Politico has a well-deserved reputation as a Democrat house organ and reliable apologist for Leftist thought and politicians. One of the primary principles of Leftist thought, as I’ve often written, is that no Leftist policy or idea can possibly be wrong. If a progressive policy appears to be wrong, or has obviously failed, that’s just a lack of proper communication. The right “messaging” will set everything aright. The right messaging will inevitably tell us that not enough time has passed to allow the wonders and benefits of the policy to come to full flower. If that won’t fly, the problem is that the policy wasn’t sufficiently progressive. Just let us do what we really want to do—none of this democratic republic compromise silliness–and everything will be great! And if the damned, ungrateful public won’t buy that, the problem is not enough money was spent. Toss another trillion or so at the policy, and it will really take off! And of course, there is always one great impediment to the success of any progressive policy: conservatives continue to exist. Yes, the Constitution and the law are always niggling obstacles, but if one accepts that one’s ideas can never truly be wrong, it’s impossible to ever admit failure, or to correct it. But one can always message the hell out of it.
A recent example is the New York Times piece on Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes, a man with no qualifications whatever for his position, save the ability and willingness to construct leftist narrative–lies–and to enlist willing journalists to help sell them. The article focused on his abject and continuous lies in selling the Iran deal, that actually isn’t a deal at all. Nothing was signed, the Iranians reject the American version of the deal, and they’ve been cheating for year anyway and continue to do so. But that’s not the subject of this article.
A perfect example of leftist messaging is a long article—The Selling Of Obama—the inside story of how a great communicator lost the narrative—by Michael Grunwald. I’ve seldom seen a more ironic example of Leftist self-delusion, beginning with the title. Barack Obama is not a great communicator or public speaker. He is, at best, a mediocre, hectoring speaker, and without a teleprompter, frequently helpless and hapless.
The article is a marvel, full of examples of how Mr. Obama—and his faithful minions–was amazed that the public didn’t properly worship him. After all, he was a “professor-turned-president.” Actually, he was never a professor, though he has traded on that lie for decades:
Obama applied for a position as an adjunct and wasn’t even considered [for a full-time teaching position]. A few weeks later the law school got a phone call from the Board of Trustees telling them to find him an office, put him on the payroll, and give him a class to teach. The Board told him he didn’t have to be a member of the faculty, but they needed to give him a temporary position. He was never a professor and was hardly an adjunct.
Mr. Obama, the professor-that-never-was, never lacked appreciation for his brilliance:
Our policies are so awesome,’ he quipped to a few aides after a 2011 Roosevelt Room meeting. ‘Why can’t you guys do a better job selling them?
That damned, ungrateful public just wasn’t smart enough to understand his genius! All we need is the right messaging, and they’ll fall into line! The article is true to Leftist thinking in most respects, however, as in this early example referring to Benghazi:
His tenure has often felt like an endless series of media frenzies over messaging snafus—from the fizzled ‘Recovery Summer’ to ‘you didn’t build that’ to the Benghazi furor, which is mostly a furor about talking points.
“Mostly a furor about talking points.” To sane people, Benghazi was about a President and Secretary of State that refused to provide the security our Ambassador in Libya repeatedly and desperately requested. It’s about failing to authorize the military help that would have saved lives when they were attacked, and about blatant lying about it afterward, lies that continue to date. It’s also about the continuing cover up. And why? To preserve another lie: that Mr. Obama’s brilliant anti-terror policies had terrorists on the run around the world. The lies were necessary to ensure Mr. Obama’s re-election, and to make Hillary Clinton’s election in 2016 possible.
All of that is just a bit more serious than an insignificant and wrong-headed furor about “talking points.” Grunwald gives lip service to the fallacy of this way of thinking, but never truly embraces it:
I interviewed more than two dozen current and former administration officials for this article, and at least a dozen told me some version of the internal joke that every problem in Obamaworld is a communications problem.
Yes. An “internal joke.” Amusing. Grunwald immediately turns around and lets the public have it:
Like him or not, Obama has had a hugely consequential presidency, transforming America’s approach to foreign and domestic affairs, enacting almost all of his original Change We Can Believe In policy agenda. And credit him or not, America’s trajectory has improved on his watch. Along with the trends he cited at Northwestern, the housing market, gas prices, combat deaths, and other vital statistics have moved in the right direction. So why does only a quarter of the public still think the country is on the right track? Why haven’t his reforms of health care, education, energy and Wall Street been more popular? In short, why hasn’t America gotten his message?
The problem is that America has indeed “gotten his message.” Obamacare is a lie and is falling apart before our eyes, day by day. The economy is in shambles; unprecedented numbers of Americans are on food stamps, unemployed, or have simply stopped looking for work that isn’t there. The mass exodus of Americans from Democrat, high tax/high regulation to Republican states like Texas continues apace. American’s incomes are not growing, in fact, most Americans have abandoned the idea their children will be better off than they. One of the only things that have saved Obama is relatively low gas prices due to the fracking boom, which he did all he could to impede. No, the problem is that Americans believe in the “change” they see and live, not the rhetorical, and fanciful, “change we can believe in.”
