The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

He’s a Neo-Keynesian, Not a Kenyan

Posted on | September 18, 2010 | 30 Comments

The insuperable problem with conservatives seeking the origins of Barack Obama’s political commitments in the details of his biography is that the Left always stands ready to reply with its standard argument: “Shut up, racists!”

Never has any prominent American leader’s ideology appeared more solidly rooted in his personal story — this, after all, was the purpose of Dreams From My Father — nor has any leader’s personal story ever been more zealously protected against critical scrutiny.

The facts of Obama’s life cannot be questioned, and the narrative meaning can only be construed in the most flattering light. Anything else elicits the accusation of mala fides.

Contrast this with how the liberal media treated Ronald Reagan. No matter what he accomplished, from the 1960s through the ’80s, no journalistic profile of Reagan was complete without a snarky reminder that Reagan was a “B-movie actor,” the star of corny dramas like Knute Rockne: All-American and still cornier comedies like Bedtime for Bonzo.

Even compared to other Democratic presidents, the treatment of Obama is notably more deferential. Jimmy Carter was always the “Georgia peanut farmer” and Baptist Sunday School teacher, and nobody ever insisted that we ignore as irrelevant Bill Clinton’s childhood as the stepson of an alcoholic wife-beater.

Yet our society’s Platonic archons, who stand guard over the limits of acceptable discourse as watchfully as Argus Panoptes, insist that no one can be permitted to employ President Obama’s background as a prism through which to examine an increasingly relevant question: What the hell is wrong with this guy?

Grant that Bill Maher’s latest foray in that direction was as tastelessly puerile as anything else that he ever says. If you want intelligent political commentary, don’t watch Bill Maher. Nevertheless, Maher deserves partial credit for at least attempting to strike a blow at the impenetrable shield of political correctness with which Obama’s admirers have attempted to surround him.

The media’s reflexive protectiveness of Obama the Race-Symbol strikes me as patronizing nonsense. Whatever hang-ups Obama ever had about race, he has never struck me as the hyper-sensitive sort. The president obviously doesn’t suffer from a self-esteem deficit. If anything, he likes himself too much. So it’s ridiculous to pretend that we’ll hurt his feelings by engaging in a pseudo-Freudian discussion of Obama’s political personality as a product of childhood emotional conflicts.

Unhelpful Arguments

Such discussions, however, will have zero impact on any political or policy outcomes. Talking about Obama in terms of “neo-colonialism” won’t help Republicans win elections, nor will it reverse the disastrous consequences of Obama’s policies.

It’s not that these tales of Obama the Semi-Kenyan Alinskyite Radical are uninteresting. It’s just that they are unhelpful.

The basic problem with Obama is not new, but sadly familiar: He is a liberal Democrat who supports liberal Democratic policies and who therefore sails with a 20-mph tailwind of sycophantic coverage from the liberal Democratic media elite.

In this, he is no different than Bill Clinton or Jimmy Carter.

During Carter’s presidency, the media sought to depict him as struggling heroically against powerful forces beyond his control. It was not until Reagan took office and triumphed decisively over those same forces that the media sheepishly admitted the possibility that maybe President Jimmy simply wasn’t up to the job.

During the Clinton years, the MSM bent over backward (and forward) to proclaim that the Founding Fathers intended the Commander-in-Chief to have unquestioned authority to perjure himself about blowjobs from interns. Eminent professors of law stepped forward to declare that hiring White House staffers on the basis of their willingness to provide executive fellatio was a Constitutional prerogative. If you dared suggest that lying under oath and suborning perjury to thwart a federal civil-rights lawsuit crossed the threshold of “high crimes and misdemeanors,” you were downright un-American.

Policy-wise, Obama has proven nearly as inept as Carter. In terms of his political skills, however, Obama may be an even more accomplished deceiver than Clinton — which is to say, a better liar than the greatest flim-flam man previously known in all recorded human history.

Yet we come here to defeat Obama, not to praise him, and therefore I express skepticism toward the Pseudo-Freudian School of Obama Analysis.

Everybody Likes a Marlboro Man

Just for starters, I can’t help but like Obama as a person, even as I oppose him as president. His personal likeability is the greatest obstacle to his political defeat. In this, Obama is much like the gregarious, affable Clinton, and very much unlike Carter, whose vindictive self-righteousness was notorious among Georgia politicos long before Mr. Peanut grinned his way into the White House.

Seriously: If Obama weren’t a Democratic politician, who would have any cause to dislike him? He’s smart, he’s funny, he smokes Marlboros — what’s not to like?

