August 16th, 2012

Ezra Klein says Paul Ryan is Obama’s golem, or something like that

Ever since Romney picked Paul Ryan as his VP, there’s been an awful lot of even-stranger-than-usual stuff coming from the mouths/pens/computers of Democrats.

One of the oddest is a column by Maureen Dowd, which basically says that Ryan shouldn’t look so nice and smiley and handsome because he’s actually a mean sonofabitch.

I kid you not:

[Ryan]‘s the cutest package that cruelty ever came in. He has a winning air of sad cheerfulness. He’s affable, clean-cut and really cut, with the Irish altar-boy widow’s peak and droopy, winsome blue eyes and unashamed sentimentality.

Who better to rain misery upon the heads of millions of Americans?

But twisted as that is, it pales in comparison to Ezra Klein’s latest effort, which is less colorful but decidedly more convoluted. In Klein’s fevered imagination, Obama not only wanted Ryan to become the de facto leader of the Republican Party because Obama thought his views would be easy to run against (which Obama may indeed have believed), but the president has actively worked for several years to build Ryan up and then tear him down with this very aim in mind.

Therefore, according to Klein, Ryan is Obama’s creation (the title of his piece is “How Obama Created the Greatest Threat to His Presidency”):

Here’s the weird thing about Paul Ryan being named to the Republican presidential ticket: It’s all part of Barack Obama’s campaign plan — a plan that’s working better than his strategists could have hoped.

You need to read the whole thing to get the flavor of it. The summary version is that Obama knew that Ryan’s detailed plan would not appeal to the American people, and that initially even Republicans agreed with him on that, so way back in January of 2010 Obama started praising Ryan and building him up for a while. Then he slammed Ryan and his plan hard, forcing the Republicans to rally around both. And now all of Obama’s careful efforts have borne fruit in this nomination.

The problem, of course, is that Klein realizes that Romney-Ryan may actually win, a disastrous result by Klein’s lights—made even worse by the fact that, according to Klein, without Obama’s machinations leading to Romney’s picking Ryan (stay with me, folks), Romney probably would have governed as a centrist but now will be severely conservative.

Obama’s playing four-dimensional chess, for sure. I’m not certain what Klein’s playing.

[NOTE: For those of you who don't know what the word "golem" means, see this; also this section, which has special relevance for Klein's piece.]

68 Responses to “Ezra Klein says Paul Ryan is Obama’s golem, or something like that”

  1. kcom Says:

    Obama’s playing four-dimensional chess, for sure. I’m not certain what Klein’s playing.

    I’m not sure what he’s smoking.

  2. expat Says:

    I wouldl say that Obama is TRYING to play 4D chess. He may hop around a lot, but I don’t think he has much of an overview of the real world.

  3. Gringo Says:

    Ezra of the Klein Mind:

    Here’s the weird thing about Paul Ryan being named to the Republican presidential ticket: It’s all part of Barack Obama’s campaign plan — a plan that’s working better than his strategists could have hoped.

    I suppose that explains the long lines, enthusiastic and full-house crowds that have followed Paul Ryan on the campaign trail. That’s all in ∅bama’s plans.

    In 1960, Nixon planned to campaign in 50 states. Does ∅bama plan to campaign in all 57 states?

  4. mr.frakypants Says:

    Still boggles my mind that people think that the world works like a novel. Real people, regardless of who they are, are simply not that forward-looking. There are too many variables in real life to account for to make something like this happen.

    For the record, the main thing that I learned from going to school with people like BHO (Ivy in the 80s) is that the “smartest people in the world” aren’t all that smart. Klein’s column is laughable, and clearly falls into the conspiracy theory bracket. Every new event is evidence of the hidden wisdom of those pulling the strings!

  5. gk1 Says:

    I haven’t read Ezra in years but this is classic. He reminds me of those cat lovers who contend how clever their cat is just before it falls off the bookcase and into a trash can. “Oh look, he totallly meant to do that!” they delightfully squeek.

  6. patrick rich Says:

    Klein and his ilk tie themselves in funny knots trying to perpetuate the myth they created that Obama is a genius – so he must be operating on the basis of some sly strategy only another sly genius such as Klein can see and appreciate. It’s a twofer: Klein can write delusional Obama-supporting drivel and bolster his ego in swell foop. Pathetic.

