Sunday, June 07, 2009

A Bully in the Pulpit

Kathleen Parker saw a lot more in the Cairo speech than did other conservatives but she got this part right:
The nearly hour-long speech, which contained many inspired passages, was essentially a teaching moment. A lecture, if you will.
Yes, a lecture. That quality of detachment is what triggers people to call him the "Obamamessiah" or "the One", as if he's from another planet sent here to scold the children of earth for their past silliness, a sort of political version of Klaatu (maybe it's no coincidence the remake featured the hero scolding the planet for not going green. Nonsense? Watch the new GM commercial).

The important thing about Klaatu wasn't his noble suggestions but the massive enforcer robot standing behind him. Obama's "Gort" is the power of government, a close comparison. So far he hasn't used that power to it's full potential sticking mainly with the bully pulpit, but his messages have been targeted and telling.

For instance, when he demonized Wall Street as a prospective career for college graduates he said nothing bad about law school even though part of the health care crisis involves the rising cost of malpractice insurance. Attorney greed is simply not on the agenda right now.

But health care "reform" was on the agenda today as the Congressional Dems introduced a new plan while Obama's folks floated a trial balloon of funding it through taxing the 'wealthy'. Here's how Bloomberg News put it:
President Barack Obama wants Congress to consider taxing the wealthy instead of workers to pay for a health-care overhaul, as House Democrats discuss a plan to require health insurance for most Americans.
Emphasis added to point out the pseudo-Marxist tone of suggesting the 'wealthy' don't really work, leaving a stench of class envy (whether intended or not). And that's coming from Bloomberg! It's not hard to envision how the White House press office might handle detractors, even those who merely want to discuss reforming the present private system without a government takeover. Think "the party of no", "dittoheads", "people who don't care about the poor", Sarah Palin, etc, etc. The strawman cometh.

But it doesn't stop there because after health care will come climate reform. This past Tuesday the global warming deniers, or skeptics, or haters, or flat-earthers--they call themselves realists--had their annual conference and one attendee opined:
"How do you control the weather?" asked Bob Carter, an Australian scholar from James Cook University. "For us to assume we can somehow control nature and regulate weather patterns, when we cannot even predict them correctly, is patently absurd."
Of course. The level of hubris required to believe such a thing borders on Greek God territory but as Ms. Parker illustrates, Obama is such an exalted figure people might actually believe he can lower sea level or change the course of the next hurricane. Meanwhile the 'flat-earthers' will be the ones treated as nutballs. Cue Gort.

Some might shrug and say it's always been this way and they would be right, with a few big exceptions--the bully in the pulpit, the size of the choir, and those writing the bulletins. And the conservatives have no sensible, rational and trusted voice to push back.

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