For his political opponents, then, it would be far more fruitful to focus on the self-evident failures of Obama’s policies than to try to explain these policies in terms of biographical psychobabble.

Let us stipulate that subjecting Obama to a journalistic couch-trip may be helpful in allaying the racial guilt of white bien-pensants who can’t get over their subconscious fear that it is somehow “racist” to vote against Hope and Change and all that other rainbows-and-unicorn pabulum we’ve been force-fed for the past two years. In that narrow context, there may be some utility in Dinesh D’Souza’s helping Americans get in touch with their inner anthropologist.

The greater task, however, is to explain why liberal policies fail, especially in terms of promoting economic growth. This is a task that I have frequently undertaken since before Obama was inaugurated, most especially in three articles at The American Spectator.

If conservatives can’t explain to the American people why class-warfare rhetoric, soak-the-rich tax policies, deficit-funded bailouts and Keynesian “stimulus” spending don’t work in terms of basic economics, all else will be in vain.

We cannot win political arguments by ignoring policy arguments, even if the terms of contemporary political discourse require us to boil down complex issues into superficial sound-bites.

We know that economic liberty works as policy. The challenge is to make it work as politics.

And we’re not going to do that by talking about Kenya.


30 Responses to “He’s a Neo-Keynesian, Not a Kenyan”

  1. cobra
    September 18th, 2010 @ 7:35 pm

    For us to defeat the big Zero in 2012, we need to work at many levels: strategical, tactical and psychological.
    Your article touches on one of the tasks for the strategical level.
    At the tactical level, we must not leave any stone untouched after and if we take the Congress, and investigate his administration with the goal of impeaching him.And not only that…
    At the psychological level, we must show the American people how foreign is his philosophy and even him, personally to the American culture and people.
    So, in that respect, what D’Souza and Gingrich did was good because it showed how foreign is his approach to policy making and governing to the American people.

  2. young4eyes
    September 18th, 2010 @ 8:57 pm

    “If conservatives can’t explain to the American people why class-warfare rhetoric, soak-the-rich tax policies, deficit-funded bailouts and Keynesian “stimulus” spending don’t work in terms of basic economics, all else will be in vain.”

    F*ck that! I’m still waiting for conservatives to explain to the American people how supply-side economics works, except that admitting that in essence it is nothing but a Ponzi scheme would pretty much invalidate the entire Conservative dogma…

  3. young4eyes
    September 18th, 2010 @ 8:59 pm

    “we must show the American people how foreign is his philosophy and even him, personally to the American culture and people.”

    Yes Cobra, he is very very very foreign to us white–I mean American!– people…

  4. Mick
    September 18th, 2010 @ 9:19 pm

    All of this is total nonsense. How do you call yourself a Conservative or “Constitutionalist”
    yet excuse the Usurpation of the Presidency?
    No Matter WHERE Obama was born, and he has yet to prove anything about that (since when is a pic on a website proof of ANYTHING?), he is ineligible due to the FACT that his father was not a US Citizen (NEVER). Obama has admitted dual citizenship at birth, and lacks the singular allegiance at birth neccessary to be a Natural Born Citizen. Unhelpful? You and those like you are “unhelpful”, since you have the collective platform to expose the Kryptonite of the Usurper, that his dual citizenship at birth alone makes him ineligible for the Presidency. You criticize the MSM for not doing their job, when you are not doing yours either. You and the rest of your conservative bloggers have been cowed by the “Birther” epithet. Unhelpful? Please!!!

  5. young4eyes
    September 18th, 2010 @ 9:22 pm

    Ah, birthers…
    it’s like herpes for Conservatism…

  6. Mick
    September 18th, 2010 @ 9:31 pm

    Consevatives that excuse Usurpation of the Presidency are cowards.

  7. Estragon
    September 18th, 2010 @ 9:32 pm

    D’Souza’s purpose wasn’t political advantage. His conception is the best explanation I’ve seen of Obama’s world view. It accounts for the visceral need to disparage America and apologize to barbarians on our behalf.

    Of course, in the new day with 100% agreement and allegiance demanded of lifelong conservatives, lest they be denounced and abandoned, perhaps it is not permissible that someone is not fully committed and devoted to whatever the Ideology Commissars have decreed, since anyone who is not concentrating solely on advancing the specified party line may need reeducation.

