Damned with a Painted Phrase!

August 4, 2009 at 5:47 pm (By Amba)

Proving that to get older is to get more outrageous and outspoken,

My old friend Barry Casselman is smokin‘!

Although some of the new president’s critics have tried to apply a number of sensational epithets to his domestic policies, especially as radical, socialist or quasi-Marxist, the reality is much more conventional and undramatic. In short, Barack Obama, rhetoric notwithstanding, is a classic academic liberal of a type, and from a milieu, which blossomed on elite university campuses and in parvenu liberal salons in the aftermath of the Great Society in the 1970’s. […]

Thwarted in the Reagan/first Bush years, and even during the Clinton years, and certainly during the second Bush years, these aging liberals have accumulated a constipated energy to pass a whole bookshelf of legislation which, in effect, “reforms” nothing, but does further redistribute the resources of taxpayers.  Unfortunately, this redistribution is not from the rich to the poor to the benefit of the latter, but a transfer from all taxpayers to the most inefficient bureaucratic tangle of all times, an outcome so ultimately destructive that it is apparent, before the fact, to anyone who has basic mathematics skills. […]

The Democratic leaders understandably speak about their hurry to enact their liberal domestic legislation. [… The failures of the Bush Administration are discussed]  The proposals, now being advanced by the administration and the Democratic leaders in Congress, and making their way toward enactment, are legislative zombies, i.e., they are walking but not breathing.  Perhaps by intimidation, some of them will be passed into law, but only at the cost of a great political reaction in 2010 and 2012.

Who says centrists can’t be passionate and scathing?  To me, Casselman’s indictment is far more devastating (because of its ring of truth) than fantasies of all the birfers and socialism scaremongers put together.  Read the whole thing!


  1. Melinda said,

    The recession’s over? How come nobody told me! I’ve gotta get back to work.

    Seriously, Casselman presents a sobering possibility: A Jimmy Carter-like one-term administration. And maybe followed by twelve years of Republicans again! And this time, I’m not young and listening to synth-pop, so there will be no mitigating factors.

  2. michael reynolds said,

    Why do you post stupid crap like this?

    Obama’s 48 today. He’s an “aging liberal?” Yeah, Obama campaigned hard for Hubert Humphrey. He was a very committed 7 year old.

    And is it a crime to have attended an “elite” university? I thought that was supposed to be a good thing. Guess not.

    Oooh, how we hate elites! Hate them! I want a non-elite surgeon! I insist that a gap-toothed hillbilly remove my gallbladder!

    The stimulus, Casselman grudgingly admits might be having some effect, but the economy is a “vast engine” with its own timetable. So . . . exactly how did a tiny 4 month old stimulus have any effect at all? Is he calling for a bigger stimulus? Just making vague harumphing sounds?

    And legislation might pass but has no “life?” Say WTF? Did the Civil Rights act dance and cavort and show us some leg?

    And the most damning accusation: Democratic pols full of themselves. No fucking way! Politicians full of themselves? My whole world is spinning. . . spinning . . . egomaniac politicians! Aiiieeee!

    More drivel from what must be the millionth clueless blogger trying to get a handle on Obama.

  3. amba12 said,

    I insist that a gap-toothed hillbilly remove my gallbladder!


    Government’s big machinery, expensive, cumbersome, and inefficient. Liberals love it, conservatives hate it. Interesting people, center right and center left, are coming up with proposals for mixed, mobile, adaptable systems. Conrad, Pawlenty. So much more inventive and practical than outdated big-government liberalism.

    There is a “we know best” attitude in Washington. “We are the experts.” As if governing were the equivalent of gall-bladder surgery and they had been through the equivalent of med school. That’s the problem with Ivy League educations. I had one. They teach you to think about the world from the shelter of the academy rather than to get out in it. They really think they know best “how the world should look,” in Michelle Obama’s words. It’s a cross between control freakery and noblesse oblige. What’s the evidence that they’re really good at running things?

  4. Donna B. said,

    Michael, my brother attended Columbia several years before Obama did and I can guarantee you that an “elite” education spawns an “elite” mindset. I lived for YEARS with his condescending attitude that my education at a Texas state-sponsored university couldn’t possibly equal his.

    It was Trivial Pursuit that finally opened dear brother’s eyes, when he realized I’d learned just as much (more in science) than he had.

    Now that dear brother has competed against my children and their spouses educated at various state universities (Texas, California, Virginia, and Indiana) he’s not so condescending.

    He’s even come around to recognizing that his father’s Army issued GED isn’t to be scoffed at.

    Ivy League schools are vastly overrated.

  5. wj said,

    Michael, the post doesn’t require Obama be one of the “aging liberals,” just that they see him as someone who won’t veto their stuff. And the description sure seems to sound like Pelosi, et al. As for Obama himself being an academic liberal, I would suggest that he certainly started that way — see the initial career choice to become a community organizer. But it is entirely possible that his career gave him an opportunity to see that reality doesn’t quite fit the critical assumptions of the academic liberals.

    Certainly his approach so far indicates that he is not longer a typical academic liberal, whatever his initial views might have been. The most a-typical aspect of that is not that his views changed with experience. It is that he became more moderate, when one of the classic changes is to shift from far left to far right without ever going thru the middle. No doubt you can name a few prominent ultra-conservatives who did exactly that.

    There are certainly some who attended “elite” universities, but came away with arrogance rather than an education. (I sure saw some at UC Berkeley while I was there.) Not all, by any means, but enough to keep giving life to the stereotype — while the ones who came away with an education maintain the elite status of the institutions.

  6. amba12 said,

    he became more moderate, when one of the classic changes is to shift from far left to far right without ever going thru the middle. No doubt you can name a few prominent ultra-conservatives who did exactly that. Well said, wj. I’ll grant you that he became more moderate, especially on foreign policy — more hawkish in a tempered way. Although I wanted him to show more warmth on Iran, that’s not him, and I generally like his handling of foreign policy so far (not coincidentally, the far left is bitterly disappointed).

    On domestic policy, however, he seems to be a) too beholden to the Pelosi gang, and b) still too much of a believer in big government and top-down planning for my changed taste. In the creation of large bureaucracies,it seems, there are almost always more unintended than intended consequences. Such government encumbers us — not only businesses but citizens. It seems in American culture the role of government is to fine-tune the engine, not to be the engine. Because it is a gas guzzler!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: