Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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HRC & LBJ or JFK & BHO?

Jonah Goldberg has an astute insight into what may be a possible explanation for what's been eating at the President and, therefore, for what may be a probable cause for his tirade of a press conference on Tuesday.  He thinks BHO is ticked at having to eat Hillary Clinton's words.  That is to say, during their primary debates, Hillary and Obama did not differ about the nature of the liberal transformation they both wished to see come to fruition in America.  But Hillary articulated her idea of the presidency as a job requiring discipline, organization, and a grinding style of give and take (along the lines of the LBJ model).  BHO disputed that vision of leadership and won the nomination on the premise that the JFK and MLK model of "inspirational leadership" was the key to winning hearts and minds and, therefore, that action would follow. 

But Obama found the limits of rhetorical leadership because he was trying to effect this liberal transformation.  He found that he could not win the hearts and minds of the American people once he started putting meat on the bones of his policy prescriptions and we decided to take a pass.  He did not understand that he would have to persuade us--that the aroma would not be inducement enough. As he failed to persuade and--worse--found himself unable to persuade, he also found himself having to step up the sneaky, back-room, push style of politics favored by liberals like Clinton and LBJ.  Interesting and a very good insight from Goldberg, I think.  I'd also add this:  Once he got going in this mode, he found that he was quite comfortable in it.  There's something very . . . oh, I don't know . . . Chicago, (that's it!) about it.  It must have felt like home.  But here's the thing:  Americans don't like naked grabs at power and Barack Obama does not know how to cover up.

The problem with this kind of politics for Barack Obama is that he is NOT Bill Clinton.  (Hilary isn't either . . . but that's another story and one that probably explains why Obama beat her.)  Obama, unlike Bill Clinton, does not have and cannot feign interest in or sympathy for his political adversaries--the sort of people that he finds beneath contempt. You need to feel Obama.  He will not condescend to feel you or "feel your pain." He is not like FDR either, for he does not understand the regime and the people that he seeks to transform as well as FDR did.  He's borrowed the FDR tactic of trying to pretend that the stuff he's peddling is good old-fashion American apple pie; but he doesn't try very hard to conceal the fact that the apples in it came from someplace else and might taste kinda funny at first.  Instead of trying to insist that they're really fruit from our vines, he just insists that we'll come to like them once we get used to them.  So while he is good at the soaring speech, he gets angry if you try savor it long enough to express surprise or distaste for it.  Moreover, the crust he's draped over those apples is pretty thin.  Besides, you're not supposed to chew on what he says, you're just supposed to feel it and to be so seduced by the scent your brain will tell your taste buds they must be wrong.  The pie is not off, you are

This is the essence of Barack Obama's dwindling support:  he does not get the American idea of self-government directed by the consent of the governed.  He is a full-throated and fully sold disciple of Progressivism and of its critique of the capacity of human beings to govern themselves.  He therefore addresses himself only to the passions and interests of the American people and does not engage their minds.  This is because he does not value the opinions that come from the people and their minds.  He does not think that most people are capable of the kind of "reason" that he and his friends are engaged in "on behalf" of the American people.  We are an object of his study, not his respect.  The more obvious this attitude of his becomes (and it's revealing itself with increasing regularity) the less likely it is that Barack Obama will have much longer to dedicate himself to this kind of entomology. 
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