Saturday, September 22, 2012

Why is Obama winning? We're a nation of sheep.

And not just average, everyday sheep, but ignorant, delusional, and smug sheep.

Fair warning: some readers of this bog may already be aware of some of this, but I need come clean. Again. First, I don't think Romney can win; I think the General Election will go Obama's way with the final tallies being very similar to 2008, and I will explain why that is in a moment.

Second, as the title makes clear, I'm about to start calling people sheep, huge numbers of people. And stupid sheep, at that, mostly because they support Obama. But the other side--the Right--is not without its own mass of sheep. And I'm constantly amazed how much political capital is blown on issues that--when it comes to the grand scheme of things and the future of the Republic--just aren't that critical in national elections, all for the sake of these sheep. I'm speaking of things like same-sex marriage and abortion. From my previous bit on these matters:
The libertarian in me says "let it go, people have a right to make choices." For no matter what anyone says, an abortion is a medical procedure and it can be justified. Is it a "good thing"? No. But it must be allowed though not encouraged. And same-sex marriages will take place in defacto form if the States do not allow them. The struggle against them is pointless and--again, in my opinion--deeply wrong-headed, since people must be allowed to seek happiness, especially when that happiness promotes social cohesion with no cost to others.
Politicians on the Right use these two issues--and others like "family values"--to inflame the passions of citizens, to stoke up the outrage oven, to garner easy votes from people not given to deeper considerations. And that's a huge mistake, in my opinion, because it represents time that could be better spent on clarifying the more important issues, the proper role and extent of the Federal Government, the activities of the Federal Reserve, the lack of clarity and consistency when it comes to laws, both in terms of language and scope, and so on and so on.

Right now, we have a Party--the Democrats--promulgating a narrative about the economy and how to "fix" it that is just a bunch of nonsense, by and large. And that needs to be pointed out, again and again and again. Right now, we have elected representatives more than willing to openly ignore laws and the Constitution, even though they have taken oaths to follow the former and uphold the latter. And right now, we have a chief executive in way over his head, who has appointed morons and fools to critical positions and who just can't accept his own limitations or lack of knowledge.

There's plenty of hay to be made by the Right, but it needs to be made in the right places and for the right reasons.

That said, I'm not sure it would matter at this moment in time. Because frankly, some of the support Obama enjoys is just not going anywhere, because it's based on blind emotion and a dogmatic adherence to nonsensical first principles. And no one in this rather large group appears even remotely capable of recognizing this. Witness this article by Greg Sargent, entitled "Why Obama is Winning." Sargent attempts to explain why the bleak economy is not as much of a drag on the Obama campaign as many assumed it would be by dissecting data from a poll designed to do exactly this. And he doesn't see it at all, doesn't understand that it's all an attempt to justify by rational means what is inherently irrational: the support Obama continues to receive from people who should know better.

There have been a number of Obama-Carter comparisons made in the last several months and with good reason: both men demonstrated a rarely-equaled ineptitude, when it comes to the economy and foreign policy; both men see the federal government as a problem-solving machine; both men believe that through simple policy they can create things like jobs and economic growth; both men labor under a delusion of absolute control they never had and never will have.

Carter lost his reelection bid largely thanks to the so-called "Reagan Democrats," traditional Democratic voters--mostly male, white, and middle-class--who defected from the Democratic Party because of the economy, by and large. And it was this same group of voters that Bill Clinton and the DLC went after years later, that swept Clinton into office and kept him there, even as it also drove the Republican Revolution in 1994. Despite what one might have heard in punditry world in those days, there was a great deal of real overlapping support between Clinton and Republicans in Congress.

One would think--given the realities of the current economy--that Obama is vulnerable to a similar kind of defection: Democrats who have come to realize that the President just doesn't know what he's doing. But right now, that's not happening. I know there are pundits on the right who imagine this could still happen, that come Election Day a fair percentage of people who call themselves Obama supporters will walk into voting booths across the land and choose Romney. I think those pundits are fooling themselves.

Why? Again, because so much of the support Obama enjoys is a product of non-rational thought, it comes from people whose support for the President is a personally defining element of who they are, how they see themselves. And these are the sheep of which I speak. They're everywhere. Got a Facebook account? How many times do you see some dopey bit of pro-Obama propaganda that has been shared thousands of times originating from a page entitled "Isn't it great that Obama is President" or some such thing?

Whatever narrative that emanates from the Obama Campaign or the White House is accepted without thought, without any critical analysis whatsoever by such people. This is beyond simple partisanship, it's almost a lifestyle. And it's sustained via the mocking of those who aren't a part of it, who dare to question it. Thus, any criticism of Obama immediately become "racist" as a matter of course. And this allows the sheep to feel better about themselves, to be smug about their support, because they believe they are better people, superior people, even smarter people.

It's a powerful delusion and I'm not sure exactly how it became so pervasive. Obama--for all the accolades he receives on his speech-making--is just not that good. He's not. Part of it is--no doubt--a product of his race and exotic-sounding name: people like to believe they're "out in front" on such things. But even this strikes me as an insufficient cause. Then there's his legion of fan-boys in the media, who painstakingly justify every decision, every claim Obama makes. That adds to it. Plus, Obama is offering social justice, promising to take from the rich and give to the rest. Such populism has always returned dividends. Maybe altogether, this is enough?

No. I still don't think it is. Rather, I think it is--ultimately--a consequence of current culture, the rise of the celebrity to previously unheard of heights. What matters, more than anything else, is tapping into this mindset that afflicts a huge swath of the public, the ones who live vicarious lives, dominated by their need to adore and worship someone, anyone, who provides them with a means to raise their own perceived worth.

And yeah, this is a kind of cult of personality. We've seen them before, no doubt. And while they last, they are near-impossible to break. The question is, how much damage will be caused in the meantime?

Cheers, all.


  1. If God didn't want them sheared, He wouldn't have made them sheep!

    (The Magnificent Seven)


  2. But, but, but .... you're ignoring the Hope and Change! He's going to bring Hope and Change!