  7. patrick rich Says:

    *one* swell foop. Damn. Aging is a terrible thing. So is careless proof reading.

  8. Sweet Lou Says:

    Obama is not playing 4-dimensional chess. He has been working three full time jobs — campaigning, fundraising, and being president — for the last three months.

    By this time he is so exhausted that he could hardly be expected to play anything more complicated than tic-tac-toe very well.

    Thus the weekly gaffes and missteps.

    God help us if anything ugly rears its head on the foreign policy front in the next two months, because Obama is not up to handling it.

  9. George Pal Says:

    One iteration of the Golem tale is positively inspiring. In it the Golem has gone rogue and the rabbi, the creator, disables it. Immobilized, the Golem topples onto the creator and crushes him. I love a happy ending.

  10. Jeff S Says:

    Clearly, Obama is the greatest thinker of all time, only surpassed by the great Vizzini!

  11. holmes Says:


    Just sit young Ezra on your knee and explain the world to him. He needs it.

  12. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    “Golem” indeed.

    As I predicted in another recent post here, we will be wading through a river of shit until election day, and it appears that it is not only going to be the usual shit, increasingly–as Democrats and their partisans, supporters, and enablers see victory slipping away–its going to be more and more crazy, delusional shit, as the claims about Romney/Ryan get more and more frenzied, unhinged, and bizarre.

  13. Pablo Says:

    Your link to Golem is malformed (it captures ” after the m); I think this is what you were going for:

    Obama’s intellect is so vastly overrated that the concept of him playing 4-D chess is amusing at best.

  14. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    P.S. Now that slow Joe has brought out the chains, can the whips be far behind.

  15. Libby Says:

    Poor Ezra, he has to dream up such far-fetched scenarios in order to protect his firm belief that Obama is the smartest man ever. Ezra’s paradigm shift on Obama (should it ever happen) will be quite a spectacle.

    Obama and his handlers have proven to be very adept at getting and wielding power, but they seem to be reaching a moment when there are just to many items bursting through their carefully constructed narrative to control: Biden’s incompetence, high unemployment, OPSEC video about security leaks, unhappy labor unions, huge Tea Party victories like WI recall, and Romney & Ryan avoiding all of the usual Obama campaign dirty tricks. I think the fall of the Obama myth is going to be quite a spectacle, too.

  16. FB Says:

    Obama plays one-dimensional chess. Class warfare, class warfare, class warfare. It’s all he knows.

  17. Paul A'Barge Says:

    Hi there, to have a golem, you first have to be a modest creature who is on a mission to save all living things and willing to take on evil incarnate with only a magical ring to protect you.

    Obama is none of these things. If anything, Obama is evil incarnate.

    So, the analogy doesn’t work.

  18. John Blake Says:

    Any illegitimate son of Comintern pedophile John Marshal Davis, born in Kigali, Kenya, who remains a naturalized citizen of Indonesia named Soetoro, would of course be wary of confronting Ryan. When your legitimacy on every level is at stake, criminal fraud is the sole remaining option.

  19. effess Says:

    In an Obama chess game — 4-D or otherwise — he’s the King, Michelle is the Queen, and all the other pieces are pawns.

  20. RebeccaH Says:

    A golem is essentially a mindless creature, created only to defend or to wreak vengeance. How Klein can believe that Paul Ryan is Barack Obama’s golem escapes reason.

  21. texexec Says:

    Off subject, I suppose but all of us commenters need to watch this (it’s about jerkhead’s release of intelligence info for political gain)…hat tip Ace. Do NOT fail to watch this…it will make your blood boil.

  22. texexec Says:

    (Hint…look at video below the boobs pic :) )

  23. I R A Darth Aggie Says:

    Deer Ezra Klein (and by extension, your Sun King Teh Won):

    Paul Ryan can do math. And Teh Won took $700+ billion from Medicare. Yet somehow Ryan is the evil witch trying to eviscerate Medicare? that math don’t hunt.

  24. A.Men Says:

    obama can barely read the teleprompter that someone else wrote for him, someone else runs the teleprompter and someone else stages the event .

    puppet obama with braindead biden.

  25. I R A Darth Aggie Says:

    we will be wading through a river of shit until election day

    Wading? if only. I think we’re looking at neck-deep at a minimum, and probably treading shit just to keep our heads above it.

