The election is at hand and the nostalgic strolls already have begun.
Light-headed, tingly Obamatrons have their feet back on the ground - have for quite some time - as they navigate along memory lane, journeying back to 2008 when the appropriate theme song might have been Beyonce’s rendition of At Last.
“At last, my love has come along …
I found a dream that I could speak to
A dream that I can call my own
I found a thrill to rest my cheek to
A thrill that I have never known … “
On the eve of Election Night 2012, the formerly love struck must be hearing a different tune in their conflicted heads, experiencing different lyrical sentiments. Maybe Sinatra doing Send In The Clowns (”Don’t bother, they’re here”). Or, Peggy Lee rhetorically asking, Is That All There Is?
“Let’s break out the booze and have a ball, if that’s all there is.”
Champagne tastes better when it’s sweet nectar mixed with tears, but not so good blended with bile. They popped the symbolic corks in Chicago’s Grant Park in November 2008, and we’re informed by recent media reports that some pricey bubbly and other vintage grape juice has been flowing inside the White House ever since. Elsewhere, the partying has long since stopped.
The intoxicating Obama victory four years ago became an unexpected catalyst for a vicious hangover. We’ve watched a hopeful throng slowly transform (there’s that word again) into a violent, angry, hopeless mob of occupiers, desperate unionized entitlement addicts and, in recent days, betrayed and neglected victims of nature’s wrath. Where’s that elusive dream they’d called their own?
A Chicago Tribune columnist tried to capture this overwhelming nostalgia in her Sunday rendering but somehow, unintentionally one suspects, she penned an obituary instead. It’s over, if and when Mitt Romney wins, of course. Yet for many who trudge to their polling place on Tuesday and defiantly pull the lever, or touch the screen, for Obama, it’s still over. Send in the clowns, there ought to be clowns.
Here’s how Tribune writer Mary Schmich tried to make sense of the chasm between the mood in November 2008 and the emptiness today:
“When I pulled the old newspapers out the other day, I noticed that they’d begun to yellow and stiffen with age. The story they told, of liberation and opportunity, in Chicago and beyond, seemed dated, too, though the headline that begins “Harsh economic, political realities” could just as easily be written today.”
Obama was going to be as fresh as the ink in a printing press. He was going to do things that Presidents have never done. Not necessarily because he is a man of color, a political Jackie Robinson, the first black president, but because he was a man of destiny. “A sort of God,” a Newsweek editor informed television viewers.
Schmich remembers it vividly: “How fresh and undefended the newly anointed president seemed, despite the bulletproof glass, invisible via TV, that flanked him as he walked onto the Grant Park stage … to meet all those upturned faces, all those tears. At last.”
When you try to cast politics and the serious work politicians are called on to do in a surreal light, in an otherworldly context, history has shown, the inevitable wake-up call is brutal. Gods turn out to be dictators, bad guys, small men who end up cowering in a hole, or being dragged through the streets, or, in civilized places like these United States, thrown out of office. Unelected. False gods make false promises.
The dream of Barack Obama, the dream that millions of people were sure they could speak to, and call their own, was ultimately just another dream. It ended. When it was time to go to work, the dream didn’t show up.
Green jobs? Dream jobs? How about (still) very few jobs?
“No one should be surprised that the magic of Grant Park four years ago has given way to more complicated moods,” Schmich reminds her Tribune readers. “Magic, like all forms of romance, is not built to last.”
That’s right, President Obama, you didn’t build that — that mythical, fairness-driven paradise we’re still waiting for. That wizard, David Axelrod, built a false narrative. It’s not your fault. It’s our …
In reality, Obama voters are not going to take the fall for their guy but Schmich is right about one thing. Regardless of how or why it happened, Obamania has “given way to more complicated moods,” mostly dark and restless. That’s what makes Tuesday so monumental.
In 2008, millions of Americans went all-in on a brand, a carefully crafted marketing campaign that pushed all of the emotional buttons. It felt like an uprising, a revolt, an overthrow of something. No matter what it really was, they liked how it felt, how Obama talked, even how he walked. He was the man who would be President - of their United States.
“The coolest presidential candidate America had ever seen,” writes Victor Davis Hanson.
But candidates are sometimes actually elected, which is not inconsequential if the election is to the highest office in the land. On that November day in 2008 Obama became, presumably, our coolest President ever, which was fine for a while. The fate of the cool kids in high school comes to mind.
On Tuesday, a lot of people who voted for a cool President four years ago will join millions more who did not in casting a vote for Mitt Romney. They will do it for partisan and ideological reasons, but also for a more basic reason. The respected Charles Krauthammer says this an election to determine no less than “the relation between citizen and state”.
