December 8th, 2012

Obama’s leftism: a feature, not a bug

One thing has become more clear since the 2012 election: why the charges about Obama’s leftism failed to gain traction in 2008.

When Obama was running for president the first time, it seemed as though there were so many things for which the American people would turn on him and realize that this was no moderate. Ayers, Soros, Alinsky, “spread the wealth,” electricity rates “skyrocketing,” bankrupting the coal companies. But strangely, none of them appeared to matter all that much, and Obama was elected with a hefty margin.

By 2012 things seemed even more clear. He’d failed to revive the economy or reduce the deficit. He’d championed a new, expensive, potentially intrusive, entitlement with mysterious and threatening details that kept emerging as time went on. He seemed hostile to business, both big and small (except for cronies, and big industry in swing states like Ohio whose votes he needed to court). His class warfare rhetoric was strongly divisive.

And yet he won, although by a lesser margin than before. I can only conclude that, for an ever-growing segment of the population, it wasn’t that they had to ignore and/or make excuses for these things. It’s that they approved of these things. The oft-repeated statement that this is a center-right country doesn’t seem to be the case any more, however many people may describe themselves as “conservative” on polls.

One of the most important lessons of the 2012 election for the right just may be that these changes in the perspective of much of the American public have been fundamental and need to be combated on a deeper level than previously thought. Perhaps that’s the biggest (and only?) plus in Romney’s loss: it lets us know what we’re dealing with.

69 Responses to “Obama’s leftism: a feature, not a bug”

  1. Occam's Beard Says:

    Thanks, neo, now I’m really depressed. I’ve been trying to avoid drawing the same conclusion.

  2. vanderleun Says:

    The new oft-repeated statement has become: “The oft-repeated statement that this is a center-right country doesn’t seem to be the case any more…. ”

    So? Vell? Nu?

  3. blert Says:

    The educational elite have confused our youth: they don’t know Left from right.

  4. Bob From Virginia Says:

    Millions are wondering how a shmuck like Obama could ever be taken seriously, but assuming the electorate is acting on the basis of ideology is unwarranted. The analogy we should be looking at is Robert F. Kennedy’s campaign in 1968. His stated platform was considerably to the left of most of his supporters, yet the public seemed almost as frenzied for him as for Obama. Trying to decipher the reason why Obama and RFK were/are popular is akin to finding logic in the behavior of someone having hallucinations. We should be looking at the irrational for explanations. For instance Obama was the more fashionable candidate; youthful and dynamic, he was the Hollywood stereotype of someone fighting the system on behalf of the little guy. Romney was the Hollywood stereotype of an old, indifferent, satisfied rich guy. Obama won because voting for him made an imaginary statement about oneself. Ideology had nothing to do with it. Obama was the more fashionable candidate and that trumps everything else. The reasons people give to vote for him are all rationalizations.

    Furthermore, and this may be most important of all, our species thinks with it’s sex organs. Rather than the Republicans trying to get their message out they should hire sexy young actors to spew anything, nonsensical or not. The race does not go to the better man but the sexier man. This is another way of making an imaginary statement about oneself.

    Also thanks to Kolnai, I got The Myth of the Rational Voter that he recommended and will soon get into it.

  5. neo-neocon Says:

    Bob from Virginia: oh, I realize ideology is most definitely not the only reason for Obama’s appeal (I’ve written about other reasons before). I’m very much in agreement on that.

    But changes in ideology (more leftist) are part of the reason, and more importantly, they are part of the reason that warning bells about his ideology didn’t go off for enough people, as I believe they absolutely would have in the past, whatever his other appeal might have been.

    The bottom line is that his ideology resonates with more and more people than it used to. That’s my observation, not a scientific study.

  6. M J R Says:

    What’s depressing is not so much that a form of socialism is being imposed against the will of the electorate, but very much with the passive consent of the electorate. Give us our bread and circuses and rock-star celebrity leaders, we don’t wanna hear nuthin’ ’bout no Ben-gaa-zee or deffisits or fute-cha pain.

  7. KLSmith Says:

    What we’re dealing with is a lot of dumb uninformed people. I agree w/ Bob from VA. All you need to do is look good on TV. Which, while depressing, could be easier to deal with than outright rejection of principles. Albeit, in a race to the bottom.
    The only thing wrong with the movie “Idiocracy” was that it was set way too far in the future.
    A few days ago, Ace (AofSHQ) linked to a chart showing the future – “Brave New World” more than “1984″. Silly media distractions being the drug.

  8. KLSmith Says:

    Neo: do you agree that we have a lot more useful idiots than fellow travelers?

  9. Gary Rosen Says:

    I keep thinking back to one moment in the campaign, during the Democrat convention. A DNC ad said “the government is the only thing we all belong to” and Romney tweeted back “We don’t belong to the government, the government belongs to us!”

    THAT is the message we need to be getting out. The right doesn’t need a “sexier” message, just a more basic one that cuts through the barrage of mud slung by the left. It also has the virtue of being a message that everyone on the right agrees on and may short-circuit the circular firing squad we are now seeing among fiscons, socons, and neocons, OK throw in the libertarians too.

  10. Otiose Says:

    It’s a bit of a mystery to me too.

    I remember before the Bush/Kerry election though that a lot of Kerry supporters were absolutely convinced that they had that election won and were shocked at the loss.

    Seems to me that the Bush win and now Obama’s points to the incumbent having very significant advantages in being able to set up a supporting structure to target and get out the vote.

    Perhaps both parties would agree to move conventions earlier (to early summer) so as to allow the challenger more time to get things together.

    On the other hand I’ve talked to people who should have known better who voted for Obama for odd (to me) reasons.