    Just as long as it doesn’t become a full-scale tsunami of shit…

  26. subrot0 Says:

    It boggles the mind that Ezra can write this drivel, it gets swallowed and people give him money to write this stuff.

    But this race is Obama’s to lose. All he has to do is convince enough of his followers to vote for him because he needs more time for more hope and change. The incumbent can only lose, the challenger has to win and that’s a harder battle.

    Obama’s media minions are trying to make that job easier. If they can convince people that Obama’s vision and strategy is beyond the reach of mere mortals, how can you not vote for the man.

    Never mind that his vision and strategy are really not much more than hope, slime and prayer with a hefty dollop of money.

  27. JorgXMckie Says:

    There’s a reason it’s called a Klein bottle. No matter where he starts, he always ends up in the same place. He’s trapped and can’t get out.

  28. Occam's Beard Says:

    Who better to rain misery upon the heads of millions of Americans?

    Yeah, we don’t want the Republicans to end these good times.

  29. Occam's Beard Says:

    Seriously, how do Klein and Dowd manage to get paid to write such unalloyed drivel? Klein is a dolt (“the Constitution is over 100 years old”), and Dowd has the intellectual heft of Pauly Shore.

  30. edward Says:

    Do the orderlies at the institute know that Ezra Klein is out of bed and playing with the computer at the nurse’s station?

  31. Paul_In_Houston Says:

    “I did NOT fall! Everything I do is carefully planned.”
    ~Inspector Jacques Clouseau, “A Shot in the Dark”

  32. rasqual Says:

    “I’m not certain what Klein’s playing.”

    You misspelled ‘smoking’

  33. elkh1 Says:

    4-D chess? Does Obama know how to play chess? He is playing Chinese Checkers in which his luck in throwing dice determines whether he wins or loses. He wins, so far, on rigged dice.

    Romney is playing GO.

  34. Valjean Says:


    I completely agree with your larger point that the left has become unhinged by Ryan’s Veep nod. Even Yale academics are wondering why the left has no “canon” — this was popular enough that yesterday NPR (!) picked up on it.

    I know, I know — pretty grim sources; but this was some of the most unintentionally hilarious stuff I’ve heard in politics in years. If you can stomach the smarmy tone, it’s great stuff — basically says, “we have no ideas” …

  35. Curtis Says:

    Good site to read, Valjean. What Slate did not point to is the left’s adoption of nihilism, ie., postmodernism. They took that monster of meaninglessness to bed and want to have children? I don’t think so. Gagdad Bob is a great, understandable pontificator on this subject.

    “The bottom lyin’ is that instead of tryin’ to persuade anyone to vote for him based upon his own record, Obama is simply inventing an alternate reality.”

    Everyone swimming in their own isolated unconnected pee filled pool. What an irony that the collective left winds up with no collection at all. Almost as if if “had” to happen that way.

  36. Curtis Says:

    Note Gagdad Bob is a word lover. He often makes very clever word substitutions like “lyin” for line. That’s awfully good punnery. I’d even call it poetry. Very helpful, too, as a trigger to help one remember and recall the larger context.

  37. Jim Sullivan Says:


    I read that piece about the Left and their lack of a canon. Conspicuously absent was any mention of their true idealogical roots: Karl Marx, Chairman Mao, William Jennings Bryan, Woodrow Wilson, Noam-f$&@ing-Chomsky,

    Oh, they have a canon alright. They just can’t admit to a large swath of it in polite company. If they’re even aware at all.

  38. Artfldgr Says:

    Therefore, according to Klein, Ryan is Obama’s creation (the title of his piece is “How Obama Created the Greatest Threat to His Presidency”) ……..

    – Neo

    You may be right IF the person your analyzing was not cargo cult leftist. Lets see if I can apply what I have explained before and show the difference between the two groups of people.

    In this world, there are people of substance, who understand principals for which the world works, and applies them. They do NOT have magical thinking, even if its disguised cleverly. To them cause follows effect, and sometimes effect follows something that is not the cause. But by and by, everything works, is whole, and achievement and such can only come from hard work with substance to the issue (not just hard work: labor theory of value), luck, or twisting the failure to some sort of win (either a virtual win that would have happened if they had enough X and there weren’t armies of hidden conspiracists (like them) working against them).

    These are the majority of common people.

    However there is another group of people in our society that works by another set of principals as they do not interact with reality directly but interact with people who then go and act. These can be of substance, but they are often cargo cult. They go by the surface.

