Saturday, July 18, 2015

An Explanation for Obama

Over at Neo Neo-Con's blog she has a post discussing the kind of 'leader' Barack Obama actually is:
Imagine if a deal like the one just negotiated with Iran had been announced as Obama’s goal in 2008. That is, not a vague “I want to negotiate a deal with Iran to stop them from getting nuclear weapons.” That wouldn’t have stirred any controversy. No, I mean one exactly like the one announced the other day, with all its provisions. 
What would have been the reactions, before Obama had prepared us for it? Even some Democrats would probably have been shocked, and denounced it (as long as they didn’t know it came from him, that is). It was too extreme, the capitulation too obvious. 
Or had Obama announced his intentions to refuse to defend DOMA, which had been passed by Congress in 1996, would as many people have accepted that, back in 2008 when he was first running? Same for his executive amnesty for large groups of illegal immigrants. Or any number of other things Obama has done.
She concludes that Obama's success in shifting American's Overton Window in the direction of overbearing executive power has been done by a kind of leadership after all. Obama's weapon?
He’s done it through charm (a charm completely elusive to me, but apparently it exists and is powerful), through rhetoric, through a series of strawmen, though accusations at the opposition, through audacious challenges, through threats to those who would oppose him even in his party or in the MSM.
This is an interesting analysis--but it gets even more interesting in the comments section. Here we find:
Ymarsakar Says: July 17th, 2015 at 4:12 pm Study NLP if you don’t understand his charm aura.
Neo Neo-Con says she's read the article--but doesn't understand how people can't see through that. What's she talking about?

Neuro-Linguistic Processing and Obama's Hypnotism

They're probably talking about this: An Explanation of Obama's Use of Hidden Hypnosis Techniques In His Speeches.
Obama’s techniques are the height of deception and psychological manipulation, remaining hidden because one must understand the science behind the language patterns in order to spot them. This document examines Obama’s speeches word by word, hand gesture by hand gesture, tone, pauses, body language, and proves his use of covert hypnosis intended only for licensed therapists on consenting patients. Obama’s mesmerized, cult-like, grade-school-crush-like worship by millions is not because “Obama is the greatest leader of a generation” who simply hasn’t accomplished anything, who magically “inspires” by giving speeches. Obama is committing perhaps the biggest fraud and deception in American history.
Obama is not just using subliminal messages, but textbook covert hypnosis and neuro-linguistic programming techniques on audiences that are intentionally designed to sideline rational judgment and implant subconscious commands to think he is wonderful and elect him President.
The remainder of the 67 page document provides an argument that Obama is specifically coding his speeches in a way that bypasses the judgment circuits of your brain and compels you to elect him president. This involves "Pacing" (where he says something true to sort of gain your brain's trust and repeats it over and over), "Leads" where he basically orders you to vote for him, facial expressions (superiority and judgment), unique hand-gestures (anchoring: associating the gesture with his orders), a hypnotic logo and a fake presidential seal.

The paper was published in 2008 before his election and ends with a Personal Note:
Mr. Obama,

Your attempt to gain the Presidency of the United States by hypnotizing Americans has failed. You shall not pass! You have been stopped, because you nether deserve the Presidency, nor does America deserve your fraud and deception. It is quite clear that, after Americans find out who you really are, including your use of hypnosis, you will never have even a remote chance at the Presidency again. You have been stopped because your deception has been found out. You were a master of influence, able to influence millions. You were impervious to scrutiny that could easily eliminate any other candidate. However, exposing your use of hypnosis is what shatters all of your other deceptions. You have been stopped by one anonymous patriot with a pure heart who is able to see you for who you really are. There are those more powerful than you, Obama, looking out for truth, justice, and the American way. As the words of my favorite song go, “Sinnerman, where you gonna run to?
Guess that didn't quite work out . . .

The Obama Hypothesis

Although this was published before the 2008 election, it is fair to say that the fear expressed here has played out in the minds of Republicans--including educated, literate ones like Neo Neo-Con. They have watched, largely aghast, as:

