Monday, June 02, 2014

The Post-Achievement Politics of Obama and Hillary

Occasionally someone pranks an unwitting MSNBC panelist or a bunch of teenagers by asking them to name a single Hillary accomplishment. Even though Hillary has piled up more awards than Charles de Gaulle, nothing comes to mind. An editorial in the Chicago Tribune has the writer asking a group of Chicago leaders the same question about Obama's foreign policy.

Silence follows.

Obama and Hillary don't just suffer from a shortage of accomplishments. They're also burdened with a surplus of failures. Benghazi worries so many Hillary supporters because there is nothing to balance it against. There is no, "But look at all the good she did." Hillary didn't do any good. She didn't do much of anything except tour countries and pose for photos.

As a Secretary of State she made a perfectly adequate First Lady.

Obama talks the teleprompter talk, but when you look at the results they're universally awful. Whether it's the things that he only pretends to care about, like the VA, or the things he does care about, like Obamacare, after the splashy ribbon cutting ceremony comes the disastrous mess.

Like every other summer blockbuster, it's great marketing for a terrible product. And just like the summer blockbuster, Obama's actual policies are treated as disposables to be forgotten about. Scandal management consists of Obama making a serious face and promising to take this serious problem very seriously before heading out for a round of serious golfing.

Benghazi, Fast and Furious, the VA; he is just as angry about it as you are. All he's really doing though is matching your emotional tone to dampen your response. It's something that everyone from call center operators to customer support executives dealing with angry clients are taught to do. It means as little from Obama as it does from Kathy in Des Moines saying, "I understand you're angry."

The bad product stays bad and the customer feels as if someone is listening to him. It's not failure. It's liberalism.

So don't cry for Hillary and don't write off Obama. Achievement of the old kind is very overrated. It's not about how high your GPA is but how many politically correct extracurriculars you have. In politics, just like in college, diversity and style increasingly count for more than achievement.

Post-American politics are also post-achievement politics. The morality of progressivism is more important than the substance of progress.

From the Sociology major who keeps thinking that she should volunteer at a soup kitchen to the most powerful man in the country who keeps saying that he wishes he could do something about all these problems, the left thinks that wanting to do something is what makes you a good person. It doesn't matter if what you're doing does any good. It doesn't matter if you succeed.

The politics of the left are narcissistic. Its members are less concerned with changing the world than with being good people by wanting to change the world. That's what Obama received his premature Nobel Peace Prize for, not for what he did, but for what he talked about doing.

The loftier your vision, the better of a person you are. The only truly good people never sell out and never do anything. To actually do something is to sully your vision by compromising it and risking failure. It's not the things that Obama has done that the left loves him for. It's his empty talk, his worthless words and his teleprompter visions.

There are two Obamas. One is the real politician. The other is the imaginary Obama of 2007; a figment of David Axelrod's imagination layered over with bizarre art and visions that transformed him into a superhuman being of light before he ever set foot in the Oval Office.

This Obama can never fail because he doesn't really exist. It's this Obama who makes the public appearances on the front pages while the other Obama's policies are discussed somewhere in the meatier parts of the paper. The imaginary Obama shows up on American Idol while the other Obama sends vets to cemeteries. And to millions of Americans, the imaginary Obama is more real than his destructive real life counterpart. The idea of Obama is more real than his policies.

The imaginary Obama has his counterpart in a reimagined Hillary. This Hillary is a fictional character living in the collective vision of the left who has little relationship to the real Hillary; a neurotic and insecure figure obsessively clinging to the promise of power as if it were the only meaning in her life.

Hillary's lack of achievement as Secretary of State gives her a purity that she lacked when she went from the Senate to the campaign trail. It's easier for the left to project its visions onto a blank space that spent a few years touring the world than on Senator Clinton who had actual political positions. Like Obama, she is free to be anything. She too can lower the oceans or raise them, fix all the things that her predecessor broke and usher in a new age of world peace.

If Hillary Clinton had successfully brought peace to the Middle East or negotiated an important territorial accord in Asia, those things would actually disqualify her. They would be real world achievements that could be critiqued and taken apart. They would highlight her flaws as a real diplomat and a real human being. But having done nothing, even while four Americans were dying, she is flawless. A perfect void of nothingness that the left can project everything on.

That purity of blankness is why Obama approaches every scandal as if he had just heard about it on the evening news. It's as if every day in office is his first day. It's important that he have no specific track record, just the vague one of fighting for the right things like gay rights, illegal aliens and 3D printer hubs. Not to mention gay illegal aliens running 3D printer hubs.

Forget the last three scandals. Obama is still Miss America. He wants to feed all the hungry children and bring world peace. It's all intentions and no results. If he's in a red state, he might mention killing Bin Laden, but mostly it's all visionary talk about investment, opportunity and reaching out. He's still running for office with no track record on a platform of hope and change.

Progressives live in a world rushing toward a future that never arrives. Everything is immediate and immediately forgotten. The past and the future are constantly being rewritten for the needs of the moment. History is revised to prove a current assumption about the present. Science exists in the hypothesis, not the proven theory. Everything is immediately known and yet everyone is ignorant.

Obama and Hillary are the figureheads of this imploding world. They run on a personal history made out of lies while refusing to run on their track records.

They want everyone to know their fictionalized life story while refusing to discuss the things they actually did while in office. They become icons who represent all minorities or all women, but who cannot be held accountable for anything that they did as individuals.

