June 22nd, 2013

Michael Hastings, Obama, and the swoon

Journalist Michael Hastings, 33, died last Tuesday in a fiery LA automobile crash that has the internet buzzing with theories about governmental murder plots.

I know people just love, love, love conspiracy theories, but this one seems fairly weak. There were witnesses, and Hastings’ car was going close to 100 miles an hour in a suburban zone at 4 AM. He was also a habitual abuser of alcohol, which figures in some of his writing. Contrary to the idea that conflagrations such as the one that engulfed his car, and powertrain ejections such as occurred right before the fire, could never happen to a well-built Mercedes that hits a tree broadside at 100 mph (as Hastings’ car appears to have done), they can and they do, although it’s not common (see many of the comments here if you don’t take my word for it). There are also much easier ways to kill someone and hide it if the government wanted to do so, and more pressing targets than Hastings as well.

Although I’ve criticized Hastings’s writing in the past, that’s not really what this post is about. I extend deep sympathy to his family and consider his death tragic at such a young age. I’m writing this post, though, not to talk about his death, but because I am fascinated by something I came across that I’d missed earlier, which appeared in a book he wrote about the 2012 Obama campaign.

The book might even be an interesting one; I don’t know, because I haven’t read it. It’s called Panic 2012: The Sublime and Terrifying Inside Story of Obama’s Final Campaign, and you can read more about it here, including the quote that grabbed my attention:

One of those off-the-record moments [with the press during the 2012 campaign] was an event where President Obama joined reporters for drinks while the campaign was in Orlando, Fla., an event that Hastings partially details in the book.

“The behavior of the assembled press corps was telling. Everyone, myself included, swooned. Swooned! Head over heels. One or two might have even lost their minds,” Hastings writes, as each reporter had a chance to speak personally with the president. “We were all, on some level, deeply obsessed with Obama, crushing hard, still a little love there. This was nerd heaven, a politico’s paradise, the subject himself moving among us — shaking our hands, slapping our shoulders!”

It’s not as though we didn’t already know about this sort of thing. After all, haven’t we joked for years about “tingles” Chris Matthews of MSNBC and “pants crease” David Brooks of the NY Times? But there’s something about the above quote that still sent a shiver of horror down my spine: the blatant, bizarre, hyper-emotionality and near-eroticism (Hastings, by the way, was not gay) of the attraction.

I can think of no equivalent in modern politics in America. I certainly can in other countries, but would risk invoking Godwin’s Law if I did. The best example in this country I can think of would be JFK, and even then, although the press liked and respected Kennedy (and even loved him, in a sense), the emotion seemed to be more about Kennedy’s wit and humor than anything else.

I simply cannot imagine what it is about Obama that gets people going this way (and yes, I understand there’s a racial element of attraction to a cool black guy, but that doesn’t really explain the depth and weirdness of it, IMHO), except to say that it’s clearly something non-verbal. I believe it has been operating with Obama for virtually his entire life and has worked to his very great advantage. Quite a few people have always reacted to him as though his mere presence were almost supernaturally attractive, as if he exuded a kind of force field that made them—as Hastings so well put it—practically swoon.

It’s a dangerous phenomenon. I believe that Obama understands it and cultivates it, too. And no, I don’t think it’s actually hypnosis, although it works in some powerfully suggestive manner. It also takes advantage of the fact that so many journalists today are very young writers (like Hastings) who have done almost nothing else for a living, and so they seem especially susceptible. In the mid-20th century, reporters for major publications used to be uniformly older and to have had more varied prior experience in life and the world—more hard-boiled and hard-nosed, and less susceptible to swooning hero worship, although they were hardly immune to respect and liking.


Hastings reveals that [one evening] the president spent “over an hour” with reporters who later stayed up late buzz[ing] over every detail of the evening.

“Did this inform our reporting, did seeing the man in the flesh, in a somewhat staged and casual setting, provide new, deep, and lasting insights?” asks a reflective Hastings in his book. “Yes, I would say, but again, I’m not at liberty to share.”

Later, Hastings detailed campaign journalists’ jealous protection over the details, as members quickly reminded him that the event was “off-the-record.”

Much to the ire of his fellow reporters, Hastings revealed that the event occurred – a month later.

Even though the event itself was off-the-record, Hastings argued, the press corps had a duty to report that the event occurred, adding that the behavior of his fellow reporters, wasn’t necessarily off the record either.

Naturally, Hastings was chastised by many of his campaign colleagues for revealing some of the precious details of the event.

“The fear was that the White House would collectively punish all of us by revoking the already limited access or, worse, Obama might never come down and hang out with us again,” Hastings writes.

Campaign spokesperson Jen Psaki, Hastings notes, was furious and angrily phoned his editor Ben Smith for publishing details of the event. In response, the Obama campaign banished him from the campaign plane for a week.

That’s the way this White House works on the press: engender hero worship bordering on the hysterical, and then use the threat of withdrawal of the chance to be in the loved one’s presence to compel compliance.

Sick. Dangerous. And it explains quite a bit, doesn’t it?

[NOTE: It reminds me of the title of Bernard Goldberg’s 2009 book A Slobbering Love Affair: The True (And Pathetic) Story of the Torrid Romance Between Barack Obama and the Mainstream Media. I haven’t read the book so I don’t know the content, but from the description at Amazon Goldberg appears to be describing the media’s liberal/left bias that caused reporters to lean so heavily in Obama’s direction in 2008, fail to report on his many flaws and his sordid history, and therefore enable his election.

