What will come next?

Let’s remember that while the debate outcome and the Pew poll are sensational, the media love reversals such as Obama has just endured because it injects drama into the election that wasn’t there before. Also, in any contest, one dramatic turnaround (e.g. Romney’s catching up with and perhaps leading Obama) is very often followed by another dramatic turnaround.

- end of initial entry -

Paul K. writes:

Mickey Kaus had a good observation on this:

That was fast: Before the debate, Mark Halperin said the press corps was itching to write the Romney comeback story. It turns out what they were really itching to write was the Obama-comeback-from-the-Romney-comeback story. You know, something like “How Obama reset his campaign.”

LA replies:

Well, we’ve been here before. In early September 2008, there was the big Sarah Palin splash that threw Obama off his stride because now there was a more exciting star than himself. Obama began to commit one unforced error after another and the world watched astonished as the heretofore self-assured candidate and his candidacy seemed to be falling apart, until, on September 13, I posted an entry entitled “The mythic fall of Barack,” in which I both expressed amazement at his fall and predicted that he would recover from it (which of course he did, very soon after, as a result of the financial crisis and also the attacks on Palin):

The stunning gaffes by the team of Obama and Biden don’t stop coming. The latest, of course, was an Obama ad, produced as part of a new “get tough” policy, that attacked McCain for, of all things, not knowing how to use the Internet and e-mail, when, as it had previously been reported in the media, McCain has difficulty using a keyboard because of his severe arm injuries suffered in Vietnam. It’s the mother of all gaffes.

I can’t get over how Obama the Preternaturally Smooth has changed into Barack Who Can’t Get His Foot Out of his Mouth. As though the gods were punishing him for his arrogance, the inevitable next president of the U.S.and the coming world messiah has been transformed into a dazed, helpless fool.

The situation reminds me of Book XVI of the Iliad when Patroklos puts on Achilleus’ armor, enters the battle, and effortlessly sweeps the Trojans back in terror before him, singlehandedly killing scores of them, Nothing can stop him. But then, suddenly, the gods turn against Patroklos. Apollo enters the battle and strikes him silly, stripping off his armor and rendering him helpless and defenseless and ready for the kill:

After a lenghty quote from the Iliad I resumed:

The sight of Patroklos being reduced in a few moments from an overpoweringly dominant warrior to a pitiful, dazed wretch stripped naked and ready for slaughter does seem to resemble Obama’s abrupt decline in political adeptness and external fortune over the last couple of weeks. If the analogy truly applied, then Obama would be down for the count and the election would be over, as is believed, says Peggy Noonan in Friday’s Wall Street Journal, by “everyone” she knows. In reality the candidates are just a couple of points apart according to most polls, and the election is two months off. So how can people be so sure it’s “over”? Maybe it’s because they think mythically. Or maybe it’s because, as I’ve discussed before, they accept the common belief that the trends prevailing at this moment must remain the prevailing trends. In their desire for closure and certainty they imagine that things will not change. But this side of death, things tend to change. When someone’s down, he comes up; when someone’s up, he comes down. Yet no matter how many times such reversals have occurred in politics or sports, people forget it and think that the top dog (top pit bull?) of this moment will remain the top dog, and so they are amazed when a reversal occurs. Yes, it’s possible that Obama, knocked silly by Palin’s arrival on the scene, will continue acting like a boxer on Queer Street for the next two months and never recover. But it seems unlikely.

LA writes:

Speaking of predictions, here is an interesting one from Jennifer Rubin in the Washington Post blog:

The left’s freak-out is instructive of their view that Obama the candidate flopped but that liberalism as a cause was unblemished. In fact, Obama’s record and rhetoric on everything from hostility to business to regret for America’s international “triumphalism” to pro-abortion extremism (abortion up to the moment of birth, paid for by the government) to the expansion of the liberal welfare state is as close as a president has ever come to the left’s undistilled worldview. His failure to revive the economy after gorging on Keynesianism, like his one-man-wrecking crew in the “peace process” (evidencing the hard left’s antipathy toward the Jewish state), is, in essence, not only a personal failure. His ideas, the left’s hymnal, collapsed on contact with reality.

The left, as I suggested, may soon (if not before the election, than certainly after if he loses) reach the point in which Obama is trashed to save liberalism. It is not, the left tells us, the Keynesian record of failure that was to blame for the debate wipeout; rather it was Obama’s cruddy performance. It’s not that liberalism lacks a reform agenda that is both feasible and politically popular, you see. No, the problem was that Obama didn’t shout “Liar!” loudly enough.

Given a choice between casting off their false idol and giving up the cult of liberalism, there is no competition. Liberals will have no compunction about dumping Obama. The last thing they want is to see what Romney-Ryan have described as a referendum on “two visions.” The Republicans call it a dependency society vs. an opportunity society. But it is really a face-off between modern conservatism and unrepentant liberalism. That’s not a contest the left can afford to lose. So, back to the Obama bashing!

Posted by Lawrence Auster at October 09, 2012 09:45 PM | Send

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