First I saw Kathy Shaidle’s gleeful quotes of Camille Paglia’s post today at Salon, then Ed Morrissey’s at Hot Air. Even in that company, I have something important to add, which is the explanation for Obama’s contradictions and failings that is eluding Prof. Paglia. Here it is, short and sweet: Obama is a sociopath intent on destroying capitalism in the U.S. and very likely also intent on destroying democracy, too.
A sociopath has no conscience, and therefore no inhibitions about doing wrong or inflicting hurt. Often they are charming, although that usually has to do with their genius for telling you whatever it is that you want to hear in order to hand over your power and money to them willingly. They also have less pleasant behaviors for when you want them to deliver on their promises. They will get angry, denounce you, demand pity, or simply smile and befog and gaslight you and insist that you will get what you were promised in the ever-receding future and after you prove you deserve it by handing over more of your power and money. Gays and lesbians! Is this ringing any bells?
Obama is a sociopath who was raised by his mother and her parents and his mentor, Franklin Marshall Davis, to revere Communism and socialism. The more you know about how sociopaths function, the more everything he does makes sense — all his mutually exclusive positions and alliances, all his flip-flops, all his promises with their hidden expiration dates. And the more you know about his Communist/socialist upbringing and values, the more his totalitarian behavior makes sense.
Here are some of the things puzzling Prof. Paglia — I have boldfaced the points in her post that I address:
But who would have thought that the sober, deliberative Barack Obama would have nothing to propose but vague and slippery promises — or that he would so easily cede the leadership clout of the executive branch to a chaotic, rapacious, solipsistic Congress? House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whom I used to admire for her smooth aplomb under pressure, has clearly gone off the deep end with her bizarre rants about legitimate town-hall protests by American citizens. She is doing grievous damage to the party and should immediately step down.
Reply: Everyone who realized Obama spoke only in vague platitudes and who observed the wide variations in his performance based on whether or not he was reading from a teleprompter or speaking extemporaneously. Everyone who realized that he has a genius for getting others to do his homework and claiming sole credit for their work. Everyone who realized that the presidency is only the second real full-time job he’s had in his life. It is Obama who should resign. Yes, Biden would be an improvement.
There is plenty of blame to go around. Obama’s aggressive endorsement of a healthcare plan that does not even exist yet, except in five competing, fluctuating drafts, makes Washington seem like Cloud Cuckoo Land. The president is promoting the most colossal, brazen bait-and-switch operation since the Bush administration snookered the country into invading Iraq with apocalyptic visions of mushroom clouds over American cities.
Reply: In a just world, Obama’s last press conference and his town halls would more than cancel out Sarah Palin’s bad interviews. But it is not Washington that seems crazy because Obama is aggressively advocating for healthcare reform legislation that he has hasn’t read and knows almost nothing about. The crazy starts and ends with Obama. However, Prof. Paglia is correct: Obama is engaging in a colossal and brazen bait-and-switch operation. But she insults Obama as a piker by comparing him to Bush. Obama’s bait-and-switch, if successful, will last forever and destroy the U.S. as a capitalistic country. The expense and number of lives lost by the war in Iraq will be puny in comparison to the cost of Obama’s deception. And Obama KNOWS what he is doing. Bush has the excuse that he mistook saber rattling aimed at neighborhood street cred for the real thing, and that Saddam Hussein had his own generals convinced he had nuclear weapons.
You can keep your doctor; you can keep your insurance, if you’re happy with it, Obama keeps assuring us in soothing, lullaby tones. Oh, really? And what if my doctor is not the one appointed by the new government medical boards for ruling on my access to tests and specialists? And what if my insurance company goes belly up because of undercutting by its government-bankrolled competitor? Face it: Virtually all nationalized health systems, neither nourished nor updated by profit-driven private investment, eventually lead to rationing.
Reply: THANK YOU, Prof. Paglia, for figuring out some of the mechanics of the bait-and-switch!
I just don’t get it. Why the insane rush to pass a bill, any bill, in three weeks? And why such an abject failure by the Obama administration to present the issues to the public in a rational, detailed, informational way? The U.S. is gigantic; many of our states are bigger than whole European nations. The bureaucracy required to institute and manage a nationalized health system here would be Byzantine beyond belief and would vampirically absorb whatever savings Obama thinks could be made. And the transition period would be a nightmare of red tape and mammoth screw-ups, which we can ill afford with a faltering economy.
Reply: Prof. Paglia, Obama is in a big rush because the purpose of his healthcare reform legislation is to impose socialism and destroy capitalism. So long as it does that, there really is no need to see if it will deliver on the promises being made to get it passed.
As with the massive boondoggle of the stimulus package, which Obama foolishly let Congress turn into a pork rut, too much has been attempted all at once; focused, targeted initiatives would, instead, have won wide public support. How is it possible that Democrats, through their own clumsiness and arrogance, have sabotaged healthcare reform yet again? Blaming obstructionist Republicans is nonsensical because Democrats control all three branches of government. It isn’t conservative rumors or lies that are stopping healthcare legislation; it’s the justifiable alarm of an electorate that has been cut out of the loop and is watching its representatives construct a tangled labyrinth for others but not for themselves. No, the airheads of Congress will keep their own plush healthcare plan — it’s the rest of us guinea pigs who will be thrown to the wolves.