  1. Obama has managed his agenda (more or less) despite (a) overwhelming Republican opposition, (b) massive losses in mid-term elections, and (c) in the face of dramatic showdowns where Republicans lose over and over. Ace at Ace of Spades HQ has termed the Republican strategy "Failure Theater" where they just try to look like they are opposing Obama while trying to find the best way to capitulate. 
  2. A mystifying 2012 election where down seemed to be up and despite Obama's horrible first term he was re-elected in an Electoral Vote landslide. 
  3. Obama's demeanor seems praised by the press (No Drama Obama) while he actively revolts large swaths of Republicans. 
  4. He seems scandal-proof: despite what appears to be numerous, continually appearing episodes of law-breaking, nothing ever seems to stick. This is: Despite incredibly convincing circumstantial evidence and even some degree of play in the Mainstream Media. Are people just not paying any attention at all? Or do they forgive 'their' President (and if so, what about all the moderates or non-voters?)
The explanations for this that do not involve hypnotic mind control (and appear in the comments section of the Neo Neo-Con post and other places) involve:
  1. An utterly corrupt 4th Estate. The press, filled with leftists, is actively shielding the masses from the facts about Obama.
  2. Obama's blackness makes him above criticism. As a protected-person class, no one can come out and say the truth--or if they do, they are dismissed as racist (by the media and the masses).
  3. Exquisitely spineless Republicans. The GOP has made massive inroads in American politics (most governors, state legislatures, both houses of congress) and yet they can't seem to accomplish anything (and while they theoretically hold a 5-4 majority on the Supreme Court, we all know how that turned out).
Looking at the above, it kinda-sorta does seem like some kind of mind-control might be involved. After all, given Obama's agenda--which seems to be the piece-by-piece destruction and humiliation of America, how could more people not be outraged?

The Omnivore has covered this recently--but let's look at the mind-control aspect for a second since Neo Neo-Con (and her blog) are educated and literate--how is nonsense like NLP getting any play at all there?

The Missing Pieces: What Doesn't Neo Neo-Con See?

When the explanation for something moves into the illogical (Pyramids: Aliens) it's usually because something crucial is being missed. In this case, it's a few things that if seen would both explain the phenomena and, at the same time, be extremely painful to look at. This combination means that some basic facts can't be acknowledged thus creating a blank space for either bafflement or magical conspiracy thinking.

What's being missed? Let's break it down.

Racism in the GOP

A bunch of people probably stopped reading already. If you are a loyal Republican it's never a good time to face several facts--that, yes, are indeed facts:
  • The South was racist before the Civil War--and that legacy (along with many others has persisted). For a long time the South belonged to the Democrats and they were the "racist party"--but over time that shifted. It wasn't all in the 'Southern Strategy' like some people suggest but was with things like integrating the military, signing the Civil Rights Act, and so on. When we get to modern-day, racist attitudes persist and those people tend towards the right-wing end of the modern political spectrum.
  • The argument that Obama and the Democrats have been bad for blacks is fine as far as it goes--but consider that right now Donald Trump is leading in the GOP polls because he is saying what Republicans want to hear (we'll hit this several times). Because he's paying attention to their concerns and seems to care. If you (rightly) think a Trump Presidency probably wouldn't be a return to the glory of Ronald Reagan, consider that if Trump can hit #1 by 'Message: I care' then Democrats also have a claim to being the party that really cares about Black people.
  • There has been a drum-beat of racist stuff (with apologies) coming from mid-level or state-level GOP members on Facebook. This may or may not be indicative of anything--but less prevalent from Democrats. There's that CPAC video a few years back where a guy confronts a black speaker about how slavery was really good for black people. You  . . . just don't see that much as Democratic rallies, do you? You also don't see the Confederate flag in the hands of most Democrats--and even if you're fuzzy on what it means to white people there isn't much debate about what it means to black people. That the GOP has had such a hard time with this should tell you something.
When you can't see that the GOP has an actual legitimate issue with racism (which is different than being actually racist in each and every case) the problems with criticism of Obama and the GOP's share of the black vote look mystifying

The GOP's Tactical Blind Alley

The "Failure Theater" effect is maddening. We get it--but refusal to look at the full picture doesn't help things. The problem with the GOP's opposition to Obama is two-fold:
  • The Executive Branch was, really, created to be equal to the other two. This means that Obama--by himself--is (at least theoretically) the match for all of Congress. Since congress is divided (even if GOP majorities hold both houses), Obama is going to be more coordinated and more consistent. Holding the Oval Office is very important to control of the country. Inability to win a national election will eventually destroy any political party that can't manage it.
  • The Republican party is pretty darn divided. This isn't just TrueCon patriots vs. Squishy Corrupt RINOs. The divide is a lot deeper than that. There's also the pie-in-the-sky faction vs. the pragmatic (would-this-actually-work) faction. There are the Social-Conservatives vs. The Country-Has-Shifted conservatives (who don't want a culture war). There are state-level representatives who have to deal with a much, much more moderate and diverse electorate vs. district-level reps who have incentives from a much, much more conservative base. Gerrymandering hasn't made this any better.
What this means is that strategies that are created to serve the conservative  base are often, to be frank, doomed to failure. Repealing Obamacare is simply not going to be possible while Obama is in power. Romney was the best shot for it--and he lost fairly dramatically. Since the base can't be told this, instead they are sold truly radical notions (such as impeachment and shutting down the government to force capitulation). 

When someone comes out and says the obvious thing--that these are doomed from the start and that Republicans will take the blame for them--they are shouted down by both the conservative base who doesn't want to hear it and their conservative representatives who can't say anything but that these are great ideas.