But while this is all true, and important, I’m talking about something else—something more emotional and deep, something that interacted synergistically with the liberal biases Goldberg describes and accentuated them immensely. We are all reaping what was sowed.]

106 Responses to “Michael Hastings, Obama, and the swoon”

  1. mezzrow Says:

    Looks pretty much like classic beta male behavior in pursuit of that dream girl, to me. Not that I would know anything about that.

  2. mizpants Says:

    A fascinating post. It turned my stomach a little. What’s even more disturbing than the advent of this cipher Obama is the Obama-shaped hole that stood ready to receive a figure like him.
    I’ve always been struck by the way that Obama-mania originated in the media and continues to be most intense there. He isn’t as charismatic to the public at large, I think, as he is to them, and since the public’s perception of him is filtered through them, he has remained safe despite all his neglect of office and abuse of power. But he isn’t loved by the public.
    Another thing that got me thinking: there’s a lot of gossip about Obama being gay. I don’t have an opinion on this, but Neo points out the strong homoerotic element in the media’s response to him. It’s not so much that’s he’s gay as that he draws on the gay longings of straight men. I don’t see him being quite so magnetic to women in the media, but I’m not sure about this.

  3. M J R Says:

    I highly recommend Bernard Goldberg’s books. Goldberg is an old-school member of the mainstream media — at least he *was*. He was — and still is, as far as I can discern — an old-school liberal. That means that while he will *respectfully* disagree with many of us neo denizens here, he and we do share some fundamental values. We could enjoy intelligent conversations, given the opportunity.

    Goldberg has skewered the mainstreamers in at least two other books: “Biased” and “Arrogant” [I *think*; from memory here]. Again, very highly recommended.

  4. parker Says:

    I’ve never understood the appeal of the messiah, although it was easy to see that millions of others were fascinated with the image created by Obama himself and the MSM. During the 2008 campaign and the first 2 years he was in office I was reminded of the frenzy among young girls over the Fab 4. Mindless, tinged with eroticism, and delirious.

    At least the Beatles made fun, even great pop music. BHO specializes in destruction.

  5. KLSmith Says:

    “Hastings, by the way, was not gay.”
    Well, he was gay for Obama. Just like Chris Matthews is.

  6. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    You know, I don’t get it either or at least feel it, nor have I ever with Obama. But I did experience a bit of it with Kennedy (I was very young) so I remember the feeling.

    I suspect it might have less to do with Obama’s personal charisma, which I don’t think is that great and more to do with their perception that he is capable of fulfilling their expectations, of their hopes and dreams. Absent objective reality, the messiah after all is whom we accept as ‘the one’.

  7. Eric Says:

    The behavior looks like a ‘daddy issues’ infatuation or, a related phenomenon, the zealousness of the converted.

    I also wonder if the Obama worship is the flip side of the same phenomenon of the media’s exaggerated antipathy toward Bush. As much as they spun for Obama on issues that would have buried other politicians, the media spun against Bush on issues that were conventional.

  8. Oldflyer Says:

    I agree with Mizpants second sentence.

    She (?) lost me with this line; “It’s not so much that’s he’s gay as that he draws on the gay longings of straight men.” Have I missed something in my 78 years? Is there something going on in my psyche, and that of the many men I have gone to sea with, that I don’t know about? If so, it must be buried very deep. Or is this just 21st century pop analysis at work?

  9. Harry the Extremist Says:

    For what? My God, for freaking what???? What has the guy done? He was a state senator who did nothing then a senator who did nothing, a 20 year relationship with a racist preacher and a career launch by an ultra-leftist unrepentant terrorist and what charisma? Based upon what? Dont you have to have anything to back that up?

    I dont get it either. I dont think I ever will.

  10. expat Says:

    Maybe LGBT should become LGBTO, with the O standing for Obamaphile. I don’t think Mizpants meant that to apply to all males. Actually, maybe the O stands for Omega males.

    I can’t stand his smile. There is not a bit of warmth in it. It’s more like permission to bow down and kiss his feet.

  11. OlderandWheezier Says:

    I think Hastings explained it best when he referred to the gathering as a sort of “nerd heaven.” Both the press and the executive branch now are, for the most part, made up of the kind of people who used to get swirlie’s on a regular basis in secondary school – and damned if most of ’em didn’t deserve them.

    These are the folks who camp out in front of the I-store whenever the latest version of a gadget is released. And however often they voice the worn out platitudes as to how they only want to make a fairer, kinder world, I suspect their greatest desire is to get even with a host of real or imagined adversaries, now that they feel they have the clout.

    They somehow think that equating Che or Mao with Jesus or MLK Jr. is a sign of exceptional insight and tolerance Or that selling Obama-emblazoned hoodies in the aftermath of the Trayvon Martin incident is actually a great fundraising idea.

    What’s most disturbing is that the majority of Americans either no longer realize or care that those who say or do such things aren’t capable of leading a nation anywhere but down.

  12. Eric Says:

    Harry the Extremist: “Based upon what?”

    Obama is very good at BDS.

  13. Kate Says:

    It is sick. Very sick, and extremely dangerous. And it isn’t limited to journalists–ordinary people whose principles and values seem to be in opposition to the things Obama espouses, equally swoon over Obama–he is the ‘savior’ who is sent to save us all, even though everything he espouses is in direct opposition to their belief system. Or others who listen to what he says, watch what he does and question those policies, but still follow him, who still become enamoured watching and listening to him. It begs the question–why? Why do they? And why do others who see the same man, hear and watch the same things, do not share that ‘swooning’? Why do many instead feel revulsion?
    I think it’s interesting, when Matthews remarked on the lukewarm reception of Obama in Germany, how it was the glass between them and him, that didn’t allow him to ‘feed’ off the audience (and vice versa I would guess). ‘Feed’….interesting terminology I thought.