    One person who was born and raised in Europe thinks we should move more toward their socialism (e.g. Sweden). Maybe Obamacare has flaws but it’s a step in the right direction.

    Another person thinks he’s a great guy who cares about people and nobody could’ve done a better job than he has after Bush II’s mistakes.

    Another was afraid that another Republican in power would mean more wars like Iraq and Afghanistan – likely with Iran.

    The Hispanics tend to buy into Republicans don’t like them idea.

    Personally from the first I saw Obama he seemed transparently fake through and through and even now I have to restrain a gagging reflex.

  11. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    I regretfully offer a grim prognosis.

    What we’re dealing with is a decision by a slim majority to embrace European socialism. That the majority of those voters do not realize that socialism, must in time evolve into a communist state in all but name is irrelevant because by the time they might realize it, it will be too late.

    What can we do about it? Well we resist because ultimately the choice is oppression or freedom. We resist peacefully as long as we can and that is until our inalienable rights are taken from us.

    That said, there’s little likelihood at this point that the factors that have led to this impasse will change.

    Academia will still indoctrinate.

    The MSM will still engage in the most blatant of propaganda.

    Deficit spending will continue to increase creating an ever larger dependency class.

    Obama will appoint more leftist judges increasing judicial activism.

    The media, leftists and elected democrats will continue to deny the link between destruction of the family and the bedrock values of our civilization with the decline of America. And liberals, the left’s useful idiots will continue to drink their kool-aid.

    The left will continue to blame all ills on republicans, ‘the rich’, businessmen and white racism, repeatedly citing the very popular meme that the rich’s greed, etc. is responsible for all our financial and social woes.

    Republican leadership will continue to reinforce the left’s meme by continuing to give lip service to conservative principles and then settling for ‘compromises’ that hand victory to the democrats.

    I suspect, there simply are not enough conservatives to win another national election. Certainly what conservatives there are, do not have enough financial leverage, to force the Republican leadership to act in accordance with the conservative principles they purportedly support.

    Which rules out a third party.

    Democrats and the international left will continue to work with and in the U.N. to undermine our national sovereignty.

    All of these factors make sovereign bankruptcy and constitutional collapse, at some future date, highly probable.

    Ultimately, the American military will decide whether the rule of law or the rule of the mob prevails. Though I once was, I am no longer hopeful.

    Barring a ‘wild card’ event and/or divine intervention, the American ‘experiment’ in representative democracy is effectively over. Indeed, modern western civilization’s decline is now, most probably unstoppable. American individualism is all that has heretofore kept the “barbarian’s from the gate”. European socialism ‘throws open civilization’s gate’ in hopes that the barbarian will not plunder but instead somehow see the wisdom of cooperation.

    In their ignorance, apathy and hubris, American voters have decided that they prefer Europe’s bureaucratic socialism to American individualism.

    Though they knew it not, they had a choice between the false comfort of ‘nanny’ism and capitalism’s risk of failure and possibility of reward, they choose nannyism, they shall have failure.

  12. KLSmith Says:

    Gary Rosen: respectfully, I wish you weren’t wrong. In today’s world, the right message won’t get through if the messenger is easily mocked, made villainous, or is not attractive.

  13. Ed Bonderenka Says:

    Otiose: “even now I have to restrain a gagging reflex.”
    I have a deep and visceral reaction to an image (particularly video) of Obama.
    That said, Is it really a case of the country going left, or not enough of the right voting for Romney?
    I suspect the latter.

  14. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Another important factor that I left out is illegal immigration. 70+% of Hispanics vote democrat. 70+% of babies under the age of one, in Texas… are Hispanic. The demographics are increasingly in favor of the left.

  15. Ann Says:

    I’m inclined to agree that “warning bells about his ideology didn’t go off for enough people [because they're more leftist now], as I believe they absolutely would have in the past, whatever his other appeal might have been.”

    But not sure because this was an election contest against an incumbent and that’s always an uphill battle. Doesn’t this account in large part for the Republican primary bench not including more of the heavy hitters like Mitch Daniels?

    Traditionally, the Democrats and Republicans run less-than-stellar candidates when they figure they don’t really have a chance — like the Democrats running Adlai Stevenson twice against the unbeatable Eisenhower and Mondale against Reagan, and the Republicans running Bob Dole against Clinton.

    I’m not saying Romney was as lackluster as those guys, but what really gave Republicans hope this year was the horrible state of the economy. But it just wasn’t enough to unseat the incumbent Obama, especially since he’s a shameless demagogue who lied about what the Republican’s political philosophy actually is.

  16. KLSmith Says:

    Geoffrey Britain: very well written. sad, stark, true. and with Obama’s win, the media is further emboldened.
    And the right is too divided. Not that it would have near term success but, I think a third party (or more) is inevitable. The republican party is too screwed up.
    I’d like to see a “Liberty Party”. But, it is probably too little, too late.

  17. Mr. Frank Says:

    I think we have hit a point where a bad economy and high unemployment may not be a problem for a liberal Democrat incumbent . It’s a plus. This recession has been like no other. There has not been a normal recovery that produces job growth. Millions of people are out of the labor market. They want a handout because a hand up leads nowhere. They know the blue collar and service jobs are not coming back. Extended unemployment benefits and disability payments are the brass ring now.

  18. Ed Bonderenka Says:

    KL Smith: I was on Bill Bennett along those lines:
    https://dl.dropbox.com/u/41339180/Ed%20on%20Bennett%20about%20Repub%20Split.mp3
    Just happened to post that on my blog so it was handy.

  19. neo-neocon Says:

    Mr. Frank: don’t you think the same sort of phenomenon accounted for the hegemony of the Democrats during the Great Depression? I don’t think this is really so new, unless the newness is explained by its happening now in a recession rather than a depression.

