Anti-Obama onanism

(4/13: A commenter gives an interesting example of the anti-Obama triumphalism.)

Note to mainstream conservative establishment: you have got to stop this constant excited overstatement of every little indication that Obama’s popularity is dropping. Thus in a piece by David Freddoso in the Washington Examiner today, the headline is:

Obama’s numbers in a post-healthcare tailspin?

Excuse me, but a tailspin means that an airplane is out of control and is rapidly descending to the earth where it will crash and everyone on board will be killed.

Yet the actual news reported in the body of Freddoso’s article is that Obama’s approval rating is in the mid 40s. Listen, I think it ought to be 30. It ought to be 20. But it’s not. It’s 45. And the reality is that an approval rating of 45 is not a disaster for a president. It is common.

Conservatives’ opposition to Obama and his program has got to consist of opposition to Obama and his program. It must not consist of conservative media figures masturbating each other at the thought of how Obama is doomed, doomed, doomed, he’s in free fall, the American people have turned against him, he has a terrible personality, everyone hates him, the Democrats are facing to a shattering defeat in November …

Turn on Hannity, and that’s what you see. He’s not informing his viewers, he’s jerking them into a hyped-up emotional state about how Obama is doomed, doomed, doomed. Conservatives have got to do better than this.

(Even some L-dotters are criticizing on the conservative anti-Obama hype.)

- end of initial entry -

April 13

Michael M. writes:

From time to time, I comment on the message board of David Goldman, who of course used to write under the pseudonym “Spengler” for the Asia Times (it persists at First Things, but it feels like its time has passed).

In any case, a poster there who writes under the name Mr. Perfect started a few threads which I thought illustrated your concept of “Obama Onanism” perfectly; the one, titled “Obama poll surge,” was a sarcastic recounting of Obama’s approval drop, and the other, titled “Other Obama Poll Things,” contained the following exultation:

“That would spell the end of Obamunism. Looks like it is ending anyway.”

Which was accompanied by a link to a state stating an approval rate of 46 percent

To this, I posted your entry, under the heading “Larry Auster’s take,” and this was the reply (and the reason I bothered to send this over):

you and this author [Auster] are not good at doing politics.

First, the issue is that about a year ago Obama was going to remake the world in his own image and the GOP was extinct. In a short period of time, the GOP is now on the verge of being the majority party again and Obama is on the verge of being the most ineffectual politician in U.S. history.

None of this is possible, and yet it is happening.

Further, various conservatives who celebrate this are no different than the Bush era libs who celebrated the second term GOP implosion.

Don’t dish it out if you can’t take it.

To me this perfectly encapsulates the near-pathological need for triumphalism which has overtaken modern “mediawatch” conservatism.

I wonder what a 25 percent approval rate would cause such people to do?

LA replies:

His first point is inapposite because the loss of Obama’s former popularity is now at least eight months old. It’s an old story. Yet notwithstanding the loss of his former popularity he’s still in power, still doing all kinds of things. Someone who pushed through the health care bill after everyone thought it was dead, against the will of the country, and by using legislative tricks never seen before is hardly an ineffectual leader. He’s imposing his will on one thing after another. That’s ineffectual? That’s the “end of Obamunism”? Maybe Obamunism will be ended after January 3 when a new Congress is seated, but until then the Obamunists are wreaking as much damage on the country as they can. To be chortling in victory when all these terrible things are going on certainly evinces a state of triumphalist delusion. How about waiting until AFTER the hoped for Democratic electoral disaster occurs before doing a sack dance? No. Republicans and mainstream conservatives always do a sack dance BEFORE they have won, in the mere anticipation that they are going to win. This is a phenomenon I have written about over and over.

Also, why did Mr. Perfect say, “Don’t dish it out if you can’t take it”?

Michael M. replies:
I believe the “don’t dish it out if you can’t take it” was a thrust against the imagined opposition, and was intended to portray the triumphalist stance as a political necessity, even if it was not justified by the facts (i.e., the 46% approval rating). In this way of looking at things, liberals under George W. Bush behaved so poorly and luridly that any criticism of Obama is now justified, and any method of making him appear weak and ridiculous is a strategic requirement.

LA replies:

Do you mean that he was seeing you (and me) as being on the left, because you (and I) were criticizing the anti-Obama triumphalism?

If so, that is a familiar phenomenon. Paul Mulshine, in his blog at the Newark Star Ledger, often points out that every time he is critical of Sarah Palin, Palin supporters think he’s on the left. He calls this the “moron perspective,” which he defines as “the idea that opposing a politician from the right somehow represents an endorsement of the candidate’s opponent on the left.” When his commenters demonstrate this false assumption, Mulshine labels the comment with “Moron Perspective Alert.”

Posted by Lawrence Auster at April 12, 2010 12:10 PM | Send

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