Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi questions Obama’s Honesty
I really dislike the labels of conservative and liberal as the implication is that these are mutually exclusive political positions. I just happen to think that most people are rarely one or the other exclusively, yet these labels tend to reduce everyone’s political philosophy into either camp. Once forced into a camp, many of us tend to get somewhat defensive and lose the ability to critically analyze our own positions as well as those of who we support. I think this is a natural outcome of the conservative/liberal paradigm that sits astride the nation’s politics.
What this means from a practical standpoint is that attacks on someone like Obama result in not only in a circling of the wagons around the camp, but can actually cause the camp’s position to be shifted to align with the attacker’s agenda. For example, the fact that attacks are launched on Democrats accusing them of being soft on defense, seemingly forces them into a position where they become aggressively war like to disprove the accusation. Similarly, attacks that suggest that Democrats are not supportive of business, seemingly force them into positions where they’re overly accommodating to business interests. The effect of these sorts of attacks aren’t limited to shifting political positions as they also silence those within the camp from criticizing the camp leaders. In Obama’s case, there are many who support him who may not criticize his actions for fear of causing a level of disunity that might be taken advantage of by the attackers. So for fear of damaging Obama, there is silence where there should be accountability. Effectively, the attacks have resulted in many feeling that Obama and his entire camp of supporters are under siege and there’s no time to question anything because the enemy is about the overrun them. Basically, this means a victory for those mounting the attacks as they get the opposing camp to carry out their agenda while forcing a level of complicity within the camp by effectively silencing dissension and it’s this very silence that provides the camp leader the cover to do as he pleases.
Thinking back through events since the last election, it’s clear that some of the attacks on Obama have been absolutely insane. We’ve had the birthier controversy in which a sitting president was forced to produce a birth certificate hence giving a veneer of legitimacy to an otherwise baseless accusation. Even before that, we had a run on guns shortly after the election because Obama was supposedly going to curtail gun rights. We’ve had numerous accusations of Obama being a socialist and a Muslim. We’ve had accusations that his justice department was going soft on supposed Black Panther intimidation at the polls. We had the whole Shirley Sherrod affair and all manner of insults against the person of the president, his wife and his family. We’ve had the all the craziness that occurred behind the passage of the health care bill which still continues to be challenged. We’ve seen threats of secession and the formation of the tea party. There have been numerous attacks from the likes of Glenn Beck and Fox news. Crazy republicans have seemingly been popping up everywhere like we’ve never seen before while the grownups in that party are nowhere to be found. The list is endless and it’s pretty clear that the camp has been under attack like no other sitting president ever has been. If you happen to be in the Obama camp and if you perceive him as being under siege, you’re going to engage the enemy and you’re not going to be inclined to challenge his leadership. This is a natural response. It’s a also a response that’s quite predictable if you’re in fact being “gamed”. With psychological warfare and behavior shaping being firmly in the toolkit of modern American politics, the latter can not be excluded as a possibility.
Two questions immediately present themselves as I think about this. First, if there wasn’t a “siege”, would more people be questioning of Obama’s war like foreign policies and his refusal to go after the criminals who’ve created the economic mess we find ourselves in? After all, those silent now weren’t so silent when the previous administration did the same thing. Secondly, and this is a question that must be carefully considered, what if these attacks are actually a ruse to ensure silence within his camp, hence giving him “cover” to do these things without a challenge from within his ranks? In other words, are we being gamed? It’s the challenges from within the ranks that would be most effective at curtailing and/or promoting certain policies. This is particularly so when the masses of people themselves are actually not supportive of the wars and would very much like to see Wall Street brought to heel.
There could be various reasons for Obama continuing the Bush policies on the so called war on terror, the unyielding assault on civil liberties and accommodation of the Wall Street crowd. Either the attacks have “forced” him into these positions or he’s been bought and the attacks designed to give him cover. It’s interesting to note that in all of the mudslinging and arrows that have been thrown his way, the right has not attacked him on these particular positions and those within his party aren’t attacking him on them either, so it can’t really be argued that he indeed has cover from all sides. The excellent video below gets into the idea that he’s been bought and that he’s not an authentic progressive, but fails to examine the complicity measured by the silence of those within the democratic and republican parties on these issues. It’s not just Obama who’s been bought, but the entire US political system. To understand that fully, one must arise above the partisan caricature of our political system that’s presented as the reality.