How a liberal journalist sees Obama

Paul K. writes:

Michael Lewis recently wrote a lengthy article on the president for Vanity Fair. Having been given permission to hang out with Obama for six months, Lewis returned the favor with a shameless puff-piece. In an interview, NPR’s Terri Gross asked Lewis if he had any criticisms of Obama. He replied, “His politics, he’s essentially a pragmatist. He’s just like a—his nature is problem-solving. So it’s a little hard to—he’s not an ideologue so it’s a little hard to get too worked up either way about, you know, his politics.”

You see? Obama has NO politics. It’s simply a matter of doing the right thing all the time. We must make him our philosopher-king. Can you believe Lewis regards himself as a journalist?

LA replies:

This is simply the standard liberal view. To the standard liberal, Elizabeth Warren’s resentment-filled anti-entrepreneur diatribe was not leftism or class-warfare, but just “common sense,” just a restatement of the commonsense social contract that we all take for granted.

As for Lewis, the fact that Obama does not go all the way with leftism on every issue means he’s not a liberal or leftist, but a pragmatist. Similarly, liberals regard the New York Times as “conservative,” because it makes some concessions to reality.

- end of initial entry -

Kathlene M. writes:

Michael Lewis’s six months with Obama gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “embedded journalist.”

Paul K. writes:

On this subject, National Public Radio’s “On the Media” recently devoted a program to examining the curious claim that the network is somehow liberally biased. (It found the accusation false.) I frequently listen to NPR, which I think of as “Limbaugh for Liberals,” and if they don’t understand that they’re liberal I can’t imagine what they think liberal is. My local NPR station regularly broadcasts panel discussions on politics in which every member of the panel is a liberal.

LA replies:

Again, it is the standard view of liberals that they are not liberals. As they see it, that which they believe is not liberalism; it is simply what all decent, intelligent people believe.

September 25

Bill Carpenter writes:

I am a great admirer of Michael Lewis based on Moneyball and The Big Short. I have thought he could be the next Tom Wolfe. But I found this piece disappointing. It may be good on what it talks about, but it comes off as trivial as a result of what it doesn’t talk about. Lewis is knowledgeable about the financial meltdown. Theoretically, he could write a good article on how the administration has positioned itself as the champion of the ordinary American while declining to hold accountable the banks who issued mortgage bonds based on garbage.

A common theme in the books named above is the stubborn, hard-won success of those who reject the common view of things and bet their lives on a truth that they alone have seen. He tells great underdog stories about Billy Beane rejecting the received wisdom of the baseball industry and motley stock traders understanding early on that the mortgage bond market was going to crash. He should have stuck with this angle on his sojourn in the White House. He should have championed the off-the-wall, non-received truths of a renegade. Instead he told people, Vanity Fair readers, what they want to hear.

LA replies:

Interesting. A writer who made his name by praising individualists who resist the conventional wisdom, turns his attention to the subject of Obama—and instantly becomes a purveyor of the conventional wisdom.

September 26

Bill Carpenter replies:

Yes. Very disappointing. Though maybe he has been repeating conventional wisdom the whole time he has been at Vanity Fair. I haven’t read his book collecting his articles for that magazine.

In writing about the banks, he was able to seize the amoral madness coupled with ignorance and stupidity that took hold of whole institutions. Hasn’t it occurred to him that political institutions can be equally or even more corrupt?

Possibly he sees himself as a visitor with no basis for making judgments in the political sphere and is unwilling to take any risks.

LA replies:

“Hasn’t it occurred to him that political institutions can be equally or even more corrupt?”

I once said to a liberal: “Ok, you are worried when corporations have a lot of power. Are you worried when the government has a lot of power?” My interlocutur refused to answer the question. The idea that government can be bad does not exist in liberals’ brains.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 24, 2012 02:43 PM | Send

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