Reply: Obama’s intention for the stimulus package was to saddle the U.S. with an economy-destroying level of debt that would lead to inflation and levels of taxation that would destroy capitalism. The pork was the bait. Destruction of capitalism was the hook. So, you see, Obama doesn’t always use bait-and-switch tactics. He uses bait-and-hook tactics, too.
Regarding the decision of members of Congress to keep their own healthcare plan while “it’s the rest of us guinea pigs who will be thrown to the wolves”: congratulations, once again, you are beginning to see that you have voted for a regime where all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others. However, I assure you, the companies delivering their care will be driven out of business, too, so eventually, they’ll have to figure out another way of having their healthcare delivered by the same doctors and with the same amenities that Washington, D.C., hospitals reserve for billionaires and royalty.
But, I do have to quibble with the connotation of “guinea pig” that ObamaCare is an experiment in any way — the results of socialistic levels of taxation, economic stagnation, rationing and induced passivity toward government intrusion are well-established. THEY are the purpose of ObamaCare, not healthcare reform, or even healthcare at all.
What does either party stand for these days? Republican politicians, with their endless scandals, are hardly exemplars of traditional moral values. Nor have they generated new ideas for healthcare, except for medical savings accounts, which would be pathetically inadequate in a major crisis for anyone earning at or below a median income.
Reply: Personally, I thank God for all the Republican sexual scandals because they may produce some much-needed humility and compassion.
However, it is true that we Republicans and conservatives have almost totally dropped the ball in opposing ObamaCare by failing to go to the trouble of producing our own solutions to problems with our healthcare system that would preserve capitalism, liberty and democracy. We have violated Rule 11 of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals, which is founded on the fact of human nature that people hate to give up something for nothing, no matter how much better nothing is when compared to a toxic something.
Alinsky’s Rule 11 is as follows: ” ‘The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.’ Never let the enemy score points because you’re caught without a solution to the problem. (Old saw: If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. Activist organizations have an agenda, and their strategy is to hold a place at the table, to be given a forum to wield their power. So, they have to have a compromise solution.)”
And what do Democrats stand for, if they are so ready to defame concerned citizens as the “mob” — a word betraying a Marie Antoinette delusion of superiority to ordinary mortals. I thought my party was populist, attentive to the needs and wishes of those outside the power structure. And as a product of the 1960s, I thought the Democratic party was passionately committed to freedom of thought and speech.
Reply: No, not any more it isn’t. The Democratic party is now passionately committed to suppressing opposing points of view and has virtually everyone in the mainstream media working toward that goal. Even for someone of your perspicacity, it is difficult to see a new paradigm. That is why it is so difficult for you to make sense of the overwhelmingly conclusive amount of evidence in front of you.
But somehow liberals have drifted into a strange servility toward big government, which they revere as a godlike foster father-mother who can dispense all bounty and magically heal all ills. The ethical collapse of the left was nowhere more evident than in the near total silence of liberal media and Web sites at the Obama administration’s outrageous solicitation to private citizens to report unacceptable “casual conversations” to the White House. If Republicans had done this, there would have been an angry explosion by Democrats from coast to coast. I was stunned at the failure of liberals to see the blatant totalitarianism in this incident, which the president should have immediately denounced. His failure to do so implicates him in it.
Reply: Yes, to the Left’s worship of government as the source of all good, instead of the creativity and ambition of the individual on a fair field of capitalism. Jonah Goldberg explained that in detail in his book, Liberal Fascism.
And, yes, the Left is in a state of complete ethical collapse. Eric Hoffer explained why and how in his books, starting with The True Believer. It’s high time someone over there noticed. We Republican fiscal conservatives have a LOVELY big tent and I would be delighted to be the first to welcome you in. Seriously, you do not live that far away from me and I know a great place for crabcakes. Let’s talk.
However, I’m surprised and disappointed that you are not also remarking on the utter lack of outrage by the Left over the beating administered by SEIU thugs on Thursday August 6, 2009, to black conservative Kenneth Gladney after a Russ Carnahan town hall meeting in St. Louis. Mr. Gladney was selling the “Don’t tread on me” Gadsden flags that are now a symbol of the Tea Party movement and the opponents of ObamaCare. Why was the Left outraged by Prof. Gates being asked for his identification by a white police officer, but it is gleeful about the beating of Kenneth Gladney to silence him and make an example of him? As you say: the Left is in a state of complete ethical collapse. (For another example, see the coverage of Jesse Griffin here and here.)