  14. KLSmith Says:

    Oldflyer: you missed something that has been going on in the last decade or two. In the future the majority of men will be gay. That’s what our culture wants. Being gay is better and more evolved than being a breeder.

  15. Francesca Says:

    I am one who, upon seeing the frenzy of the latest ‘in’ thing or person, just narrows my eyes, dials up the skeptical meter and stays as far away as possible. It is hard to believe that the MSM just buys into it full speed ahead.

  16. parker Says:

    Obama adoration is teenage lust. Its wishing and hoping his kisses will start. Its being in with the in crowd. Its the status of being seen talking with the cool clic at the cocktail party. In other words, its shallow and sophomoric. Many people never grow up.

  17. Ann Says:

    “Teenage lust” is perfect.

    Obama’s really more a movie star than anything else, and I think much of the reason for the swooning over him is that he’s Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington, Danny Glover et al., all rolled into one.

  18. Eric Says:

    To add to the “teenage lust” angle, part of Obama’s appeal is the very effective ‘mean girls’ tactics that included punitive methods by which Obama basically was able to regulate the media and/or, more significantly, have the media regulate themselves to his benefit.

    As much as they wanted to be with Obama, they feared *not* being with Obama.

    As Hastings described, a media member casting a critical light on Obama invited the dangers of peer pressure, ostracization – essentially ex-communication – in an industry that apparently depends on social connections, and being cast with the ‘other’, ie, the Right.

    Fear can both look like and feed adoration. I would like to see more study about media anxieties, ones that may be rooted in the structure of the industry, that Obama may have manipulated.

  19. Eric Says:

    parker: “Its being in with the in crowd. Its the status of being seen talking with the cool clic at the cocktail party.”

    I agree this is a part of it.

    How many of us have tried to discuss X issue with someone where he or she automatically has assumed the boilerplate Democrats position is the smart position and the opposing view is ignorant or stupid? Note: not that the issue is one on which reasonable people can disagree, but an issue on which *smart and stupid* people disagree.

    For people whose intellectual output has been judged since pre-school through college and likely grad school, and in their profession, a smart/stupid label cuts to personal identity more than any other quality. Most media fall into that group.

    They want to be and perhaps professionally need to be labeled as smart. When in their circles, smart is commonly defined as the Democrats boilerplate and the alternative is commonly defined as stupid, they have heavy incentive to parrot the ‘smart’ ideas with religious faith.

  20. soupcon Says:

    They are swooning at the proximity to power.They did it for the Clinton’s(and still do for Hillary) and Obama is closer in age to most of the scribes.He’s them and they are him;all hard lefties who hope and pray Barry carries out the leftist agenda that they know he shares with them. They get to project all their wishes about super government onto Barry and he needs them to be his propagandists. Was it any different in any other dictatorship where the supposed intelligensia felt they were part of the new order?

  21. parker Says:

    “where he or she automatically has assumed the boilerplate Democrats position is the smart position”

    Yes, this is the baseline. For example, its impossible to have a rational, fact based conversation with a liberal about anthropomorphic climate change. In their world 2+2 = 5. Or perhaps 3 on a blue moon.

    “Was it any different in any other dictatorship where the supposed intelligensia felt they were part of the new order?”

    No it was not; but it so happens to be that we don’t need no supposed stinking intelligentsia to tell us which way Bill Ayers blows.

  22. Ed Bonderenka Says:

    I remember in the Foundation Trilogy, one of Asimov’s characters is the Mule, a charismatic ruling individual who holds sway over those around him by some psychic trick.
    I was young when I read it, but I thought Asimov was trying to explain the Hitlers, Mussolinis, Stalins.

  23. James Says:

    These people are just pathetic!

  24. stan Says:

    They wanted so desperately to fall in love and they were in love with the idea of being in love. But recognize too, that at some level they knew they were being used as propaganda whores and they approved being used.

    They are true believers in the lefty narrative. And they are willing to tell any lie necessary to advance the “truth” of their faith. Falling in love just made it easier.

  25. Gary Rosen Says:

    I don’t disagree with much said here but the racial factor is critical and is being overlooked. It is hard to even imagne a “white Obama” – what, a suaver Dennis Kucinich? Such a person might be favored by the press but hardly to the extent of Obama. His racial identity both makes his supporters feel righteous about themselves and gives them a chance to play the race card in response to criticism, which they need badly since his policies and leadership have been an epic fail.

  26. parker Says:

    “makes his supporters feel righteous about themselves”

    Yes, the race card is a very large part of BHO’s appeal. It is his ace in the hole to be pulled out of his sleeve over and over and over and over again.

  27. notsoheavyd Says:

    Nerd heaven? They have some nerve. As an actual nerd, you know good at math and science, I can say unequivocally say journalists are not nerds. They’re posers, I mean when they try to get technical they’re just a joke. If you want to be a nerd you have to start out with the right major, IE chem, physics, math, CS, or engineering. Honestly, if you were in the college of communication or journalist when you were an undergrad us actual nerds think you’re a imbecile.(They can’t even get physics 101 concepts right, most legendarily the New York Time and their editorial about Dr. Goddard.)

