On one issue after another, from bail-outs to the environment, Medicare, life issues, foreign policy, the polls now tend to confirm what this pundit and a few other incorrigible reactionaries knew from the outset: that a plurality of American voters had embraced Mr. Obama not because of, but despite the policies he was signalling. They most certainly liked the man and his "temperament," and they most certainly wanted the Republicans out. But it did not follow that they wanted their government to lurch to the left.
To my analytical mind, such as it is, they wanted Obama the man, but not Obama the agenda, except for the uplifting rhetorical bits about "hope," "change," and so forth. The idea that the man could not be separated from the agenda never fully fixed; John McCain and company actually avoided riding home on this point, once the media made clear it would be reported as "scare tactics."
Again, to my mind -- and it is the only one I have with which to write this column -- we would be wrong to think of Mr. Obama as an ideologue. I think he was perfectly sincere in denying that he was anything of the sort, and in claiming that he would be looking for bipartisan consensus. I also think he is sincere in proceeding with an agenda -- on bail-outs, the environment, Medicare, life issues, foreign policy, etc. -- that leaves most Republicans, and quite a few of the more conservative Democrats, utterly aghast.
How to explain this apparent contradiction? I'm afraid it is easy. As I mentioned during the presidential campaign, Mr. Obama was seriously unqualified for the job of president. He had no practical experience in running anything, except political campaigns; but worse, his background was one-dimensional.
I think it is not only Republicans and conservative Democrats who are utterly aghast, but a large majority of the population. They were voting for the First Black American to be President, happily secure in their hopey changey world that they would be free at last, thank God; free at last of that over-used "racist" label that Barack and Co. (i.e., the Jeremiah Wrights and many others) had been throwing around for a few decades. They saw a hope that in Barack Obama there was finally a chance at redemption from America's past with all the bitterness of the Civil War and the whole slavery issue. And, I think, rather innocently were led to believe that issues of race could finally be put behind them. What a laugh that turned out to be--especially since now every criticism of the "post-racial" candidate produces even more accusations of racism.
I think also, that the hopeful American public did not sufficiently consider the ramifications of actually having a person of minimal experience in the White House because they were blinded by the shining white light of his media-enhanced supernatural personality. It might not have mattered if someone of dubius qualification had been elected in a less volatile epoch of history; but not having even the smallest of proven capabilities during this critical historical time is going to really hurt this country as we are starting to find out.
Not only is Barack Obama seriously unqualified (as I and many others warned), but what little there was documented of his various activities over the years was quite damning as far as the content of his character and the ideological bent of his mind. When it was pointed out repeatedly (but not in the MSM, unfortunately) that he had the most leftist voting record in Congress (when he actually didn't vote "present"), that information was shrugged off. When it was pointed out repeatedly (but not in the MSM, unfortunately) that he had absolutely NO record of EVER having "reached across the aisle" in any sort of bipartisan manner, that information was shrugged off.
People made fun of Sarah Palin, a sitting governor of a large state and someone with a modicum of executive experience; but making fun of Barack "community organizer" Obama was considered the height of disgusting and racist utterings.
Nevertheless, Sarah Palin was and is the equivalent of a seasoned fighter pilot and Obama is only someone who's carefully studied about how jets fly, but hasn't quite got around to flying one yet.
His lack of experience was so obvious, but so downplayed, because everyone was so infatuated on such short acquaintance was with the charismatic Obama that, to quote Marianne the "sensibility" half of Sense and Sensibililty (the movie), "What care I for colds when there is such a man?"
Indeed. What did the American public care about the pressing issues of the day when there was "such a man" as Barack, who in all his glory had exploded on the American stage only a few short years earlier? They were weary of the Iraq war, having suffered the slings and arrows of all those imaginary sacrifices trumpeted by the left; and even more weary of all the arguing about it.
Who could have predicted from those seemingly heroic-sounding, carefree days of the campaign, that, much like Marianne, we are coming to appreciate that Obama's character, as it turns out, is not much different from Willoughby: empty of integrity and honor; as well as weak and shallow. Those who innocently voted for him are beginning to sicken on the bitterness of their regret and betrayal.