  20. Sam L. Says:

    Otiose, the media were for Obama, and stongly and overwhelmingly against Bush (!!!!!111!!!!).

  21. thomass Says:

    Did the public hear of any of these examples? You just posted that howler from the NYTs about the tough new Obama…. can’t recall if it ever brought up the overall state of our debt or whether Obama’s proposed tax raises would help with it. Its pretty typical btw of the MSN.

  22. thomass Says:

    Plus; I think we get hit with a sort of reverse cry wolf problem. Leftists call everyday people (like us or tea party people.. or republicans… evangelicals… right wing racist fascists tools of big buis, et cetera… and the public has learned to tune it out as background bs. GWB benefited from this.

    This bad for us because we get tuned out due to the same thing when we talk about leftists… even though they’re not only real.. they’re also active in the democratic party at all levels.. and whereas the old democratic party worked to push them out every now and then… no more. Moveon put them in control of it.

  23. Occam's Beard Says:

    Another was afraid that another Republican in power would mean more wars like Iraq and Afghanistan – likely with Iran.

    But with Libya, no problem.

  24. thomass Says:

    that all said; yes we are in trouble. More and more young people grow up in a liberal bubble and it seems to stick better now than in the past.

    But we have been here before and on I expect the same thing to happen as last time. Liberals will run the country into the ground and people will listen to our ideas to fix it… Usually conservatism gets it leg up on liberals tripping themselves up / making unforced errors.

    Still; I get it is not a great strategy to rely on (still; it seems to work for the Russians whenever they are invaded).

  25. thomass Says:

    KLSmith Says:

    “Neo: do you agree that we have a lot more useful idiots than fellow travelers?”

    Those are pretty similar good imo.. but I would agree that many democrats are not leftists… but they are partisan. Since the democratic party is being run by leftists the partisans are just sort of defending it / not seeing the problem because they’re democrats… used to defending democrats. The media et all plays into it by treating Obama like a normal president… so you get looked at like the kook when you say what Obama really is.

  26. thomass Says:

    Man; sorry for errors in my posts. ugh…

  27. Otiose Says:

    Sam L. I agree that the media were biased in favor of Kerry, but balancing this is that Obama had to contend with the Great Recession.

    It seems to me that the incumbency is a major factor – and perhaps we should blame the Republican message and messenger – Romney – not so much. And that the same message and messenger might well have won if not facing an incumbent (who had some seriously fervent followers).

    Occam’s Beard – Libya was the type of war liberals like – Dem president/no troops on ground.

    And you have to admire American liberal flexibility – Obama has been liberally dispensing judgment and execution on foreigners and renegade (allegedly) Americans alike by drone for some time without the chorus of disapproval such moves would likely have generated by Bush.

  28. Occam's Beard Says:

    Liberals will run the country into the ground and people will listen to our ideas to fix it

    The problem is that liberals/leftists spend all the money and leave the grownups to fix the problem, which necessarily involves austerity, i.e., pain. Which means that conservatives are associated with pain, while spendthrift liberals/leftists are associated with partying.

  29. Mr. Frank Says:

    Neo,

    Yes, FDR benefited from hard times and his willingness to throw everything at them and bad mouth the rich. Prior to this election, the experts were saying that no incumbent was reelected with high unemployment except FDR. The experts didn’t get it, and that was your point.

  30. Ymarsakar Says:

    The enemy of humanity is the Left. And ain’t no damn American election going to get rid of the Left. Doesn’t work that way.

  31. Ymarsakar Says:

    “Liberals will run the country into the ground and people will listen to our ideas to fix it”

    We never fixed LBJ’s destruction of middle income black families. We never fixed FDR’s 4 term Presidential power fraud nor his social security pyramid fraud scheme.

    In fact, we didn’t fix much of anything. We just covered it up, allowed it to heal, so that the cancer could go back into remission for 60 years. Before it would become active and kill us again. Like it killed those Americans in Benghazi.

  32. M J R Says:

    thomass, 5:27 pm — “Liberals will run the country into the ground and people will listen to our ideas to fix it.”

    Not if they’re constantly being assured by the propagandists that everything is going well (and those eeeevil people on the other side will run the country into the ground if given the opportunity; besides, they’re just not fashionable types).

    We now, at long last, have the answer to Groucho Marx’s immortal question, “who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?”

    The electorate will believe the propagandists. We-all watched it happen before ^our^ own eyes in 2012.

  33. Gary Rosen Says:

    KLSmith (and others): the question may be whether we can get the message through without the massive distortions and bias of the media. That is why I have wondered if it would have been better to run Gingrich. No, I don’t think he would have won or even done as well as Romney because he has some glaring personal flaws, much greater than Romney’s. But he would have torn apart the media – *someone’s* got to do it even if it doesn’t result in wins right away.

    Yes, the media was biased before when Reagan and the Bushes won. But they have gone completely off the cliff with Obama and I don’t think they will ever climb back up even after Obama is out of the picture. They are now completely shameless in their advocacy for Democrats and the left while still making a laughable pretense of neutrality. They need to be taken down, hard.

  34. KLSmith Says:

    Gary Rosen: I’ve had similar thoughts about Newt. a flawed candidate but – how sweet would it have been to see him debate Obama. Reducing Obama to a stuttering incoherent quivering mess was probably our only shot.
    How sad that Mitt didn’t go after Obama like he did his primary opponents. ( No offense to Mitt fans and no, I’m not saying someone else would have won.)

  35. KLSmith Says:

    Ed: thanks for the link. Republicans can make a strong argument that a third party won’t work but –
    they’re the ones trying to purge and blame conservatives. So it might just have to be. The biggest problem I see is lack of unity within the out groups. For example, strong fiscal cons and libertarians not being able to agree with social cons; hawks and isolationists, etc.
    Million dollar question – what choice is there if your party doesn’t want you?

