Presidential History

Obamania Nightmare (Sure to Be One in a Series)

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I've watched with growing distress this past week as many interesting cultural iconoclasts I admire for various reasons who can usually be counted on to be aware and skeptical of government power to at least some degree, from John Perry Barlow to Adam Parfrey to Oliver Stone, have swooned over the mighty Obama and his world-changing powers (my misery over this is maximized by many friends and acquaintances who are not public figures as well).

Being surrounded by a creepy-happy adoring Cult of the Great Leader makes me…uncomfortable, to be sure. Via Will Wilkinson comes a particularly awful example of Obamania, in which we are advised via Beatles lyrics both of our responsibility to not let Obama down, and also showered with the adoring love we must express for him.

NEXT: The Aftermath of Guantanamo

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  1. You brought this on yourselves, haters. Enjoy finding out what a REAL dictator is like now.

  2. Now they tell us! I vaguely seem to recall Reason pretty much pulling out all the stops to oppose McCain and support BHO.

    What Reason could have done – but did not – is illustrated in the graphic here in a post relating to Weigel’s thread of today.

  3. Honestly, the writers and editors of Reason should have seen this coming. Do any of them seriously believe a cult of personality of this sort would have grown up around McCain?

    It was OBVIOUS this would happen. There’s more to come too.

    I feel sorry for everyone except those who work for Reason. Reason is guilty of criminal negligence with regard to BO.

  4. They could have stood by ROn Paul or Bob Barr, but maybe they prefer to publicly cry whenever Obama does something that’s vaguely left wing. This website used to be thought provoking. Obama may be popular, but being a dictator, or having a cult like following. These are really pushing it, but i guess it’s better than another post denying that anything is wrong with the economy.

  5. Had your head buried in the sand the past 10 months or something?

  6. Oh, stop … there were plenty of pieces here that were sufficiently skeptical of Obama. You want an enabler, go on over to Andrew Sullivan.

    Anyhoo, as I believe needs to be reiterated, imagine what will happen with this display of agitprop if and when the famed and rumored “New New Deal” becomes flesh. What a delight it will be to see a resurgence of WPA style art and federally funded garbage like “Cradle Will Rock” … both the original play and the Tim Robbins-directed ensemble miscarriage.

  7. “Creepy-happy adoring” people surround virtually every famous successful person. It says nothing about the relative value of the object of adoration. See the Pope, for instance.

    It does say something about his detractors though – that is, when their criticism is directed to the mob that do the following instead of the actual leader.

  8. Oh yeah, like we’re all going to be living in Maoist China now. Fine. Have your little nightmares about the Obama Youth Brigade hauling your ass off to the re-education camp. Pfft.

  9. crypto-collectivist or not, i think we can agree this kind of shit is annoying and will become more so over the next four years.

  10. There was a bit of cultishness around Bush from certain parts of the Right. I remember the adorers at 2004 campaign events saying “I just feel like God is in the White House” and “Mr. President, how can I pray for you?”

    That’s not a defense of Obama. Bush was freaking scary. It is, however, a cautionary note for those who were apparently not too frightened for 8 years: The stuff that you fear from the other guy was done by your guy as well, so apply vigilance in all directions, not just one direction.

  11. I wonder if the left will give us the creepy “I support my President Barack Obama” analogue to the “I support my President George W. Bush” stuff.

    I suspect that, awful though they are, Congressional Dems will be far less cohesive than the Congressional GOP was.

  12. Why do you think they call it hope?

  13. We need to give Chariman Mao-bama the benefit of the doubt. He hasn’t even assumed teh throne yet!

  14. The Bush campaign of 2004 required that those who attended sign a binding “loyalty oath” to gain entry.

    But Obama has scary devotees…..

  15. PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.-“I want you to stand, raise your right hands,” and recite “the Bush Pledge,” said Florida state Sen. Ken Pruitt. The assembled mass of about 2,000 in this Treasure Coast town about an hour north of West Palm Beach dutifully rose, arms aloft, and repeated after Pruitt: “I care about freedom and liberty. I care about my family. I care about my country. Because I care, I promise to work hard to re-elect, re-elect George W. Bush as president of the United States.”

    Slate – 2004.

    Now THAT shit is creepy.

  16. The Bush campaign of 2004 required that those who attended sign a binding “loyalty oath” to gain entry.

    Oh bullshit.

  17. Whoops. Failure to close the tags kinda lessens the derision, eh?

  18. I vaguely seem to recall Reason pretty much pulling out all the stops to oppose McCain and support BHO.

    Your recall is faulty.

  19. I have to agree with Brian here, especially living in LA. It seems as though any criticism of Obama, even on a very specific policy position is met with vitriol. Which is why I though this H.L. Mencken quote that I just found on Cafe Hayek was particularly apropos.

    The Democratic tendency to make gods of successful politicians makes it all the more necessary to oppose them vigorously.

  20. Being surrounded by a creepy-happy adoring Cult of the Great Leader makes me…uncomfortable…

    Does it make you feel any better that Obama doesn’t have a Ben & Jerry’s flavor? Well, not yet.

  21. Stephen Colbert has a Ben and Jerry’s flavor.

    And I say Colbert is more important than any President.

  22. Now if you want people to be cynical about the government, you’ll have to travel to the Deep South. It’s all about the times, buddy.

  23. shrike,
    What have I told you about posting while on meth?

  24. Of course I understand they weren’t at all skeptical when Bush was in the White House. I’m just saying, Brian, that all those people who were “skeptical” of government were mostly skeptical because they didn’t think the “right” people were in control.

  25. “They” in the first sentence refers to Deep Southern voters, while “they” in the second sentence refers to “skeptics” who swoon over Obama.

  26. Lemmings come in many colors: republican red, democratic blue, libertarian gold, etc.

  27. “Does it make you feel any better that Obama doesn’t have a Ben & Jerry’s flavor? Well, not yet.”

