Archive for ‘inauguration’

January 28, 2009

‘Obama Derangement Syndrome’?

Last week, my roundup of reaction to Obama’s inauguration speech prompted one commenter to accuse me of coming down with “Obama Derangement Syndrome,” to which I replied sarcastically. Now, over at Pajamas Media, I’ve written a whole article about ODS:

Where are the right-wingers mounting anything remotely like the mass demonstrations organized by International ANSWER? Where is the right-wing equivalent of the Code Pink women who disrupted congressional hearings and State of the Union speeches?
No such analogs exist. For better or worse, Republicans don’t much go for the politics of protest. Why? The GOP and the Democrats are different parties representing different coalitions with different traditions. Beginning with George McGovern’s doomed 1972 campaign, the Democrats absorbed the self-righteous political passions of the campus left. It was so easy for “progressives” to believe that Dick Cheney was a sinister schemer, that Bush was a corrupt stooge for Big Oil, that the entirety of the past eight years was one vast war crime perpetrated to serve the interests of “corporate America,” because such narratives are deeply embedded in the Left’s tradition. The same tradition dictates that when the “fascists” are ascendant, the revolutionary vanguard must lead the masses into the streets — aux barricades!

Please read the whole thing.

UPDATE: Instapundit jumps on the crazy train, and links Gay Patriot, who finds more madness:

On Sunday night, while doing my cardio, I caught what appeared to be rebroadcast of an episode of Larry King Live. King asked The View‘s Joy Behar why comedians . . . found it “hard for the comics to have fun with.” The comedienne replied that this prez was just too perfect.

That’s the kind of stuff that drives me nuts.

UPDATE II: Lots of interesting comments at PJM, including this one:

Obama is the Segway scooter of politics. Even without all of the hype, he’s a mediocre politician. Add the hype, and it’s a comedy of the absurd.

Jimmy Carter, Barack Obama: “The first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.”

January 24, 2009

Dick Cavett’s tears of Hope

Move over, George Stephanopoulos, make room for another choked-up media liberal:

I had neither planned nor expected to cry.
I was amazed at how many times, watching the all-day spectacle, I lost it. . . .
“Historic” and “historic moment” and “historic day” were repeated mercilessly, but remained true. Only a zombie could fail to feel the truth of it.

While I don’t claim to speak for all zombies, I’m reminded of Matthew Archbold’s comment on Stephanopoulos: “[W]e’re supposed to believe that he’s objective. I’m not sure I can get there unless he cried when Clarence Thomas was sworn onto the Supreme Court.”

Hey, BTW, Dick, does it bother you that Pinch Sulzberger is rumored to be schtupping Caroline Kennedy?

January 24, 2009

A ticket to Utopia

Sir Thomas More titled his 16th-century book Utopia, a coinage meaning “nowhere.” And as Andrew Sargus Klein discovered, a ticket to Obama’s inauguration was kind of like that:

I was one of thousands of people who did not make it in to the Inauguration despite the fact that we were holding tickets — well-made, embossed, beautiful tickets, complete with a little map on the back telling us where to go (in theory).

Heh. I could have told you where to go, Andrew. But I think Obama will get us there soon enough.

Meanwhile, Mariah Carey’s complaining that her VIP seat wasn’t VIP enough. Well, when every narcissistic celebrity on the planet wants a ticket, what’s a diva to do?

January 22, 2009

Tears of Hope

“We watched everything and George was still doing all the anchoring for ABC and as soon Beyonce said ‘At Last…’ George called me at home and he went, ‘Honey?’ and I said ‘I know!’ and we both started crying.”

George Stephanopoulos’s wife, Ali Wentworth, on “Oprah,” describing Inauguration Day

UPDATE: Linked at Hot Air Headlines.

UPDATE II: Matthew Archbold: “[W]e’re supposed to believe that he’s objective. I’m not sure I can get there unless he cried when Clarence Thomas was sworn onto the Supreme Court.”

January 22, 2009

Just asking questions

“Similarly, there is a lot of sludge at the bottom of Obama’s statement that ‘The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works — whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified.’ Sounds great. But who measures, who decides what is ‘decent,’ who decides what is dignified, and who doles it all out — and how and to whom?”
Claudia Rosett at PJM

January 22, 2009

Who you calling ‘deranged’?

Wednesday morning, I did a round-up of reaction to the Obama inauguration, which was linked several hours later by Instapundit. (Thank you, Professor Reynolds.)