  28. Jenna Says:

    Brilliant discussion, Neo. Unhinged zombies, the lot of them.

    I also shudder at their ghoulish criminal counterparts in the IRS who shamelessly helped hand O the election.

    Maybe we need to invent a new language to describe this phenomenon. I don’t think the world has seen anything like it before. Not on this scale.

  29. Caedmon Says:

    I’ve seen behaviour of this kind but on a smaller scale. The object of adulation was a novelist-cum-television personality, well known in my country (Britain) unheard of in yours, so there is no point in naming him. His devotee was literally dancing around him as if he was a totem pole and all but speechless yet screeching the celebrity’s name. I’d met both men (yes both grown men) separately on other occasions which made this spectacle all the weirder. The natural comparison is to teenage girls at a pop concert except teenage girls in the grip of hysteria retain some dignity.
    I should add that I’ve been a newspaperman, in, I like to tell myself, the mode of neoneocon’s lost ideal of the surly ne’er-do-well for whom journalism is the latest unsavory misadventure rather than the bumptious college boy still in awe of his own cleverness. Certainly one of the un-likeable qualities of my kind is our unwillingness to be impressed with anything.
    When Barack Obama’s reputation first crossed the Atlantic a lot of us in London were reminded of Tony Blair and it seems the current White House uses a similar media strategy including the jealous manipulation of access. Nobody fell at Blair’s feet however. Part of his charm was that everyone took him for a fraud to begin with.
    Poor Michael Hastings, killed, it seems to me, in pursuit of the ghost of Hunter S. Thompson’s reputation, a role, that judging by the above, he doesn’t appear to have been cut out for.

  30. Beverly Says:

    His eyes glitter with malice.

    Those of us he hates can see it. Those he is seducing cannot.

    You can see it in his second debate with Mitt: that icy anger, that hatred he has for his mother’s tribe.

  31. Ymarsakar Says:

    I do not feel that the Left’s power, its true nature, is really about economics, politics, or votes.

    Their true nature has more to do with something called mind control than anything else. To be more specific, control of thoughts, control of emotions, and control of human instincts and soul.

    That is what makes the Leftist alliance dangerous. Not their guns, or bringing guns to knife fights. Not their communist economic policies or soft socialist totalitarian pro Islamic jihad tendencies.

  32. Ymarsakar Says:

    I wouldn’t go so far to say Obama took out Hastings, but I would say that Hastings last article and Andrew Breitbart, were both very convenient exits on the stage of power.

    Both were becoming inconvenient. Their deaths, thus, very convenient.

    The thing about evil is that often its methods are unknown, mysterious, on the same level as divine providence or blessings.

  33. IGotBupkis, "Faeces Evenio", Mr. Holder? Says:

    I simply cannot imagine what it is about Obama that gets people going this way (and yes, I understand there’s a racial element of attraction to a cool black guy, but that doesn’t really explain the depth and weirdness of it, IMHO), except to say that it’s clearly something non-verbal. I believe it has been operating with Obama for virtually his entire life and has worked to his very great advantage.

    Isn’t it OBVIOUS, Neo? (cue appropriate foreboding music here)

    As some have suggested in various fora…

    Obama IS the AntiChrist.

    I mean, it’s the only possible explanation. 😀

    The True Christians are immune to his allure. The rest of these people, not so much….

    Yes, this is in jest, but… who knows… maybe it’s “ha-ha only seriously true“. Only time will tell… 😉

  34. Rose Says:

    Neo-neocon writes

    “…still sent a shiver of horror down my spine: the blatant, bizarre, hyper-emotionality and near-eroticism… of the attraction.”

    Reminds me of a shiver of horror down my own spine, of post revolutionary Iran and the Ayatollah of 33 years ago.Though the old man never specifically asked Iranians to send their teen aged sons to die for The Cause, during Iran/Iraq war of 1980s, Iranian parents gladly did so knowing this will please Him.He kept reminding everyone who asked, that The Cause (Islam) was against children participating in warfare. “See? My hands are clean and My conscious is clear”. Yet he never did anything to either stop the war or to ban children’s participation therein.Ultimately, it took outside hostile forces (Reagan’s) to eventually make him cry uncle. Iran was thus rescued from Iranians.

    Admittedly less politically sophisticated than the Americans, Iranians somehow survived that awful war and their foolish adoration of Him, yet to this day,continue to praise Him as the Messiah while still paying the price for their own foolishness.

    Meanwhile, back in the States, 5 years on and counting, the politically sophisticated Americans are busy adoring their own Messiah.

  35. Eric Says:

    Ymarsakar: “To be more specific, control of thoughts, control of emotions, and control of human instincts and soul.”

    PC refined to puritanical religion.

    It’s become common for them to eschew honest debate on the merits of verboten ideas. They’re even moving beyond debating strawmen except as a departure point for disallowing them altogether from the discourse with the goal of eliminating them from a no longer free marketplace of ideas.

    Also dangerous is when good/bad and right/wrong are unmoored from principle and assigned to personal and tribal identity.

  36. Don Carlos Says:

    Neo invokes “Goodwin’s Law” as though violating it is blasphemy.
    I cannot but disagree. We should ignore history? Or invoke Mao instead? Mass delusions are verboten? Then let’s stop with this Obama stuff.

  37. neo-neocon Says:

    Don Carlos:

    That “Godwin’s Law” thing was actually an attempt at wit.

  38. Don Carlos Says:

    I see and understand, Neo. But in my irascibility it was a bit too near the bone!

