Paglia excoriates Dems and media for not criticizing Obama’s disastrous policies

She doesn’t directly criticize Obama himself, but her portrait of the Democratic/Obama catastrophe is exhilarating.

Also worth checking out is J.R. Dunn’s piece, “Barack Ozymandias,” at American Passionate Partisan (a.k.a. American Thinker). Dunn uses the same trope of Obama as a fallen god-king that I used last week, first in this brief entry, and then in my three line take-off on Julius Caesar which was inspired by the title of Charles Krauthammer’s column, “Obama the Mortal”:

And this god is now become a man
Who peeps about among us petty men
To find himself a dishonorable grave

except that Dunn stretches out the same metaphor to three thousand words. However, if you’re into chortling over the body of a fallen enemy who had claimed to be a god, you’ll find the piece enjoyable. Unlike me, Dunn doesn’t say that Obama could recover. He speaks of Obama as though he were finished, washed up, and has no place to go, because when a god turns out not to be one, what second act is there?

So what does he do now? Deliverers cannot simply fail. Jesus cannot shrug and become a Jerusalem rabbi. Moses cannot return to Egypt and open a travel agency for Sinai tours. A fallen messiah does not become half a messiah or a third of a messiah, his original power and influence shrinking to match. He becomes a joke.

Here’s Paglia’s article:

Too late for Obama to turn it around?

By Camille Paglia

Sept. 9, 2009 | What a difference a month makes! When my last controversial column posted on Salon in the second week of August, most Democrats seemed frozen in suspended animation, not daring to criticize the Obama administration’s bungling of healthcare reform lest it give aid and comfort to the GOP. Well, that ice dam sure broke with a roar. Dissident Democrats found their voices, and by late August even the liberal lemmings of the mainstream media, from CBS to CNN, had drastically altered their tone of reportage, from priggish disdain of the town hall insurgency to frank admission of serious problems in the healthcare bills as well as of Obama’s declining national support.

But this tonic dose of truth-telling may be too little too late. As an Obama supporter and contributor, I am outraged at the slowness with which the standing army of Democratic consultants and commentators publicly expressed discontent with the administration’s strategic missteps this year. I suspect there had been private grumbling all along, but the media warhorses failed to speak out when they should have—from week one after the inauguration, when Obama went flat as a rug in letting Congress pass that obscenely bloated stimulus package. Had more Democrats protested, the administration would have felt less arrogantly emboldened to jam through a cap-and-trade bill whose costs have made it virtually impossible for an alarmed public to accept the gargantuan expenses of national healthcare reform. (Who is naive enough to believe that Obama’s plan would be deficit-neutral? Or that major cuts could be achieved without drastic rationing?)

By foolishly trying to reduce all objections to healthcare reform to the malevolence of obstructionist Republicans, Democrats have managed to destroy the national coalition that elected Obama and that is unlikely to be repaired. If Obama fails to win reelection, let the blame be first laid at the door of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who at a pivotal point threw gasoline on the flames by comparing angry American citizens to Nazis. It is theoretically possible that Obama could turn the situation around with a strong speech on healthcare to Congress this week, but after a summer of grisly hemorrhaging, too much damage has been done. At this point, Democrats’ main hope for the 2012 presidential election is that Republicans nominate another hopelessly feeble candidate. Given the GOP’s facility for shooting itself in the foot, that may well happen.

This column has been calling for heads to roll at the White House from the get-go. Thankfully, they do seem to be falling faster—as witness the middle-of-the-night bum’s rush given to “green jobs” czar Van Jones last week—but there’s a long way to go. An example of the provincial amateurism of current White House operations was the way the president’s innocuous back-to-school pep talk got sandbagged by imbecilic support materials soliciting students to write fantasy letters to “help” the president (a coercive directive quickly withdrawn under pressure). Even worse, the entire project was stupidly scheduled to conflict with the busy opening days of class this week, when harried teachers already have their hands full. Comically, some major school districts, including New York City, were not even open yet. And this is the gang who wants to revamp national healthcare?

Why did it take so long for Democrats to realize that this year’s tea party and town hall uprisings were a genuine barometer of widespread public discontent and not simply a staged scenario by kooks and conspirators? First of all, too many political analysts still think that network and cable TV chat shows are the central forums of national debate. But the truly transformative political energy is coming from talk radio and the Web—both of which Democrat-sponsored proposals have threatened to stifle, in defiance of freedom of speech guarantees in the Bill of Rights. I rarely watch TV anymore except for cooking shows, history and science documentaries, old movies and football. Hence I was blissfully free from the retching overkill that followed the deaths of Michael Jackson and Ted Kennedy—I never saw a single minute of any of it. It was on talk radio, which I have resumed monitoring around the clock because of the healthcare fiasco, that I heard the passionate voices of callers coming directly from the town hall meetings. Hence I was alerted to the depth and intensity of national sentiment long before others who were simply watching staged, manipulated TV shows.


