out, and speak to it. I didn't want to speak to the merits of the positions of the Greeks. That's why my comment was so brief. But that does not in any way mean I subscribe to those views in the article. And it's something of an insult to Solzhenitsyn and Wojtyla to confuse their position with that captured in the article.

Solzhenitsyn and Wojtyla's position is paralleled in Christian cosmology. If you recall, Lucifer was the most beautiful of the Angels. "Was," as in past tense. But after his famous question: "Who is like unto me" thundered through the Heavens, he fell, and as he fell his very appearance transformed, from one of beauty to one of unpronounceable hideousness and dread. He went from being an Angel of Light, to being the supreme Lord of Darkness. [By the by, is that a racist observation too --------------------------- that Lucifer became a creature of "darkness"] Wojtyla is simply noting that as in the Heavens, so on Earth, a creature's appearance can and often will be transformed by the deeds of the creature himself.

By contrast, here is an example from human experience. I hope I get this right, it's been decades since I first read it. If any reader should note error, I hope they'll take the time to lay out the accurate details of the legend. It's about Leonardo Da Vinci and his great masterpiece, The Last Supper. Da Vinci often used subjects from around his area in his work. So he went through the streets of his hometown looking for a face of innocence, strength and virtue. He was looking for someone to use for the face of Christ. He looked long and hard, and he finally found someone. Time passed, his masterpiece slowly began to take shape and Da Vinci was nearing the end of his long effort. But he still had to paint Judas Iscariot, the man of whom the Gospel of John said, "Satan entered him." So he went in search of a face steeped in sin, steeped in evil, ---------------- and he found one. So he approached that face, that man, and asked if he would be interested in letting Da Vinci paint him. But the man replied, "But of course, you used me before, don't you remember...?" The man he found for the face of Judas was the exact same person he used much, much earlier, ------------------------- for the face of Christ himself. The evil that the man gave himself over to so transformed his appearance, that he became unrecognizable to an artistic genius who painted him but some time ago.

There's no racial component present in Da Vinci's tale. Nor is there a racial component in anything that Solzhenitsyn relates. Just a moral one.

Solzhenitsyn states that the CHARACTER of the person, vice ridden or virtuous, ultimately reflects itself in the face. And that's exactly the point that Wojtyla made when he used the exact same phrase as Solzhenitsyn.

It doesn't have anything to do with being Caucasian; it doesn't have anything to do with dark hair colour, or blond, nothing to do with blue eyes or brown. If you think as much, then you missed the point entirely. ENTIRELY.

Specifically, the issue at bar is the effects that morality or immorality have on appearance IN GENERAL. Thus the issue transcends race altogether, because we are exploring a rule of UNIVERSAL application.

Turning now to Mrs. Barrack Hussein Obama, I NEVER said, nor did I imply that because Michelle Obama is ugly, her character, ipso facto, must be equally ugly. That would be crude, and that would be brain dead.

In fact I've NEVER pronounced on Michelle Obama's beauty, or the lack thereof. I used the word "pleasant," which conveys something altogether different. [But for the record and for purposes of establishing my good faith, I DO think that Michelle Obama is "ugly," very much so, although I never said it outright, and I never said it outright because that's NOT the kind of thing a gentleman should really say about a woman, and I'll violate the code of a gentleman here only for the purposes of establishing good faith, which really shouldn't be in doubt anyway... but when toxic terms like racism are tossed around, accusations which should NEVER be made except on hard evidence, one is left with no choice.]

So do credit Solzhenitsyn and Wojtyla with far more than making some superficial link between beauty and virtue. And credit me with the same.

As for Steve's article, -------------- there isn't any need for me to comment on the views of the Grecians. Because there isn't any link between their views and the views of moral giants such as Wojtyla and Solzhenitsyn. Even referring to them in the same breath conflates those views, thus confusing and distorting them. And of course to the detriment of Solzhenitsyn and Wojtyla.

To answer Steve's question directly, "what does one see when looking at Michelle Obama," one sees what's there. And what is there? A nastiness. And a vast, VAST sense of entitlement.

That's her in a nutshell.

And I discerned as much from her mere appearance, long before I ever read the transcripts from her weird speeches. And long before I knew she sat at the knee of a "Reverend" Wright, lapping up all the poisons that flowed from him. Such information CONFIRMED and validated a sensory impression made much earlier.

As for John, pick up The Gulag Archipelago and let Solzhenitsyn make his points. Maybe he'll persuade you.

As for the political prudence of campaigning on what I mentioned earlier, ---------------------- where did I suggest that such observations would provide traction on the campaign trail? Furthermore, where did I ever make on this thread a campaign suggestion? You've imputed to me positions I never had.

And that is more than enough for this thread. For anyone desiring to delve deeper into the idea of perceiving character from appearance, go read Alexander Solzhenitsyn's works, and go read some of the biographies of Karol Wojtyla, late Bishop of Rome, late Vicar of Christ on Earth.

For anyone who doesn't believe that one can read character from appearance, check out the MIT study on the cardinal booth log. This will also explain why our airport security is the way it is. Of course Las Vegas and all sorts of places employ cameras that photograph the various angles of the face for identification purposes. It may be funny to laugh at Hegel for discussing phrenology, but modern technology powered by computers that corrolate and plot facial structure to determine identity are already with us. I am not sure who gets to claim Da Vinci but as far as I can tell he was a great geometrician. In an age where beauty, wealth and looks seem to be highly corrolated it is no suprise to me that plastic surgery and fashion make constant appearance. Your insight may be more than skin deep. My insight if I have one that is simply not an observation is the war between Mathmatics/quantifiable and intuition and instinct. Basically it is just what I observe and use in my poker games. If you want to fancy it up I will say Descartes and Hegel. But even here it is dangerous I am not sure I understand Descartes and Hegel anymore than the fools who play blackjack believe that they understand and implement the theory.

I used to have a the multi-volume copy of the Gulag Archipalego but I loaned it out, which is probably just as well because when I sat down with the good intentions of reading it...well lets just say that it never happened.

When it comes to actual racism, it seems to me that racism is simply a function of how it is measured. I am perfectly willing to point out that I would be a structural racist in keeping with how the math is done to prove such a thing, since from my point of view such a definition runs into corrolation problems. So in my view I am back at AJ Ayer. The rich and powerfull create great systems that they are capable of understanding, and hand them down to the great mass of people who fool themselves with black box versions of rationality. Racism exists, and because the intellectual class is too analytical for such mundane temperaments they take great pleasure in shooting fish in a barrel never pausing to consider that Racism might simply be a function how experience is organized.

Basically going back to Descartes and foward to mathmatical insights in the field of Economics, and observations of gambling behavior...I simply don't see how unaided human beings get past the charge of overfitting and being postdictive. In a generous reading of Descartes shouldn't we conclude that racist people are simply racist because of epistemic failure in organizing experience? Of course everyone could read the Meditations and still understand them in the same way that Casino's are happy that black jack players think they know+implement perfect theory.

Don't forget the incredible amount of self-love that each man has. Clinton's ego was a true spectacle to behold. It is completely overshadowed by the weird, messianic, "I'm the one you've been waiting for" nonsense coming from the Obama campaign.

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