    They think that conditions evoke outcomes.

    The left leadership is made of a lot of such thinkers. And they do not learn substance as they have all these mechanisms to avoid it. If you conjure up moriarty, you avoid your own failures. If you conjure up needing more money, you’re skirting the fact you can’t plan.

    To read of the events that conjured up such ideas and labels in society, is to read about natives who, in an effort to reproduce an event, go about trying to reproduce the APPEARANCE of conditions.

    Its like ALMOST getting the scientific process. You get that events are reproducible given conditions, but you don’t get that these conditions have to have substance, and appearances are not equivalent to substance.

    The illusion is that everyone thinks like “ME”. If you and others had a touch of Asperger’s, you would know that everyone does not think like “me”… with that, comes the benefit of a theory of mind that does NOT start with your own mind, and so shows that other minds CAN be dysfunctional in subtle ways… overt is easy… wander the halls of shrinksville… but subclinical dysfunction of this kind, is not even noticed – even by professionals that one would think have incorporated the knowledge. (but knowing is not the same as incorporating. In this sense knowing is the barest of acknowledgements… knowing its bad to kill is the start of it. incorporating it into oneself from knowing so when something happens, you change course vs the prior, is the difference of real knowing vs a tipped hat)

    The primitive cargo cultists did not have the simplest principals and so that brought their behavior into high relief when compared to the real world and what you know, and so on.

    But when it’s someone like Klein, Obama, Imadinnerjacket, Stalin, etc…

    We miss it… we even miss the writings that clue us in on it.
    The ideology itself divides up the two… (and uses an ignorant third).

    It knows that in a battle of logic, the man in the mental institution wins.
    Not because he is right, but because he can mess up the logic so bad, the others concede
    (and because he cant accept logic, never concedes)

    Now, we don’t want to think that such edumacated people are cargo cult primitives.
    But that only reminds me of the native Indians stuck in sears suits for photographs.

    Lenin and stalin thought that if you created the bad conditions then the people would revolt…
    Ie. the cargo cultists built their ideological version of cocoanut runways and tiki torch guide lights

    All of marxs ideas and predictions are all about surface appearances, not substances. Are fat cats all evil, or can you make the surface appear like that if you can convince normal people of some wrong principals? they are principled, and if you lie, you can control them by those principals. the side Klien is on, is unprincipaled, you cant control them that way.

    Their whole thing is about believing the surface view, and the emotional spin.
    NONE of that reflects the reality of it.

    When not fully in power and free to act in overt horrid ways without anyone else being able to stop them, they attack with endless nothings… but those nothings look good to cargo cultists.

    The same mind that thinks that making cocanut runways, is the same mind that believes the surface appearance stories, and then goes out and acts on them. They don’t have the principals to judge whether the surface appearance is real, or not. So they just choose sides (and who given a choice would pick the thing that appears worse on the surface?).

    So, I politely make the case your analysis is wrong…

    If you read a lot of their stuff that is not so public, you will find that they feel conditions and apperarances make for reality. Why do you build a super train to no where? If you build it they will come.

    So to Klein, they built Obama, and so under Hegel, his antithesis has to appear.
    [edited for length by n-n]

  39. East Bay Jay Says:

    The Dems are raising their game. Gold medal level cocooning.

  40. Valjean Says:

    Jim Sullivan,

    I agree. The NPR interview did throw out a few “acceptable” names like JK Galbraith, but otherwise ignored some very obvious examples like those you mentioned. But that was the point (even if they didn’t see it): eschewing the very idea of integrating ideas, especially those from long-published thinkers.

    The Yale prof mentioned in her seminars that the “conservative” students (yeah, both of ‘em) come to class having already read Hayek, von Mises, Rand, etc. while the “liberals” haven’t read … anything. Of course, this was couched as their being “open to ideas”, etc. — but was certainly refreshingly candid.

  41. neo-neocon Says:

    elkh1: my “4-D chess” remark was sarcastic.

    Actually, I’m starting to think that Romney is a fairly decent chess player himself.

  42. neo-neocon Says:

    Pablo: thanks. I’ll fix the link.

  43. neo-neocon Says:

    Paul A’Barge: yes, I realize that the golem is traditionally a cloddish, dumb sort. Frankenstein’s monster and all that.