    Suggestions from various sources. You decide…

    Anti-Christ Crunch ? Barackadamia Nut ? Baraky Road ? Cherries For Change ? Cherries Messiah ? Chocful o’ Hopee ? Chocolate Chip ? Chocolate Promise ? ChocoNilla Swirl ? Cinnamon Rocky Road ? Clinton’s Revenge (rocky road redux) ? Commie Crunch ? Economic Crunch ? Gooey Limo Surprise ? Half and Half ? Half Baked Hussien ? Ice Cream Dream (pretty swirls, flavoring, candy bursts) ? Ice Kareem ? Lefty Licorice ? Lenin Meringue Pice Cream ? Marx Bar Crunch ? Mecca Mocha ? Mocha Fluff ? Mocha Fluff (air,chocolate,flavorings) ? Moonbat Mocha ? Nagin Choco-Prezel Crunch ? Neopolitician ? Nihili-Vanilli ? Nut ‘n Substantial ? Obamaberry ? Obamana Split ? Obamanana Split ? Oreo Cookie ? Peanut Butter Barackle ? Pink Lenin Ice Kareem ? Soros Surprise ? StrawBarry ? Trotsky Ice-Picnic ? Vary Barry Surprise ? Yes Pecan!

  28. Whatever. As a former Hillary Clinton supporter I’m perfectly well aware of the cult of Obama. But I seriously doubt the media or the public will overlook abuses or mistakes on his part given his youth, newness, and, well blackness. Certainly they won’t show the deference they have to GW Bush while he gutted everything good and holy about this country.

  29. How about a Ben and Jerry’s flavor for LoneWacko?

    Any suggestions?

  30. I’m not sure it’s the unquestioning Obama-worship you think it is. Putting Obama’s picture on a traffic-sign shape and writing DON’T LET ME DOWN around it suggests a blend of hope and cynicism to me.

    Besides, until there are Obama action figures and bronze friggin’ statues of The One in a flightsuit, I don’t think the cult is fully ripe.

  31. The media showed Bush absolutely no deference at all, nor will they show him half the respect (let alone slavish worship) they’re already showing this tyrant who really is going to gut everything good and holy about this country. What the history books will record is that Bush was our last actual President, and Obama our first Emperor.

    This is how liberty dies, amid thunderous applause.

  32. How about Basement-Dweller Berry, LoneChoco, or Immigration Surprise?

  33. I think you’re both partisan asshats who will suck the President’s cock so long as your side is in power, and rant about the coming Fascism when the other side is.

    TEAM RED! TEAM BLUE!

  34. How about a Ben and Jerry’s flavor for LoneWacko?

    Youtuberries n’ Cream
    Question out of the Blueberry
    Redbaiter Ripple
    If Only They’d Listened Lemon Drop
    Butterscotch Batshit

  35. Those suggestions are hilarious. We should email them to LoneWacko as ToughQuestions he RefusesToAnswer.

  36. IllegalImmigrationICE? LoonyLemon? ExtraExtraVanilla?

  37. Oops, I was TooLate…

  38. I like ExtraExtraVanilla.

    We should just start suggesting flavors when ever he rears his head in our AirSpace.

  39. NorthAmericanUnionNut.

  40. As usual I’m puzzled by the oh noes Obama might bring on the New Deal.

    I mean, does anyone really wake up cursing the New Deal? I have no idea what is supposed to be so scary about the New Deal.

  41. Damn the Fair Labor and Standards Act and the Securities Exchange Act! If I want to work overtime for the usual pay or engage in stock deals with folks with inside information that’s my own damn business!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Deal#Notable_New_Deal_programs

  42. LaRazaRipple

    …until there are Obama action figures and bronze friggin’ statues of The One in a flightsuit, I don’t think the cult is fully ripe.

    One down, one to go.

  43. And that FDIC and Glass-Steagall Act, the horrors, the horrors!

  44. “I like ExtraExtraVanilla.”

    That’s a good one for sure.

  45. Actually, I think the next four years are going to be fabulously enjoyable. All the cool people I know have already gotten wierded out by the Obama fan club.

    And as time passes we’ll get to ridicule them more and more.

    For once in my life I’ll get to hate Democrats and be uber-hip at the same time. I’m already enjoying being the “radical” in my classes.

  46. When exactly does the “but, but, but, but BUSH!” line of argument deflection get sunsetted?

    Seriously it’s not like many of Obama’s critics here were big fans of his predecessor. What makes you think pointing out Bush’s shortcomings somehow alleviates Obama’s shortcomings?

  47. The New Deal was the greatest holocaust to ever affect North America, blasting our freedoms to bits like that asteroid in Deep Impact. If it wasn’t for WWII we’d all be speaking, um, Rooseveltian now.

    Seriously: FDR overreached and did some bad stuff. He also did a lot of good stuff IMO, like the FDIC and Social Security. From a libertarian POV, he committed the unforgiveable sin of:
    1) introducing social welfare programs;
    2) getting people to like them, to the point where they’re still around and politically untouchable 50 years later.

    For hardcore libertarians, this makes him the devil’s disciple.

  48. How about court packing, MNG? Or the borderline Corpratist National Recovery Act?

  49. CED: The New Deal was also something that turned a recession into the Great Depression. Social Security is in essence a Ponzi scheme, and you’ll likely see less from your contributions than if you had put that money into a savings account. And would you like to defend farm subsidies? I’m sure others can come up with other examples.

  50. The new Deal scary?

    What about making marijuana a Federal crime, requiring prescriptions for non-narcotic drugs,the National Firearms Act, and everybody’s favorite: making anything interstate commerce even if it is intra-state and doesn’t involve commerce.

  51. DannyK:
    It doesn’t take much effort to get people to like free money.

    Ever read any Roman history? The Romans were handing out free grain to the plebs 2000 years ago. That was the world’s original welfare state. The grain barges undermined the domestic grain economy, causing mass migration to the cities. Which created a permanent underclass dependent on the free grain. Which meant that whoever could secure Egypt 9i.e. militarily), had the mob on his side.

    Not the only thing that brought down the Republic, but a significant factor. Ceasar was a “man of the people”. Everyone forgets that.

  52. An SIV/CED flame war is always fun.

  53. A politician is a douchebag is a politician. To expect anything more is idolatry. Expectations that Obama will do any thing good or evil should be considered with healthy amounts of cynicism. No one really knows. Obama was the only Dem on the ballet I voted for, but I didn’t and don’t expect wonders. He seems more of pragmatist than a partisan to me but time will tell.