  39. Lorenz Gude Says:

    An extremely inexperienced politician with the extraordinary ability to fit into what many people yearned for. For some the sense of the Kennedy vision cut off with Bobby’s assassination, for some the perfect screen on which to project all the imagined goodness of black folk, for many who wanted change and hope who lacked the wit to do any due diligence on whether Obama could deliver any of it.

  40. Yancey Ward Says:

    The real question is what is going to happen when his term is finished? In my opinion, the media has destroyed itself, it only doesn’t realize it yet, and won’t realize it until he leaves office.

  41. theduchessofkitty Says:

    This has gone from Politically Correct to a new PC: Personality Cult.

    Remember that song, “We Are Building A Religion”, by Cake? It was very prescient.

  42. Sgt. Mom Says:

    Beverly says – “His eyes glitter with malice.
    Those of us he hates can see it. Those he is seducing cannot.
    You can see it in his second debate with Mitt: that icy anger, that hatred he has for his mother’s tribe.”

    Too true – sometimes I think that he can barely contain his hatred and contempt, not just for ‘his mother’s tribe’ but for all of us who aren’t swooning like adorning teenagers, our values, our traditions and particularly American customs. I am sorry particularly for anyone serving in the military now – surely they must sense the contempt. I look at that early picture of him in the Oval Office, with his feet up on the desk – the Resolute desk! – and showing the soles of his shoes to the staffers lined up in front of the desk. Ugh – my skin crawls to think of it. Or him standing with Hilary and I think Joe Biden, during the national anthem. Hilary and Slow Joe have their hands over their hearts, properly – HE has his hands cupped over his crotch. Or during the flag ceremony, at the 9/11 memorial, and Michelle whispering to him, “All this fuss over a flag.” (She’s a simmering bundle of resentment and hatred, too.)

    I think Dinesh d’Souza was right – he’s a Third World Big Man, out to score all the goodies that he can from the office for himself and his chums … oh, and if he can kick us in the teeth with one of those immaculate loafters … he’ll do it, with that toothy smile which never really reaches those cold shark eyes.

  43. KLSmith Says:

    Don Carlos: just to clarify, I believe many in O’s inner circle are Maoists.

  44. Lizzy Says:

    Snowden’s account is really creepy, even after watching the press slobber over Obama for 5 years now. I agree with Beverly that for those of us not under his spell, his malice is quite obvious because he doesn’t try to hide it.

    In addition to Cake’s “Building a Religion” song, Snowden’s account made me think of Too Much Joy’s “Crush Story” because a crush creates such a high. Loving Obama makes them feel better about themselves, and Obama has been playing on this need (white guilt) for years.

  45. notsoheavyd Says:

    I guess I might as well add on to this discussion of what this swooning reminds me of. When I was a younger man I wanted to be a physician. This required me to take the MCAT which had a writing section which was pretty much “repeat the prompt, give a counter example, try to explain the contradiction.”(This was supposedly the requirement and if you didn’t do that you should have gotten a bad score.) I saw many example of what was supposedly quality writing however I quickly got jaded when I noticed something. It seemed a simple trick to get a good score on this section was to always say your counter example was either MLK or Ghandi. It didn’t make a difference if you didn’t even make an attempt to explain why they were a counter example, just drop those 2 names and boom, top score.(Even if it made no sense to use either one you were always better off to drop in those 2 names.) As far as I could see one of 2 things must be happening. One is that the grader (it was hand graded btw) saw that name and effectively filled the rest of the essay for the test taker with visions in their own mind of why either one was a perfect counter example. Perhaps the grader even thought to themselves “Ah, yes yes Ghandi. Of course” and then figuratively patted themselves on the back about how both the test subject and grader must be enlightened to appreciate such a person. On the other hand perhaps the grader thought “Well I don’t know why he’s an example but I don’t want to embarrass myself by showing myself as ignorant of him.” In either case if you used those names you were home free.

    Anyway this reminded of the Obama swooning. Either people effectively filled in the blanks (Because they already thought progressive policy was the way to go) or they didn’t want to admit that they didn’t get it and have their friends know they weren’t enlightened like their buddies.

  46. Ed Bonderenka Says:

    Many Christians wondered if this guy was the anti-christ because of his enigmatic rise to power. I think he’s just the dry run.
    maybe he learned a trick from Lamont Cranston, and has “the power to cloud men’s minds”.

  47. neo-neocon Says:


    I don’t think you mean “Snowden’s account.” I think you mean “Hastings’ account.”

  48. Eric Says:

    According to Wikipedia, Godwin of Godwin’s Law didn’t intend that invoking Hitler and/or Nazis meant the comparison was necessarily a fallacy. It’s more along the line of resorting to cliché or stereotype, which may well be justified, but it’s rhetorically overdone.

    It often also leads to a conversational dead-end unless both sides are actually poli-sci/history conversant on Hitler and the Nazis beyond their pop cultural images.

  49. Pat Says:

    My wife cannot tolerate him. I can’t abide him. The complete disregard for the office he holds mortifies us. But, maybe, just maybe, the low information voters will start to get it, or rather, not get it,
    as in no jobs beyond 29hr/week burger flipper.

  50. PaulS. Says:

    The attraction is not that hard to figure out.

    It’s demonic.

  51. jetty Says:

    Q: What’s the difference between a prostitute and a member of the White House press corps?
    A: A prostitute may have some integrity.

  52. John R. Says:

    The attraction seems easy enough for me to diagnose: It’s founded in the orgasmic power of white liberal guilt and self-loathing.

