Skip to comments.Obama, Story-Teller
Posted on 06/27/2012 6:30:46 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
A sign of an undisciplined mind is serial lapses into self-contradiction, or blurting out a thought only to refute it entirely on a later occasion. For a president to do that is to erode public confidence and eventually render all his public statements irrelevant. That is now unfortunately the case with Barack Obama, who has established a muddled record of confused and contradictory declarations.
Last week, the president invoked executive privilege to prevent the release of administration documents related to the Fast and Furious operation. All presidents on occasion use that tactic, but rarely after they have put themselves on record, as did Senator Obama just five years ago, damning the practice as a de facto admission of wrongdoing. Does President Obama remember his earlier denunciation or why he thought a special prosecutor was necessary to look into the Scooter Libby case, but not the far greater mess surrounding Eric Holder?
About the same time, President Obama offered de facto amnesty for an estimated 800,000 to 1 million illegal aliens. Aside from his circumvention of Congress and his casual attitude toward his own constitutional duty to enforce the laws as they are written, Obama had on two earlier occasions stated that he not only would not grant such blanket exemptions from the law, but also legally could not. That was then, this is now the middle of a reelection campaign?
Candidate Obama derided George W. Bush as unpatriotic for borrowing $4 trillion over eight years; what term might President Obama use to characterize his own record of borrowing $5 trillion in less than four years? Extremely unpatriotic? In his first year in office, Obama announced that he would deserve just a single term if the economy had not improved after his agenda was reified. What then is he to say to that earlier Obama when 8 percent unemployment is now in its 41st consecutive month, GDP growth is flat, and we continue to borrow $1 trillion per year?
As a candidate, Obama promised to play by the rules of public campaign financing, only to renounce that pledge when he was well on his way to raising $1 billion. Obama did not just promise to shut down Guantanamo and cease renditions, preventive detention, and military tribunals; he also denounced them in such venomous terms that his later embrace or indeed expansion of all these protocols was not so much hypocritical as surreal.
President Obama does not like filibustering in the Senate; Senator Obama apparently felt differently when he was in the minority and tried to stop a vote on the confirmation of a Supreme Court justice. The list of the Obama about-faces and obfuscations grows weekly the revolving door, lobbyists in the White House, the new transparency, opposition to super PACs, attitudes toward Israel, huge savings from Obamacare. And we are at a point now where no one can verify anything from the presidents past, given that his own memoir was largely mythographic details about his family, friends, and girlfriends made up to enhance his preferred narrative of racial oppression. If a writer will fudge on the very details of his own dying mothers seeking to obtain health care, then he will fudge on almost anything. And if the Birthers were unhinged for suggesting that Obama was born in Kenya, what are we to make of Obama himself allowing just that untruth to appear on his literary agents biography of him for over a decade?
What explains these weird disconnects? There are many contributory factors. First, Obama is a quintessential postmodernist, who believes that there is no abstract truth, only floating narratives that gain credibility by their aims false if for ignoble reasons, true if spoken for egalitarian purposes. Obama would argue that his literary fictions were not actually fictions given that they served the cause of exposing racial bias it is the intent that matters, not the details. The larger truth is that Barack Obama suffered angst because of his biracial identity; how, when, and where all that happened is immaterial.
Obama once really did lament that he could not legally offer amnesty, only to do just that; similarly, the use of executive privilege for a President Bush is not the same thing as for a President Obama. A statement can be judged true or false only by its ultimate objective and in Obamas case all his untruths must be true because they were intended to serve a progressive end.
Second, Obama understands that he is a symbolic as much as a real president. Name a controversy Fast and Furious, the Secret Service scandal, the GSA mess, the serial leaking of key national-security secrets and he assumes that critics will eventually be tarred with the brush of racial bias for daring to bring that scandal up and thereby help derail the nations first African-American president. Similarly, the fact that Obama is part African, has adopted the patois of the inner-city black community, and has allied himself with the identity-driven grievance industry is felt to offer exemption from charges of hypocrisy. So one can both damn fat-cats and endlessly play golf with them. The 1 percenters are culpable, but not so culpable that one would stay away from Marthas Vineyard or Vail. In Obamas mind, his minority status and left-wing politics trump any appearance of disingenuousness; he can slur the wealthy in the abstract while courting them and living like them in the concrete. And in our topsy-turvy world, to cite such hypocrisy is racist, whereas using race to seek exemption is not. We see how identity politics collides with truth all the time in America. In the Tawana Brawley case, the Duke lacrosse scandal, and the details surrounding the Trayvon Martin shooting, the point was not necessarily distinguishing fact from fiction, but being careful not to lose sight of the larger quest for racial justice.
Third, Barack Obama was as senator and remains as president a casual ad hoc thinker, an activist rather than a learned and informed leader. He assumes that how he speaks matters rather than what he says, as if months later when critics look at his contradictory transcripts they will remember only how he enthused the crowd by dropping his gs or inserting a melodic hope and change or make no mistake about it fillip. At any given moment Obama can declare that he will cut the deficit by half by the end of his first term, that the private sector is doing fine, or that his administration has been a proponent of more gas and oil drilling. Emotion and enthusiasm are for him; detail, consistency, and accuracy are for others.
The media play an unfortunate role as well. Obama has never developed the normal politicians fear of journalists, who customarily try to dry-gulch a politician by quoting back statements at odds with his record. Instead, Obama assumes that in a press conference or an interview, no one will remind him that he once criticized the use of executive privilege, opposed gay marriage, ruled out de facto amnesty by fiat, or denounced the revolving door. Obama rightly sensed that the more he damned Guantanamo as a candidate, the more his base would rally to his cause and even more would they keep mum when as president he chose to keep the detention center open. Journalists simply empowered his habit of speaking off the top of his head by a conspiracy of silence. Deep down, Obama supposes that if he says something entirely opposite from what he once said, or something so preposterous that it cannot possibly be true, or calls the Falkland Islands the Maldives, no journalist would dare to press him on the disconnect given the possible harm to the liberal agenda of our first African-American president.