  54. BDB | November 13, 2008, 9:59pm | #

    How about a Ben and Jerry’s flavor for LoneWacko?

    Any suggestions?

    Thats easy

    1 part dirty diaper, 1 part frijoles+tequila mash, and 1 part shoe leather. add cream, ice, and add a dash of lithium.

  55. The weird thing about the cult of Obama is that it is firmly rooted in the political center and center-left. Real leftists were suspicious of Obama before the election and are even more suspicious of him now given his apparent willingness to forgive Lieberman, reticence to take action on Iraq, friendliness with corporate interests and apparent willingness to continue Bush’s trampling on the constitution in favor of unlimited executive power. Go read Glen Greenwald if you want to see what the real Left thinks of Obama. The real joke is on all the wackos on the Right who really believe Obama is some kind of radical Marxist, it’s idiots like that who managed to convince a lot of liberals that any enemy of the Right must be good.

  56. You wouldn’t happen to be uncle vanya, would you?

  57. MacObamia Nut-Job, what a fuckin’ flavor. It’s the flava of flaves.

  58. Obama is no Bob Barr.

  59. Fassbinder Flicks 24-7 on PBS

  60. PapayaSF | November 13, 2008, 10:47pm | #
    CED: The New Deal was also something that turned a recession into the Great Depression.

    Bull. It already was a full-fledged Great Depression by the time he took office. Why do you think he won by a huge landslide?

  61. Lefiti= Honestly, when does your grant run out, because no rational human being would perrenially clog this site with such anti-Libertarian views that make no sense to any sensible person and further waste space and arguably energy, that source so precious to lefty greens, that given the unlikelihood of conversion amounts to silliness.

    You are of course welcome. We all just assume you’re one of those asshole recipients of largesse (from inheritance via foundations) that doesn’t have to work. Good for you. But please don’t lecture us.

    You’re the cunt we’d all like to lick, but in so such a different way

  62. It’s really very simple. Folks are so tired of this administration that they are simply ecstatic with the notion of change…this is not a cult of personality; Obama is not fomenting this…folks will settle down…relax and ride the wave…

  63. McCain would have been worse.

  64. Obsessing about the election is moot. What’s done is done. Let’s sit back at least a coupla months, and then let’s launch into the told-you-so’s. Meanwhile, Dems voted predominantly for a hold-no-bars bailout via the Hankster. Now there’s doubt. TF?

  65. The Presidency has been usurped. You have all been duped. Following Mr. Obama’s mother’s divorce from Barack Obama (senior), she married Lolo Soetoro, a student at the University of Hawaii and a citizen of Indonesia. In 1967 she moved to Indonesia with Obama. She became a naturalized citizen of Indonesia, relinquishing her American citizenship. At the time, Indonesian law prohibited dual citizenships and
    American law disallowed dual citizenships if the other country did not allow dual
    citizenships. At this time, even if Obama was registered as a “natural born” citizen , he would have lost his U.S. Citizenship when his mother married Lolo Soetoro and took up residency in Indonesia as a naturalized Indonesian citizen. Obama, known then as “Barry Soetoro,” was enrolled by his parents (at approximately age 6) at the public Franciskus Assisi School in Jakarta, Indonesia. This suggests he was adopted by his step-father. In school documents Obama’s birth place is
    indicated as Honolulu, but his citizenship is indicated as Indonesian. As a minor, Mr. Obama’s citizenship went with the custodial parent, who, under Indonesian law
    had to be the father. When Obama returened to Hawaii at age 10 he WAS AN INDONESIAN CITIZEN! Further, if he did not go through the proper immigration and naturalization process he’s NOT EVEN A US CITIZEN NOW!. He may well be AN ILLEGAL ALIEN!

  66. This is how liberty dies, amid thunderous applause.

    Your comment did have 1 of the 4 telltale indicators of crankitude: no email or web link in your name. However, you fell short on the other three: ALL CAPS, mind-boggling length, and links to lonewacko.com. Try to do better.

  67. Bull. It already was a full-fledged Great Depression by the time he took office. Why do you think he won by a huge landslide?

    Because when times are tough, the first politician to promise you a pony wins. It will ever be thus.

  68. He may well be AN ILLEGAL ALIEN!

    Do you realize the implications?

    No doubt the Republican Party has some very smart lawyers on their staff. If you could figure all of this out, then they must have figured it out, too. Which means — wait for it — THE REPUBLICANS ARE IN ON IT!

  69. By the way bills’ comment had 3 of the 4 telltale indicators of crankitude.

  70. Mainstream media only objects to government power when it’s not in their guy’s hand. In that respect, they resemble Bush.

  71. Watch as our military opperations in Iraq and Afganistan get the same low level of attention that the still present troops in Kosovo get. Now that we have a Democrat president, they’ll go from being wars to being peace keeping opperations.

  72. Yeah. And what was that place in Africa that George Clooney wants us to invade? Er, keep the peace in? Er, otherwise spend a bafrillion freaking US taxpayer bucks on?

    Whatever that country is, once Obama gets us in there, the MSM will never publish shit that makes you feel bad about it.

    This is a DEMOCRAT we’re talking about, and they only fight the just and holy wars.

  73. That’s not a defense of Obama. Bush was freaking scary.

    And Obama isn’t? Give me a break. He’s just going to do different kinds of damage.

  74. Ah, don’t worry about it. Obama and his congress won’t make us any different than any other western European country. And we all know, because the MSM tells us so, that western Europeans are happier than Americans. And they work less. And they live longer and jump higher.

    But it’ll be really interesting see if the Europeans have a change of heart, once the US can’t afford to pay for their military defense against Russia anymore.

  75. Ah, Libertarians and their recreational disgust.

    It’s very Randian.

    Anyway, keep your chin up.

    It’s for the Liberty!

  76. different from Reagan?

  77. Ah, the siren song of the apologists. Just as Bush supporters were fond of saying, “But Clinton did this,” I suspect we will be hearing Obama fanatics giving us a lot of, “Yeah, but Bush was worse!”

    That having been said; the Reason bloggers supporting Obama in the past election? Did I miss the exact point this site’s name became ironic?