    This power is often overwhelming to liberals and leftists. When they get revved up, it’s hard for them to hide their inner Meg Ryan (in When Harry Met Sally, natch).

  53. FCS Says:

    Just so long as he is dead, I am good.

    Some people just can’t hold their liquor.

  54. Joe Blo Says:

    What a bunch of pussies these journolists are. Pathetic.

  55. RebeccaH Says:

    Some sociopaths are enormously charismatic and charming. It’s uncanny how well they can read other people and know what buttons to push. I believe Barack Obama is one of those, and he’s supremely talented at it, which makes him very dangerous to America.

  56. Banjo Says:

    I’ve struggled to understand allure Obama has for what he has turned into the state media until I read Kelly’s words, then I said, “Of course!” It was hiding in plain sight all the time.

  57. Suvarro Says:

    In this book the writer says Obama understands himself to be an idol and exploits it. Hes aware of his effdct. http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/1594713421/ref=redir_mdp_mobile

  58. Transterrestrial Musings - The Media Swoon Says:

    […] Looking back at Michael Hastings’ campaign reporting from 2008: […]

  59. LordJiggy Says:

    It was “Cool Kidsz Confirmation Bias.” Obama (the empy suit, man of no accomplishment) was a dream-catcher, the one into which they poured their own dreams, then were astonished to behold the Obama They Wished to Behold. Obama is the Chauncey Gardener of our time.

    Schmucks, most of them, and creepily obsessed many of them (Dowd with her stories of “women dreaming of having sex with Barack Obama,” and Matthews with his “leg tingle”).

  60. Brenda in BC Says:

    Very similar to “Trudeaumania” in Canada (late 60’s, early 70’s). Google it. His policies were also very harmful to our country, as we have been slowly peeling them back ever since. Media is now swooning over Trudeau 2.0, his son Justin, who is now leader of the same party. Heaven help us.

  61. Steve Martin Says:

    I think you make some excellent points.

    There are many good points about being young and impressionable, but in reporting the news it often does not help in being ‘objective’.


  62. HC Says:

    As others have noted here, it’s not that Obama himself is so charismatic, he’s not. It’s just that he fits the empty hole in the American (and Western) elite mindset that emerged in the 1970s. He does this partly by accident (mixed race, black skin, raised in a very ‘multiculti’ background), and partly by intentional self-shaping.

    Give him credit, he’s good at what he does, he’s expert at presenting himself as a blank slate onto which various groups and people can project their own wishful thinking, sometimes blatantly contradictorily.

    Most of the Baby Boomer generation that came of age in the late 60s and 70s didn’t share the elite fantasies of the hippies and their ilk (and their right-wing counterparts, the free trade transnationalists).
    Of those who did, real life forced most of them to let it go long ago.

    But in some professions, like journalism, elite academia, some parts of politics, etc, it was quite possible to make a good high-paying living while being sheltered enough from life to hold on to the fantasy. Our institutions are mostly _run_ by people who think like that, and Obama perfectly represented ‘the one we’ve been waiting for’. He was supposed to make the Dream work.

    Note the flipside, too. One reason he so easily beats the GOP, for all his scandals, errors, deceptions, and malice, is that the GOP is run by the right-wing equivalent of the people who fawn over Obama. They’re more concerned with corporate profit than national security, more worried about breaking unions than whether Obama is using health care to control people’s choices.

    When did you hear Romney talk about gun control, abortion, national security, IRS abuses, NSA abuses, Benghazi? He might have mentioned them from time to time, but mostly he talked about tax cuts for small business, or the need to deregulate business. Whether those are good or bad ideas, they aren’t the basis of a serious national political force.

    Obama gets away with it because he has no real opposition to speak of.

  63. Wilson Bana Says:

    Perhaps Mr. Obama is in the service of a particularly clever demon.

  64. HC Says:

    LordJiggy’s point about Dowd and the sex dreams is relevant, because we should note that an earlier, ‘dry-run’ kind of version of this effect was seen 20 years ago with Bill Clinton, right down to the sexual aspect.

    The Left has made politics, almost literally, into a faith, a religion. They’re waiting for the figure who will change America (and reality) to fit the way they think it’s _supposed_ to work. Of course that means one Great Disappointment after another, whether it’s Clinton or Obama, but it’s so basic to who they are that they probably can’t change it, certainly if they did change it it would totally transform _them_ into other people, like a major religious conversion.

    This has its roots in the Baby Boomers, but younger people in that same culture, raised with it, share the same problems.

  65. neo-neocon Says:

    HC: well, at least Clinton lived up to the billing.

  66. submandave Says:

    I am not a psychologist, but there seems to be enough here for at least two or three PhD dissertations. You have the journalists cast as the person who always longed for inclusion yet felt excluded from the “in group”. You have Obama as the person using his status as “cool” and desirable to emotionally manipulate the journalists who are desperately seeking his grace. Like any other abusive relationship, he treats them crappy but they keep coming back hoping for that acceptance and love they are missing. Obama’s “love me Daddy” tendencies are well documented, I just wonder how many of the press corps come from homes with an absent father.

  67. Ymarsakar Says:

    The problem with fighting the Left is not so much political or economic policy based, as it concerns fighting and defeating a belief system about as strong as Islamic Jihad.

    Defeat the Left, and you prove before God that you have the ability to defeat Islamic Jihad. Defeat Islamic Jihad, and you have the proof that you can defeat the Left.

