Obama Over, Bush Vindicated, and Other Rightblogger Alternate History Stories
This week rightbloggers celebrated the downfall of the Obama Administration and the restoration of George W. Bush to his rightful, honored place in the pantheon of Presidents.
If you're new here, you may wonder what the hell we're talking about. Bush's poll numbers remain abysmal (79% of Americans say they "won't miss" Bush when he's gone), and the Obama Administration won't even officially exist until January 20.
Rightbloggers, though, see the world differently than ordinary people. So when Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was arrested for his corrupt political dealings, including an attempted sale of Obama's abandoned Senate seat, some rightbloggers responded as if Obama had been arrested, or was on the verge of it. On this and other topics, rightblogger discourse this week tended strongly toward the fanciful (or, depending on your point of view, the deranged).
To be fair, the "liberal" mainstream media laid the groundwork for the Obama/Blagojevich story, as this Media Matters report shows, by saying the Blagojevich scandal has raised "questions" about Obama, though the corrupt Governor himself was shown in prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's report to have anticipated, in vivid and obscene terms, that Obama would not cooperate with his plans to monetize the disposition of his Senate seat.
But what for the MSM is probably just the usual, desperate attempt to keep their audience from wandering off by imputing large significance to small events is, for rightbloggers, a topical entree to a magical wonderland where their losses are all reversed.
"The Obama Administration Is Now Damaged Goods," announced The Strata-Sphere, "Obama Lied To America... his credibility is now shot...it really is a stunning fall."
What linkage has put Obama on the brink of resigning the Presidency-Elect in disgrace? In a press conference Obama was equivocal about his team's contacts with Blagojevich -- as well he might be -- and it turned out that his chief of staff Rahm Emmanuel had talked to Blagojevich about the Senate appointment. Sounds like normal Washington message handling to us, but for A. J. Strata it was Watergate all over again.
"Clearly," he wrote, "this indicates Obama had veto power on who could be considered" -- indicates it so clearly, in fact, that Strata doesn't bother to explain what specific quid-pro-quo might obtain. (Maybe Obama hoped Blagojevich would muscle the Tribune to obtain Jake Peavy for the Cubs.) Nor do Obama's explanations move Strata. "Yeah Barack," Strata tells him through his magic mirror, "you had nothing but 'interest' in who was selected to fill your seat. You were dictating terms and Blagojevich was dictating terms. That is what we call a 'negotiation.'" It seems we will just have accept that any connection, however tenuous, between Obama and the Governor is part of a sinister conspiracy -- which, come to think of it, is how Strata portrayed Obama's connections to Bill Ayers during the campaign. But how would this technique bring down the Obama Almostration when it failed to prevent his election? Looks like the audacity of hope isn't just for Democrats anymore.
Adding to the jest was Strata's affectation of betrayal. "I was more than willing to give Obama a shot," claimed the man who last month said Obama "does not believe in democracy," but never mind that. "Now my view of Obama is totally shattered... He had America's trust, but could not trust America to deal with the obvious aspects of government." Thus has the dream died, and it only remains for actual Obama supporters to catch on; so far they don't seem to have.
At RedState, Pejman Yousefzadeh announced, "There remains no indication whatsoever that any of the conversations were illegal or unethical but" -- the jury leans in -- "one remains perplexed as to why Team Obama would claim that no one spoke to Rod Blagojevich when it is indeed clear that Rahm Emanuel did." Yousefzadeh didn't say where he got this blanket denial -- it certainly wasn't from Obama's cautious press conference -- but he feels comfortable enough to repeat it, and to murmur "Curiouser and curiouser," no doubt while lighting a briar pipe and gazing into the middle distance.
Something's got to stick! Victor Davis Hanson of National Review was willing to try more modest complaints. "The continual mishmash of 'misspokes' is growing alarming," he said, presumably referring to David Axelrod's use of the term and -- well, we're not sure what else; some Obama campaign misspeaking from months ago, perhaps, though it's hard to see how these widely-spaced incidents constitute a mishmash.
Hanson claimed the problem has come about because of the "ethically reprehensible and absolutely derelict" treatment of Obama by the press: For example, there was their failure to inform us during the campaign of the connections between Obama and Tony Rezko, Reverend Wright, and Bill Ayers -- though you have probably heard of these, the fact that you didn't reach the same conclusions about them as Victor Davis Hanson proves that you were underinformed.
To top it all off, Hanson said that Obama was "throwing Hot Rod under the bus." Why that should bother anyone is not explained, but you know how rightbloggers love to say "under the bus."
Meanwhile President Bush's visit to Iraq was portrayed by Jules Crittenden as a "victory lap." When AP called it "a victory lap without a clear victory," Crittenden snapped that "getting the guy [Obama] who spent his campaign bashing your war strategy to buy into it sounds like a victory in and of itself," and so on.
Missing from Crittenden's consideration, and that of other rightbloggers who took up his claims of victory ("Bush stood tall," "I'm proud I voted for Bush twice," etc), was Bush's own contention that "the war is not over." Apparently the President missed the rightbloggers' declaration of "V-I Day" on November 22, or remembered his own Mission Accomplished moment some years back and chose a more modest interpretation of events. But Bush is looking forward to retirement and the judgment of history, whereas the rightbloggers, being on permanent spin duty, have no time to waste.
So they work on the narrative, looking for new ways to turn even hard cases such as our current financial debacle to their advantage. C. Edmund Wright of American Thinker was most audacious, saying that recent job losses reflected not a economic disaster but the voluntary abdication of business owners from an economy they expect to be even more badly mismanaged by the incoming Obama Administration. "Atlas has shrugged all over the country," he declares, building on a Randian movement suggested by Dr. Helen some time back.
"With the prospects of even higher taxes, more regulation, more litigation and more emboldened bureaucrats on the horizon," said Wright, "we are getting out while the getting is, well, tolerable." He said the movement was organized by "endless emails leading up to election day discussing lay off plans were Obama to win. Entrepreneurs instinctively understand the danger posed by larger liberal majorities in power... The fact that Obama is not in office yet is irrelevant. Businesses must see 'around the corner'..." He does not explain how so many business owners can afford to close up shop; perhaps they have gone to live off the cigarette trees and lemonade springs of the Big Rock Candy Mountain, after first sending over their security teams to clear the place of hobos.
Pejman Yousefzadeh had an alternate explanation, too, of businesses that had gone offshore: they had not been motivated positively by lower taxes and wages, but negatively by "class warfare and mindless anti-business hatred... This is what happens when oil companies are unremittingly portrayed as villains."
Will normal people accept these explanations that our economy suffers, not because the Ponzi schemes of bankers, brokers and insurers have collapsed, but because captains of industry took offense at our electoral choices and mean comments, and buggered off to a secret hideaway? Well, like their other stories, it's worth a try. And in any case it serves to soothe rightbloggers in their own fortress of solitude, where victory, speculatively at least, is always theirs.