Gerard Vanderleun and his everlastingly-brilliant AMERICAN DIGEST has become one of my favorite “first go-to’s” along with Drudge when I sign in each morning. In this insightful “essay” as he terms it, from 2011, he lays bare – absolutely naked-bare – the problem that is Barack Hussein Obama-pick-another-name-to-add.
Three years ago, he tappped into that big lump some of us carry around all week, the presence of malice, a lump of fear that everything about Obama the Manchurian Candidate is true; it “unnerves” me, and I know many of you share the same fear, because you tell me so. Even when I close the serious part of the computer and charge off to some lightweight sports news, or comedy, I can’t shake a sense of doom that keeps me in a lowgrade state of anxiety all the time.
I don’t like confusion. I don’t like reading that the Chief of Naval Operations has no idea what the mission is or what is expected next. I don’t want to hear that; it “unnerves” me. And it really “unnerves” me when it is obvious that the right hand doesn’t know what the left is doing, that there is no pre-planning and our service members are put in harm’s way, and no one seems to want to be in charge, which to me, means that someone no one wants in charge, will fill the vacuum. Scary stuff. Vanderleun’s theory is too close to my own nagging feelings for comfort.
But on the other hand, he explains it much more lucidly than either I or others have the ability to do. As I opined in my piece from yesterday The Embarrassment of Barack Hussein: “The question is – Who IS the master puppeteer pulling the strings on this most fragile of Manchurian Candidates??” Just who is the presence of malice??
[Note: Somehow this essay from 2011 never really goes out of style.]
We can survive many traits in presidents, but malice is not among them. In the unfolding saga of the Libyan adventure I note that, even though it is early innings, a popular strain of conservative criticism centers around the always popular idea of ‘stupidity in government;’ with a variant on the subset of ‘the president is not as smart as he thinks.’ The popular variant this time is: ‘deep down, Obama is shallow.’ This notion includes various complimentary subsets such as ‘he is lazy,’ ‘he is incompetent,’ ‘he’s hooked on the perks and doesn’t care for the work.’ All comfortable notions that imply that the critic is, conversely, smarter, more diligent, and more fit to make governmental decisions than the president. The problem here is that the critic is not the president and hence has no power to do anything remotely presidential.
I’m no friend of conspiracy theories. The truthers who imagine that hundreds of people have all kept the federal government’s dark roll in 911 hold no attraction to me. Too complex and with a membership that is too substantial to keep such secrets. The birthers who look to finally exposing the odd origins of the president who seems to have sprung from the brow of Zeus? Too irrelevant if true, since it will not alter the election, and, if false, pure fritterware.
At the same time, I acknowledge that there are conspiracies in the world. By extension, the most successful conspiracies would involve a very few people with a lot of access to money and power. Taking one more step, one would have to posit that the perfect conspiracy would not involve even a few people, but only one person with access to money and power.
That person would be a sociopath but if he was the right sociopath in the right place at the right time his native intelligence, high or low, stupid or smart, wouldn’t really matter. What would matter would be the level of his maliciousness. It would not matter what his real IQ was but rather his level of cleverness and his innate shrewdness. Indeed, to the clever and shrewd person a critical conversation involving whether he was being “stupid” or “lazy” only works to his advantage since is draws attention away from malice and gives him more time and space to pursue his goals. As Machiavelli knew, and Stalin proved, when the ends secure pure power, the means are irrelevant and history rewritable.
Many pundits love to remind others that when it comes to politics it is best to ignore what politicians say and, instead, to watch what they do. True enough but politicians say so much that ignoring it becomes almost impossible. And so the pundits are inevitably drawn back down into the maelstrom of spin saying, “He said this, but he did this,” as if blather resulted in brains splattered on a highway instead of the cruise missile launched from offshore at dawn.
The almost inevitable conclusion to this habit of mind is for dissenting liberal and victorious conservative pundits alike to cite Hanlon’s razor (“Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”) when discussing the recent actions of the president. I suspect this is a habit of mind that suits Mr. Obama down to the ground. He would prefer it to other, darker, conclusions.
Hanlon’s razor is often called, mistakenly, Heinlein’s Razor in reference to the dean of science fiction writers, Robert Heinlein. Heinlein’s Razor is more to my purpose here since it states, “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity, but don’t rule out malice.”
Self-identified conservatives, it seems to me, are only too happy to “rule out malice” when it comes to examining the actions of this oddest, most alien, and most unconnected to the American earth of presidents. I believe this is because it is both comfortable and gratifying for conservatives to do so. Conservatives love to think of themselves as being not only reasonable and right, but polite as well. Progressives are only too glad to help them smother in this self-nullifying delusion.
For example American Thinker’s “Obama in Exile” from yesterday holds him up as a buffoon, an incompetent:
“Obama is being chased by his own incompetence, forced to face it, unable to stare it down. Privately he must admit he is over his head and no one — not in the legislature, in the labor unions, in the deep pockets of George Soros nor the salons of liberal media apologists and sympathetic academics — can save his doomed presidency.”
To which I would respond, “Well, maybe in your happy world.” In describing the president as he does the writer tags all the bases — incompetent, secretly shamed, sold-out, “Soros!” (the conservatives “Halliburton!”), media (liberal, bien sur), and by all means let’s not forget all those metrosexual intellectuals in the academy.
The portrait here is of some hapless, sad-sack of a fellow ready to be decked out in the bulbous red nose, the clown shoes, and the strap-on poo-poo cushion, as he slinks disconsolately off the center stage of History. It’s a mindset that presupposes that the portrait of Dorian Gray is actually to be an Emmet Kelly self-portrait in pastels. It’s a comforting vision, but it is wrong. Deeply wrong and more deeply dangerous.