Obama's character was always evident for any who cared to look at the evidence. It is still obvious, for those who will bother to look and listen to the empty words coming from the man today . Or, better still, just carefully examine the policies he and his cronies are foisting upon this country. The last thing he wants is for anyone to actually read through those policies--that's why we're in such a heedless rush to pass them through Congress.
His agenda looks much better if no one peers at it too closely or critically.
If you thought Bush was "shredding the Constitution" and paving a path toward fascism, how can it possibly escape your notice that the Obamacons are goosestepping their way into every household in America? If you haven't noticed yet, then you will very shortly.
Meanwhile, Michael Wolff can't help noticing that Obama is a terrible bore...but it's actually worse than Wolff thinks. He writes:
What happens when you move into the White House?
Well, shit, of course. The true secret of the power of language is in quickness. Barack Obama can’t keep up. He evidently needs too much preparation.
It's not just in language that he can't keep up. How could this supposed political superstar; this Savior who was going to roll back the tides and heal the planet, not have been able to predict Iran's utterly predictable response to his sincere, videotaped message of weakeness? Obama might just as well have put up a YouTube video telling the Mullahs to go right ahead with their nuclear ambitions and whatever the hell they intend to do in the region because the US isn't going to do a damn thing about it.
John Boyd is a well-known military strategist whose concept of the OODA loop has gained prominence in both combat and business operations:
According to Boyd, decision-making occurs in a recurring cycle of observe-orient-decide-act. An entity (whether an individual or an organization) that can process this cycle quickly, observing and reacting to unfolding events more rapidly than an opponent, can thereby "get inside" the opponent's decision cycle and gain the advantage.
OODA stands for OBSERVE---> ORIENT---> DECIDE ---> ACT; and the loop is a ongoing cycle that continuously updates in real time. Of course, for a pilot in combat it is much more complex and intricate than this simple diagram can indicate; but essentially, in order to survive and defeat an enemy, one has to be quicker in following the sequence and be able to stay one step ahead.
Obama has already shown he is not able to do this, either to deal with the financial crisis or to deal with external threats like Iran. In fact, he is continuously one step behind events and therefore at the mercy of them. That is why he always seems to be responding defensively.
Is it any wonder that he has regressed back to campaign mode when he appeared to all intents and purposes to be on top of his game? Appearing on late night TV and playing the Hollywood star again. One only wonders when (not if ) he'll make an appearance on American Idol so he can upstage the talent there.
Sadly, the game is no longer a "survivor" reality TV show about an endless Presidential Election process; it is survival in the real world now; a place where one's enemies are not filled with mindless adoration and and uncritical praise and where being "voted" off the island or not making it to the next round has far more consequences for both yourself and the country who is depending on your leadership.
Obama may have been a quick study in the academic setting, but if there's one thing academic and elites aren't very good at, it's functioning outside their protective ivory tower. For them, the real world is often a confusing and disorienting place.
As one of Boyd's colleagues put it, in discussing the essence of the Loop,
The key is to obscure your intentions and make them unpredictable to your opponent while you simultaneously clarify his intentions. That is, operate at a faster tempo to generate rapidly changing conditions that inhibit your opponent from adapting or reacting to those changes and that suppress or destroy his awareness. Thus, a hodgepodge of confusion and disorder occur to cause him to over- or under-react to conditions or activities that appear to be uncertain, ambiguous, or incomprehensible.
Since Inauguration Day, Obama's intentions have been completely predictable and transparent to our enemies; he has wasted no time or thought in implementing his ideological fantasies; yet, at the same time, he is operating at a tempo that is easy to keep one step ahead of (primarily because everything he is doing has already been tried before in the last half century and is hardly new or original). Finally, the man is so wrapped up in himself and his own words and agenda, that he is not in the least bit interested in "clarifying the intentions" of anyone else.
Like the Minor League star who suddenly finds himself in the Show, he has no idea how to cope or why his batting average has dropped so precipitously.
Thus, it is Obama who is continuously underreacting and behaving in an uncertain and ambiguous manner. Staying one step ahead of him is rather easy; and boxng him will be a piece of cake for the Mullahs.
As for the economy, he hasn't even the smallest clue, and observing and orienting to the facts is of little interest when one is intent on ushering in a progressive utopia.
UPDATE: Neoneocon has more thoughts on Obamalove and the limits of idealism.