    Unfortunately, those two power blocs are allied together, and one cannot be defeated without the other, for they regenerate each other. Just as a union regenerates Planned Parenthood if either takes damage. This regeneration heals all potential damages, other than death, in the alliance body.

  68. Yancey Ward Says:


    Great comments.

  69. Dave72 Says:

    The press loves the SISSY President.

  70. holmes Says:


  71. JuliB Says:

    Sgt. Mom – the picture was taken after he had put his hand down, before Mitt and Hillary did. I saw a photo from moments before.

    I hate having to defend the man, but we’ve been hit with some right wing propaganda. It’s so rarely effective! Objectively speaking, this picture is worth its weight in gold, but at the end of the day, it isn’t an accurate representation of what really happened.

  72. Ymarsakar Says:

    Victory in war is not determined by who was more honest in their propaganda.

  73. Sgt. Mom Says:

    Sorry, JuliB – possibly it was as you say, that he put his hand down before — er, was it Joe and Hillary present? And wasn’t he aware that every camera would be on him? And isn’t it … revealing, maybe that he and the Mrs. aren’t aware that every time they are out in public, the cynosure of every camera and eye, that every expression and gesture ought to be considered and controlled? Even when the photographers are FOB (friends of Obama) and not as you seem to be implying, perpetuaters of , ‘right wing propaganda.’

  74. Rob Crawford Says:

    For some the sense of the Kennedy vision cut off with Bobby’s assassination…

    Nope. Just the other day Lindsey Graham (R-ino) praised Chuck U Schumer as “carrying on Ted Kennedy’s legacy”. He wasn’t talking about waitress sandwiches, but of the transformation of the United States. This is a supposed conservative Republican praising the “legacy” of someone who reached out to the Soviets to see how he could help them defeat Reagan.

  75. Rob Crawford Says:

    Too true – sometimes I think that he can barely contain his hatred and contempt, not just for ‘his mother’s tribe’ but for all of us who aren’t swooning like adorning teenagers, our values, our traditions and particularly American customs.

    His fundraising/political muscle organization is named ofay. He’s not hiding his hatred and contempt — people are just refusing to see it.

  76. Sojourner Says:

    Truly exceptional column, Neo.

    Victor Davis Hansen observed that Obama has never used the word enemy in reference to a foreign power, rather only in the context of domestic political foes.

    Regardless of how acidic the attacks of his detractors, I never sensed that George Bush hated those people or wished a one of them ill. He was, after all, still their president.

    Not so with Obama. Yes, the media’s adoration of him is creepy, and equally creepy is Obama’s unconcealed disdain for half the country. Over the past five years, more than once I’ve said to someone, “Our president? He’s yours, not mine. He’s made it clear he hates me.”

  77. Ginger Says:

    Most of the males in the media today are metrosexuals – which doesn’t imply bisexuality so much, as a rather weak masculine role. There is lots of evidence that Obama is gay, but he kind of exudes that anyway. It is something I have always thought Christ may have had. Also, bromances have always had a little of that. Our embrace of all kinds of outed gender/sexuality statuses has blinded us to much of the behavior that has always been a part of mankind.

  78. Bob From Virginia Says:

    Perhaps part of the explanation for Obama’s charisma lies in the National Geographic “Brain Games” program. It seems people instinctively react to certain personality types and physical features in a certain way. In short, for a low information voter Obama looks like a real leader. Those who have never experienced real leadership as in the military would mistake his demeanor as that of a natural leader. He actually plays a Hollywood version of an ideal leader. Those with military experience know his personality is the type one would expect of a pompous charlatan who talks tough then finds a way to stay as far behind the lines as possible.

    An illustration of what is happening occurred in the Kennedy-Nixon debates. Those who heard one such debate on radio thought Nixon won while those who watched it TV thought the more attractive Kennedy won. All this means that all this talk about demographics and leftist ideology is less important than simply presentation. Or to put it another way, the American people are ready for fascism if it packaged nicely.

  79. Bob From Virginia Says:

    Everyone here can agree Obama’s appeal is illogical. 60 years of peace and prosperity has produced a nation of adolescents, incapable of distinguishing the criteria for choosing a favorite rock star from those for a leader who must make life and death decisions. Small wonder he is unpopular in the middle east where weak leaders are an invitation to be attacked.

  80. Sheri Says:

    My favorite so far is from old guy or whizer you will k ow him from his remarks. Had me laughing out loud. The part about middle school swirly thank you need laugh

  81. jcp Says:

    I have a feeling the infamous meeting at George Will’s house produced a few swoons on the Right as well. Certainly something happened that night since Will, Krauthammer, et al. seemed to go soft on the boy socialist and where I saw a pinko rabel rousing lightweight, the conservatives I respect saw something not nearly as dangerous. Instead of waring the public they were telling us it would be good for the country if he won.

  82. Sharon Says:

    All of you are all reaping what was sowed. Unfortunately, the rest of us who weren’t taken in (and before you all start, it had absolutely nothing to do with the color of his skin) and didn’t vote for him are having to suffer the consequences because of your idiocy too. 🙁

  83. Gilligan Says:

    I came here because of a link on the Ace o’ Spades page.

    He accompanied his review of this article with a picture from 1964 of teen aged girls screaming in the presence of the Beatles. When you are stumped for an analogy because Godwin’s Law advises against the obvious one, compare the Obama hysteria to Beatlemania. I think that youtube ought to have video of the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show. It really fits.