    My point (besides an attempt at humor) is that in this piece Klein seems to think of Ryan and the Republicans not as intelligent people with agency of their own, but as the dumb puppets/tools/creations of Obama the great strategist. The “golem” reference is meant to be from Klein’s point of view, not a description of reality.

  44. Artfldgr Says:

    I think we as a whole are missing something ELSE I said is key in the game from the left.

    Everyone on the left that serves in a high position has some kind of dirt on them. They either have it in the closet hiding, or it’s in the open, but the left keeps the media and attention away from it, so it means nothing.

    We are not used to a system of control.

    Just as sociopaths have a different mindset, as do business men vs cleaning ladies, and all that is natural and as it is, the vast majority of us have never lived under a “system of control” and do not even know what makes it what it is, nor how it operates.

    Ignoring the threat of oversimplification, there are several ways things can be run. We are MOSTLY familiar with the ideas of meritocracy in terms of merit rising (not in terms of the classical definition of assuming the elite are merit).

    We tend to want to assume that a boss builds a department by hiring the competent and so on. but those who know the various games and how they are played, also know that besides a route to the top existing for merit and that, there is also a dysfunctional way to the top, and your own kingdom. You will find that those with the leftist mentality tend to favor the latter, while those that like substance and merit, and can accept their position based on that and self knowledge, assume merit. You will find that the former knows both ways, and the latter is completely confused and ignorant of how the other way can even work.

    A boss has a choice when hiring people. And which they hire depends on their methods of control, if they even try to control in the simplest idea, rather than lead.

    The boss that hires competent people is a person who achieves to win. They do not like cargo cult surface things, and enjoy the benefits of substance. Their people are with them for merit reasons, of pay, good work, etc… they have control of them, but through cooperation and mutual desires for outcomes…

    The boss that hires non competent people, is a person who controls and manipulates to win. They are working a different angle to the same end, and have a different set of tools to apply when things are not right. (something the merit doesn’t have!).

    They hire and promote based on a level of incompetence. By doing so, the person they hire gets a higher station in life than they would otherwise, and they may even believe they earned it. to them, it’s seems like success, and that this makes them loyal to the one that picked them. Deep down, whether we like it or not, we often know the reality that we don’t tip our hats to consciously. And so subconsciously they know that without this boss, they fall back to the level they existed or could obtain before.

    So a person not really a good management choice, is a good one for this kind of manager in that the manager has control over them completely. It’s a VERY subtle form of open blackmail. The person knows that if they fall out of favor, and lose the job, they cant get the same kind of job. They cant really do the job, and have been listening to their “mentor” tell them what to do.

    And in this way, the manager who does this, ends up building a tiny kingdom of collusive colluding manipulators that all owe their place to the lords or ladies of the fiefdom

    So what does that all have to do with Ryan and the left?

    Easy… the left favors perversion, amoral action, etc… this makes for a very large pool where nearly everyone has some skeleton in their closet or some acts that they don’t want revealed or if revealed want defocused.

    They are about a hierarchy of power and control, and they are paranoid, and so they do not ever believe in loyalty, fealty, merit, etc… without substance they have no way to judge or decide, and so they believe its all fake… they ALSO dislike the nice things the majority do! They prefer perversion darkness, nihilism, and so on over rainbow bright, etc…

    So if you look at EVERYONE on the side of the left, you can easily show the point or points that keep them under control. think Obama is his own man? how so? One phone call and one move and the president of the US will have such a stink from transcripts, birth records, etc etc etc.

    In fact, the fact that people don’t give up on it, is akin to the left holding a pack of rabid dogs and threatening Obama with loss of everything if he does not comply. So even if he WANTED to do something else, he cant.

    Go down the list and you will find not one person in the high up level of the left side of politics is at all clean. NONE of them are. its almost a physics law of the left. And that’s because the whole of the left in the US is controlled by the whole of the left all over, and so no person can rise on the left without a blackmail dog collar on to force collusion and coordination over personal goals and opportunities. (Eventually they get used to it and don’t struggle, and that’s when you look at them and think that they are evil and so on)

    You see… this method of doing things removes the uncertainty of merit and loyalty in terms of the rulers controlling things. Its how you keep this structure working and in line. And every person from Barney with his prostitute boyfriend, nepotism in employing him, and such, is VERY loyal. The second the left stops protecting him what would happen? Just compare him with what happened with Cain. Leftist feminist oppressed women came out and did his surface image in…

    So why the annoyance of Romney and Ryan?