  78. “Bull. It already was a full-fledged Great Depression by the time he took office. Why do you think he won by a huge landslide?”

    Both Hoover and FDR had bad policies. Just because somebody criticizes FDR doesn’t mean they support Hoover.

  79. One little point: how in hell can Brian call Oliver Stone a radical? He’s a boilerplate, crushingly predictable leftist.

    Come on Brian, you can do better than this.

  80. a better Obama Beatles mashup would say “Turn off your mind, relax and float downstream… It is believing… it is believing… Lay down all thought, surrender to the void…”

  81. I just think ahead to a year from now, when MoveOn is calling for his impeachment for still having troops in Iraq, Detroit is promising its third bailout will do the trick, inflation is 19% and so is his approval rating. I have a feeling that even if he does well, the Obama cult will not survive first contact with the enemy (reality).

    Anyway, after watching Oliver Stone fellate Castro in that HBO documentary, does any of this surprise you?

  82. It’s really very simple. Folks are so tired of this administration that they are simply ecstatic with the notion of change…this is not a cult of personality; Obama is not fomenting this…folks will settle down…relax and ride the wave…

    I’m late to this party, but George here has it right. Bush devolved steadily over his tenure from someone not-quite horrible to a complete flaming disaster ass-clown nearly incapable of coherent speech. And I voted for the guy in 2000! After 8 years of Bush-Cheney, getting an obviously smart and (pardon the term) articulate guy into the office has got to feel a bit of a relief, even if his stated policies sound like trouble to you. Its not like the main alternative has exactly been all that different lately, has it?

    I think it is more than likely that these various commentators will proceed to oppose whatever Obama excesses they would have opposed if the new pres were, say, Hillary.

  83. Vanya makes a good point. The real leftists are suspicious of Dear Leader. The problem is that there are only a handful of knowledgeable, principled leftists in this country. The rest of the “left” such as it is don’t know enough beyond platitudes to be real leftists and don’t care enough about principle to object when one of their guys sticks it to them. So, I wouldn’t count on the “left” doing much in opposition to Dear Leader.

    I would not call Obama a radical leftist. I would more call him a Peronist. We seem to be headed for an era of crony capitalism where the upper middle class and small business owners are obliterated by taxes which go to support bread and circuses for the lower classes and to support political elites, unions and aging inefficient industries. It will be this odd mixture of leftist populism with rampant political and corporate welfare.

    It is funny how incredibly stupid someone like Stone is. He doesn’t even understand what his own self professed views really mean. I have no doubt people like Stone sit around and talk about how the Republicans are the party of the rich and big corporations. Yeah, Oliver I guess that is why Obama is going to spend billions propped up GM, continue with the Bush $700 billion or more payoff to Wall Street, tax the hell out of everyone to create a government funded healthcare system that will allow big corporations to get out from under their healthcare obligations by dumping people on the public dole, and hand out billions in corporate welfare to anyone who can call their business “green” or “renewable energy”. But of course, these are the same people who call themselves “Marxists” but see nothing wrong with sympathizing with and supporting fanatical third world religions. Yeah, Marx had a real love for religion and primitive cultures. UGH!!!

  84. If I had to compare Obama to any current world leaders or recent ones, I would say Obama is a mixture of Putin and Blair. Obama combines Putin’s chrony capitalism and faux populism with Blair’s love of nanny state controls and bullshit charm. Obama of course is more like Blair in that, unlike Putin, I doubt Obama will be killing any dissedents. But Russia has always been a bit harsher than the West.

  85. Uh, bill, just because Indonesia prohibits dual citizenship doesn’t mean we do. Unless his US citizenship was affirmatively surrendered under US law, he’s always been a US citizen.

    Now that we have a Democrat president, they’ll go from being wars to being peace keeping opperations.

    Actually, its already happened in Iraq. As soon as we turned the corner there, it disappeared from the rotation. One part “It ain’t bleedin’, so it ain’t leadin'”, and one part “It no longer fits the Master Narrative that Iraq is a Failed Quagmire”, is my guess.

  86. Late to the Ben and Jerry suggestion line for LoneWacko but that never stopped me from injecting my 1.5 cents.

    Totally Nuts.

  87. Being surrounded by a creepy-happy adoring Cult of the Great Leader makes me…uncomfortable, to be sure.

    Laughing at those assholes is the fun part. We can deride the Obama-manaics even easier – the Bush-nuts might’ve had guns ‘n’ shit but the suburban Obama-manaics are all wusses.

  88. getting an obviously smart and (pardon the term) articulate guy into the office has got to feel a bit of a relief

    I’ll give you articulate, but people confuse articulate for smart. Smart he ain’t. All of his economic ideas are on the shit-for-brains level.

  89. Invisible Finger,

    The ability to successfully bullshit about a topic passes for intelligence these days. There is no indication Obama knows anything about markets or economics. His ideas on the subject are best naive and at worst downright destructive. He honestly seems to believe that jobs created to repair the damage done by carbon tax are somehow a net gain to the economy. By his logic, the sollution to the current downturn is just to bomb our cities flat in order to get a boom from the reconstruction.

    People seem to have bought into making politics some sort of wierd IQ contest where the person with the higher IQ is always right no matter how fucked up their ideas are. I personally would rather have a President with average intelligence but the wisom to understand that government cannot solve every problem than a genius ego maniac who thinks government and smart people like him can do anything. Sadly, most people, even Libertarians who should know better, want the genius.

  90. getting an obviously smart and (pardon the term) articulate guy into the office has got to feel a bit of a relief

    I’ll give you the smart (at least book-smart) – anybody who got better grades than me in law school must be a frickin’ genius, IMO. 😉

    Articulate? Not necessarily. He has some bad habits, speaking ex tempore. He’s the kind of guy who would drive a transcriptionist absolutely nuts.

    He’s a great performer, though, with a script.

  91. “getting an obviously smart and (pardon the term) articulate guy into the office has got to feel a bit of a relief”

    If you just want an articulate, smart guy, why didn’t you vote for John Edwards? Unlike Obama, he really is a big time attorney. He got very rich convincing juries to beleive some real dubious science. Edwards would mop the floor with Obama in a courtroom.