  84. Youth Before Bottom | O! the Quandary! Says:

    […] Over at Neo-Neocon there’s an interesting peek at some passages from a book by the (now recently d…. […]

  85. neo-neocon Says:


    Yes, but the Beatles had charm.

    And talent.

    And thirty/forty/fifty-year-old men weren’t doing the screaming.

  86. neo-neocon Says:


    Perhaps you have the wrong blog? I’m not Ann Althouse nor am I Peggy Noonan.

    I’m not aware of anyone here—including any of the regular commenters—who voted for Obama even once, much less twice.

  87. LS Says:

    It’s one thing to have a leader that is charismatic, but Governing by Charisma is so Third World.

  88. Skyp Light Says:

    You are really REALLY off. So off, its kinda of sad to see your agenda get in the way of even a modicum of truth. Hastings was blatantly murdered. He was not a heavy drinker, he did not drive fast. His engine was propelled nearly 200 feet from a brand new Mercedes (they do not catch fire, nor do they eject their engines. Go look it up). He spoke truth to power, even when that power was the same party as he usually was. He didn’t care about that. He didn’t suck up to powerful people. Before your impugn someone so brave, check your facts. I live in LA, and it would next to impossible to even go that fast on Highland. He was murdered by a drone, or someone hacking into his car electronics. You know I’m right. Everyone knows it. Guess the Sanhedrin was angry with another table turner.

  89. Skyp Light Says:

    PS Any political philosophy is for non-thinkers. The person of intelligence goes issue to issue, making up your mind about each thing as it arises, not because of some abstract political ideology . Michael Hastings might have been considered a “liberal” by you, but he was on the side of one thing and one thing only: Truth.

  90. Ymarsakar Says:

    You’ll have to talk to Snowden about getting information on that, because normal channels will not provide sufficient evidence.

  91. Watcher’s Council Nominations – Out Of Gas Edition | Liberty's Spirit Says:

    […] – Michael Hastings, Obama, and the swoon submitted by The Glittering […]

  92. Watcher’s Council Nominations – Out Of Gas Edition | Nice Deb Says:

    […] Neo-Neocon – Michael Hastings, Obama, and the swoon submitted byThe Glittering Eye […]

  93. Trevor Loudon's New Zeal Blog » Watcher’s Council Nominations – Out Of Gas Edition Says:

    […] – Michael Hastings, Obama, and the swoon submitted by The Glittering […]

  94. Watcher’s Council Nominations – Out Of Gas Edition | Virginia Right! Says:

    […] – Michael Hastings, Obama, and the swoon submitted by The Glittering […]

  95. Rob Crawford Says:

    PS Any political philosophy is for non-thinkers.

    What ignorance.

  96. Skyp Light Says:

    Rob Crawford Says:
    June 26th, 2013 at 10:33 pm

    PS Any political philosophy is for non-thinkers.
    What ignorance.

    Dear Mr Crawford: Ignorance is assuming some set of “beliefs” will suffice to explain or decide everything that occurs politically and socially. In case you haven’t noticed, our culture is in a constant state of evolution. No pre-set “philosophy” could possibly determine one’s actions or beliefs for the myriad of new circumstances arising. People who do not change and grow with circumstance become senile… as clearly you have. By the way, it is actually proven that people who remain stuck in one value system without any growth, DO REALLY become senile. WATCH OUT.

  97. Out of Gas! | Says:

    […] Neo-Neocon – Michael Hastings, Obama, and the swoon submitted byThe Glittering Eye […]

  98. Watcher’s Council Nominations – Out Of Gas Edition | therightplanet.com Says:

    […] – Michael Hastings, Obama, and the swoon submitted by The Glittering […]

  99. Bookworm Room » This week’s Watcher’s Council submissions plus an announcement Says:

    […] – Michael Hastings, Obama, and the swoon submitted by The Glittering […]

  100. The Council Has Spoken!! This Week’s Watcher’s Council Results | Liberty's Spirit Says:

    […] place  *t* with 1 2/3 votes -Neo-Neocon-Michael Hastings, Obama, and the swoon     submitted by The Glittering […]

  101. The Council Has Spoken!! This Week’s Watcher’s Council Results | Nice Deb Says:

    […] place  *t* with 1 2/3 votes -Neo-Neocon-Michael Hastings, Obama, and the swoon     submitted by The Glittering […]

  102. The Council Has Spoken!! This Week’s Watcher’s Council Results | therightplanet.com Says:

    […] place  *t* with 1 2/3 votes -Neo-Neocon-Michael Hastings, Obama, and the swoon     submitted by The Glittering […]

  103. Trevor Loudon's New Zeal Blog » The Council Has Spoken!! This Week’s Watcher’s Council Results – 06/28/13 Says:

    […] place *t* with 1 2/3 votes – Neo-Neocon – Michael Hastings, Obama, and the swoon submitted by The Glittering […]

  104. The Razor » Blog Archive » The Council Has Spoken: June 28, 2013 Says:

    […] place  *t* with 1 2/3 votes -Neo-Neocon-Michael Hastings, Obama, and the swoon     submitted by The Glittering […]

  105. Light, Breezy Bedtime Reading | Says:

    […] place  *t* with 1 2/3 votes -Neo-Neocon-Michael Hastings, Obama, and the swoon     submitted by The Glittering […]

  106. Bookworm Room » Watcher’s Council results for June 28, 2013 Says:

    […] place  *t* with 1 2/3 votes -Neo-Neocon-Michael Hastings, Obama, and the swoon     submitted by The Glittering […]

About Me

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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