This posture first and last underestimates a man who has, by hooks and by crooks and by force of will, put himself in a place where he can now, at will, fire many cruise missiles into a foreign country without so much as a “Mother Jones, may I.” It is a habit of mind that not only underestimates Obama, it misunderestimates him by several orders of magnitude. It is well to remember that calling an American president “the most powerful man in the world” is not just a figure of speech.
Such an intellectual posture is typical of a classic American conservative attempting to come to grips with this strange phenomenon who holds the keys and the go-codes to the armed might of the United States of America. It is an attitude that worships the lie that a person occupying the role of the president of the United States must, he simply must, have the best interests of the nation, as he has come to understand them, at heart. It’s a bright and shiny concept and has a lot of innate attractiveness to the American conservative mindset. But like many contemporary conservative concepts it has little to say to the darker reality we face; a reality in which the chief executive of the nation is hell-bent on a malicious program whose intent is permanent harm to the nation he has perversely sworn to serve and protect. To a man who has no other gods before him the phrase “So help me God” means nothing.
This dark reality that confronts us is prefigured in our Declaration of Independence which alludes to the causes of the first American Revolution when it notes, in passing, “when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design.”
To break this down I note that the recent abuses of power and the usurpations of governing traditions must now be seen as a “long train.” Surely in the last two years we have seen many such abuses and usurpations from the appointment of czars and the subsequent stacking of the employee decks at all government departments, the endless acts of stealth reparations, the budgeting and legislation that continually increases indebtedness and hence the bonded servitude of present and future generations of productive citizens, the twisted department of selective justice that is wholly devoted to the protection and enhancement of the rights of the “government-driven classes” at the expense of a color-blind enforcement of the law. All of these, and many others, can be seen to pursue “invariably the same Object;” the wholesale destruction of the United States to such a degree that a few more years of the same will make a recovery exceedingly difficult even as it it opens the country to further attacks from within and without. Taken all in all, it amounts to something that, arising not from an “administration” but from the ego of one man, “evinces a design.”
The recent adventure into Libya, or shall I say ‘above Libya,’ is the first time in living memory we’ve seen the will of one man, even an American president, order and carry out an American military mission without even bothering to ask the American congress if it minds his messing about in a foreign country. In essence, one man in one day set in motion the power of the American military without any of the barest of rituals that normally come before. For conservatives to say that he is unfit to be Commander-in-Chief is to miss the point that he is much more a commander now than he was a week ago.
Rituals are important in government as are precedents. In bypassing the rituals, Obama has set a precedent, one that will be repeated next time under an even flimsier pretext. One of the goals in bombing Libya was not just to use military power against some unpopular dictator, but to test if he could use military power — on a weekend and while out of town — at will. Conservatives might ask if the Congress will ignore and the military will obey un-Constitutional orders while missing the fact that they just did.
The wise Caroline Glick hints at this brave new exercise of the divine right of kings and its malicious motivation in “America’s descent into strategic dementia:”
“The first side in the debate is the anti-imperialist camp, represented by President Barack Obama himself. Since taking office, Obama has made clear that he views the US as an imperialist power on the world stage. As a result, the overarching goal of Obama’s foreign policy has been to end US global hegemony.”
Richard Fernandez alludes to other anti-American benefits that accrue to the malefactor of such a malevolent power play in Belmont Club’s “Suez II:”
“President Obama publicly expressed hope for regime change in Libya while accepting that the military mission will fall short of it…. By weirdly going along with the Paris and London only to leave them in the lurch Washington will humiliate its strongest allies in Europe. The damage to NATO and the Western alliance will be considerable, even leaving aside Turkey’s feelings. It will call into question whether America can still be relied on to be the regional hegemon, a question that is being asked all over the world…. The goal of aspiring regional powers is simple: to scatter US alliances in the area, either with a view to Finlandizing them or getting them to switch allegiances. And here is Barack Obama, handing it to them on a silver platter. By letting France and Britain get on the carpet then yanking it out from under them, Barack and Hillary are doing a phenomenally effective job of destroying the faith their predecessors sought to build.”
By instigating a military operation at his whim, Obama has created a situation at home where many conservatives are spending their time either applauding him– “Bad dictator, must go” — or bathing in the warm soup that Obama’s over-reached and will be, somehow, undone and hoist by his own petard. With their conservative blinders on they overlook the many months between now and the possible inauguration of some candidate acceptable to them in late January of 2013, some 21 months in the future.
A man with a much more reactionary bent to his thinking, such as myself, would note that 21 months is an extremely long time to have a rogue ego and malicious mind actively guiding and making the day-to-day, life and death, decisions of the nation. Twenty-one months of appointments, foreign policy, executive orders, and the odd military adventure here or there, can add up to a lot of problems unless your goal is the weakening of the United States. In that case, it might just be enough time after all.
Even Obama’s most rabid supporters outside of his army of apparatchiks must surely sense that there is something “off” in the psychic structure of the current president. Most attribute it to his “yearning” to make the country ‘worthy’ of it’s place at the head of the nations. I suggest that it is something alarmingly dark and destructive. I suggest it comes from a psyche that, for many, many reasons stretching back to infancy, is so structured that it loathes the country down to its marrow, much as the psyche must loathe itself, and that is working, daily, on dismantling the nation with nothing except pure malicious intent. Why? Because it can.
Do I know this for a certainty? I cannot say, but “when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design.”