Free Markets, Free People

I come to bury Caesar, not praise him

Conor Friedersdorf takes a look at an essay in Esquire that is simply astounding in its delusional aspects.  It is by Stephen Marche who seems to hav come untethered from reality.  The essay’s base question is:

"Before the policy choices have to be weighed and the hard decisions have to be made, can we just take a month or two to contemplate him the way we might contemplate a painting by Vermeer or a guitar lick by the early-seventies Rolling Stones or a Peyton Manning pass or any other astounding, ecstatic human achievement?" he writes. "Because twenty years from now, we’re going to look back on this time as a glorious idyll in American politics, with a confident, intelligent, fascinating president riding the surge of his prodigious talents from triumph to triumph."

“Glorious idyll in American politics”?  Where on earth has this man been for the past 3 years?  If this is glorious wouldn’t you hate to see terrible?

And correct me if I’m wrong, but I’ve seen very little to indicate this president was the least bit fascinating or confident.  And while he may be intelligent, he’s certainly not led during his presidency.  In fact, if anything he’s been led.  And led badly. 

Friedersdorf correctly points out that Obama isn’t the first president to be so unabashedly, obsequiously and shamelessly worshiped, nor is that only a trait of the left.  But you have to wonder at what level Marche must set his own internal bar to find himself able to write that paragraph without upchucking on his keyboard.

Luckily we find out fairly quickly where he sets the bar:

"The turning point came that glorious week in the spring when, in the space of a few days, he released his long-form birth certificate, humiliated Donald Trump at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and assassinated Osama bin Laden," Marche writes. "The effortlessness of that political triptych — three linked masterpieces demonstrating his total command over intellectual argument, low comedy, and the spectacle of political violence — was so overwhelmingly impressive that it made political geniuses of the recent past like Reagan and Clinton seem ham-fisted."

Good lord … those are “triumphs”?  A “turning point”.  Highlights of his presidency?   He released a paper, ordered a monster assassinated (and had no real choice to do otherwise) and humiliated a political opponent who is roundly recognized by all as a dufus.

Wow.  Bow down, all ye mere mortals.

Friedersdorf:

This is how little we now expect of our leaders. A man showed his birth certificate to scattered kooks, and the release of that bureaucratic form is deemed "a masterpiece." As is humiliating Donald Trump — a man who is perhaps the easiest to mock of all the reality TV stars!

Exactly.  So how does someone find those events so compelling and enthralling that he writes an essay extolling them?  Well I’m as clueless as you are on that front.   But to be honest, when it comes to this president and his sycophants, nothing much surprises me any more (see Nobel Peace Prize).  Well, almost nothing:

"In 2011, it is possible to be a levelheaded, warmhearted, cold-blooded killer who can crack a joke and write a book for his daughters. It is possible to be many things at once. And even more miraculous, it is possible for that man to be the president of the United States. Barack Obama is developing into what Hegel called a ‘world-historical soul,’ an embodiment of the spirit of the times. He is what we hope we can be."

You have to check numerous times while reading dreck like this to be sure that you haven’t really linked to the Onion.  You keep peeking at different parts of the page hoping you finally spot that which will let you know this is a joke piece.  But you never find it.

Is “a levelheaded, warmhearted, cold-blooded killer who can crack a joke and write a book for his daughters” really the “embodiment of the spirit of the times” and what “we hope we can be”?  Really?  Or does it sound like a character from a Brad Thor novel?

Friedersdorf does a credible job of destroying Marche’s premise with facts.  A terrible thing in the fantasy world Marche has constructed.  Friedersdorf makes it clear that Obama is just another of many ordinary politicians that have come to power and we shouldn’t glorify him (or them).  He ends his fisking with:

This is no time to enjoy Obama, as the Esquire writer asserts, or to treat him deferentially, as if he has earned our trust.

In all administrations, Congress is a necessary check, as is the Fourth Estate, as are the people. Our current Congress is failing spectacularly. It is filled with Republicans who’ve no idea how to govern and Democrats whose civil liberties bona fides evaporated as soon as their party came into power.

Thus a greater burden is imposed on the media and the people. To cast Obama as the living embodiment of the zeitgeist is as absurd as imagining him to be a shadow outsider who hates America. He is a normal politician, one whose behavior in office often times conflicts with the ideals that put him there. What we ought to do, insofar as it’s possible, is be skeptical, vigilant and demand better.

Although Friedersdorf might disagree with me, I contend that the media too is “failing spectacularly” – at least the establishment media.  And the Esquire piece is simply the visible tip of a very large media iceberg that first came to the public’s attention during the 2008 presidential election when many in the media gave up all pretense of objectivity or being unbiased.   It was particularly shameful, and for the most part, hasn’t changed. It is one of the reasons someone like Marche feels comfortable penning this absurdly silly essay.  What was left of the media’s credibility went the way of the Dodo after that performance and they haven’t yet regained it.