  92. “After 8 years of Bush-Cheney, getting an obviously smart and (pardon the term) articulate guy into the office has got to feel a bit of a relief, even if his stated policies sound like trouble to you.”

    Umm, do “smart and articulate” trump all other personal qualities for you?

    Important safety tip: history has repeatedly taught us that “smart and articulate” politicians have, as often as not, turned out to be very ambitious, very narcissistic, and very, very dangerous.

    For his real or imagined faults, I’ll take a tongue-tied, but honest, Bush any day over a glib, prevaricating, evasive, narcissistic, and vacuous Obama.

  93. “Actually, its already happened in Iraq. As soon as we turned the corner there, it disappeared from the rotation. One part “It ain’t bleedin’, so it ain’t leadin'”, and one part “It no longer fits the Master Narrative that Iraq is a Failed Quagmire”, is my guess.”

    That and reporters don’t like to admit they were wrong. Look at Reason sometime. Go back and read the Hit and Run posts about Iraq back when the surge first started and things were rough. Weigel was down right gleeful over things going badly. There was more than enough smug poo pooing to go around. Then when things got better they just stopped writing about it. They never admitted they were wrong about the surge and have never had a serious discussion about what a post war Iraq is going to look like and what the long term legacy and effects of the war might be. Iraq was an important enough topic to be blogged on two or three times a day when things were going badly. Now that things have gone well, it apparently is about as important as Upper Mali on the international stage, at least according to Reason.

  94. Reposted from an email with Brian, at his request:

    I could not have said it better myself.

    The worst part of the last eight years (and there’s a lot to choose from) has been the constant attempt to inject politics into every conversation in order to stir up a good ol’ two-minute hate against Chimpsy McBushitler. Worse still, these interjections almost invariably came from folks with zero real interest or knowledge of politics, who normally couldn’t be bothered to follow the stuff, but suddenly felt confident that they could join in the Bush-hatin without fear of reprisal. I was often reminded of Apu’s conversion to an American, discussing his favorite baseball squadron, the Nye Mets.

    So now we have Obama. What exactly do these chuckleheads think he is going to accomplish? Wall Street seems unimpressed, and from my vantage point, all he has accomplished so far is to turn out enough first-time black voters in California to kill gay marriage, and almost cause another race war in the progress. (Can’t we all just get along?) I blame that fucking dirty commie OBEY poster, which has consistently been at the top of my list of thing that creep me the fuck out since I first saw it. It makes me feel like I’m living in a banana republic, and not the kind where I can buy a nice cashmere sweater.

    And let’s not forget Joe Biden, the Lionel Hutz of the Senate. (I know, I know, two Simpsons references, but it’s on TV as I type.) That choice alone proves Obama is nothing but a freaking empty suit with a few James Brown songs on his iPod. (Actually, he probably doesn’t even like James. He probably listens to freakin’ Robert Cray.)

    Oh, but I forgot, this is all part of the hope and the change, hiring the same partisan hackocracy that has been hanging around D.C. like dandruff on a black turtleneck since the Clinton administration. Plus, I get to pay more taxes, since we now fall into the EVIL SELFISH RICH tax bracket, according to The Anointed One. Looks like we will be laying off our two employees now, because, y’know, we’re gonna tax our way right outta this crisis.

    Not only are we gonna keep digging to get outta this hole, we will now nationalize the shovel factory, pay extra taxes on the shovel, and buy carbon credits for the CO2 we exhale while we do it.

  95. “Oh, but I forgot, this is all part of the hope and the change, hiring the same partisan hackocracy that has been hanging around D.C. like dandruff on a black turtleneck since the Clinton administration.”

    I work for a major federal agency. The transition team and all of the rumored appointments at my agency are all recycled Clinton people. So much for hope and change.

  96. They never admitted they were wrong about the surge and have never had a serious discussion about what a post war Iraq is going to look like and what the long term legacy and effects of the war might be.

    They never did much of *anything* about Iraq around here, that was re-warmed MSM bullshit. There were a very few posters with other ideas, and they got beat to death with the say-it-three-times-fast “Neo-con! Neo-con! Neo-con” club.

    I strongly suspect no one at Reason has any clue at all as to *why* the surge worked. But then, solutions to the mess were never important to anyone, anywhere in the media that I ever saw.

    Bush was in charge when Iraq got turned into a first class screw up. But he was also in charge when they finally started pursuing the only solution that had any chance of working in the long haul.

    I will point out, there is yet ample room for the big Obama Mama to *totally* that screw up.

  97. Four years ago there was ONE billboard in Florida that called Bush “Our Leader” and the libs went CRAZY saying Bush was becoming “Dear Leader”. Four years later we have a President who’s entire campaign displayed all the hallmarks of a cult.

  98. btw while we’re on this subject, if anybody in the media had the brains to take an objective look at what’s happened, not all of the fall out from Iraq has been negative in terms of US interests.

    Whether the left likes it or not, Iraq has in fact helped the war on terror. Though Bush has never, ever articulated any of it.

    Iraq is very much like Vietnam in the sense that the media feeds us one kind of bullshit while the government feeds us another. Nobody talks about reality.

  99. “I strongly suspect no one at Reason has any clue at all as to *why* the surge worked. But then, solutions to the mess were never important to anyone, anywhere in the media that I ever saw.”

    Of course they don’t. They don’t have anyone on their staff with any experience in the military or any interest in the subject. It would be nice if the Reason Foundation, which is obstensibly the think tank for Libertarian thought, would work more on developing a coherent foreign policy program beyond knee jerk isolationism.

  100. They never admitted they were wrong about the surge and have never had a serious discussion about what a post war Iraq is going to look like and what the long term legacy and effects of the war might be.

    Sort of like Iraq war supporters have shifted their discussion to how “The Surge Worked!”, rather than whether the invasion itself was a good idea.

    Do you all really still believe it was a good idea? Just curious.

  101. They don’t have anyone on their staff with any experience in the military or any interest in the subject. It would be nice if the Reason Foundation, which is obstensibly the think tank for Libertarian thought, would work more on developing a coherent foreign policy program beyond knee jerk isolationism.

