2008 October 18 Saturday
Peggy Noonan On The Infantilizing Of American Politics

First American politics became feminized and emotionalized. Now Peggy Noonan says this election is infantilizing American politics. Goo goo, gah, gah.

There is now something infantilizing about this election. Mr. Obama continued to claim he will remove wasteful spending by sitting down with the federal budget and going through it "line by line." This is absurd, and he must know it. Mr. McCain continued to vow he will "balance the budget" in the next four years. Who believes that? Does even he?

More than ever on the campaign trail, the candidates are dropping their G's. Hardworkin' families are strainin' and tryin'a get ahead. It's not only Sarah Palin but Mr. McCain, too, occasionally Mr. Obama, and, of course, George W. Bush when he darts out like the bird in a cuckoo clock to tell us we are in crisis. All of the candidates say "mom and dad": "our moms and dads who are struggling." This is Mr. Bush's former communications adviser Karen Hughes's contribution to our democratic life, that you cannot speak like an adult in politics now, that's too austere and detached, snobby. No one can say mothers and fathers, it's all now the faux down-home, patronizing—and infantilizing—moms and dads. Do politicians ever remember that in a nation obsessed with politics, our children—sorry, our kids—look to political figures for a model as to how adults sound?

They are trying to be "authentic". Aw shucks Andy. Aw shucks Gomer. Aw shucks Barney (except our Barney Frank helped create a huge financial crisis by pushing for lowered lending standards).

Peggy also takes a dim view of Sarah Palin.

But it's unclear whether she is Bushian or Reaganite. She doesn't think aloud. She just . . . says things. Her supporters accuse her critics of snobbery: Maybe she's not a big "egghead" but she has brilliant instincts and inner toughness. But what instincts? "I'm Joe Six-Pack"? She does not speak seriously but attempts to excite sensation—"palling around with terrorists." If the Ayers case is a serious issue, treat it seriously. She is not as thoughtful or persuasive as Joe the Plumber, who in an extended cable interview Thursday made a better case for the Republican ticket than the Republican ticket has made. In the past two weeks she has spent her time throwing out tinny lines to crowds she doesn't, really, understand. This is not a leader, this is a follower, and she follows what she imagines is the base, which is in fact a vast and broken-hearted thing whose pain she cannot, actually, imagine. She could reinspire and reinspirit; she chooses merely to excite. She doesn't seem to understand the implications of her own thoughts.

We will not see a Vice President Sarah Palin. This election is already over. As I said back in February 2008: Recession Assures Republican Presidential Defeat In 2008. The financial crisis of the last few months assures McCain's defeat. So while Noonan's comments about Sarah Palin are interesting they ultimately matter more for the lessons we might learn for future elections. Choose your VP wisely.

What matters? The future policies of President Obama. My fear is that Obama understands the implications of his own thoughts and wants to grow the size of government and place more government controls on the economy. The coming liberal supermajority isn't going to find any brakes in the way of their ambitions. How far will they go? Price controls on gasoline that bring back the lines? FDR-style policies that extend and deepen the recession? High taxes that cause economic stagnation?

I am especially worried about an attempt by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others on the Left to resurrect the "Fairness Doctrine" (which is anything but) to restrict speech by rightward leaning people.

The existence of the Fairness Doctrine, which was in place officially from the late 1940s through the mid-eighties, when Ronald Reagan’s FCC phased it out, made political talk radio in today’s boisterous, opinionated sense impossible—no Mark Levins, that’s for sure. And that’s what would happen if, as Democrats from Nancy Pelosi to John Kerry to Al Gore hope, the doctrine gets re-imposed. This is a missile aimed at conservative talk radio. A station that ran Levin, or Bill Bennett or Hugh Hewitt, would have to broadcast a liberal alternative—but liberals have tanked on the radio, for various reasons, including the fact that they’re so well represented elsewhere in the media. The station would most likely just say, you know what, we’re going to change formats and do sports talk or entertainment reporting—anything but politics!