  36. KLSmith Says:

    thomass: I guess my point was that I disagree somewhat with Neo. I think more people did choose to ignore or excuse Obama’s record and background.
    I don’t think they’ve made an ideological decision. Most of them wouldn’t understand what that entails.
    They’re default cultural liberals. And whether it is ignorance or choice, the result remains the same. And a “culture of the ignorant” can’t be cured because that was the left’s main agenda in the first place.

  37. rickl Says:

    KLSmith Says:
    December 8th, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    Neo: do you agree that we have a lot more useful idiots than fellow travelers?

    I think we have an awful lot of useless idiots.

  38. Don Carlos Says:

    Geoffrey Brittain and Ymarsakar GET IT DEAD RIGHT.
    Nothing the Left accomplished since 1932 has ever been undone. I repeat: Nothing (of significance) has been undone. Nothing. The lotal opposition had 80 years, and never undid squat.

    The Right-To-Lifers have been at it with devotion and vigor since 1973; net result: 50 million murdered fetuses, and the beat goes on.

    While I am dismayed about Nov. 6, I am not, and have not been, shocked. The Tipping Point, with which our electorate flirted since 2000, has been definitively passed. It now remains to be determined only at what speed the American Republic will complete its capsize: slowly at first, and accelerating with every degree of additional list. It will be complete by 2016.

    The past 12 years’ assertions that “America is center-right” have studiously ignored reality.

    Doing an autopsy on the American Cadaver is an utter waste of time. As Osler (IIRC) once observed, “The patient is not interested in the questions to be answered at his own autopsy.”

  39. neo-neocon Says:

    KL Smith: the odd thing is that Romney did go after Obama that way in the first debate. But he stopped in debates #2 and #3. I think the turning point was the Candy Crowley intervention. It really seemed to undo him. I noticed his affect really change after that.

    I agree that I would have liked to have seen Gingrich debate Obama. Unfortunately it would have been an empty exercise, because there’s no way Gingrich would have even come close to winning the election, IMHO. He is a singularly unpleasant candidate to all but the conservative core. But he’s a very scrappy fighter, and intelligent as well.

    Which is not to say any other candidate who was running this year would have won. I actually think one of the few people who might have won (but did not run) was, of all people, Christie. The reason I say that is that he is exceptionally intelligent and very good at debate, and can be very, very tough. He has a direct “shoot from the hip” quality and a real clarity when he’s explaining things. Yes, he has RINO qualities, but I think as many conservatives would have come on board for him as they did for Romney, and he would have won over more Democrats and Independents.

    We’ll never know, cause I think he’s toast for the Republican nomination in 2016 (although I’d never say never).

  40. KLSmith Says:

    Neo: Romney, like McCain before him, chose to campaign as a gentleman. Unfortunately for us. Don’t know why he let up in the last two debates. I couldn’t watch more than a few minutes of the third one.
    Christie woud have made an interesting candidate but, like you said – we’ll never know.
    Oh, that a few brave souls in the media and academia had stood athwart history yelling stop many years ago.

  41. KLSmith Says:

    rickl: good one!

  42. thomass Says:

    M J R Says:

    “Not if they’re constantly being assured by the propagandists that everything is going well”

    Eventually people believe their lying eyes….

  43. M J R Says:

    thomass, 12:15 am –

    If I understand what you’re saying, I sure hope so. But I’m not optimistic at all.

  44. Gary Rosen Says:

    “I think the turning point was the Candy Crowley intervention. It really seemed to undo him”

    I’m trying to imagine what was going through his (Romney’s) mind right at that moment. Here is trying to stick it to Obama on Behghazi and not only does Obama lie to his (and the nation’s) face but the “moderator” backs up the lie! Imagine playing a football game and the refs are not only giving every call to the other team but are high-fiving them. Except this is a hell of a lot more serious than a football game.

  45. Don Carlos Says:

    Gary: Mitt caved.
    Despite the pro-Mitt enthusiasm of some, like Neo, I always felt Mitt was insufficiently combative to take the fight to the enemy. He didn’t go down swinging; he just dropped his arms and surrendered.

    There were hopeful flashes, like his attacks on Newt, but in final analysis he just caved in.

  46. davisbr Says:

    So let me get this straight …basically we’re positing an informed electorate basing their voting decisions on rational purview of issues and ideology, and analyzing our election loss from the perspective that those majority voters may have intellectually and/or emotionally embraced socialism?

    HAHAHAHA

    …wait …gasp …need …air ….

    HAHAHA

    …stop it …you’re killing me here ….

    HAha…

    Oh. Wait.

    You’re …serious?

    Srsly?

    ——
    Crap. We lost because:

    1. The O’ team were superior tactically: they brutalized the non-responsive Romney team with months of high budget negative ads.
    2. Low information voters were even less informed than usual due to massive deception by the MSM news organizations that those LIV’s – misguidedly, obviously – rely upon for their voting decisions
    3. A decidedly less-than-sterling GOTV effort due to the Romney team relying upon an untested and untried, not-even-beta-level software technology that they TOTALLY did not understand the IT issues of.
    4. An act of God: Sandy.
    5. A very, very charismatic (sigh) and very, very black (racism) incumbent (home team advantage) president.

    Jeezus.

    The country may be changing. For the worse IMHO.

    But I doubt it’s because of ideology per se.

    It’s because people were even stupider and less informed than usual.

    Now that may be becoming an endemic issue.

    So that needs fought on deeper cultural grounds.

    We have to get “the stupid” off the table (for the LIVs).

    We can’t do it by appealing to rational argumentum.