    Ah… well… why are they annoyed at Ryans religious beliefs but not Nancy Pelosi?

    Nancy is on their side, and has so much dirt, she will say or do whatever her controllers say and does so because she is ALSO rewarded… smart blackmailers insure the situation by rewarding those who they blackmail… ie. take with one hand, give with the other…

    So nancies religious belief is a tool, not a real belief. This is why she can support abortion, and so on and others can. Their belief is not belief, but the cargo cult surface draping of belief like a robe or a badge. So while she will spout something that sounds religious (but the real religious then wonder and get all uppity on it as its not what a BELEIVER would know… ), and its ok.

    But you see… REAL BELIEVERS in GOD who try to LIVE by those words, are cut from a different cloth. Their belief in god protects them!!!!!!! Hows that for funny? The left can’t beat them because their strength is the strength of ten because their hearts are pure.

    Such people are not controlled by blackmail which does not exist. For the left, such religious people from Judaism and Christianity are DANGEROUS beyond all others.


    Because people default to merit… and leadership… and when any real merit or leadership shows up in comparison, the left loses. Substance once revealed always trumps surface nothings and imagery. The solid reality passes through the ghostly image…

    You cant control such people. Their moral choices leave no handle for the left to grab and steer them. They do not self doubt, so the devils talk on their shoulder doesn’t get them to listen. There is no skeleton to use against them in the open, or control them in the dark. They cant be tricked into making certain choices, especially choices bad for the people they morally do represent.

    In this I can easily say that Ryan is the clean boy, and Romney is soiled a bit.

    Its romneys presidency, and campaign and election, but everything is on Ryan. Ryan is moral, clean, traditional, religious and completely untouchable by evil methods of control.
    [edited for length by n-n]

  45. Artfldgr Says:

    Paul Ryan in Ohio just now: “As Joe Biden might say, it’s great to be here in Nevada!”

  46. Curtis Says:

    Isn’t “Never wrestle with a strong man” a Latvian proverb? Maybe the Left is scared to death of Ryan because they rightly fear his intellectual and moral strength. I know Obama despises Romney because Romney is solid. Obama has tried his usual smear campaign tactics but it hasn’t worked, because as Art pointed out, there’s nothing amoral about Romney which Obama can use. It’s driving Obama crazy. We shall see whether Obama is capable of some distance or whether he will self-destruct.

    Another proverb might explain why illiberals are nasty, miserable, complaining, projecting and undeserving:

    Good understanding giveth favour: But the way of transgressors is hard.

  47. PCachu Says:

    Obama is staring at the 4D chessboard, trying to figure out where the Xs and Os are supposed to go and when he’ll get to say “king me”.

    Ha! But I kid. The only game he plays is Calvinball, except he’s convinced that he invented it and thus its real name is Obamaball.

  48. Kurt Says:

    PCachu: He’d better be careful. He might actually be playing with a Happy Fun Ball. Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball!

  49. King Cranium Says:

    Andrew Sullivan used to make the same argument about President Obama (he may still make it; I stopped reading him). Everything that happened was all part of some super Obama plan. If it was good for Democrats, he’d planned for it, seen it coming, and executed it. If it seemed good for Republicans, Andrew would go to great pains to explain why it was actually good for Democrats and how Obama’s cunning and deft political execution had made it all possible. Events that didn’t immediately lend themselves to either interpretation were Obama’s long game…eventually it would come out as part of his master strategy. Even things that were demonstrably awful for Obama, such as “bitter clingers” or the special olympics gaffe, were his minor flubs meant to show what Republicans were like when they overreached with criticism. I guess Ezra liked the idea.

  50. Artfldgr Says:

    Isn’t “Never wrestle with a strong man” a Latvian proverb?
    Yes it is!!!!

    THANKS!!! you cheered me up a bit..

    The whole proverb is:

    Never wrestle with a strong man nor bring a rich man to court.

    there are quite a few that might apply here and other places…, but do remember, if the left erases culture, it erases such non biblical but equivalent wisdom…

    Let the devil into church and he will climb into the pulpit.

    A smiling face is half the meal.

    As long as you live, you learn.
    [heinlien expanded it to include: or you dont live long]

    If you can’t use your eyes, follow your nose.