    If we had followed “knee-jerk isolationism” in the first place the surge would never have been necessary. Forgive me I don’t give the neo-cons mad props for pushing a policy that has temporarily slowed down the damage resulting from the previous policy they were pushing.

  102. Seriously, do you guys reward your dog for fetching a can of Febreeze for you after he shits all over the carpet?

  103. It would be nice if the Reason Foundation, which is obstensibly the think tank for Libertarian thought, would work more on developing a coherent foreign policy program beyond knee jerk isolationism.

    Amen to that. There’s a crying need for libertarian philosophy in general to develop a little more sophisticated foreign policy than “oh well, if we play it by our little isolotionist rule book then everything will be fine and good”.

  104. If we had followed “knee-jerk isolationism” in the first place the surge would never have been necessary.

    See, I told you so.

    Don’t question the faith boys and girls. If you will only believe in heaven, it will come to you.

  105. Do you all really still believe it was a good idea? Just curious.

    I don’t know. What I do believe is that most people who say that they know for sure that it was a huge mistake are talking out of their asses, since they have no expertise that would allow them to make a truly educated judgment.

    What we won’t know is this: what if we hadn’t done it? Certainly we would have given a signal to the world that the conditions of a truce mean nothing. This could easily precipitate more and uglier wars in the future. Note also that, with the help of some of our “allies” and the Secretary General of the UN, there were no real sanctions on Hussein’s regime.

    I trust mindless pacifism as much as I trust mindless jingoism, and I see far too much of the latter among people who have insisted that invading Iraq was an unmitigated mistake. The facts may not be pretty, but they certainly don’t support the “unmitigated mistake” position any more than they support the “imminent threat” position.

    But hey, I figure that’s a reasoned opinion, so I wouldn’t expect to see it around here much any more.

    Now they tell us! I vaguely seem to recall Reason pretty much pulling out all the stops to oppose McCain and support BHO.

    Ditto.

    But BHO is so much “more libertarian” than McCain… Hence, his first priority is to completely repeal the PATRIOT Act. He wouldn’t want all that power vested in HIS administration, not the Messiah. And of course, McCain is so pro-torture, we had to vote against him…

    By no means am I saying that Reason should have supported McCain. Where was the critical thinking and Balko-style concern about Obama, though?

    I am moving to another state, and was going to start a print subscription to Reason when I got there. Now, I’m not sure I can take Reason seriously.

  106. Do you all really still believe it was a good idea? Just curious.

    Since it achieved its short-term goals (elimination of the Hussein regime, and knocking the other state sponsors of terror back on their heels) and looks like it is achieving its mid-term goals (establishment of a legitimate and functional democratic state in the strategic center of the mideast), I would have to say it is looking more and more like a good idea, yes.

    Iraq was a strategic response, not a tactical one, to the problem of a deeply dysfunctional middle east that was exporting its Islamonutter sewage world-wide. Its still too early to say whether it will help with the kind of deeper regional changes that are needed.

  107. “If we had followed “knee-jerk isolationism” in the first place the surge would never have been necessary. Forgive me I don’t give the neo-cons mad props for pushing a policy that has temporarily slowed down the damage resulting from the previous policy they were pushing.”

    It didn’t temporarily slow down the damage. It won the war. Further, it is pretty clear that Iraq is not going to become a Shia fundamentalist client state of Iran or a failed state like Somalia, despite Reason’s hopes and prayers to the contrary.

    Thinking about the reality on the ground in Iraq and what that means going forward and admitting what that reality is, as opposed to what you thought and hoped it would be, is what publications like Reason are supposed to do. Facing the stark and for Reason unpleasant reality that the US won the war does not necessarily mean the war was worth it. But to understand whether the war was worth it, you have to understand its aftermath and long term effects. That doesn’t seem to something that Reason is remotely interested in doing. Perhaps that is because if they ever did do an honest assessment, the answer might not be as obvious or as much to their liking as it thought it would be. Thus, it is better to just ignore the subject and hope it goes away.

  108. OOPS!

    I meant “I see too much of the FORMER”.

    That’s what happens when I edit half of a sentense and hit “Submit.” I sound stupid. 🙂

  109. it is pretty clear that Iraq is not going to become a Shia fundamentalist client state of Iran

    That still depends a whole lotta lot on how Obama plays out the rest of the card game.

  110. Barry D,

    That is a very reasoned position. The war was ugly, costly and mishandled for much of it. But that is the way wars always are. We had better think long and hard before getting into them for that reason. Of course that doesn’t mean that you should never fight a war. More importantly, it does not mean that you should just quit and go home once it gets hard.

  111. In the decade before 9/11, the Sunnis and Shias were cooperating on a scale that they historically had not. Al Queda benefited immensely from this, and it was part of what enabled them to build the kind of operation able to pull 9/11 off in the first place.

    Also prior to 9/11, Saudi Arabia was supporting Al Queda and similar ilk, in the almost blatant open.

    The US invasion of Iraq has ripped the Sunni-Shia division wide open again. This has hampered Al Queda all by itself.

    As far as Saudi Arabia, we can apply a well known free market principle. People respond to incentives.

    Now that Iraq is no bulwark against Iran, Saudi Arabia is vulnerable to Iran. The Saudis now need US military support, in whatever form, and they know it. Hence it behooves them not to piss us off *too* too much.

    This is not a bad thing in itself.

    You could easily argue that we should more rightly have invaded Saudi Arabia than Iraq, and I’d probably agree. But think, for 1/10 of a second, about what the political fall out from *that* would have been on the international stage. Iraq is a flea bite in comparison.

    Now, in retrospect was this our best option? Our only option? I’m not sure. Does it justify the obvious screw ups we made while invading Iraq? No way.

    And was it worth it, in the long haul? That isn’t clear to me either.

    OTOH, once Iraq is “settled” and we turn our attention to Afghanistan, the Iranians will — or at least could — become one of our natural allies. Because they don’t want the Taliban in Afghanistan any more than we do.

    Most likely way “out” of Afghanistan: cut a deal with the Taliban, with the condition that they cleave themselves from Al Queda.

