By Steve Curtin
I had a brief discussion recently about Obama's surprise visit to Iraq, and many of the "conservative" persuasion were more than a little shocked at the notion that Obama may have received a rousing ovation from the troops there.
Of course, like Obama's faux town hall meeting in France in which not one question came from an actual Frenchman, it's possible that the troops for which the blessing of being in the presence of The Anointed One was bestowed upon were vetted so that no blaspheming non-believers were present. But the first thing that came to my mind was: why would it be surprising?
Oh, that's right, I forgot. Obama is a Democrat and everyone "knows" the military hates Democrat traitors and loves Republicans. Apparently the troops know better. They love Obama's policies because they're the same as Bush's. Sure, the campaign rhetoric was decidedly anti-war - particularly anti-Iraq war - but in practice nothing "changed". We have the same Secretary of Defense. The Iraq pullout, which was a central theme of Obama's campaign, has been put on hold indefinitely. And the war in Afghanistan is on the verge of escalation. What has changed?
Economically, Obama is FDR to Bush's Hoover. Like FDR, who trashed Hoover for his socialist economic policies before taking office, and then subsequently adopted and accelerated Hoover's socialist economic policies, Obama is aggressively pursuing the very economic policies that he trashed Bush for during his campaign.
The logic is so ass-backwards that a 5 year-old could point out its insanity, yet the Obama/Bush economic policy is simply this: it was massive and reckless spending that got us into this calamity, and only massive and reckless spending will get us out of it. And if you think the brain trust at the top has any clue what they're doing, you haven't been paying attention. The criminals shaping our monetary policy openly admit they're in "uncharted waters".
At best they're incompetent. At worst they're aiding and abetting an economic disaster that will be used as the impetus for a global economic restructuring and the loss of our sovereignty and freedoms. I leave you to decide what's what. The end result will be largely the same: we will all suffer. We will leave to our heirs a world much poorer than the one we inherited.
...same as the old boss...
What is the psychology behind this glaring contradiction? Why is it that Bush was hated for these policies yet Obama is still wildly popular, at least among those who supported him in the first place?
Is it because the rhetoric is different? Surely not. Once in office Obama's empty message of hope quickly mutated into the same fear tactics the Bush regime so effectively used.
Is it because Obama is more eloquent? Really? Any serious, objective analysis of Obama's oratory skills compared to Bush's tells us that, when you sound that inept, it's all relative anyway. In other words, Bush may have sounded dumber than Obama, but that's not really saying anything. In the rare instances Obama cannot rely on a teleprompter, one is left wondering where people get their definition of "eloquent" from.
The reality is, Americans view politics the way they view reality TV. And when we watch reality TV, we call it reality but to us it's all entertainment. People like Obama, people didn't like Bush. And there was obviously no particular reason for it. We all have that one person we know, and there's nothing you can pinpoint about the person, you just don't like him. And so we like Obama, and we cheer him on to succeed, and we love what he has planned for us. The warrantless wiretapping. The torturing. The signing statements. The war-mongering. The spending. The debt. The encroachment on our civil liberties. It's all water off a duck's back to us, because it's Obama. But we hated Bush for these very same things. And it doesn't occur to us that, despite the campaign rhetoric about John McCain, that Obama is really the third Bush term. Obama is now everything we feared about a John McCain presidency. Aren't there any conscientious liberals out there who see the qualities they hated in Bush now manifested in Obama?
Ignorance is always bliss, this we know. And for now, Americans can view their politics the way they watch American Idol, and they can shield themselves in a cloak of American exceptionalism, and think everything will be fine because everything always ends up being fine for the simple fact that we're Americans. But the day will soon come when reality will become too painful and too overwhelming to ignore. We will walk around stupefied, murmuring to ourselves, "How could this happen to us?"