The runaround.

“Will he govern from the center?” Chris Matthews asked today, then blurted out, mid-rant, “He should govern from the center.” So oligarchy prepared, with profound unease leaking out from behind its veneer of hysterical pride, to unite behind the new president.

An obsession with “the center” united them. Praising Obama’s pick of Rahm Emanuel, a well-known Clintonish “centrist,” the Washington Post declared: “Emanuel can help Mr. Obama understand when he needs to ignore the pleas of the left and govern from the center.” The Wall Street Journal warned the new president not to fall under the sway of “left-wing barons who have their own agenda.” Who were these fearsome “left-wing barons”? Poor Barney Frank, apparently, is one of the fierce ideologues our new president must learn to beware of.

Party leaders, too, spoke cautiously. “A new president must govern from the middle,” said Nancy Pelosi, as if it were an iron rule (What of Reagan, or FDR? Hell, what about Bush?). “This is not a mandate for a political party or an ideology,” Harry Reid explained, as the Democrats tightened their grip on the Congress and enjoyed their biggest presidential landslide in history. Americans, apparently, have no political beliefs or “ideology” whatever — none, at least, that plays any role in who they vote for. Obama, too, was said to have campaigned as a “Reaganite” or “fiscal conservative” — by the same people who’d been condemning him as a maniacal socialist only a week before. So it goes.

A peculiar transformation happened immediately after the election. “The center,” which means everything and nothing, had somehow replaced Barack Obama’s actual platform as his “mandate” in the eyes of oligarchy.

Even as joyful students stood on the Mall and sang, with no trace of irony, “God Bless America,” the voices of liberal sanctimony — ever apologists for liberal oligarchy — strained to put a downer on this most unpleasant affair. Christine Stansell, the voice of liberal academia, dismissed Obama’s win this way: “incredible luck.” “Decades of dysfunction.” “The break-down of the Republican Party.” Anything and everything we can credit for the win except Obama and the people who supported him. A national grass-roots movement successfully elects a man to the White House for the first time in a century and Stansell credits the Democratic Party for the win because, for once, they “behaved like a functional party.”

Barely disguising her contempt for Obama supporters’ lack of cynicism, Stansell snorts: “It looks like the ‘new’ politics comes down to Hispanics, women, and blue-collar Democrats returned home from the Republican fold.” In the world of liberal academia, we count not as individuals, as citizens, but as members of groups. Anyone so foolish to think he’s only a voter who happens to be Hispanic is sorely wrong. He is a Hispanic voter, nothing more. (From this thinking, of course, comes not “reverse racism” but racism, since racism, as Walter Karp said, is nothing more than thinking of other people as if they are nothing but members of a race.) Enthusiasm about what a president might do for you, too, is to be dreaded; it might mean that people won’t shut up and go away after the election.

Before we hear any more idle chatter about “reaching across the aisle,” too, let’s get something straight. “Bipartisan” action can mean one of two things. It can mean congressmembers uniting to challenge party leadership (as we saw happen in the first House vote against the bailout two months ago) or it can mean party leaders clamping down on honorable “partisan” debate in order to quash democracy (as we saw happen in the second House vote). In short, “reaching across the aisle” can mean a challenge to political power or a repressive exercise of political power.

The notion that our government is torn between a “left” and a “right,” too, is largely without merit. There certainly are left and right movements in America. But a policy isn’t necessarily produced by leftist or rightist ideology. (For that matter, “conservatives” aren’t necessarily right-wingers, “liberals” aren’t necessarily left-wingers, and “moderates” aren’t necessarily wishy-washy.) Again, consider the bailout. Self-identified conservatives and liberals opposed it for the exact same reason. To be sure, they said different things about it; conservatives talked about a “free market” and liberals talked about “corporate greed.” But at bottom they opposed the same things about the bailout.

Things to consider, as we prepare to learn how Obama will govern this “conservative,” “right-center,” “centrist,” “progressive” nation of ours.

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One Response to “The runaround.”

  1. The runaround. Says:

    […] The runaround. “The break-down of the Republican Party.” Anything and everything we can credit for the win except Obama and the people who supported him. A national grass-roots movement successfully elects a man to the White House for the first time … […]

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