    How you’d ever enforce that I don’t know. The road out of Iraq is to cut a deal with the Iranians, who were always the big key to peace vs violence in Iraq. The road out of Afghanistan, if there is one, is not so clear now that Pakistan is in the process of imploding.

    But we have Obama now and he’ll fix everthing. So just relax.

  112. The reason libertarians will never evolve a coherent and rational foreign policy, is that on the international stage you cannot avoid the obvious truth: politics is messy business, and the purity of your faith will not sustain you by itself.

    The libertarian solution is to stick your head in the sand.

    Fact: it was definitely in US interests to pour a little gas onto the flames of the Sunni-Shiite civil war. Just to slow down the ability of Al Queda-like operations.

  113. The Obamas are the Perons.

  114. Fact: it was definitely in US interests to pour a little gas onto the flames of the Sunni-Shiite civil war.

    Just want to make sure I understand. Your brilliant plan for promoting a peaceful relationship between the United States and the rest of the world is to encourage the two major Muslim groups to devastate each others homes and cities, and kill each other’s men, women, and children.

    And this will promote a peaceful world in the long term?

  115. Your brilliant plan for promoting a peaceful relationship between the United States and the rest of the world

    Uh, it’s not be too brilliant to plan for something that will never happen.

    You can be at peace with all of the world at some of the time, some of the world at all of the time, but not all of the world at all of the time.

    It’s never happened in human history, recorded or otherwise, and there’s no reason to believe that the human species has evolved enough in the past six months to change that.

  116. The reason libertarians will never evolve a coherent and rational foreign policy, is that on the international stage you cannot avoid the obvious truth: politics is messy business, and the purity of your faith will not sustain you by itself.

    I was discussing this on another thread. Being President is a messy job involving a lot of moral compromises and dirty decisions. Even if Obama were a man of coherent ideology or deeply held principles – and he isn’t, he is a Chicago machine politician with an astonishing sense of timing and an enviable ability to be and say whatever people want at a given time – he would have to, if not abandon, at least frequently violate that ideology, those principles. And when that happened many of his followers would turn on him.

    He’s not going to have to violate principles and ideology he does not have, but he is guaranteed to disappoint one or another segment of his followers almost from day one.

    The people who voted for him but who declined the Kool Aid cup when it came round will be disappointed, many of them angrily.

    The Kool Aid drinkers, the ones like the Columbia student who wrote the “Obama is my personal Jesus” oped – they will never hold him responsible for anything objectionable – they will always find excuses and scapegoats to explain things he does that disappoint them. They have invested too much of their self-esteem in him, projected too many of their hopes and fears and feelings onto him – they can’t afford to admit, ever, that they got carried away.

    They certainly can’t ever admit they were duped, because that would mean they’re not as smart as they think they are. And they are convinced that they are every bit as smart as they think they are.

  117. Stubby,

    You are exactly right. But there will be a second group. That group will leave Obama and deny they were ever part of the kool-aide group.

  118. Your brilliant plan for promoting a peaceful relationship between the United States and the rest of the world is to encourage the two major Muslim groups to devastate each others homes and cities, and kill each other’s men, women, and children.

    Let’s see.

    Choice A: Al Queda flies airplanes into US skyscrapers.

    Choice B: Muslims bomb each other instead.

    You fill in the blank.

    Or would you prefer to pretend that the world doesn’t work this way?

    I will point out though, in case it isn’t obvious, that they’re almost certainly going to be bombing somebody.

  119. I will point out though, in case it isn’t obvious, that they’re almost certainly going to be bombing somebody.

    Have you ever thought that that may be what the rest of the world has to say about the United States?

  120. Or would you prefer to pretend that the world doesn’t work this way?

    How could we possibly ascertain how the world works without our constant interference if we are always interfering with it?

  121. Have you ever thought that that may be what the rest of the world has to say about the United States?

    Whether this is true or not, it’s irrelevant to my whole argument.

    Or are you going to try and lay that lame story out now about how it’s all our fault?

    That won’t get you very far.

  122. How could we possibly ascertain how the world works without our constant interference if we are always interfering with it?

    Have you read any history before? And have you read Machiavelli’s _The Prince_?

    You need a reality check.

  123. How could we possibly ascertain how the world works without our constant interference if we are always interfering with it?

    Quantum economics.

  124. That won’t get you very far.

    It won’t get me very far with convincing you. That’s cool. Think what you like.

  125. Have you read any history before? And have you read Machiavelli’s _The Prince_?

    You style yourself a modern-day Machiavelli?

    I’m going to hazard a guess that you are a typical American, who would never be able to live with yourself if you had personally killed a Muslim woman or child. Yet you are completely casual about it when it is done by our government.

  126. All of which is fine and good. But you’ve side stepped the gist of my arguments.

    Which accounts for why you haven’t convinced me of anything.

    I don’t know if I’m typical or not. Probably not. And I’m not Machiavelli, but I admit to having learned much from him.

    In the international arena we come face to face with the fact that tribalism and “us versus them” is alive and well. It’s the law of the jungle. Those who think they’re going to tame this jungle have deluded themselves, as 5,000 years of recorded history attests to.

    In the jungle, you don’t have to do anything to anybody, in order to become a target of one the animals. All you have to do is exist. And there are always animals around.

    So once you become a target, you get to choose: fight back, or get mauled.

    The minute you fight back, you get drawn into the swamp of relationships, motives, and cross currents. It puts you in situations where you can choose to either fight the enemy directly, or (if the option presents itself) get the enemy to fight amongst themselves.

    They call this part of diplomacy. And getting the bad guys to fight each other, rather than us having to fight them ourselves, is usually the preferred solution.

    Or do you buy the line that the whole reason Al Queda exists, and hit us, is because we’ve “messed around” in their countries?

    Yes, we’ve messed around. But it’s also true that we’d be a target of this particular animal anyway. Just because we exist, and they exist.

  127. I’m going to hazard a guess that you are a typical American, who would never be able to live with yourself if you had personally killed a Muslim woman or child. Yet you are completely casual about it when it is done by our government.

    I’m not a soldier so who knows for sure. But if somebody broke into my house, and I was afraid for my life, I don’t think I’d feel bad for having shot them.

    The same would go for my actions in a war zone. I would do what was necessary.