    Every man forges his own destiny

    In dense woods the trees grow straight

    Even the devil himself does not know where women sharpen their knives


  51. mezzrow Says:

    Barack Obama, super genius.

    The Acme of political brilliance.

  52. cas127 Says:

    “I’m not certain what Klein’s playing.”

    Klein’s playing…with himself.

    And the rest of the DC/MSM insular bubble circle-jerk.

    This is actually what the world looks like to those who live under the dying MSM/DC dome, as the air supply for their corruption runs out.

  53. kaba Says:

    Obama is such a genius.

    Just look at his deft handling of the economy…..

    What I meant to say was just look and be impressed by his brilliant foreign policy and our improved standing in the world……

    Uhhhh! what I meant to say is look how he boosted the Democrats in the 2010 election……..

    No, no, no, that’s not it……It is really his tremendous fund raising in this election cycle.


  54. parker Says:

    The left is unhinged and becoming more so day by day. Klein’s attempt at jujutsu is laughable. No one beyond those who take Dowd seriously buys into BHO as the grand master of anything except dog stew.

    RR over OB by 5%. RR with 300+ electoral votes.

  55. zefal Says:

    f*** erza klein. f*** him with a spiky acid-tipped dick.

  56. Curtis Says:

    Regarding the monotony of our minds, minds, minds minds, rip . . .

    Emily Dickinson put it this way:

    THE BRAIN within its groove
    Runs evenly and true;
    But let a splinter swerve,
    ’T were easier for you
    To put the water back
    When floods have slit the hills,
    And scooped a turnpike for themselves,
    And blotted out the mills!

  57. kolnai Says:

    * I find the canon discussion interesting, and I largely concur with Jim Sullivan’s judgment. The left does have a canon, and it includes those Jim mentioned as well as the postmodernists.

    But here’s the thing – they very rarely actually read their canonical sources. Example: Zinn’s “People’s History.” Such works are essentially propaganda, and are in essence intended to be boiled down to bullet-points and slogans.

    “White Christians raped the land of the Native Americans, and then raped everything else.”

    One asks for a source.

    “Zinn, et al.”

    The propaganda line has travelled into the ether, emanating from the “canon” like the cosmos from the Neoplatonic One, and that’s all the left needs. It’s a kind of self-Stalinization, an auto-cultural revolution.

    Thus, the reason the left can be said, in a sense, to “not have a canon” is because their canonical works are all, more or less, works of propaganda. Zinn’s “People’s History.” Marx’s “Communist Manifesto.” Rawls’s “Theory of Justice.” Croly’s “Promise of American Life.” Chomsky’s “Manufacturing Dissent.” Fanon’s “Wretched of the Earth.” And so on down the list.

    Such works are not read, when they are read, for the reason that conservative canonical books are read – from the thirst for truth – but from something else, perhaps ressentiment, perhaps guilt – at any rate something related to whatever psychodrama underlies leftism.

    Leftists are unable to confront the reality of the matter, which is that the intellectual poverty of leftism comes down to a tragic flaw in the source of the ideology – it is not rooted in the love of truth. Intellectual passion, the hunger for the kinds of ideas enshrined in canons, always comes from the yearning for truth, at bottom.

    * Now, return to Klein’s ridiculous article. A conservative interested in the Western canon (which is the true conservative canon) might be familiar with St. Anselm’s arguments for God in his “Proslogium.” It is often noted that Anselm’s so-called ontological proof issues in the conclusion that since the concept of God is “that than which nothing greater can be conceived,” to merely understand those words is to understand that God must exist.

    Okay. But it is usually not recalled that Anselm went on to admit that there is so much about this God, particularly the source of his goodness and compassion, that simply cannot be understood. So he writes:

    “Therefore, O Lord, thou art not only that than which a greater cannot be conceived, but thou art a being greater than can be conceived.”

    The great divine paradox, the mystery – God is both the greatest that can be conceived and beyond what can be fully conceived.

    This is a beautiful idea, and a staple of Christian thought throughout the ages. What Klein and all too many leftists incline to do, however, is to take this idea and apply it to men (of the right – or left – sort). Klein’s article can be boiled down to:

    “Barack Obama works in mysterious ways.”

    Events unfold, and then we are supposed to look back and see God’s (Obama’s) providential plan unfolding within them.