That’s left it up to the people as the final check.  The people, who are now routinely attacked and dissed by both politicians and the elite media.  The one “check” on this runaway freight train of government power is the most powerless and confused.  If one want’s a reason for the 3 past wave elections we’ve had, the confusion and dissatisfaction of the electorate is the answer.   And that hasn’t changed a bit, despite Marche’s paean to his political god.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

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21 Responses to I come to bury Caesar, not praise him

  • Media – just for a moment, try to imagine the press reporting if George W. Bush had proclaimed in a crucial speech, “80% of the country wants increased taxes”.
     
     

  • My employer had (maybe they still do) this policy where they wanted 10% turnover every year.  They assumed that between the truly gross incompetents and the over-ambiguous, some folks should see a new job .. often.
    If I was a manager looking to fill my requirement of 10% to see the door, Stephen Marche would be at the head of my list.

    • It was EDS standard policy for years to rif the lowest performing 20% of the System’s Engineers.  It was good to have a manager who would fight for you since they used to get into big meetings and dick measure who’s SE’s were better.

  • In the meantime Reuters is reporting some more “UNEXPECTED” bad economic news.

  • Cold blooded killer?  No!

    If Obama was the one who ordered Osama bin Laden killed and presided over the operation, how does one explain this photograph?

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/whitehouse/5680724572/in/photostream

    In the US Military, the boss sits at the head of the conference table where BG Brad Webb is sitting.  Biden, looking as vapid as ever, has a seat at the table.  Hillary, ready to vomit, has a seat at the table.  Gates, looking mildly pleased, has a seat.  Obama is squatting in the corner having been summoned from the back nine at Andrews AFB.  Obama’s entire life has been leadership free.

    • Obama didnt even rate a laptop. Maybe because he thought it was a new TOTUS and wouldnt shut up.

  • Reading that I thought ‘maybe it’s Ott Scerb writing under a pseudonym’

  • And the ghosts of our Founders wept.

    • ” can we just take a month or two to contemplate…the way we might contemplate a painting by Vermeer or a guitar lick by the early-seventies Rolling Stones or a Peyton Manning pass or any other astounding, ecstatic human achievement?”
       
      We used to do that with the founders, now we know they were slaving holding selfish white European male bastards.
      This is the new age, where a half wit with less leadership than I have in my pinky is lauded as a genius who can solve all problems, heal all wounds, by his mere presence in Washington DC.  Which is appropriate in a sick way because he’s been voting merely present for his entire life.

  •  
    Yet even Conor Friedersdorf goes overboard for Obama in quoting a passage from James Fallow, a fellow commentator at The Atlantic, who gushed about Obama:

    “It may sound naïve and childish, but I trust him… he is obviously really, really smart–perhaps one of the smartest guys on the national political scene in years.”
     
    Conor quotes this passage without blinking. To liberals it is obvious that Obama is just scary smart, though they never back that up with any actual evidence. For instance, a week ago in a blog post, “Entrepreneurial OCD,” Robert Cringely (a pseud for a longtime, often astute, hi-tech writer) said :
     
    “Here’s a guy [Obama] who has always been the smartest in the room…”
     
    Even though Cringely was criticizing Obama for being “simply out of his depth” when it comes to the abstruse mysteries of entrepreneurship, Cringely still has to genuflect before the idol of Obama’s supreme intelligence.
     
    Several commenters, including moi, took Cringely to task for this inflated claim, but Cringely offered no defense, no evidence. Neither did any other Obama supporters in that thread.
     
    People have ceased speaking breathlessly of Obama’s skill at “eleven-dimensional chess,” perhaps because chess, no matter how many dimensions, requires wins to demonstrate skill. But the myth of Obama’s astonishing intelligence totters on, because that only requires an act sufficient to impress the impressionable.

    • A swipe from across the pond at ‘His brilliance, Barack Obama, President of the United States”

      • looker: Great cite! It’s nice to see the obsequiousness and gaffes all tied up in one place with a bow. I would add Obama’s mispronunciation of “Orion” as “O-ree-on” hit my ear badly. It’s only one of the most prominent constellations in the sky and you only have to hear it once to get the pronunciation cold. I reckon Obama was too busy reading Urdu poetry to know Orion.

        My Irish friend tells me that Europeans, top to bottom, are over Obama. They still prefer his politics to GWB’s but they know that he’s a lightweight.

  • Barack Obama is developing into what Hegel called a ‘world-historical soul,’ an embodiment of the spirit of the times. He is what we hope we can be.”

    Well, HEGEL…DUH!

    I contend that the media too is “failing spectacularly” – at least the establishment media.

    The Mushroom Media, m’boy, – leave us in the dark (don’t report anything that doesn’t fit their agenda) and feed us…um,  manure (MiniTru).