On the political tone deafness (and political incompetence) of the White House. On the one hand, it’s frightening to have such clueless people running the country. On the other, given that there’s no signs that they will change, it will make the inevitable political retribution all the more useful and satisfying two years hence.
I’ve never bought into the media myth that Obama won because he was a brilliant campaigner and politician. It was the result of a confluence of events (anger at Republicans, incompetent campaign by McCain, economic meltdown in the middle of the campaign, desire to prove we weren’t racist by giving the black guy a chance, etc.) that allowed him to get into the White House, and that are not going to realign in 2012. But I hope that Axelrod, Plouffe, et al continue to believe in their own mythology, because it will prevent them from learning from their mistakes and actually putting together a competent campaign.
[Update a few minutes later]
Obama was to the Democrats what Watergate was to the Republicans. If so, that’s bad news for them, but good news for the country. Imagine how bad 1976 would have been if Nixon had been running again.
[Update a few minutes later]
How the mighty have fallen, and not just Barack Obama:
All pundits, including yours truly, get it wrong sometimes, and normally there would be little point in dwelling on past blunders. But it this case, it is worth exhuming these vaporous and embarrassing stupidities for a few moments. Many of our nation’s intellectual leaders wonder why the rest of the country isn’t more respectful of their claims to be guided by and speak for the cool voice of celestial reason. That so many of them gushed over Barack Obama with all of the profundity of reflection and intellectual distance of tweeners at a Justin Bieber concert should help them understand why their claims of superior wisdom are sometimes met with caustic cynicism.
A significant chunk of the American liberal intelligentsia completely lost its head over Barack Obama. They mistook hopes and fantasies for reality. Worse, the disease spread to at least some members of the White House team. An administration elected with a mandate to stabilize the country misread the political situation and came to the belief that the country wanted the kinds of serious and deep changes that liberals have wanted for decades. It was 1933, and President Obama was the new FDR.
They did not perceive just how wrong they were; nor did they understand how the error undermined the logical case they wanted to make in favor of a bigger role for government guided by smart, well-credentialed liberal wonks. Give us more power because we understand the world better than you do, was the message. We are so smart, so well-credentialed, so careful to read all the best papers by all the certified experts that the recommendations we make and the regulations we write, however outlandish and burdensome they look to all you non-experts out there, are certain to work. Trust us because we are always right, and only fools and charlatans would be so stupid as to disagree.
They’ve got a big problem — we’ve figured out who the real fools and charlatans were and are. It will take at least one more election to purge the system, though. Fortunately, they continue to behave in such a way as to ensure that will happen.
[Update a couple mintues later]
This is an important point, too, that the administration obviously still doesn’t understand:
The President, for all his virtues, lacks the essential gift of a great orator: the power to persuade. If you already agree with Barack Obama, you will be inspired and uplifted by his ability to express your common convictions in dignified and patriotic terms. If you don’t agree with him, you are unlikely to be convinced.
I find him negatively convincing, myself, and always have.