    My point is that conservatives, who exist in the “ether” of a canon driven (above all) by the love of truth, are extremely sensitive and keen to such dangers. Back in 2008, for instance, the conservative horror at the shameless idolatry of Obama was entirely genuine. Liberals are simply unaware that there is any danger in political idolatry at all. And that is because their canonical ideas boil down to propaganda, to political strategy:

    “Demonize everything conservative and call it ‘idolatry;” idolize anything leftist and the institutions supporting leftism.”

    It is, in short, an ideology that is nothing but an ideology. The conservative canon has explorations and analyses of such temptations, and warnings about them and the horrors they unleash. The leftist canon, being rooted in such temptations, cannot look upon such things, on pains of self-vitiation.

    Ezra Klein is a comedic result of that. Barack Obama is a serious result. And the results can get a lot more serious. Unfortunately, as a rule, only conservatives are aware of that.

  58. Baklava Says:

    I did read this yesterday Neo.

    I almost recommended it in a post – but I got too busy.

    It’s laughable how much credit Ezra gives Obama.

    Like some sort of chess player.

    Obama engages in demonization and vague sets of values.

    Paul Ryan engages in mathematics and communication of modest reform to save the countries entitlement programs and bring the budget under control over a 30 year period.

    Imagine that! 30 damn years and he’s called extreme. What if there are emergencies that have to be paid for over this period of time. That will explode the deficit again.

  59. Jim Sullivan Says:


    Though not technically a conservative, I tend to agree. Especially, insofar as how little leftists know and actually read their “canon”.

    It shocks me when discussing this stuff with my liberal co-workers, how little they know about both sides, except for quick “sound bites” they credit to Zinn or Chomsky or somebody and probably read on wiki quotes.

    If you aren’t even aware of your sides origins and arguments at a most basic level, how can you know the other?

    Aah, but that’s leftism. I know, I’m a changer too.

  60. Southpaw Says:

    Sure. I can picture the genius Sith Lord Obama cackling hideously “everything is as I have foreseen it” – as he reads the line from his TelePrompter.
    And the 2010 loss of the House was no doubt part of his master plan…
    Klein needs psychiatric help. He’s willing to believe anything, rather than face the reality the person he’s idololized is an empty suit.

  61. Smock Puppet, 10th Dan Snark Master Says:

    >>>> Obama’s playing four-dimensional chess, for sure.

    The One has a special insight into extra-dimensional chess, considering he’s managed the impossible, and gotten his head so far up his rectum that it’s coming back out the top.

    Given that this is a physical impossibility in 3 dimensions, it seems rather clear that The One has got mad skilz when it comes to something like this.

    >>>> I’m not certain what Klein’s playing.
    Klein’s not playing anything, he’s just waaaay off his meds. It’s time for an intervention in his case.

  62. Occam's Beard Says:

    It’s laughable how much credit Ezra gives Obama.

    Like some sort of chess player.

    Compared to an intellectual bonsai such as himself, Klein’s regard is probably well-founded.

  63. expat Says:

    Kolnai and Jim,

    It is not just that the lefties are intellectually shallow; they are also experientially deprived. I can’t begin to compete with you guys on the philosophy, but my life experience is always ringing bells for me. Every time a lefty spouts some utopian ideal, I find myself saying: But that’s not how people work! That’s not how the world works! The emperor has no clothes!

    Klein is like a Vogue contributer ranting about Obama’s beautifully embroidered robe. He never asks whether it keeps him warm.

  64. expat Says:

    I just had another thought on that 4D stuff. I think we are off one dimension. Doesn’t this seem more like Obama?

  65. Occam's Beard Says:

    I can picture the genius Sith Lord Obama cackling hideously “everything is as I have foreseen it” – as he reads the line from his TelePrompter.

    I have this fantasy of hacking TOTUS and having Obama gravely intone that he proposes repeal of the 13th Amendment, since he does not appear to engage at all with what reads off TOTUS. Is that wrong?

  66. Don Carlos Says:

    Artfldgr, Neo:
    Thanks for those great posts.

    Our Federal gubmint and its Ministry of Propaganda are infested with clones of Nurse Ratchit. The extent of Looney Tunes is truly amazing. If it weren’t so serious, since they do have power, it would be hysterically absurd.

  67. W Krebs Says:

    If Obama thinks he’s playing 4-D chess, he’s been riding around in the Choom Wagon too long.

  68. Dave Says:

    Paul Ryan is trying to steal Obama’s “precious”?


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