But even if Democrats failed to bring back the Fairness Doctrine—and Obama claims not to support the idea, though virtually every leading Democrat, including Nancy Pelosi does—other reforms are likely: tightened media ownership regulations and an expansion of public interest duties of broadcasters, including imposing greater local accountability on them. This means forcing stations to carry more local programming, even if the public isn’t asking for it—which it isn’t. This is aimed at national syndicators who make conservative shows available across the country.

They show themselves quite willing to restrict speech, all their posturing as about supporting basic rights to the contrary. They are going to be in supermajority control of both houses of Congress. How many will they muzzle? How many US citizens will be too gah gah over Obama to care?

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2008 October 18 04:15 PM  Politics American Decay

worried dude said at October 18, 2008 4:53 PM:

At this stage I think very few people understand the extent to which the economy will tank.

I suspect that car sales will continue to fall, as will retail sales in general, and that we will see increased unemployment.

In a service economy, when people have less money, they cut back on services and do things themselves, which is going to leave lots of service sector people out of work.

How long will it be before people start clamoring for the jobs that illegals do today, and thus demanding that illegals be sent home?

James Bowery said at October 18, 2008 5:08 PM:

"Voluntary national service".


Your rights are forfeit!

No one needs to be gah gah over Obama.

All they need is to eat and have a roof over their heads.

Bob Badour said at October 18, 2008 5:46 PM:

Reminds me of one of the funniest punchlines I ever heard:

So be it! ... Death! ...by goo, goo, gah, gah!

Sgt. Joe Friday said at October 19, 2008 3:29 PM:

Obama's got it in the bag, no doubt about that. But has anyone noticed that some, including Warren Buffett are suggesting that Paulson should hang around as Treasury Secretary for another year or so, regardless of who wins?

Buffett is a liberal Democrat. He's smart enough to know that the tough economic times are going to persist. Promoting the idea that Paulson should stick around is part of the Democrats' "backup plan," i.e. they'll need a whipping boy just in case things don't turn around, and they don't want it to be Robert Rubin or Larry Summers, if either one of the them were foolish enough to take the job. They want a guy from the GOP to take the fall.

BTW, keep an eye on the DJIA the day after the election. My guess is that it'll sink like a rock if/when Obama's elected, possibly triggering trading curbs and then the following day it'll pick up right where it leaves off. A couple of days of that, and Obama will have no choice but to call some kind of meeting involving his Sec. Treasury-designate, Bernanke, and the powers that be on Wall Street to "reassure" them, i.e. promise not to follow through on some of the more far-left aspects of his campaign promises.

Obama will have no room to maneuver, no tax-and-spend, no deficit spending, nada, zip, zero. Otherwise he risks turning us into Argentina, and I think he's too intelligent and too calculating for that. Obama wants a second term, not to be remembered as "that one-term (racial epithet) who f**ked everything up." That's why he won't push for immigration reform and amnesty either. There's no political upside, even in a good economy, and when the economy stinks, it would be political suicide to flood the market with surplus labor at the low end.

Ned said at October 20, 2008 4:56 AM:

Watching Obama maneuver between his own liberal instincts and those of his starry-eyed supporters on the one hand, and the budgetary realities of the worst economy since World War II and a soaring federal deficit on the other, will be interesting. Obama may be the mirror image of Bush II, who pursued fairly liberal policies. But the Left always despised him, and his righty supporters abandoned him. If Obama embraces the hard-left ideology he seems to prefer, the economy will crash and the GOP will score big gains in the 2010 elections. If Obama follows a more moderate course, the Right still won't like him and his liberal supporters will dump him. In any event, I think we're in for some bad times ahead, so it's just as well that the Dems are in power so they can take all the blame.

Midnight at Noon said at October 21, 2008 9:20 AM:

The interesting thing about Obama is how the bootlicking media sucks up to his every word and act. Hollywood worships at his feet. Big unions back Obama. Trial lawyers love him. College professors and welfare recipients can't wait till he's in control.

The only people who seem to be uncomfortable with Obama are small business owners who are already hurting and see a tidal wave of pain and taxes coming their way from an Obama government.

Opportunists like Colin Powell are already maneuvering for choice positions in the Obama administration.

How long can Obama deny economic reality in his quest to create his own social utopia with other people's money? I'm betting this dreaming will o' the wisp can deny reality for a very long time.

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