    These people simply don’t have the tools.

    We can only do it by changing the most low level cultural considerations that low information voters can fall back on when the system fails (or actively practices deception).

    And we need to do it a sixth grade level. These people aren’t stupid. They’re ignorant and untutored culturally. They’re products of a thoroughly failed educational system.

    We can do something about this.

    It won’t be quick. It almost certainly won’t be at the level of politics (so we’re going to lose a few we shouldn’t have, but we’ll win some along the way too …it will eventually balance out).

    Remember the virtue thread?

    Yes?

    We need, somehow, to instill in a generation that has been manipulated into being “useful idiots” the basics that will enable them to embrace the Americanism that they really know absolutely less than nothing about.

    They’ve been taught we’re evil.

    We’re not …but – stunningly – they don’t know that.

    That’s the problem.

  47. neo-neocon Says:

    davisbr: I really don’t know what you’re talking about here, except that you’re laughing at a strawman of your own creation.

    The point I was making was not that this “approval” of leftist sentiments was the only factor, but one factor. I’ve discussed other factors in other posts.

    And who’s talking about rational? Who said that this friendliness towards leftist ideas was a rational, well-thought-out decision based on good information? Certainly not I. The trend toward greater acceptance of socialism, etc. (which I explored in this post about polls and socialism) is, IMHO, the result of a number of things (education, media, entertainment, to name three)—but for most people it’s certainly not based on careful study and sober thought. It’s mostly a result of fairly subtle indoctrination plus a hefty amount of desensitization, combined with ignorance of our own history and the underpinnings of our constitution.

    Voting decisions also tend to be based heavily on other things than sober, rational thought—like who’s cool and who’s likeable and all those elements I’ve written about before and we’ve discussed before on this blog at some length.

    In this post, I assert only that I believe the reason the majority of Americans didn’t turn on Obama for his leftist “tells” was that those things didn’t offend or bother them; they “approved” of them. In other words, those ideas weren’t deal-breakers as they might (and I believe would) have been perhaps twenty years ago, when a population who might have liked Obama on a personal level would have been alarmed at some of the things he said. But now, due to the fact that an awful lot of people aren’t scared off by socialist and/or leftist sentiments, and in fact approve of “spreading the wealth” and “bankrupting the coal companies” (not for rational reasons, just cause coal companies are big old meanies and rich people are just too greedy and richie-rich and have money the poor person really deserves), these sentiments of Obama get a nod from those people rather than setting off warning bells.

    None of this ideological change is set in stone. Most people are very low information voters. But the “information” they’re getting has seeped in from all around them—school, media, entertainment, and even quite a few churches (now quite leftist)—and because by definition these voters are low information, it isn’t easy to counter the information that is practically in the air around them (they’re not going to be reading the WSJ or publications of the Heritage Foundation, or much of anything except sound bites in the MSM). And that information they’re getting from so many sources all around them is that rich people are evil, corporations are evil, Republicans are evil, the poor are entitled to the money of the rich, old values are stupid and cruel, and the like.

    It used to be that these things—education, media, entertainment, church—gave very different messages to our young people, messages that were more “conservative” if you want to give them a label. So they didn’t have to be countered; the culture reinforced the message. That’s no longer true. And this ideological change is the effect, as more and more people grow up under the aegis of a left-leaning culture.

  48. neo-neocon Says:

    KL Smith: the ratio of useful idiots to fellow travelers is about a million to one.

    Perhaps that’s a hyperbolic exaggeration, but I don’t think it’s too far off. Realistically? Perhaps a ratio of 500 to one. Something like that.

  49. neo-neocon Says:

    Gary Rosen: agreed. Good description.

    I noticed that after that moment, Romney stuttered a bit for a few minutes (haven’t looked back at the tape right now to check, but that’s my recollection). He was trying to think on his feet and he felt he’d had the rug pulled out from under him, not just by Obama’s brazen lie but especially by Crowley’s assertion that it was true. He began to doubt his own memory of what had happened, and he got caught in that.

    A more arrogant, aggressive person would have plowed ahead, but I’m not sure how it would have gone. It might have gotten worse and worse, with Crowley actively supporting the president.

    I don’t blame Romney much for having trouble in the 2nd debate after he was blindsided (although I think he should have been prepared for Crowley to help Obama; it was naive not to expect it). But his rolling over in the third was puzzling and extremely disappointing. At the time, a lot of people said it was a good thing to do because he was gaining traction in polls, had won the first debate, and that Benghazi was beating a dead horse at that point; it wasn’t going to gain any traction. But I didn’t think that was the correct approach, nor did I understand why he was so much less aggressive in general in that debate.

    My guess is that it was a combination of what happened during #2 and something he saw in polls that said to back off now (but I think Romney’s polling was misleading because it was based on false premises about turnout–as were some pollsters’ models, as well).

    You may or may not recall that this was what I suggested Romney do in debate #3. He sure didn’t take my advice.

  50. KLSmith Says:

    Neo & davisbr:
    Forgive my butting in, but your disagreement seems based on the same confusion I originally had. Neo, I initially thought you meant people people had made a more rational deliberate choice. Rather than it being a default culturally absorbed acceptance.
    And davisbr, it sounds like you think we can just rush into all the schools and announce we’re in charge now and things are going to change.
    Neo, while I’m very much in agreement with the reasoning you’ve laid out – I wonder if you’re underestimating the power of “The One”. I don’t think the media would have risked so much of what little reputation they have left on a different candidate.
    And I think we underestimate how strong the Bush Derangement Syndrome” was. Maybe one of the things Obama meant by “vote, it’s the best revenge” is that America voted to give that evil Bush two terms so you make sure to give me two terms also.