  8. Mick
    September 18th, 2010 @ 9:50 pm

    D’Souza’s article tip toes around the real issue, that the framers were afraid of over 200 years ago, and why they required a Natural Born Citizen to be POTUS and VP. His allegiance and attachment to this country are lacking. ALL of congress (both sides) are guilty of Treason for allowing a Non Natural Born Citizen to Usurp the Presidency. Here is what Alexander Hamilton said abiout A2S1C5 in the USC:

    “Nothing was more to be desired than that every practicable obstacle should be opposed to cabal, intrigue, and corruption. These most deadly adversaries of republican government might naturally have been expected to make their approaches from more than one querter, but chiefly from the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils. How could they better gratify this, than by raising a creature of their own to the chief magistracy of the Union?”

    Alexander was the one who in the first draft of the USC said that the POTUS should be “Born a Citizen”. John Jay appealed for a stricter standard, that would go further to expunge the threat of Foreign Influence. He suggested that the POTUS and VP must be Natural Born Citizens (born in the US of 2 US Citizen parents). Could a child born of alien parents possibly be a “Creature of our own”? How could birth to alien parents benefit the well known reason for the requirement, i.e restrict foreign influence? Does Obama appear to have the neccessary allegiance and attachment to this country, to be POTUS?

  9. Mick
    September 18th, 2010 @ 9:51 pm

    That A. Hamilton quote was from Federalist #68.

  10. Adobe Walls
    September 18th, 2010 @ 9:52 pm

    Nearly everything about Obama is what’s not to like. I found that Dinesh D’Souza Forbes article most helpful in understanding the O’s particular brand of Bolshevism. How ever you are correct in that most Americans wont hear anything after the word African if one attempts to explain that Obama is an African anticolonialist. As for “liking Obama” I find zero socially redeeming qualities in him. I find liberalism/Bolshevism to be character flaws, different in no significant way than his egomania or narcissism.
    At the moment he still has most of the American people fooled by his feigned gregarious affability but IMHO this is all an act except to the very few he considers worthy. When things start getting uglier as they surely will over the next two years his mask will slip exposing him as the truly pathetic example of the species that he is.

  11. David R. Graham
    September 18th, 2010 @ 9:55 pm

    Policy arguments and political arguments are one and the same. Address either, the other is addressed equally. All life is one.

  12. Adobe Walls
    September 18th, 2010 @ 10:01 pm

    @Estragon; If O’Donnell is elected will you get over it? By “it” I mean the Rino’s loss.

    September 19th, 2010 @ 3:00 am

    Here’s a tidbit some enterprising journo should attempt to check out. My sister actually knew “Barry” and was in his class (83′) at Occidental College. Doesn’t recall too much but recollects that he did NOT appear to be exceptionally academic or engaged in their classes. He did help lead an apartheid protest which shut the campus down for a day or so. She thinks though that he was probably eligible for some financial assistance being that his stepfather was a foreign national, and he may have identified himself as such as well. Of course, Barry’s never released his grades. Not to poke the birther beehive or anything but just sayin’.

    Stacy’s absolutely right tho. BO could have a dozen hampers full of dirty laundry (and probably does), but if we don’t take him down by pointing to his policies then all we’re doing is setting the stage for the next “new and improved” Progressive type.

  14. 1389AD
    September 19th, 2010 @ 8:59 am

    Dinesh d’Souza provided an explanation of WHY Obama espouses the leftist agenda.

    Those same reasons indicate WHY Obama espouses the Muslim agenda.

    Yes, both the leftist and the Muslim agendas are destructive to America and to the world as a whole.

    As I pointed out in my own article, Obama’s father, notwithstanding his Western education and Muslim faith, was what we would call an irresponsible drunken bum. It is a mark of maturity to refrain from following in the footsteps of the unworthy, all the more so when the unworthy are one’s relatives or previous mentors – a maturity that Barack Hussein Obama clearly lacks.

    Arguably, not that many people have the independent-mindedness and the raw courage that it takes to “think outside the box” and break away from a negative family background, especially when that family is deeply immersed in politics. But it is not impossible. (Evidently, Juanita Castro Ruz managed to break away successfully.)

    But if someone is running for office who comes from a family background that inculcates opposition to Judaeo-Christian civilization and values, it behooves us as voters to look very carefully at what values that candidate actually espouses.

  15. Ellie Light
    September 19th, 2010 @ 11:51 pm

    Ah Dinesh is wrong. Someone who pals around with communists is not likely to be a capitalisty or love the USA. He started his political career in Bill Ayers home. He himself admits to having sought out Marxists, because of dear daddy?

    No because daddy was a commie, mommy was a commie and his grandparents were commies.