Don't ask Obama or Hillary about Benghazi. Dude, don't you know that was two years ago? Ask them what they think about Kim Kardashian or Donald Sterling or racial injustice in America. Ask them what their favorite movie or song is. Treat them like celebrities, not politicians. Don't ever ask them what they achieved. It's like asking Kim Kardashian what she achieved.

She's famous and they're famous. And they're all famous for being famous. Hillary Clinton will run for the White House on a platform of being famously famous. As the Kim Kardashian of national politics, she's the inevitable nominee. Her accomplishments are self-referential. Hillary's accomplishment is being Hillary. She deserves to be the nominee because she's Hillary.

Millions of voters will see it that way. And if you don't, it's probably because you're old-fashioned enough to believe in accomplishment

Dude, you know that's racist. Right?


Kol Bo Gary said...

purity of blankness...GENIUS

whitewall said...

Excellent insight and logic. I'll bet to the Progressive, you are regarded as a thoroughly dangerous man. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

It is so very weird to live in America where every single decision and policy promoted by the administration is an utter disaster, and yet people applaud the president for "trying".

Anonymous said...

wow! knish: more profound than anything published in the new york times over the last five years

-- spanky

Anonymous said...

So Hillary as Secretary of State made a perfectly adequate First Lady? I guess that is good, because the official First Lady, as such,has been a perfect disgrace and disaster.


Workingstiff said...

"Obama is still Miss America. He wants to feed all the hungry children and bring world peace. It's all intentions and no results."

LOL! Just like Miss America; A lot is artificial enhancement with an endless smile cloaking a vacuous mind.

Anonymous said...

That these holes in the air still command political futures is the really scary part, and makes Orks of large numbers of people.

The Ray Esquivel said...

Oh so cruel! And right on point!

At least give the girl credit for accomplishing one thing ... not giving up on her dream! Her dream to be president. She has earned it don't you know. It is her turn. It is her time. Accomplishments? At this point, just what difference do they make?. She just wants it soooo badly. It is her last chance before the big sleep. Don't be cruel. Give her her dying wish.

It should be scary enough for most people that someone has been so covetous of the highest position in the land for so long, and is still so unqualified for the job. At least BJ had experience as a governor under his belt. But to hear her tell it, she has paid her dues. I think there is a name for a mental illness like that, a desire totally devoid of reality. While admittedly not a doctor, I would call it psychosis.

Daniel, you nail this right in the heart. Good job.

Anonymous said...

So true, so sad. It was a nice country while it lasted. This is the inevitable result of the left gaining control of the news media, entertainment industry, the educational institutions and manipulating the language begining at least 2 generations ago.

Anonymous said...

Hillary 2016: Just Because.


mindRider said...

Obama's greatest achievement has been being black but not Too
Hillary's greatest achievement has been being a woman but not Too

meema said...

It is the Matrix. It wasn't built overnight. and certainly not in just the last six years. That it is now recognizable only means it is nearly complete.

Anonymous said...

The rash of scandals are Obama's and Hillary's achievements. Creating chaos and confusion with these scandals is the smokescreen while Rome burns.

Kitty said...

Hillary even lied about her name! She waddled out onto the tarmac and lied to the families of the Benghazi victims. When will she run out of people willing to listen to her lies?

Joan of Argghh! said...

It's all that Progressives do: vote "present" and then get back to whatever they were doing before hoi polloi bothered them.

Joan of Argghh! said...

It's never too late to do the right thing, if you never think it's too costly to do so.

natskvi said...

Brilliant commentary, as usual. Thank you, Daniel!

Doug Mayfield said...

Good article.

"The politics of the left are narcissistic." Exactly. If you engage in self-love, it helps if you, at a minimum, occasionally actually accomplish something.

For example, If you want to be generous, you begin by earning the money which you then choose to donate to those less fortunate than you are.

But those on the Left, including Hillary, break their arms patting themselves on the back for their 'bigheartedness', while they poison the process by grabbing money at tax time from people who actually work for living to fund their 'generosity' at gun point.

Anonymous said...

Both Hills and O fall into the category of politicians who want to win so they can Be Something, not because they want to Do Something, or at least something good for the country.


Anonymous said...

Hillary thwarted those terrorists who were shooting at her, right after she stepped off her broom. And she stalled the MB crowd, by drawing in those Saudi millions to Clinton foundation.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Daniel, excellent article!

Anonymous said...

If you think Obama is not accomplishing anything, you are not paying attention: (a) spreading the wealth around (e.g., number of Americans on medicaid, disability, foodstamps, Obamaphones, etc., the relentless class-warfare drumbeat over income inequality and executive compensation, the demonization of "The One Percent" [unless you are a successful entertainer or professional athlete], the reinforcement of victimhood as a legitimate excuse for dependency, and the redefinition of poverty as relative rather than absolute deprivation); (b) expanding the role of the federal government (e.g., Obamacare, Common Core, environment, nutrition); (c) withdrawing from global leadership (e.g., isolationism, multilateralism, antiexceptionalism, and the degradation of our military and statecraft capabilities). He is transforming America, and you are obsessing over a series of fleeting events (the IRS, the VA, the AP, Bergdahl, Fast & Furious and Benghazi), most of which will not even make the footnotes in future history books. Obama's real achievements and their long-term unfortunate consequences for America and the world will each get a chapter in those books.

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