  51. KLSmith Says:

    davisbr: looking back at your post, I see you say it won’t be quick. Sorry. But you don’t say how you think we’re going to seize the reins of power back.
    I hope more and more people find other ways of educating their children than in the public school system.
    But mostly I think we’re engaged in an intellctual exercise. America was at a tipping point. That’s why the last two elections were so critical. Obama was a dangerous candidate at the very worst time. The people voted for the worst of two choices.
    For me personally, this outcome is the only thing that now makes me relieved that my children won’t be making me a grandparent. And Obama made me quit smoking. Otherwise, I’m very sad for my country. Nothing lasts forever.

  52. IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States Says:

    Perhaps that’s the biggest (and only?) plus in Romney’s loss: it lets us know what we’re dealing with.

    Fucking morons?

    :-S

  53. M J R Says:

    This certainly won’t be the last word on the 2012 presidential election, but for one Robert Tracinski it is. Here’s his last word:

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2012/12/09/mitt_romney_the_man_who_wasnt_there_116374.html

    Romney: The Man Who Wasn’t There
    By Robert Tracinski
    RealClearPolitics.com
    December 9, 2012

    [ snip ]

  54. Richard Saunders Says:

    Bupkis and Davisbr hit it right on the head.

    Yes, Republicans do have to reach out to America’s fastest growing demographic group —

    The Fools.

  55. davisbr Says:

    Ah, c’mon.

    Strawman?

    …sigh.

    Neo? – You describe the Leftist panoply, using the buzzwords we all recognize: “…Ayers, Soros, Alinsky, “spread the wealth,” electricity rates “skyrocketing,” bankrupting the coal companies …a new, expensive, potentially intrusive, entitlement with mysterious and threatening details that kept emerging as time went on. He seemed hostile to business, both big and small (except for cronies, and big industry in swing states like Ohio whose votes he needed to court). His class warfare rhetoric was strongly divisive”.

    …and conclude:

    @neo-neocon I can only conclude that, for an ever-growing segment of the population, it wasn’t that they had to ignore and/or make excuses for these things. It’s that they approved of these things. The oft-repeated statement that this is a center-right country doesn’t seem to be the case any more, however many people may describe themselves as “conservative” on polls …One of the most important lessons of the 2012 election for the right just may be that these changes in the perspective of much of the American public have been fundamental …..

    I rest my case.

    Of defence of my criticism, at least.

    …and I certainly do recognize & recall your previous posts.

    And truthfully? – I think you were having a bad day.

    It happens.

    —-
    Additionally, however, I’d like to draw your attention to this:

    @neo-neocon …and need to be combated on a deeper level than previously thought. Perhaps that’s the biggest (and only?) plus in Romney’s loss: it lets us know what we’re dealing with.

    …and would draw your attention that I was, indeed, agreeing with and expanding upon your recognition of the solution:

    We can’t do it by appealing to rational argumentum.

    These people simply don’t have the tools.

    We can only do it by changing the most low level cultural considerations that low information voters can fall back on when the system fails (or actively practices deception).

    And we need to do it a sixth grade level. These people aren’t stupid. They’re ignorant and untutored culturally. They’re products of a thoroughly failed educational system.

    We can do something about this.

    It won’t be quick. It almost certainly won’t be at the level of politics (so we’re going to lose a few we shouldn’t have, but we’ll win some along the way too …it will eventually balance out).

    Remember the virtue thread?

    Yes?

    We need, somehow, to instill in a generation that has been manipulated into being “useful idiots” the basics that will enable them to embrace the Americanism that they really know absolutely less than nothing about.

    They’ve been taught we’re evil.

    We’re not …but – stunningly – they don’t know that.

    That’s the problem.

    Once you’ve identified the problem, you have the solution.

    And enumerating the solution, and implementing the solution is just the typical yeoman work.

    We didn’t realize that the LIV’s weren’t Americans culturally any longer. That’s why I’ve said, and say again, I don’t even know these people!

    Time to wake up, and patiently begin to undo the damage that a bunch of products (the self-congratulatory and doddering Academy and the pseudo-”journalists” – gah! – of the MSM) of an old (but brilliant!) KGB disinformation campaign have done to a generation of untutored political and historical illiterates.

    They’re not socialists or leftists OR STUPID!

    They’re asleep.

    It’s time to wake them up.

    Like when you awakened.

    The difference is you were already a culturally grounded American (so your trigger was different). Sadly, they’re not.

    America isn’t gone. We just let it go to sleep. Time to wake them up. It will be a hard slog. It will take a LOT of time …a generation, at least. It will not be easy.

    It’s blood, sweat, and tears time. Again.

    But what it is NOT is hopeless.

  56. blert Says:

    M J R …

    I just don’t believe that he Chicago boys failed to manipulate the tabulation.

    Trancinski is implicitly buying into the Machine’s manipulation of the vote.

    Never forget that Barry took the US Census database INSIDE the Pink House as one of his very first acts.

    This is the exact same database that is used to Gerrymander voting districts.

    The fact that Soetoro swamped Romney in California is irrelevant. Neither candidate spent serious money or time there. Yet, it’s the California, New York and Illinois popular votes that make a clear victory in the national tabulation.

    It’s an illusion.

    The vote was stolen in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, Virginia and Colorado. Ballot manipulations in these states took the proper results away from Romney.

    It’s plain that Mitt does not intend to contest the result.

    So there is nothing that a common voter can do.

    =======

    North Carolina wasn’t even considered in play. It came down to the wire. Massive extra votes kept popping up in the ‘hood.

    Florida wasn’t considered in play, either. Reputable non-Democrat pollsters upped stakes in mid-October. Barry’s last pit-stop was a dispirited stop to deliver pizzas. Defeat was written all over his face.