As a libertarian and refugee from the authoritarian Roman Catholic church of my youth, I simply do not understand the drift of my party toward a soulless collectivism. This is in fact what Sarah Palin hit on in her shocking image of a “death panel” under Obamacare that would make irrevocable decisions about the disabled and elderly. When I first saw that phrase, headlined on the Drudge Report, I burst out laughing. It seemed so over the top! But on reflection, I realized that Palin’s shrewdly timed metaphor spoke directly to the electorate’s unease with the prospect of shadowy, unelected government figures controlling our lives. A death panel not only has the power of life and death but is itself a symptom of a Kafkaesque brave new world where authority has become remote, arbitrary and spectral. And as in the Spanish Inquisition, dissidence is heresy, persecuted and punished.
Reply: Prof. Paglia, in the words of Ronald Reagan, you have not left the Democratic party, the Democratic party has left you.
Surely, the basic rule in comprehensive legislation should be: First, do no harm. The present proposals are full of noble aims, but the biggest danger always comes from unforeseen and unintended consequences. Example: the American incursion into Iraq, which destabilized the region by neutralizing Iran’s rival and thus enormously enhancing Iran’s power and nuclear ambitions.
Reply: Yes, in a perfect world — or even just in the one pre-Obama — the first rule of comprehensive legislation is to do no harm. But Obama does have harmful intentions. He says the current proposals are full of noble aims. How would he know? Has he read the bill? I doubt it. The people who HAVE read the bill and are able to understand its thickets of perplexing legalese and industry-speak are horrified at what ObamaCare aims to do and how it aims to do it. The more they explain it, the faster support for ObamaCare plummets.
What was needed for reform was an in-depth analysis, buttressed by documentary evidence, of waste, fraud and profiteering in the healthcare, pharmaceutical and insurance industries. Instead what we’ve gotten is a series of facile, vulgar innuendos about how doctors conduct their practice, as if their primary motive is money. Quite frankly, the president gives little sense of direct knowledge of medical protocols; it’s as if his views are a tissue of hearsay and scattershot worst-case scenarios.
Reply: Yes, but it’s not “as if” — Obama’s views on healthcare ARE a “tissue of hearsay and scattershot worst-case scenarios.”
Obama showed in his press conference that he has almost no knowledge of healthcare reform because the things he said his bill would do to cut costs were tried and discarded in the 1990’s. On top of that, he directly insulted the ethics of doctors with his tonsillectomy remark. The magnitude of Obama’s cluelessness in speaking on a topic on which he had so little knowledge certainly more than cancels out Sarah Palin’s bad interviews with Katie Couric and Charles Gibson. Frankly, Obama demonstrated at the press conference and at his subsequent town halls that he is too stupid and too lazy to do his homework on healthcare reform. He also is demonstrating that he believes he has the game so well-rigged that he doesn’t have to.
Of course, it didn’t help matters that, just when he needed maximum momentum on healthcare, Obama made the terrible gaffe of declaring that, even without his knowing the full facts, Cambridge, Mass., police had acted “stupidly” in arresting a friend of his, Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. Obama’s automatic identification with the pampered Harvard elite (wildly unpopular with most sensible people), as well as his insulting condescension toward an officer doing his often dangerous duty, did serious and perhaps irreparable damage to the president’s standing. The strained, prissy beer summit in the White House garden afterward didn’t help. Is that the Obama notion of hospitality? Another staff breakdown.
Reply: Obama’s gaffe was revealing of the following things about his true nature:
- He does not understand what it means to be president so he inserted himself into a problem that did not need presidential attention because he does not understand the scale of the world stage and his place on it as president
- He does not remember he is a lawyer and should not have announced he didn’t know the facts and then offered a critical opinion
- He revealed his own racial bigotry
- He revealed his own elitism
- He insulted people in one of the professions responsible for his safety.
And, for heaven’s sake, the fact that Obama’s political instincts about the “beer summit” were poor reflects entirely on him and no one else. Plus, it gave us the photo that epitomizes Obama’s sociopathy and narcissism as he ignores his disabled friend and heads for the news cameras:
Update: Thanks, to Stacy at The Other McCain, for the link. I should have been writing more this past week to extol the work he and Dan Riehl have done to investigate Jesse Griffin, the Left wing blogger who started the Palin divorce rumor. It seems Griffin has been able to afford a $300,000 mortgage on the salary of an assistant kindergarten school teacher.
Update, 8/13/2009: Dear Prof. Jacobson at Legal Insurrection covers the Left’s misogynistic reaction to Prof. Paglia’s apostasies cited above. This reminds me that I intended to praise Prof. Paglia’s courage in reporting her perceptions. However, I have the sneaking suspicion that the real foundation of her willingness to speak her mind is her belief that her fellow travelers on the Left are true to their stated ideals, including the right to dissent and freedom-of-speech, so she was not being courageous because she didn’t believe she would ignite the firestorm now raging about her. So the reactions to her column from the Left may be a rude awakening that times have changed and the disconnect between what the Left says and what it does must shock the conscience of, well, people who have consciences.
Prof. Paglia, if it walks like a totalitarian and quacks like a totalitarian, it’s a totalitarian. Come to the Right, Prof. Paglia, this is where we reasonable people dissent with our fellows all the time and still find ways to work together on matters where we have common ground.
Moe Lane has an observation on Prof. Paglia’s lack of buyer’s remorse.