Obama the Demagogue
March 30th, 2011

Without getting into the substance of America’s intervention in Libya, it’s nice to see that certain parts of the left have suddenly discovered that their super-cool rockstar / kindly professor / political messiah is actually a bit of a demagogue with a penchant for building up straw-men and dishonestly framing those who disagree with him. Here’s an exasperated New Yorker item:

Much of the debate in Washington has put forward a false choice when it comes to Libya,” President Obama said Tuesday night. Maybe; but he proceeded to do something like that, too. The false choice, or choices, Obama presented were between doing exactly what he is doing and “never acting on behalf of what’s right,” and between doing what he is doing and deciding to:

” broaden our military mission beyond the task of protecting the Libyan people, and do whatever it takes to bring down Qaddafi and usher in a new government.”

In the first instance, the suggestion that those with doubts about entering this war—without much of a plan, without real consultation with Congress—were arguing against ever doing anything “on behalf of what is right” is, to say the least, overly broad. Does Obama really think that the only morally steady position is one that endorses the current air campaign—that not agreeing with him means turning “a blind eye to atrocities,” and that anything short of close to two hundred cruise missiles “would have been a betrayal of who we are”? (The answer to that question may be “yes.”)

I don’t expect the people at the New Yorker to abandon Obama come election time–at the end of the day, you join the side you’re on. But it wouldn’t be too much to ask that when the time comes for them to do their duty, they be a little less gleeful about it. After all, in 2008 certain people were able to either (1) fool themselves into not seeing what kind of fellow Barack Obama was or (2) pretend that they thought he was something different. In 2012 people on the left will certainly find reasons to vote for Obama, but neither of those earlier poses will be possible.

  1. Jason O. March 30, 2011 at 11:41 am

    JVL gimme a break: All this talk of “base alienation” is risible. Recall ’96, when welfare reform was going to doom Clinton with his base? The current Dem core voting blocs are now even more absolutely dependable for the American Narcissus than they were for Clinton: Also there’s no doubt the usual media cheerleading base including MSM, juiceboxers, capri sunners, you name it, will crank it up on cue.

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  3. Galley Wife March 30, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    Yeah, yeah, JVL. You missed the real news: Tilikum is back at Sea World! Do you think this is dishonest framing? “Participating in shows is just a portion of Tilikum’s day, but we feel it is an important component of his physical, social and mental enrichment,” SeaWorld Animal Training Curator Kelly Flaherty Clark said in a statement.

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  5. Galley Wife March 30, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    Wait, I missed the best part: “The OSHA investigators recommended that trainers should not be permitted to go near Tilikum without a physical barrier. SeaWorld is also considering fitting a sound-and-light device that could distract a killer whale, if it pulled a trainer under the water, WESH reported.”