In the three years since Peggy Noonan declared her support for then candidate Barack Obama, she has in some form or another been walking back that support. It’s been a very sad and lonely walk for her.
Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal opinion piece signaled she may have reached the end of her walk and is now in the place where conservatives who saw Obama for what he really was from the very beginning have always been. I came to this conclusion when I read her last few lines of her piece:
And so his failures in the debt ceiling fight. He wasn’t serious, he was only shrewd—and shrewdness wasn’t enough. He demagogued the issue—no Social Security checks—until he was called out, and then went on the hustings spouting inanities. He left conservatives scratching their heads: They could have made a better, more moving case for the liberal ideal as translated into the modern moment, than he did. He never offered a plan. In a crisis he was merely sly. And no one likes sly, no one respects it.
So he is losing a battle in which he had superior forces—the presidency, the U.S. Senate. In the process he revealed that his foes have given him too much mystique. He is not a devil, an alien, a socialist. He is a loser. And this is America, where nobody loves a loser.
Americans don’t like losers. She’s absolutely right, and Americans are realizing Obama is a loser in that he does not have any idea how to be president. But let’s not forget why Obama was so appealing in the beginning. The American people don’t like winners, either, if they win too much. Liberalism has pervaded American culture to the point that the majority of Americans seem to expect a certain kind of controlled fairness. They want Americans to be allowed to win, but not too much, even if their constant winning has been legitimate. And if those Americans who do a lot of winning don’t show humility and even some shame in all the winning, they will find themselves on the receiving end of the American people’s ire. This is why Barack Obama has had some success convincing the American people that we need to tax the rich more. They’ve won a little too much and aren’t apologetic enough.
But let’s get back to Peggy’s article. She wrote something else that makes me think she’s finally uncovered the real Obama:
But that actually is not what I want to talk about. I want to talk about something that started to become apparent to me during the debt negotiations. It’s something I’ve never seen in national politics.
It is that nobody loves Obama. This is amazing because every president has people who love him, who feel deep personal affection or connection, who have a stubborn, even beautiful refusal to let what they know are just criticisms affect their feelings of regard. At the height of Bill Clinton’s troubles there were always people who’d say, “Look, I love the guy.” They’d often be smiling—a wry smile, a shrugging smile. Nobody smiles when they talk about Mr. Obama. There were people who loved George W. Bush when he was at his most unpopular, and they meant it and would say it. But people aren’t that way about Mr. Obama. He has supporters and bundlers and contributors, he has voters, he may win. But his support is grim support. And surely this has implications.
In 2008, when throngs of Americans came to see Barack Obama speak, it wasn’t because they loved him. It was because they loved the image he presented to them. The Barack Obama they cheered and fainted over wasn’t a real man with real and tangible accomplishments that he and others could point to. He didn’t have any. Candidate Barack Obama was a figment, a marketing ploy, a charlatan. More Americans coming around to realizing this. Peggy seems to have now finally realized this. What have they finally realized? Barack Obama’s presidential campaign was the greatest fraud ever perpetrated on the American people.
A guy that I follow on Google+ published an aphorism that liberals have plastered on their cars in response to budget cuts to education: “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.” Right, just throwing taxpayers’ money at public education will impart wisdom of the ages into our kids’ heads. But that’s neither here nor there. My point is that this aphorism is particularly applicable to Obama’s election in 2008 and our current debt crisis. It was the American people’s ignorance (Even Peggy Noonan’s), i.e. their inability to discern a real man with real accomplishments from a man without any real accomplishments but who was expertly spun and marketed by the media, that got us into the situation we now find ourselves: staring into the abyss of economic ruin.
But even those two passages that Peggy wrote, as true as they are, don’t embody more truth than what she wrote here (emphasis mine):
Mr. Obama seemed brilliant at politics when he first emerged in 2004. He understood the nation’s longing for unity. We’re not divided into red states and blue, he said, we’re Big Purple, we can solve our problems together. Four years later he read the lay of the land perfectly—really, perfectly. The nation and the Democratic Party were tired of the Clinton machine. He came from nowhere and dismantled it. It was breathtaking. He went into the 2008 general election with a miraculously unified party and took down another machine, bundling up all the accrued resentment of eight years with one message: “You know the two losing wars and the economic collapse we’ve been dealing with? I won’t do that. I’m not Bush.”
The fact is, he’s good at dismantling. He’s good at critiquing. He’s good at not being the last guy, the one you didn’t like. But he’s not good at building, creating, calling into being. He was good at summoning hope, but he’s not good at directing it and turning it into something concrete that answers a broad public desire.
I don’t think I’ve ever read a greater truth about Obama than that one bolded line: “he’s good at dismantling.” Of course he’s good at dismantling. He is a community organizer, more accurately a community agitator. He takes a good look at the lay of the land and determines what is “unfair” and then goes in and destroys it. Once he’s done, he moves on to the next project, leaving behind nothing but a pile of rubble and destruction for someone else to clean up. He’s never built anything, whether a lemonade stand, a multi-million dollar business, or a successful plan that encourages job growth. When the only tool you bothered to learned how to use is wrecking ball, everything in your sights looks like a target for destruction.
This is where were are. Obama the wrecking ball has knocked down the economy, our health care system, and our place in the world. Now he’s knocked down every single debt crisis plan the Republicans have come up with, yet has refused to commit a plan of his own to paper. I’m not surprised. What surprises me is that there are still people out there who are just now figuring this out.