    Comes the election, and Democrat votes just keep popping up — reversing Republican votes in the panhandle. FYI, the panhandle is in a different time zone — an hour late. Yet, in a time of instant electronic tabulations, votes downtown were an hour later to the machines. They kept popping up, after, every swing to Mitt.

    The typical tabulation was performed in a Microsoft Windows network environment. Blackhatters have a thousand back doors into that system. Use you imagination.

    Google provided a platoon of coders to blackhat/ whitehat the campaign. They ran rings around Mitt’s noobs.

    Subsequently, Google executives are moving into the maladministration. (Yes, they were tied in during 2008, too.)

    The final tabulations were only consistent with polls commissioned by Democrat-linked operations.

    In sum: the Machine knew, by the US Census, what they had to do; they then prepped the media space by moving the goal posts of realism; then they cooked the numbers to meet their own targets.

    Republicans, as above, are naïve enough take the bastardized result as honest; then wail and moan about Mitt.

    It’s a two-fer for the Machine.

    Similar antics define the third-world vote. Just ask Hugo Chavez.

  57. davisbr Says:

    Heh: I just realized what set me off originally:

    Obama’s leftism: a feature, not a bug

    LOLOLOL.

    I guess I could have merely replied with an “I beg to differ” …but don’t you agree that would have been just the teeniest bit, umm, obscure?

  58. beverly Says:

    A friend of mine, a working-class New Yorker, said today, “Poor Obama! that poor man certainly has his work cut out for him!” and she wasn’t being sarcastic. (She thinks he’s laboring mightily on behalf of The People to save us all.)

    I told her that the government goobers are considering confiscating everyone’s 401K: “There’ll be a revolution!!” she exclaimed. I added that if the government takes over our 401K funds, they’ll become owners of all that stock and have a finger in every business pie in the country. “That would be a DISASTER,” she said darkly.

    She gets it that it’s bad, terrible even, that we’re so deep in debt; she’s supported herself since she was 16; but she listens only occasionally to the TV news and I don’t think she reads any of the papers. She’s just a lifelong NY union democrat.

    She reacted most strongly to the idea that her social security payments (her primary income now that she’s retired) might be cut off, which I didn’t mention, but which she conflates in her mind with the 401K business.

    So I said to her, with some force, “OBAMA’s the one leading the charge to take over the retirements plans!” Her reply? “I don’t know What to believe these days.”

    I let it go, but the conversation reminded me of a conclusion I’ve made: most support for mister wonderful is a mile wide but only an inch deep.

  59. thomass Says:

    One other thing. I’ve always been under the impression the fellow travelers were the same people as the useful idiots… just from the Soviet vantage. The people on the left (fellow travelers) with enough positive opinions of the USSR to be useful to them. They’d shoot them later, of course, if the places they lived ever came under Soviet control….

  60. neo-neocon Says:

    davisbr: I find it insulting and quite annoying, actually, that you don’t accept my description of what this post is about, at least in my mind.

    Obviously you didn’t perceive the message I trying to convey. I didn’t think I had to spell it out in great detail; it actually didn’t occur to me that people would think I meant that most voters had sat down and studied socialism and made a rational decision that it’s a great idea. Just didn’t occur to me. But it does seem that it should have occurred to me, and that I should have spelled it out more.

    I stand by my words: voters for Obama approved of those things or alarm bells would have been set off and they wouldn’t have voted for him. And it is not a center-right country any more. Leftist ideology no longer frightens people.

    But that has nothing to do with whether people have made a rational and well-informed decision about these things. It has everything to do with cultural and media brainwashing, a sort of desensitization to the thought of them, which used to (and not so very long ago, either) set off alarm bells.

  61. davisbr Says:

    neo-neocon: Though I apologize for the original’s insulting tone (the original derision was entered as disbelieving scoff, but in retrospect, given your reaction, ill-considered), I too stand on my analysis.

    I easily accept what you think of what you said. But what you wrote is what I addressed. And I disagree with it (while admitting I could have framed it more collegially).

    As to your rebuttals …please review the implications of “…intellectually and/or emotionally embraced socialism” as to whether your statement that I was addressing or – even implying – only the idea that “…that most voters had sat down and studied socialism and made a rational decision that it’s a great idea” was somehow all that I reacted to.

    I wasn’t. The assertion is tenuous at best given my original comment’s latter section (after the execrably stated, and obviously misunderstood initial derision) …hence my followup’s reference to “strawman” with a “sigh”.

    I think the very idea of socialism being even in the least bit understood on even a subconscious level to the vast majority of Americans is ludicrous (and whether you think I was saying that about your intent, is irrelevant). I equally think the idea they have emotionally accepted it is deeply suspect (i.e., your “feature, not a bug”, and the implication). It’s the profundity of their ignorance that is so appalling …and frightening. And that is the point I was making: it’s not “about” a socialist drift to the left at all (as you clearly suggested) …it is fundamentally “about” their ignorance of American institutions.

    I don’t think they understand it in any of it’s myriad ramifications. Clearly they don’t. I don’t think they can: they don’t have the tools that an adequate education would have given them. So it doesn’t enter into their calculations …OR into the results of the election outcome …and shouldn’t enter into the analysis or lamentations as le cause du jour …in any tender or form whatsoever.

    Additionally, per your last followup, I do very much disagree that we’re no longer a center-right country.

    What we are is a dumbed-down country. Or …asleep.

    The voters don’t understand either our history nor our institutions; they are not cultural Americans. They’re in essence “indigenous immigrants” if you will …with what seems to be less knowledge of what we are as a nation than people who’d just arrived on Ellis Island used to have. They’re the product of a thoroughly failed educational system and Fourth Estate.