Why has the Democratic Party become so arrogantly detached from ordinary Americans? Though they claim to speak for the poor and dispossessed, Democrats have increasingly become the party of an upper-middle-class professional elite, top-heavy with journalists, academics and lawyers (one reason for the hypocritical absence of tort reform in the healthcare bills). Weirdly, given their worship of highly individualistic, secularized self-actualization, such professionals are as a whole amazingly credulous these days about big-government solutions to every social problem. They see no danger in expanding government authority and intrusive, wasteful bureaucracy. This is, I submit, a stunning turn away from the anti-authority and anti-establishment principles of authentic 1960s leftism.

How has “liberty” become the inspirational code word of conservatives rather than liberals? (A prominent example is radio host Mark Levin’s book “Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto,” which was No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list for nearly three months without receiving major reviews, including in the Times.) I always thought that the Democratic Party is the freedom party—but I must be living in the nostalgic past. Remember Bob Dylan’s 1964 song “Chimes of Freedom,” made famous by the Byrds? And here’s Richie Havens electrifying the audience at Woodstock with “Freedom! Freedom!” Even Linda Ronstadt, in the 1967 song “A Different Drum,” with the Stone Ponys, provided a soaring motto for that decade: “All I’m saying is I’m not ready/ For any person, place or thing/ To try and pull the reins in on me.”

But affluent middle-class Democrats now seem to be complacently servile toward authority and automatically believe everything party leaders tell them. Why? Is it because the new professional class is a glossy product of generically institutionalized learning? Independent thought and logical analysis of argument are no longer taught. Elite education in the U.S. has become a frenetic assembly line of competitive college application to schools where ideological brainwashing is so pandemic that it’s invisible. The top schools, from the Ivy League on down, promote “critical thinking,” which sounds good but is in fact just a style of rote regurgitation of hackneyed approved terms (“racism, sexism, homophobia”) when confronted with any social issue. The Democratic brain has been marinating so long in those clich├ęs that it’s positively pickled.

Throughout this fractious summer, I was dismayed not just at the self-defeating silence of Democrats at the gaping holes or evasions in the healthcare bills but also at the fogginess or insipidity of articles and Op-Eds about the controversy emanating from liberal mainstream media and Web sources. By a proportion of something like 10-to-1, negative articles by conservatives were vastly more detailed, specific and practical about the proposals than were supportive articles by Democrats, which often made gestures rather than arguments and brimmed with emotion and sneers. There was a glaring inability in most Democratic commentary to think ahead and forecast what would or could be the actual snarled consequences—in terms of delays, denial of services, errors, miscommunications and gross invasions of privacy—of a massive single-payer overhaul of the healthcare system in a nation as large and populous as ours. It was as if Democrats live in a utopian dream world, divorced from the daily demands and realities of organization and management. [cont.]

- end of initial entry -

A. Zarkov writes:

Paglia’s analysis of this summer’s missteps by team Obama and the Congressional Democrats is so accurate and searing that I suspect she will become an apostate in her own liberal circles. She had better prepare herself for the mean spirited attacks that lie in her future. She better get used to being lonely because many old friendships will dry up. She did the worst thing you can do: tell the truth. Look at what happened to Geraldine Ferraro. In a March 2008 interview she told the a reporter from the Daily Breeze (a small California newspaper),

“If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman (of any color) he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept.”

Ferraro told the truth and stepped on a land mine. The Obamabots instantly launched the racism missile, to which she responded, “I really think they’re attacking me because I’m white. How’s that?” The lady has spunk, but she was unprepared to have her life threatened. Poor Ferraro, she actually thought that liberals are—well liberal. Finally she went all the way and went on Fox News. In another interview with O’Reilly she said:

“Yes. Let me just say to you this. That we can’t continue to let this type of thing go on. They went after my voicemails, e-mails, letters. But in addition, they went after my job. They went after the board that I’m on to try and get me fired. I couldn’t believe it. I blame the Obama campaign, because nobody would have picked up that comment to a little California newspaper if the Obama people didn’t think of it and say hey, this is a good one; let’s get Hillary on this.”

Paglia is unlikely to get a response of the same intensity; this isn’t the campaign, but she had better be prepared to make new friends.

Gintas writes:

Paglia, as usual, is interesting, and, as usual, is at most half-right. She revels in “the anti-authority and anti-establishment principles of authentic 1960s leftism” yet criticizes Democrats who “live in a utopian dream world, divorced from the daily demands and realities of organization and management.” She sounds nostalgic for the 60s, when there was a robust authority and establishment, so if you wanted a good street fight you could get one. Now the authority and establishment is a bunch of limp-wristed liberals (Democrats!), and her vanguard desires are frustrated. Note how she complains that the Republican Party isn’t a worthy opponent, with no Nixon-type characters in sight. Overall, she comes across as trying to pick a fight with the Democrats. Life as an authentic anti-authority and anti-establishment leftist is very frustrating these days, there is no thrill in a mop-up operation.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 09, 2009 01:15 AM | Send

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