Why did I do that post? Because the Obama inauguration was virtually the only thing anyone was blogging about and it occurred to me that there might be some reader interest in the reaction. Keen deductive powers.

Furthermore, the astute reader may have noticed that first item linked in that round-up was Philip Klein’s American Spectator report on the inauguration. Phil writes for the Spectator. I write for the Spectator. Ergo, I was promoting a colleague’s work — and what excellent work it was!

This is consistent with what I call the Full Metal Jacket Reach-Around (FMJRA) Theory of Blogging. I write for various online publications, and when my articles are published, I generally link those articles here at the blog. And I also link articles that my friends publish. You might be surprised at how effective deployment of the FMJRA Theory can reduce, or even entirely eliminate, the cost of refreshments at the National Press Club or other fine establishments in our nation’s capital. The Blogger Ethics Commission has not yet specifically condemned the FMJRA Theory and next time I’m in D.C., Phil’s buying.

My little roundup post sat there in relative obscurity for 7 hours and 39 minutes, until it was linked by the perspicacious Professor Reynolds, at which time it began to generate comments, some declaring that I had maliciously distorted the meaning of Gregg Levin’s Firedoglake post entitled “Worst. Inauguration. Ever.”

Truth? I never read Gregg’s post. I just saw the title at Memeorandum and thought, “Heh.” So I linked it, with the common-sense assumption that what Gregg meant was, the inauguration sucked. Excuse the misunderstanding.

Then, last night, commenter Wayne Fontes suggested I “might be coming down with a case of Obama Derangement Syndrome.” Ah . . . no. Let me see if I can clear this up.

As I once tried to explain to Rod Dreher, I write for money. Writing is a commercial enterprise, and blogging is a form of writing, and the whole point of this blog is to make money. Or, at least, as a sort of marketing venture auxilliary to, and supportive of, other forms of writing for money.

This is not to say that I don’t enjoy blogging, or that I don’t have meaningful insights to offer. Rather, it is to say that if someone wanted to pay me not to blog, I’d consider the offer. And if someone wanted to pay me to blog about a certain topic — say, for example, to blog about the top-quality, low-priced consumer fireworks available at Wild Wilma’s Fireworks in East Tennessee — I’d consider that offer, too.

See, I am a capitalist writer. To me, capitalism is not merely a theory, but a daily practice. And here at The Other McCain, the theory is put into practice as I try — brace yourselves — to write stuff that people want to read. Because if nobody wants to read it, there’s no traffic, and if there’s no traffic, why bother blogging at all?

Which brings us back to the accusation of “Obama Derangement Syndrome.” The guy happens to be the President of the United States — as you may have noticed — and is therefore a personality whom people want to read about. (Kind of like Christina Hendricks, except less attractive.) So if I blog about Obama, it’s because I think people want to read about Obama.

I don’t hate the guy, I have no fear and loathing of the guy — in fact, as I said back in April, I think it’s pretty cool that he’s a cigarette smoker — and I’m not deranged by him. He is a liberal Democrat, as are several of my cousins (hello, Pepper!), but since none of them are Leader of the Free World, there is neither money nor purpose in denouncing my cousins’ liberal agenda.

Some of our progressive friends, who’ve spent the past eight years imagining that the White House had been stolen in a coup masterminded by Dick Cheney, Halliburton and the Mossad, would dearly like to believe that conservatives have been driven similarly bonkers by the Obama presidency. While I can’t speak for anyone else, I’m no more bonkers than I’ve ever been, which isn’t saying that I’m entirely sane — no one who knows me would make that argument — only that whatever bizarre dementia I’m suffering, Obama has nothing to do with it.
So . . . we now return you to the regularly scheduled shameless capitalist blogging. And remember, when you want low, low prices on the highest quality consumer fireworks, go to Wild Wilma’s, just off I-81 at exit 44. Tell ’em I sent ya.

UPDATE: “Obama Worship: Flip Side of Bush Hatred.” Hmmm. I’ve got my own issues with Bush, but that hasn’t made me prone to Obamamania. In fact, since becoming disillusioned with Clinton circa 1994, I’ve been very cynical about politicians in general. The one thing you can’t deny about Bush is, he drove the Left nuts, which is always good. But the wild enthusiasm for Obama reminds me of Fred Barnes’s insultingly hagiographic Bush book, Rebel in Chief.

