Saturday, 13 June 2009

Obama Again

I happened to flick through some old Telegraph cartoons today, and came across one from the US elections. It showed a staid McCain and a manic caricature of Palin, with McCain intoning “My friends, apart from his superb oratory, his intelligence, his consistent good judgement, courage, determination, calm under pressure and stamina – what do we know about Obama?”

That looks so ridiculous now, how come someone saw fit to write it on 21 October last year? I am not saying that Obama has none of these characteristics, but the cartoon suggests that they are so certain even his opponent can only argue from a point of agreeing them. Yet I can make a reasoned case that listing these as positive atributes of Obama is misleading, using only widely-reported facts.

Now we know that Obama cannot speak in public without an autocue. Obama’s appointments and more importantly those he tried to appoint shows truly dreadful judgement, as do some of his decisions in power. He has determination it is true, but it is blind determination, to press through his own ideas and appointees without allowing time for rational evaluation, so his determination is not necessarily a positive trait. That showed especially in the mock-Keynesian stimulus bill, pushed through with indecent haste suggesting he can panic under pressure (or else he was dishonest about the purpose of the bill; I think either fits the turn of events). His stamina has not always allowed him to stay long enough in press conferences to answer questions from right-wing reporters, and of course he needed his waffles when he’d been on the campaign trail.

Obama is intelligent, but regardless of what the press said all the evidence was that Bush is also intelligent. Obama might have had tenure at law school, but he didn’t actually write anything on which to judge his superior intelligence, and for a constitutional law teacher his grasp of constitutional law is said by some constitutional lawyers to be woeful.

OK it’s great to be wise after the event, but why didn’t serious people following and reporting Obama’s campaign know this already? Some of what I have written about happened before the cartoon was published. Some of the rest should have been known by anyone reporting the campaigns. Yet the view shown by the cartoon in a right-wing British newspaper was rather widespread in the reporting.

When, like Tony Blair, he told each person he shared their views of their favourite issue, were they so sure that even the news media did not try to find out about Obama? Why are people so surprised by Obama now? It was all there to see on the campaign trail, if people looked beyond what team Obama wanted them to see.

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Pelalusa said...

Very interesting insights. What you're of course talking about are people's perceptions. And what's the most common way they are formed? Through the MSM (Mainstream Media) of course.

Last Fall, when I heard my uncle, a devout Catholic, regurgitating all the nonsense about Sarah Palin, I became acutely aware of how incredibly powerful the MSM is.

This past week, when I heard Newsweek's Evan Thomas proclaiming Obama to be "sort of like God" and the week before when I saw NBC's Brian Williams actually bow to Obama I immediately realized just how far in the bag (or on the floor with kneepads) the MSM is for this man.

Dennis Miller commented on his radio show this past week that if some major scandal was quietly uncovered about Obama, most members of the MSM would suppress it, justifying such censorship as being "better for the world in the grand scheme of things".

Question: Can any member of the MSM keep a straight face anymore using the term "Journalistic Ethics"? Just askin'!

nsevy said...

Good post. :)

Firstly, there aren't any of these -right-wing reporters- who are allowed to ask questions of Obama anyway.

That is part of the problem, as Pelalusa noted. The media has become infatuated with making history, not just reporting it. They saw the first black man who ran for President and, combined with hatred of Bush, just couldn't resist advocating for him. So they didn't report anything on which any voter could make educated assessments.

I personally think there is more to it than just that, though. I think a lot of people in the "elite" strata of society saw this as an opportunity to get all of their wishes for a utopian society underway. The only surprise is coming from the folks who bought the simplified glamour story as opposed to looking for alternative viewpoints and making their own informed decision before they voted. 52% of the public was willing to buy into the image alone rather than look at the ingredients on the label. Anyone surprised now was willfully not paying attention during the campaign.

North Northwester said...

Alas, the Telegraph is no longer reliably right-wing and scarcely a pure conservative bastion as in days of yore.

It has at the very least embraced the new centre-fascist political class as worthy of consideration rather than of contempt as when Mr. Hague once called them the metropolitan elite.

Mr.Obama's social Marxist upbringing, his affection for his far-Left preacher, his ACORN links, his closeness to Bill Ayers and all the rest were there and available on this wonderful internet for all the world to see.

The Obamacons' support for him was always absurd. You can know a man by his lifetime associations and I for one never thought he was a hollow man of limp conservative fantasies: I've always thought he was full of it.

Glad to have made your acquaintance via Biased BBC. Linked to under the Cons, but I'll be glad to move you if you aren't a conservative.

Richard Dale said...

Thanks very much for the link, NNW. I like your blog. Conservative is fine; certainly in UK politics I am seriously considering joining the Conservative party, my politics being libertarian, the Libertarian Party being irrelevant and the other parties distinctly illiberal.

I agee about the Telegraph, and it was always my favourite paper. The Barclay brothers have done it no favours (although I got some great work and a coupe of brief trips to Cannes out of Sir David) and some of their writers have too close a relationship with Labour politicians, not disclosed in their writing (I see you read Guido Fawkes, so you probably know what I mean).


I think few straight faces in the mainstream press and TV, in Europe or the USA. They have been caught too many times now simply lying. I never had much faith, having studied and worked in areas that get a lot of press attention. Every story I read that I knew anything more than the general populationa bout had at least one error in a substantive point. That gave me a healthy curiosity abou any story in the media, and allowed me to see through their deliberate distortions more easily.


I agree about elites and utopian ideals. Never waste a good crisis, as some might say.

Catosays said...

Some of us could see what was wrong with Obama but we were howled down as racist bigots.

Nice to know that we were right though.

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