    You have deemed that, at least, “socialism in effect” (whether understood intellectually or simply embraced emotionally …and which finally ties BOTH our declarations of misunderstanding together). I call it simple ignorance.

    And so I fret that some insistence upon combating socialism in some political aspect distracts us from the more profound problem with how to deal with a generation at least of profoundly dysfunctional and ignorant Americans. It’s not their perceived socialism! It’s their bloody ignorance!

    Perhaps this will help you to understand MY rebuttal …and our essential agreement:

    I’m not concerned in the least that voters seem to be embracing socialism as a feature …but in contrast I certainly AM concerned that they have ignorantly embraced an apparent simulacrum as a bug.

    IF voters DID understand they were in essence “practicing socialists” (if not your point, at least your implication …and if neither, you’re still not conveying that to me very well), they would reject it out of hand. (They might not understand it, but I’d bet they vaguely feel it is something bad.)

    Last, and to repeat: I think you were having a bad day …it was at least a partially ill-written post (and certainly an ill-considered title from the perspective of our disagreement), though your replies haven’t shown that you’re exactly following my criticism (and I did, after all, quite agree with the posts last sentence, and riffed on that …actually, I continue to riff on it). And my …honest …criticism is NOT meant derisively, nor as an insult.

  62. davisbr Says:

    thomass: They’re two different things. This might help: Wikipedia “fellow travelers” and “useful idiots“.

  63. neo-neocon Says:

    davisbr: I dont’ want to belabor this any more, but I think you misunderstood me, although I agree I didn’t make it crystal clear (I thought that past posts of mine would give it context for regular readers, anyway).

    But we are in agreement about the emotional acceptance and the ignorance, as I wrote in a post you probably haven’t seen yet because it was just published a few minutes ago (before I’d seen the above comment of yours). In it, I wrote as clarification of my position [emphasis mine]:

    It has everything to do with cultural and media brainwashing, a sort of desensitization to the idea of those things, things which used to (and not so very long ago, either) make people very uneasy. They no longer do, at least for very many people (as we saw here).

    I’m not at all sure that most people even recognize these things as being part of a leftist agenda (to them, they’re not “tells”), or are even aware of what that agenda might be. They know they sound pretty good though—and also have the side benefit of sticking it to the rich, those greedy bastards.

  64. davisbr Says:

    LOL. I just finished the second post (went upstairs for coffee and toast). I thoroughly agree that it’s a sufficient and adequate clarification. Any quibbles I have, are just that, quibbles.

    …yep. Time to move on.

  65. KLSmith Says:

    thomass: today’s parallel would be like the difference between the hard left radicals and clueless liberals. the first group are the true believers, the second group buys into prettied up cause/arguments. they inflate the numbers for a cause, lend it legitimacy, and obscure the radical aims. thus, they are useful to the cause while being idiots about it’s true nature.
    fellow travelers believed in communism, they just weren’t formal members of the party. the useful idiots just think equality sounds good without understanding the coercive totalitarian means that it would require.

  66. thomass Says:

    davisbr Says:

    “thomass: They’re two different things. This might help: Wikipedia “fellow travelers” and “useful idiots“.”

    Still not getting it. I think it is not helping that I know the subject well.

    A US fellow traveler / non party member was a useful idiot from Lenin’s pov. Fodder to be used.

  67. KLSmith Says:

    thomass: by not getting it, do you mean in the same sense that Whitaker Chambers thought that there was no practical difference between the two groups? I believe he thought liberals working next to communists were not aware of their fellow’s communism/radicalism because they essentially shared so many beliefs.

  68. davisbr Says:

    thomass: Well, yeah. You actually do “get it”, and the end result was the same as far as the old department 5 of the First Directorate was concerned.

    But that’s the end result …and that’s not really what the terms are useful as in the “technical” sense.

    Think of it like this. ALL fellow travelers would be useful idiots from the common usage of “useful” plus “idiots” …i.e., both were easily manipulated to a varying degree.

    But not all useful idiots were fellow travelers.

    Both groups were however equally manipulated by the GRU.

    For example, the distinctive sub-branch called fellow travelers would be outright members of, say, Britain’s communist party in the UK. Or at somewhat of a distance, sympathizers with the party …these were the people that Senator Joe McCarthy investigated in the 1950′s (and btw: the investigation was a legitimate … given what we know now …his methods threw the investigation into disrepute, but that didn’t mean there wasn’t a problem).

    Fellow travelers were at least moderately knowledgeable about communist ideology. One of the most publicly infamous in American history was Lee Harvey Oswald (granted, according to the CW of the assassination).

    You would say all these “fellow travelers” were at least aware of the distinction of being consciously sympathetic to the aims of the soviet, if not outright party members.

    Useful idiots though, were the unknowing participants of disinformation campaigns by Department 5. They believed crap but had no idea the genesis of the crap they believed.

    As merely one example of a still currently effective disinformation campaign by 1 Dir Dept 5, there are people who still truly believe that HIV was developed by the US as a targeted weapon.

    …but most of those people, while falling under the technical classification of “useful idiots”, would assuredly take umbrage if you accused them of being communist symp’s, lol.

    But they are still useful idiots.

    …and are so, some 20 plus years after the fall of the Soviet Union.

    The Soviets were brilliant at it.

    My suspicion is, eventually, so were we. I don’t live in that world, so I got nothin’ more than guesses about that.

    Btw: I actually had a detailed answer that I’d spent some time on, including footnotes, but like an idiot – though not a useful idiot ;-) – I accidentally lost it while responding to Neo’s rebuttal). I can probably, with some effort, recreate that if you’re still puzzled.

  69. davisbr Says:

    Whoa.

    When did we get smiley faces???

    That’s cool.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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