More incredible delusion:
When pressed, though, Obama aides admit their problems have been less about remembering to sell than making the sale. Yes, Republicans have manufactured “death panels,” “apology tours” and other dubious outrages, while Fox News and talk radio portray Obama’s America as a lurid dystopia where Barack grabs your guns and Michelle steals your snacks. Still, myth-busting is part of his job. And plenty of Democrats have criticized Obama as aloof, tone-deaf and seemingly lost in the new media landscape.
At times, Obama has been one of them. He sees himself as a storyteller as well as a policymaker, and by his own admission, he hasn’t always told a persuasive story.
Manufactured “death panels?” Ah! That would be the non-existent Obamacare death panels the House had to vote to repeal in 2015? And of course, the non-existent “apology tours” consisted of President Obama touring and apologizing, serially, over years, for America and American history. They were certainly outrageous. The news now suggests that Mr. Obama intends to apologize to the Japanese for our use of nuclear weapons in WWII, something the Japanese very much do not want. Barack Obama did his best—and failed–to impose new gun control measures post-Newtown, and Michelle Obama’s school lunch mandates have been a horrific failure and constant source of nanny state friction. Still, Obamites persist in believing all they had—and have–to do to trick Americans into accepting the disintegration of America, their lives, and the world order was just telling a better story about it.
And consider this incredible bit of historical revision:
Most economists now credit the stimulus with helping to prevent a depression, but Obama lost the messaging war so decisively that he stopped uttering the word ‘stimulus’ in public. In retrospect, his marketers wish they had launched promotional campaigns for some of its little-noticed provisions, from electric vehicles to education reform to middle-class tax cuts, but they didn’t have the bandwidth or the inclination when the economy was imploding at an 8 percent annual rate. This is the most common excuse they make about those frenetic early days, that there was just too much going on.
The Obamites have stopped talking about the stimulus after Mr. Obama admitted that there never was any such thing as a “shovel ready job,” yet another Obama lie he used to sell the stimulus. The stimulus was a horrific boondoggle, most of the money being shuffled into the bank accounts of Democrat cronies and lost causes like Solyndra, which flushed at least a half billions taxpayers dollars down the renewable energy/solar power toilet. The same is true of electric vehicles, which, despite Obamite and media buzz, have proved to be an abysmal economic failure. Without substantial taxpayer support to manufacturers and potential buyers, they would not exist.
Thoughtful people imagine that presidential advisors are great thinkers, mightily wrestling with the issues of the day. They would be wrong, at least in the Obama administration:
Still, Obama’s strategists warned that celebratory rhetoric was politically untenable, because their polls suggested the public wasn’t feeling the recovery. Phrases like ‘America is back’ were banned from speeches.
“The public wasn’t feeling the recovery.” Golly. Why not? Didn’t they recognize the wonder and glory of Barack Obama when their health insurance premiums failed to decrease by the promised $2500, but instead, increased by much more? Doesn’t the public think dramatically increasing deductibles on health insurance a feature rather than a bug? The article provides yet more evidence of just how little Obamites know of actual Americans:
The criticism of Obama’s passivity peaked after he told reporters his foreign policy doctrine was ‘Don’t do stupid shit,’ which was roundly mocked for its blinkered message about American power. ‘It says something about the political media that ‘Don’t do stupid shit’ is seen as controversial,’ Rhodes told me. ‘Why would we want to do stupid shit?
Oh, like lie to the media and the public about Iran, Mr. Rhodes, you smug twerp? That kind of “stupid shit”?
Obviously, no one in the Obama White House, particularly Mr. Obama, was capable of understanding that the public wasn’t upset because Mr. Obama didn’t want to do “stupid shit,” but because of the utter lack of seriousness, or even the slightest evidence of a coherent, effective foreign policy that comment revealed. Merely speaking in those terms was jarring, suggesting that the President of the United States was no different than any vulgar blowhard in a corner bar, and likely possessing less foreign policy acumen. In an article talking about the failure of messaging, this bit is outlandishly ironic:
And when the Supreme Court upheld marriage equality last June, his rainbow-lit White House said more than a speech ever could.
It certainly did. It said President Obama and the Democrat Party care nothing for traditional Americans and their families, but a very great deal for tiny, noisy identity groups aligned with Democrat ideology. Thus are Mr. Obama and his Obamites determined to put men in women’s bathrooms and locker room, the better to teach girls the wonders of transvestites and pedophilia. Still, the delusions of the Left are strong and hard to kill:
If we dug up bin Laden’s corpse and waxed him again, maybe we’d go up to 55,’ [presidential approval numbers] one senior White House official said.
Most Americans saw Mr. Obama’s end zone dancing over Bin Laden’s death as denigration of the brave men that actually conducted the raid, and many remembered how he dithered over authorizing the raid, putting it off for a year, and nearly dropping it entirely, yet Obamites still think it a great public relations achievement that reflects well on Mr. Obama.
By all means, take the link and read the rest of the Politico article, but prepare to be amazed—and alarmed–at the obviously inexhaustible and infinite capacity of the Left for self-delusion.
It is not something America can afford for much longer. We never could.