Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Althouse Cry Goes Out To All Who Have Ears: We've Got Taranto - What Say You Now?

The Wall Street Journal's James Taranto thinks, if you voted for Obama, you're all crazy weird in the head! So do we! And it goes a little something like this - hit it:

Once upon a time, there was a prog.

One day a beautiful princess kissed the prog. There was a puff of smoke, and the prog turned into a magical prince.

"For the first time in my life, I am proud of my country," said the beautiful princess.

The magical prince went off to battle, and vanquished a wicked queen and a dark lord.

His subjects cheered his triumphant return.

He reigned beneficently for the rest of his days, using his magical powers to provide care for the sick and jobs to the jobless, end a war and secure his nation as the last, best hope on earth.

The rise of the oceans began to slow, the planet began to heal, and they all lived happily ever after. The end.

Wasn't that a nice fairy tale?

Now for some reality:

• "House Acts to Block Closing of Gitmo"--headline, Washington Times, Dec. 9

• "Rasmussen: Most Want Healthcare Repealed"--headline, United Press International, Dec. 7

• "Obama Defends Tax Deal, but His Party Stays Hostile"--headline, New York Times, Dec. 8

• "U.S. Fiscal Health Worse Than Europe's: China Adviser"--headline, Reuters, Dec. 8

• "Most Americans Say They're Worse Off Under Obama, Poll Shows"--headline, Bloomberg, Dec. 9

President Obama is on the outs with his "progressive" left-wing base, as Peggy Noonan writes:

The left has been honestly disappointed in Mr. Obama. He did not come through as they think he should have in myriad ways--the public option, closing Guantanamo, war, now the tax plan. But--and this makes it all more complicated and fascinating--the left does not say Mr. Obama has been revealed to be at heart a conservative, or a Republican. Most of them know he is one of them--his worldview is more or less theirs, his assumptions are theirs.

Does anyone doubt he would have included a public option in health care if he thought he could have? He judged that he couldn't. He didn't have the numbers in the Senate. It isn't an argument about philosophy or ideology. It's only an argument about what's practical and possible.

The answer to this conundrum is that while the argument is indeed merely about practicality, not philosophy, what is going on is more than an argument. To judge by this report from Roll Call, it is a mass psychological breakdown:

The frustration with President Barack Obama over his tax cut compromise was palpable and even profane [sic] at Thursday's House Democratic Caucus meeting.

One unidentified lawmaker went so far as to mutter "f--- the president" while Rep. Shelley Berkley was defending the package the president negotiated with Republicans. Berkley confirmed the incident, although she declined to name the specific lawmaker. . . .

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.) was also overheard saying that "we can't trust him" not to cave [in] to Republicans and extend the tax cuts again in two years, according to a Democratic source.

The anger aimed at the bill was widespread. As Democrats moved to block the bill from coming up on the floor, chants of "Just say no!" could be heard by reporters outside the room.

Obama's left-wing detractors do not just disagree with him about what is practical. They are at war with reality itself. The real object of their anger is America, for not being the kind of country they wish it were. They deluded themselves into believing that Obama, through the power of his personality, could transform America according to their vision. It was a totally unrealistic expectation, so of course he failed to live up to it.

That is why they are bitterly disappointed in him.

Candidate Obama fed this fantasy. The "happy" ending of our little fairy tale was lifted from a June 2008 campaign speech in which the future president declared his determination "to remake this great nation." There is little doubt that this was a sincere expression of what Obama wanted--and still wants--to do to America. The degree to which he bought into the fantasy that he had the power to do it is an imponderable.

What one can say with some confidence, however, is that the fantasy of being a transformative figure was emotionally appealing to the egotistical Obama. In June 2008 he even boasted, "I face this challenge with profound humility," thereby making clear his utter lack of humility.

If the left is upset with Obama for not living up to their infantile delusions, Obama is emotionally hurt that the left is withholding the affection and adulation on which he has fed. A Reuters headline today reads "Democrats Defy Obama on Tax Deal." Can't you just imagine the president giving his troops a pep talk? "C'mon, guys, there is an 'I' in 'deify'!"

Noonan concludes her column with the observation that for Obama, the tax deal "wasn't a compromise, it was a bow. To reality, but a bow nonetheless." It's a pregnant metaphor given Obama's propensity for literally bowing before foreign potentates. Reality, though, won't be satisfied with a bow. It demands surrender.
And, since TMR has been insisting, from Day One, we've been reflecting, have seen (and are living in) reality, Taranto's right - at this point, indeed, we're so tired of fighting that we will settle for nothing less than total surrender:

Now bow down - waaay down - and maybe we'll let you live.

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