January 21, 2009

Falling flat

Obama’s inauguration speech underwhelmed:

Despite nearly two months of fine-tuning, the man whose gift for oratory helped launch him into the White House gave a rather flat and unfocused talk without any memorable lines. It didn’t even generate much applause among the Obama die-hards who had waited outside in the bitter cold to be a part of history.
The 19-minute address was filled with trite metaphors from “the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms” to “let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come.” At times, its somber tone recalled Jimmy Carter’s “Crisis of Confidence” talk rather than the sunny optimism of Ronald Reagan or Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Even a liberal blogger at Firedoglake called it the “Worst. Inauguration. Ever.” And here’s Christopher Hitchens (who voted for Obama):

It’s just that there’s an element of hubris in all this current hope-mongering and that I am beginning to be a little bit afraid to think of what Wednesday morning will feel like.

Via Instapundit, as also this absurd encomium from Walter Shapiro:

The graceful Inaugural poet, Elizabeth Alexander, spoke after the poetry. For it was Barack Obama’s long-anticipated speech that truly showed the writerly hand. There were echoes of prior inaugural addresses (particularly John Kennedy, but also flickers of Franklin Roosevelt and Bill Clinton) in the new president’s words, but repeatedly there were striking phrases and sudden bursts of imagery that made it Obama’s own. Whether it was through simple language about the “the still waters of peace” and the nation’s “patchwork heritage” or the angry evocations of “the lash of the whip” and “the bitter swill of civil war and segregation,” President Obama reminded the nation that here was a man who wrote himself into his job.

As the founder of Authors Against Obama, I merely note en passant this unsubstantiated attribution of literary prowess. Given the evidence that Bill Ayers ghost-wrote Dreams From My Father, I am naturally suspicious whenever Obama becomes too eloquent, but this speech wasn’t so good that Jon Favreau couldn’t have written it.

UPDATE: Welcome, Instapundit readers. He calls it a “pretty good speech.” Watch out, Professor: “damning with faint praise” may soon be classified as a hate crime. You want to strive for the Kathleen Parker “puddles of Hope” worship of his awe-inspiring awesome awesomeness.

UPDATE II: “Churlish right-wingers” indulging in “easy cynicism” — that’s us! Me and Jonah Goldberg!

UPDATE III: Ace of Spades catches Garrison Keillor wading through the puddles of Hope — Ace, can you explain that joke to Dean Esmay?
January 20, 2009

Inaugural memories

From my latest American Spectator column:

Eight years ago today, I took my daughter Kennedy to see President Bush’s inauguration. The weather was miserable, a cold drizzle of sleet and rain falling for most of the day, but that was of little concern to a dad taking his 11-year-old to watch a moment of history.
Kennedy was homeschooled and, as part of her social studies lessons that year, she had followed the presidential election, assembling a scrapbook of newspaper clippings about the campaign. . . .
Our journey downtown for the inauguration parade was sort of a field trip to culminate that project, but it was also an unexpected lesson for my daughter. The lesson was provided by the legions of anti-Bush protesters who showed up in an effort to spoil the fun for everyone.

Please read the whole thing.

UPDATE: A New Ace for a New Era notes the gloat.

UPDATE II: Bush hatred was never strictly a function of policy, Jeremy Lott reminds us:

America’s elites do not merely disapprove of Bush. They loathe him. Back in 2003, when Bush was still basking in the reflected glory of his sun god-sized post-9/11 approval ratings, Jonathan Chait published a piece in the liberal journal the New Republic making the “case for Bush hatred“. Chait objected to Bush’s policies, as well as, for lack of a better term, his Texas-ness.
Chait complained about “the way he walks”, “the way he talks”, “his lame nickname bestowing”, his good ole boyness and his social privilege. He admitted: “I suspect that, if I got to know [Bush] personally, I would hate him even more.”

Nevertheless, all must now praise Obama, or be accused of insufficient patriotism.

UPDATE III: Everyone seems to be enjoying a good laugh at the expense of Fred Barnes, who bids fair to be Bush’s Monica Lewinsky.

UPDATE IV: Kerry Pickett provides video of obscenity-spewing anti-Bush protesters at his 2005 inauguration:

Memories, light the corners of my mind . . .

UPDATE V: Linked by Dan Riehl who asks, “what good conservative names their child Kennedy?” Ah, but I was still a Democrat when she was born in 1989. Nevertheless, my good Ohio Republican wife made me swear a promise at that time, so our 6-year-old daughter is named Reagan.