To remain a place where the state answers to the citizen, America desperately needs an adult in the Oval Office. We need leadership, maturity, and statesmanship. We need an economic strategy. We need an energy strategy. We need respect for the rule of law. We need tax reform. We need a balanced budget. These are challenges for grown-ups, not reality TV stars.
Obama is going to lose on Tuesday because the party in Grant Park was a sham, and everybody knows it and, beyond that, because more and more Americans are willing to admit it.
Tags: Romney Ryan 2012
The first time I saw Paul Ryan in the flesh was on the morning of February 26, 2009, in Washington.
He was the leadoff speaker inside a vast ballroom at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), and was greeted by an audience of several thousand people who were both fired up by Ryan’s presence yet still shell-shocked. This was 30 days into the Barack Obama presidency. It was a time of soul searching, economic anxiety and concern about the future of conservatism.
CPAC was hatched by the American Conservative Union in 1973. Since that first conference, headlined by Ronald Reagan, the gathering had evolved into the most important annual event on the conservative calendar.
But in 2009, CPAC felt like a wake. Paul Ryan would have none of that. He bounded onto the stage. The audience suddenly snapped out of it. Even in this setting, where the attendees are engaged in politics and know the players, Ryan was something of an unknown.
The Wisconsin congressman graciously acknowledged the thundering applause, and clearly was undaunted by the bright lights. Obama’s over-scripted oratory causes feinting spells; Ryan’s ad-libbed straight talk has just the opposite effect. He’s a motivator.
“Looks like Reagan!” I wrote on my notepad that morning. Ryan has Reagan’s full head of hair, but that’s not the relevant parallel. Ryan is a direct descendant of the School of Reaganomics.
The battle to restore America, Ryan said, “will be lead by the conservative movement or it won’t be led at all.”
Now was the time for a new strategy. Now was the time to come together and pledge to stop the plague of radical liberalism from spreading.
“Our last strategy lead to defeat,” Ryan said the February morning, alluding to the failed, unfocused presidential bid of John McCain.
He brought along plenty of verbal arrows aimed at the new Obama administration’s economic stimulus strategies (”phony”), but Ryan’s principle mission that morning was to scold the assembled and their elected Republican leaders.
“The Republican party disregarded its roots,” Ryan said. He talked about our nation’s founding principals. “Without enduring principles, we get change but no direction.”
Ryan encouraged the room to get acquainted with the remedies he recommended. There was a handy web site, AmericanRoadmap.com. (Ryan had actually unveiled his plan in May 2008, amid the McCain-Obama showdown). He touched on the principles that mattered most: stable money, a secure dollar, tax code reform, health care reform (”a vibrant health care market”), federal spending and limited federal regulation.
After a stint on Capitol Hill as a policy wonk for a member of the House, Ryan landed with Jack Kemp’s supply-side economics think tank, Empower America, in 1993. He comes from a rich conservative lineage that includes Barry Goldwater, Reagan and Kemp.
Before exiting that morning, Ryan reminisced about Kemp, the 1996 vice presidential candidate with Bob Dole.
“Jack Kemp once said that all of the supply-siders in Washington (in the 1970s) could fit in a phone booth,” said Ryan, then just 38 years old. “I’m not sure what a phone booth is (laughter). I’ve heard about them.”
But Ryan is as dialed-in as they come on economic philosophy. He has lived and breathed small-government conservatism his entire adult life. By selecting Ryan as his running mate, Mitt Romney has found one of the few people in Washington who is driven by policy before politics. Ryan seemingly has relished being a voice in the wilderness a for more than a decade, warning Republicans they were straying from their ideals.
National Review’s editorial following the Ryan announcement said it best. Because of his fierce devotion to and enduring respect for sound economic principals, Ryan today is “more presidential than the incumbent”.
The CPAC crowd in Washington sensed that as long ago as 2009.
Tags: Romney Ryan 2012
How is one tragedy deemed to be more tragic than other recent or past tragedies?
While this might seem an inane exercise, the mainstream media would have the masses believe it is a legitimate question that only its elite club of observers of human behavior can adequately answer.
Within hours of the shooting spree in a suburban Denver movie theater last week, the media went into DEFCON 1 tragedy mode and remains there, indefinitely. What happened just after midnight in Aurora, Colo., obviously is devastating, numbing, and indescribably sad.
But that is not enough for today’s mainstreamers and their 24/7, agenda-driven news cycle.
The rule of thumb is that tragic events are — to adopt the vernacular of the Obama administration — man-made, typically carried out by young, mostly white men using guns or homemade bombs. (The networks were slow to go wall-to-wall on the 2007 Virginia Tech campus shooting that led to 32 deaths. The shooter, who took his own life, was Asian.)
If the white man can somehow be linked to the Tea Party, all the better. ABC News thought it had such a link to the demented Aurora shooter. It hastily floated the possibility before facts got in the way and revealed another James Holmes, mid-50s, was a tea partier, not the 24-year-old alleged theater shooter.
ABC tried to “place the horror at the feet of American conservatives,” the Chicago Tribune’s John Kass observed.
In addition to shooting sprees, acts of God such as weather events also can be classified as extremely tragic depending on the socioeconomic status and race of those impacted.
Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was a media-designated tragedy because it displaced poor, minority residents of New Orleans, some of whom were seen on rooftops, where floodwaters could not reach them. It escalated to this point after the state of Louisiana and city of New Orleans utterly failed to prepare for or respond to the massive hurricane, which meant it was now President George W. Bush’s fault.
Ultimately, more than 1,100 people in New Orleans and St. Bernard Parish lost their lives when Katrina hit, but the national media was fixated primarily on the federal government’s response, with much less attention on decades of denial and bone-headed neglect of inadequate levees by state and city leaders. Yet it was the latter that caused the massive loss of life.
The Bush rule was specific only to the previous decade. If it advanced the blame-Bush narrative, any event, natural or man-made, potentially was a tragedy. Even Dick Cheney’s accidental shooting of a hunting companion vied for tragedy status because, and only because, he was Bush’s pro-military vice president. (The elderly gentleman who was wounded said it was nobody’s fault).
Then there was epic flooding in and around Nashville in 2010 - described by locals as resembling an “inland tsunami”. This one did not rate as a tragedy. The media already had a major tragedy on its hands in the form of the Gulf of Mexico BP oil spill. That explosion was labeled a tragedy because it advanced the narrative of greedy Big Oil destroying the environment. And it gave Barack Obama a soapbox upon which to stand and deride the notion that America can or should pursue energy independence.
Largely ignored were the deaths of 11 BP employees. They were killed when the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded in April 2010. The explosion was not the tragedy, of course. The national media was not interested in dead oil workers. The tragedy was oil gushing to the gulf and threatening wildlife and beaches.
“They call it the fire that started the oil spill,” a spouse of one of the victim’s said. “To us, it’s the fire that killed our husbands.”
Nashville also failed to rate as a tragedy because many of its victims — 21 died in Tennessee — were white, religious, country folk who hadn’t compliantly voted for Obama in 2008. John McCain won Tennessee by 15 points.
More recently, wildfires near Colorado Springs prompted Obama to fly to the state (as he did Sunday for a memorial for the Aurora shooting victims) to meet with people who lost their homes to the unrelenting blazes. The national media did not camp out to tell their stories, though around 350 homes were destroyed or damaged. Is it not a tragedy when people lose everything they own in the blink of an eye?
Not necessarily. Mainstream media brass would never admit it. The answer to the question is not dependent on the number of homes or the nature of the destructive event. Demographics and political fallout play the dominant role. People who can afford to live on wooded lots in the foothills of the Colorado Rockies don’t really show up on the East Coast media’s radar. They’re “rich”. Probably Republicans, or independents.
Any President is expected to travel to the site of devastating events, so it was not surprising, indeed it was appropriate, that Obama went to suburban Denver on Sunday.
He also has made a couple of recent trips to his adopted hometown of Chicago, where his friend and former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel is mayor. On these occasions, Obama blew in and out of town to attend private fundraisers in the homes of wealthy (even mega-wealthy) supporters. Millions of dollars changed hands.
These were not missions of mercy but Chicago is in desperate need of some. The 2012 Memorial Day weekend extended a string of gun violence in the city’s roughest neighborhoods that began during an unseasonably warm and early spring.
Media reports indicated 40 people were shot in Chicago during the holiday weekend, with 10 fatalities.
“Very clearly, we have a gang problem in the city of Chicago,” Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said at a press conference on May 29.
Through July 19, 289 Chicagoans have died as a result of urban street violence involving both targeted and random shooting. That total represents a 31% increase compared to 2011, according to a recent analysis by former Los Angeles police chief William Bratton for The Wall Street Journal.
But the mainstream media largely has determined there is nothing to see in Chicago. Move along everybody. NBC anchor Brian Williams has not raced to Chicago to report live from the deadly scenes as he did Friday night from Aurora.
Obviously, we know why. Twelve shooting deaths in a movie theater is a tragedy because it is an exploitable event for left-wing politicians who decry the Second Amendment and demand “gun control laws”.
But 289-and-counting dead Chicagoans in President Obama’s hometown in an election year?
Not tragic. And certainly not convenient.
Author’s note: After this was posted, 14 people jammed into a pickup truck traveling in rural south Texas were killed when the vehicle left a highway and crashed into trees. The Associated Press reports the dead (and nine other survivors) are illegal immigrants from Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala. We won’t hold our breath waiting for the onslaught of media anchors and reporters to descend on Goliad County, Texas.
Tags: P.C. Filtering