    And Iraq is a war zone, whether anybody likes it or not. Saying “well I wish it wasn’t” or “I think it shouldn’t be” doesn’t change the fact that it is.

  128. Or do you buy the line that the whole reason Al Queda exists, and hit us, is because we’ve “messed around” in their countries?

    It’s a pretty solid line.

  129. I’m not a soldier so who knows for sure. But if somebody broke into my house, and I was afraid for my life, I don’t think I’d feel bad for having shot them.

    Would you go out and shoot somebody unrelated to the crime?

    And Iraq is a war zone, whether anybody likes it or not.

    It wasn’t a war zone until we decided to turn it into one.

  130. “The worst part of the last eight years (and there’s a lot to choose from) has been the constant attempt to inject politics into every conversation in order to stir up a good ol’ two-minute hate against Chimpsy McBushitler.”

    I totally agree. For a long time it seemed like “Bush is an idiot” had become our new national greeting. I’m not saying I liked Bush, but I definitely don’t like people that mindly repeat what the media and other people tell them too. I was amazed at how many people who seemed to think themselves so intelligent and original had no originality at all.

    A serious discussion about Bush’s failing is OK. That what the Cato Institute is for. Moronic bandwagon politics is not OK.

  131. On the other hand, it seemed that towards the end of his term people stopped talking about him all together.

  132. How could we possibly ascertain how the world works without our constant interference if we are always interfering with it?

    History
    Anthropology
    Archaeology
    Paleontology

    They all point to the same thing: the United States’ foreign policy is not the source of violent acts by individuals, tribes, religious groups, nation-states or other entities.

  133. It wasn’t a war zone until we decided to turn it into one.

    So what? You still haven’t taken the bull by the horns yet. Either because you aren’t getting my point, or you do and you’re side stepping it. ??

    Last attempt. If politics is messy business, war is its ultimate expression.

    Do you think war is ever legit? If in self defense, then how do you define self defense?

    You have to be very careful how you define “innocent” when it comes to war. It could be argued that there were “innocent” Germans in Hitler’s day. Does the fact that we probably killed some of them, mean that we shouldn’t have fought the Nazis?

    The constellation of relationships in the Islamic world was a significant contributor to the power that Al Queda had on 9/11. I mean the collaboration between Sunnis and Shiites, that had historically not been there. *That* is part of who the enemy is.

    In this circumstance, the “you can’t ever kill innocents, and I have a really strict definition of innocent” line reduces to argumentum ad absurdium in a big hurry. What would you do, attempt to behead the bad guys, so as to avoid killing their “innocents”? This means killing off their intelligensia. Would you have attempted to kill off the leaders of the Nazi government, rather than fight the Nazis? Would you also have attempted to kill off the leaders of the Islamic world, by the same token?

    The prospects of succeeding with this approach are dubious at best. But assuming for a moment that it could have been done, the countries in question would have devolved into chaos and “innocents” would have died anyway. If you’re going to feel bad for doing this to your enemy in a time of war, you wouldn’t last long on the international stage.

    Yes, we turned Iraq into a war zone. But like a fungus, Al Queda could only be killed by destroying the conditions that made its growth possible. Given this, I’m not so sure that Iraq really wasn’t the smartest move the US could have made, in the overall picture.

    And it can hardly be argued that Saddam was innocent, in fact or in spirit. Even the French and Russians, hardly supporters of US interests, said before the invasion that they thought Saddam had WMDs. So Blix found nothing, so what? Iraq is a big desert, it would have been easy enough to hide things. And Saddam wasn’t exactly cooperating with Blix. That did nothing to help his case that he was innocent.

    Saddam paid tribute to the families of suicide bombers who hit Isreal. Isreal isn’t the US, but Saddam did lay out his principles for us. And there was Iraqi involvement in earlier bombing attempts in the US, if you recall.

    You could argue that maybe, Iraq wasn’t the *most* guilty party on our list of potential targets — in what was and is a war on terror. But Saddam had publicly offered sanctuary to terrorists in the past. He wasn’t innocent by any means, and he was part of the conditions that made Al Queda possible.

    A US invasion of Saudi Arabia, who was arguably more guilty, would very probably have been far more costly the US in the long run.

    So again I’m not sure that in the big picture, invading Iraq as part of a scheme to kill off Al Queda, wasn’t in fact a nice little Machiavellian move.

    But I suppose this is the gist of where you and I disagree.

  134. Ebeneezer, you just Godwined the thread, which means I officially win our debate.

  135. History

    In your history, was the CIA not involved in installing the Shah of Iran? In supporting Saddam Hussein and the Baath Party in Iraq, in training

    Archaeology
    Paleontology

    We’re talking about the history of United States foreign policy. The United States has only been around for a little over two hundred years.

  136. But I suppose this is the gist of where you and I disagree.

    Where we disagree is that you have convinced yourself that you are some kind of real-politick analyst of international relations. While in reality you’re a guy posting on a web blog. I’m a guy who wants to mind my own business and have the country I live in do the same, so I can do peaceful things like posting on web blogs.

  137. Please check out my video

  138. Mike Laursen,

    Are you sure you aren’t MikeP? You’re so very much like him.

    Your arguments lack substance, so you dance around everything and then get cute.

  139. I’m sorry. You think your arguments have substance. It’s all based on the premise that “politics is messy business”. That we HAVE to be involved in all of these foreign entanglements. Well, of course, our foreign policy is going to be messy if we assume we have to steer the course of all human events.

  140. Oh, and I appreciate that you think I’m cute.

  141. The phrase “blinking into the sunlight” comes to mind when reading Brian’s post.

    How can you people stand it outside the gloom? What’s wrong with you?

  142. To quote my man Dylan, joe, “I don’t care about economy, I don’t care about astronomy.
    But it sure do bother me to see my loved ones turning into puppets.”
    (Gillespie and I both think/fantasize/remember/hope that Dylan declared his lack of concern for “agronomy,” but regardless….)
    Joe, you can and will agree or disagree, but I think you have an accurate sense of what I and a lot of people round these’s parts think and believe about government. Given that, you already know “what’s wrong with me” in that I can’t gleefully join in the marching armies of the great leader—I’m a libertarian….

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