But after nearly four years, the game is about up. If the president lectures the Europeans with another make no mistake about it, they will assume there are lots of mistakes about it. If he says in point of fact to Vladimir Putin, then Putin can be sure there are no facts at all. If Obama addresses the American people with let me be perfectly clear, then they assume he most certainly will be anything but transparent and concise. And if Obama compares a current event to one in his own past, then we can be sure that the earlier event never took place.
Obamas critics may not be judicious or even quite accurate in calling him a liar, since he does not consciously and by deliberation craft mistruth. Rather, he simply is a story-teller, a novelist, a fabulist who says nice, interesting things for his own benefit, and on occasion thunders out promises in mellifluous cadences, without any worry whether they are true or false, or whether they confirm or reject what he said a bit earlier. What Barack Obama wants to be true, he says to be true; and we lesser folk can sweat the details when it is usually not.
NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the author most recently of The End of Sparta, a novel about ancient freedom.
Tell this to one who worships him and you’ll get: “Well, Bush did the same thing. Remember when Bush said, huh, um, oh, I think, um, mmm.... oh, yeah! When he said to read his lips ... that there’d be no new taxes.”
That was the first Bush.
But the biggest problem is the press can’t wait to get on TV and repeat his lies.
err, ahh, uhh, err, ehh, at leasts da miami heats done wons!
He learned this form of speaking from Jeremiah Wright...
How do you get to post more than 300 words???
There’s a great campaign ad lurking in that article: a string of clips of Obama denouncing things, then announcing he’s doing them, or in the case of the budget deficit, a graph and a voice-over with Hanson’s question: “And if increasing the national debt by $4 billion dollars in eight years was ‘unpatriotic’, what is increasing the national debt by $5 billion dollars in under three years?”
And yet he still has time to visit The Varsity for a chili dog or two.....
It's a real challenge with the MSM as co-conspirators/cheerleaders.
I'm just praying that enough people will look around themselves and trust what they see with their own eyes.
Obama's behavior simply represents an apotheosis of our general cultural tendency -- actually endemic to fallen humanity from the beginning -- to engage in bullsh*t: to say whatever is or seems expedient without any regard for whether it is true or false, relevant or irrelevant, consistent or inconsistent.
(With that definition in hand, reread Adam's reply to God in Eden, and you'll see what I mean about the practice being endemic to fallen humanity from the beginning.)
In the sphere of politics, while not absent on the right, bullsh*tting is largely the preserve of leftists. It is trivial to find examples of it in the public discourse of most notable left-of-center politicians in the last 40 years, and some (Obama, Pelosi, M. Waters, D. Wasserman-Shultz, for example) seem incapable of any other mode of discourse.
“O” needs a sphincter on his mouth
It is up to the people of America to recognize the tools and reject impositions on their liberty.
"How strangely will the Tools of a Tyrant pervert the plain Meaning of Words!" - Samuel Adams (1722-1803), letter to John Pitts, January 21, 1776
The writer quoted on this thread says:
"But after nearly four years, the game is about up. If the president lectures the Europeans with another 'make no mistake about it,' they will assume there are lots of mistakes about it."
"Nothing is so mistaken as the supposition, that a person is to extricate himself from a difficulty, by intrigue, by chicanery, by dissimulation, by trimming, by an untruth, by an injustice. This increases the difficulties ten fold; and those who pursue these methods, get themselves so involved at length, that they can turn no way but their infamy becomes more exposed. It is of great importance to set a resolution, not to be shaken, never to tell an untruth. There is no vice so mean, so pitiful, so contemptible; and he who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and third time, till at length it becomes habitual; he tells lies without attending to it, and truths without the worlds believing him. This falsehood of the tongue leads to that of the heart, and in time depraves all its good dispositions." - See "Letter to Peter Carr, August 19, 1785," in Thomas Jefferson: Writings (New York: The Library of America, 1984), pp. 814-815.
"I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives." - Tolstoy
Though the following words may not seem directly related to the above, they underline the seriousness of the dangers posed by recent actions:
"If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy. - " - Justice Louis Brandeis, dissenting, Olmstead et al. v. United States, 277 U.S. 485 (1928)
“Obamas critics may not be judicious or even quite accurate in calling him a liar, since he does not consciously and by deliberation craft mistruth. Rather, he simply is a story-teller, a novelist, a fabulist who says nice, interesting things for his own benefit, and on occasion thunders out promises in mellifluous cadences, without any worry whether they are true or false, or whether they confirm or reject what he said a bit earlier. What Barack Obama wants to be true, he says to be true; and we lesser folk can sweat the details when it is usually not.”
This is a great article overall, but I’m not buying this conclusion. Obama lies tactically to pursue a leftist political agenda. He uses poetic ambiguity and postmodernist relativism tactically to pursue a leftist political agenda. He uses a photo-op at the “Varsity” as a tactic to pretend to be a “man of the people”. The idea that any of this is unconscious, or that he actually believes that everyone who opposes his politics is a racist is part of the strategy. Free people are not required to play along.
Well, most of is tales consist of "I-Slop."
LOL! That's a real word.
Journalists simply empowered his habit of speaking off the top of his head by a conspiracy of silence.
Those fools think nobody is noticing their hypocrisy. And they are wondering why their paid subscribers won't buy their BS any more!