Monday, September 21, 2009

Thou shalt not criticize

Yesterday the Sunday Times saw fit to publish a long and very silly article by Andrew Sullivan that explained in great and completely phantasmagorical detail that all attacks and criticisms of President Obama are motivated by racism with some crocodile tears added about how terrible it is for him to put up with all these attacks.

Attacks go with the job. Barack Obama desperately wanted the job, campaigning for it for the entire two years of his senatorial position and spending far more money than any of his rivals. Now he has the job and has to take the s**t as well as the media adulation.

The article had odd pictures to accompany it: President Obama hugging his daughter (something that no other father in history has ever done), people carrying posters accusing him of lying (politicians are routinely accused of lying because that is what they do) and a big poster in which he had a Hitler moustache. Gasp, shock, horror. No, I do not think Obama is like Hitler though they share socialist statist values. For one thing, Hitler could make rousing speeches without a teleprompter. (OK, that was a joke.)

However, I was not comatose for the last eight years and I recall a good many Bush/Hitler comparisons from the Left and a good deal more of the aforementioned s**t flying towards President Bush, all of which he took with apparent equanimity and even good humour. Certainly there was not whining and vicious attacks on anyone who disagreed.

I was going to link to the article but could not quite find it. Instead I looked at the list of Andrew Sullivan's recent articles for the Times and Sunday Times and realized that the racism meme is constant as is his completely unhinged assurance that Obama is getting more and more popular. Except with the incredibly large number of racists, of course.

It is worth reading Michael Barone's column, published yesterday, on how the "liberals" are trying to stifle free speech in the United States. We, of course, are well used to this phenomenon as is anyone who has spent any time on most American campuses.
I would submit that the president's call for an end to "bickering" and the charges of racism by some of his supporters are the natural reflex of people who are not used to hearing people disagree with them and who are determined to shut them up.

This comes naturally to liberals educated in our great colleges and universities, so many of which have speech codes whose primary aim is to prevent the expression of certain conservative ideas and which are commonly deployed for that purpose. (For examples see the Web site of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which defends students of all political stripes.) Once the haven of free inquiry and expression, academia has become a swamp of stifling political correctness.

Similarly, the "mainstream media" -- the old-line broadcast networks, the New York Times, etc. -- presents a politically correct picture of the world. The result is that liberals can live in a cocoon, an America in which seldom is heard a discouraging word. Conservatives, in contrast, find themselves constantly pummeled with liberal criticism, on campus, in news media, in Hollywood TV and movies. They don't like it, but they've gotten used to it. Liberals aren't used to it and increasingly try to stamp it out.
Meanwhile, the Sunday Telegraph, our own special flag carrier for President Obama (I stopped buying its Daily sister because of its abysmal coverage of the presidential election campaign last year) has suddenly discovered that, maybe, just maybe, the man is not quite up to the job.

Edward Lucas of the Economist says rather disingenuously:
It is lovely to feature in other people's dreams. The problem comes when they wake up. Barack Obama is an eloquent, brainy and likeable man with a fascinating biography. He is not George Bush. Those are great qualities. But they are not enough to lead America, let alone the world.
True enough, as far as the last sentence is concerned, except that, no matter what Obama thinks, he was not elected to lead the world. As one would have expected, Mr Lucas is upset by President Obama's attitude to those East European allies but cannot quite believe that it is all in keeping with the rest of what we might charitably call foreign policy.

The trouble is that even now Mr Lucas seems unable to see clearly, as a number of the comments point out. Barack Obama is certainly not George Bush and ever more people in America and around the world are beginning to wonder whether that is an advantage.

But he is not eloquent because being able to read a teleprompter is not a sign of eloquence; he has shown no signs of being brainy either on an intellectual or on the political level; his biography is moderately interesting and would be more so if we knew more of it and there were not such great big lacunae in it. No wonder Mr Lucas and his colleagues are stunned by President Obama's incompetence - they still believe their own hype about the man.


  1. Excellent piece Helen! I keep hoping the Big Media will get over the honeymoon and start really reporting the weaknesses of the President. Andrew Sullivan is not relevent anymore but still manages to get himself published......and now the President wants to bail out the newspapers! When will this end?

  2. Andrew Sullivan's articles in the Sunday Times are always highly partisan and unbalanced, so much so, that I can no longer bear to read them. Why the ST persists with him is puzzling.
    However, I did read the long and extraordinary article you refer to, and was pretty sickened by his blatant Obama-worship and meticulous adherence to half-truth and lies-by-omission. I shall not waste my time reading any more of his stuff.
    He was recently caught on federal land in Mass. with dope (marajuana), and should have been convicted for that offence (but was mysteriously shown extraordinary leniency). Were he convicted, he would likely, as a non-US citizen, have been deported back to Britain. We can, at least, be thankful this egregious man is there and not here.

  3. I am sorry for the trouble I caused. Reading that article must have been a painful experience. It certainly was for me. Still, now you know never to do so again and that is a useful conclusion to draw. :)