The Truth (that the GOP would own a shutdown of DHS if they decided not to fund it) is re-cast as lies on the part of the media and conservatives are baffled when this doesn't work again and again. If you cannot admit that your leadership is attempting absurd hail-marry strategies on your behalf because YOU are unreasonable then the whole Failure Theater thing looks like their fault--or the agency of some mysterious and malign power.

Apocalypse Soon: Messaging to the Conservative Base

Vanity Fair details a meeting by the GOP high-command held before Obama even assumed office where the plan was to oppose his legislative agenda as a bloc to make him a failure and a one-term president. So far as The Omnivore knows, no one is disputing this happened. It isn't treason either: the GOP had every reason to want to limit Obama's time in office and their plan wasn't on the face of it a bad one.

However, it does cast a very, very different light on the "Obama never even tried to work with Republicans" take on things. This strategy has gone hand-in-hand with a literally apocalyptic view of the world and Obama. This article (Did Obama Create Trump?) lists the cavalcade of high-profile conservative pundits accusing Obama of staging a coup. It shows big-money pop-up ads on elite, educated conservative sites selling impending death and disaster (food rations to survive the impending collapse and gold certificates).

We have seen the impact the conservative news  emphasis on black-on-white crime had on Dylann Roof. It would be naive to assume it wasn't having a similar if less dramatic impact elsewhere. Forget about Global Warming: we saw a wide and deep science-denial on behalf of the GOP in 2012 with poll-unskewing.

Right now we're watching Donald Trump unerringly say all the right things (including taking umbrage with the faintest of sleights) rocket up in the polls to the #1 position on the RCP meter (he's been at #1 on the more-comprehensive Huffington Post charts for some time). This is cast by a lot of people in the GOP as a fad--but The Omnivore doesn't think it is. Donald Trump is the creation of the GOP thought-leaders and GOP-facing marketers who have, simply put, created a message so toxic that no mainstream candidate could carry it.

Donald Trump is carrying it--and he's winning. Refusal to see this makes Trump's rise in the polls look like a mysterious act of levitation . . . possibly created by an unearthly force.
Just Not Illegal Aliens, Right?


Neo Neo-Con is an intelligent, sophisticated writer--but even she finds Obama's successes a mystery. She finds his appeal utterly elusive. She probably finds him as 'Teflon' as Reagan when it comes to scandals and as infuriating to conservatives as 'W' was to liberals. She doesn't see the base's hatred of him as a 'derangement' syndrome--although it's not clear what she thought of the impeachment of Bill Clinton. She just doesn't think about any of this in those terms. It isn't because she's historically illiterate: she could probably name a lot of specific ways each comparison is different--each one doesn't count--but that's rationalization. Obama is charismatic--and he has used the power in his office effectively--but he has also faced historic levels of opposition (look at # of filibusters by administration)--and has been backed by the Supreme Court when the call by conservatives was for judicial partisanship (the first Obamacare case) and then for chaos (the second one).

Rather than just declaring John Roberts a liberal traitor (which Neo-Con, hasn't to The Omnivore's recollection--but many others did) it might be worth considering if there's another reason he ruled the way he did. You know, one other than NLP mind control or . . .


  1. So what is the way out of the dead-end the Right has driven themselves into if the base doesn't think they are in a dead-end but rather Shangri-La?

    1. Right now the RNC is trying to steer a way out by firing all of its guns at once (and getting blown into space, probably)--but, you know, at Trump. It remains to be seen if this will work: some observers question whether Trump is immune to normal political gravity.

      If that fails, the fever will have to burn itself out. It is *improbable* that The Base will vote for Trump once real voting starts: he can't win a general election (at least not right now) and in the next 7 months it's likely *someone* will figure out how to get around him--other than Bush who is the only guy not really competing for Trump's voters.

      HOWEVER, if this latest gaffe--or the next coming ones--don't kill him . . . it's possible he could pick up votes in the race. That would probably hand the nomination to Jeb . . . and *that* would break the spell.

      -The Omnivore

    2. An interesting article. I also give you ultra conservative Erick Erickson's take:

      -The Omnivore

  2. "The Omnivore's recollection--but many others did) it might be worth considering if there's another reason he ruled the way he did."

    "Ruled". Is that jargonistic a synonym for "triumph", or for what used to be described as "governed"?

    I ask because I've seen Democrats resort to the use the term in place of "govern", a number of times.

    If we actually have come to the point where supposedly mainstream Americans are talking like that, then there is not really much that conservatives and advocates of constitutional government do have in common with large portions of the modern electorate.

    If so, that would be as good an explanation as any for Mr. Positive Liberty's success.

    1. I used it to mean Chief Justice Robert's legal adjudication on the ACA lawsuit(s). I've seen a lot of commentary that the court's ruling in that respect could be *considered* governing (and not in a good way)--but that wasn't how *I* meant it.

      -The Omnivore