UPDATE VI: “MSNBC covered the send-off and viewers at home could hear inaugural attendees near the MSNBC location chanting ‘Hey, Hey, Hey, Good Bye’ as they watched Executive One fly over the Mall.”

UPDATE VII: Linked at The Hill‘s Briefing Room.

January 20, 2009

Tingling! Tingling!

Michelle Malkin is monitoring media cliches about the inauguration. Howard Kurtz:

The country’s big-name anchors, actors, commentators, news executives, producers, editors and scribes have been celebrating the quadrennial event — and themselves — at one glitzy gathering after another in the run-up to today’s inauguration. . . .
Every inauguration is a major media moment, with nonstop television coverage, newspapers churning out special editions and correspondents parachuting in from around the globe. But it is hard to envision this level of intensity if John McCain were taking the oath of office. All the hoopla has left the impression that many in journalism are thrilled by Obama’s swearing-in.

Meanwhile Malkin points to a study showing that many journalists have been celebrating Obama with their Facebook status updates.

Allah has an open thread for the Obamapotheosis.

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UPDATE: Ace of Spades becomes “A New Ace for a New Era.” He links to Ramesh Ponnuru’s take on the speech:

“We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories.” Good luck with that, Mr. President.

That’s just it, isn’t it? Obama promises the sun, the moon, and the stars, and is celebrated for the ambition of his promises, no matter how absurdly unrealistic they may be. Text of the speech is here.

UPDATE II: Vicious right-wing attack dog Glenn Reynolds: “I find that my overwhelming feeling for him right now is sympathy . . .”

UPDATE III: Did you hear about the evil racist Congressman who tried to pull rank at the inauguration and started hassling a black policeman? Name that party!

UPDATE IV: Reactions from Nordlinger and Levin.

UPDATE V: Tingling from the L.A. Times:

Few moments in our modern political history have been as eagerly anticipated as today’s inauguration. After eight increasingly dispiriting years, the Bush administration at last exits the stage, to be succeeded by Barack Obama and the impressive Cabinet he has assembled. . . . In Obama, America has chosen a leader of eloquence and vision, of patience, intelligence and extraordinary capacity.

Ignore those 58 million who disagreed.

UPDATE VI: Jules Crittenden has a roundup of the pre-inaugural media tongue-bath.

January 19, 2009

Media believing their own hype

Can anyone recall an inauguration that was more relentlessly hyped? Having hyped it up to the status of a world-historical event — the French Revolution can’t hold a candle to it — now the media have begun inhaling their own inaugural hype:

CNN’s Washington bureau chief David Bohrman, for one, issued a “news emergency” of his own. While Bush freed up federal funds, Bohrman made available satellite phones in the event of rolling cell phone blackouts. There will be cots and air mattresses for staffers camping out in the newsroom on Monday night, along with shower arrangements at a nearby health club. Staffers will be treated to a pancake breakfast prior to braving the bitter cold and bulging crowds. “It’s the biggest event any of us have ever had to cover,” Bohrman said.

Biggest. Event. Ever.

War in Iraq, tsumani in Indonesia, space shuttle explosions, the fall of the Berlin Wall — all child’s play, compared to orchestrating the thoroughly scripted coverage of a thoroughly scripted ceremonial pageant.

Excuse any typos. I’m writing this blind, my eyes having rolled out of my head about 10 minutes ago.

UPDATE: In an unusual variation on the theme, columnist Leonard Pitts writes:

[W]hen Obama was elected in November, every third political cartoonist seemed to use an image of a celebrating Lincoln to comment upon the milestone that had occurred. Lincoln, they told us, would have been overjoyed.
Actually, Lincoln likely would have been appalled. How could he not? He was a 19th century white man who famously said in 1858 that “there is a physical difference between the white and black races, which . . . will forever forbid the two races living together upon terms of social and political equality.”
How do you reconcile that with all those cartoons of Lincoln congratulating Obama? You don’t. You simply recognize it for what it is: yet another illustration of how shallow our comprehension of history is, yet another instance where myth supersedes reality.

Of course, were I to make an issue of the contradictions between the historical reality and the posthumous legend of Lincoln, this would be met with denunciation of “neo-Confederate racism.” Leonard Pitts points out the same contradictions without fear of denunciation. In fact, anyone who criticizes Leonard Pitts risks denunciation as a neo-Confederate racist. Sigh . . .