Monday, October 20, 2014

The Progressive Pajama Boy Era is Over

Obama’s approval ratings and MSNBC’s viewer ratings are in a close race to the bottom of Death Valley. It’s only a question of which set of obnoxious hipsters with a head full of bad policy ideas and no real life experience will be fired first; the Maddow crew or the White House staff.

The progressive pajama boy era is over. The asexual messenger bag toting wonk has met an ISIS Jihadist and run home to its non-traditional family. Liberalism isn’t over, but its contenders are trying to butch up their act.

The second coming of Hillary is accompanied by bellicose rhetoric about Putin and Syria. Leon Panetta, her gnomish errand boy, is sneering at Obama as an egghead too busy dithering about what not to do to be able to actually do anything about ISIS.

Democrats are adjusting to a new reality of less nuance and more centrist politics. So is MSNBC.

If Obama loses the Senate, then his leftist backers also lose their death grip on the Democratic Party. And that’s why they’re panicking so badly. Progressives proved that money and media bias could let them get away with anything. But then they lost in 2010, barely hung on in 2012 and are heading for a beating in 2014. If they can’t buy the Senate now, the Democratic Party will have to correct its course.

A sober analysis of the Big Billionaire Left shows that they were good at getting Obama elected, but not much else. Like the USSR, they could pour a lot of energy and capital into inefficiently getting one big thing done, but they aren’t much good at doing a lot of little things. Their hijacking of democracy ran into trouble the moment they tried to push past the White House. It was only the White House’s hijacking of democracy by trying to function as a unilateral dictatorship of pen and phone that extended their influence beyond their initial defeat in 2010. And that came with its own price in popularity.

Obama’s arrogance isolated him politically. He insisted on running everything and is stuck with the bill. In countless speeches he demanded more power and authority; his sinking approval ratings reflect the growing willingness of even his own supporters to hold him responsible for his unilateral policymaking.

As the election approaches everything that could have gone wrong has gone wrong. Not only did Obama’s aggressive efforts to stoke racial unrest on the border and in Ferguson to turn out the minority voters who generally sit out midterm elections backfire, but the resulting messes deepened the popular impression that he was in over his head. Now instead of pivoting from Global Warming to a minimum wage to some offensive thing that some local Republican somewhere said, the media is stuck in an Ebola-ISIS cycle that reminds Americans on a daily basis that everything really is out of control.

The critiques from even friendly media outlets keep throwing around words and terms like “detached”, “in over his head”, “flailing” and “too smart for his own good”. That word salad adds up to the same message as the one being peddled by Leon Panetta; America needs strong experienced leadership.

And Obama isn’t it.

Obama is already receding into the imagination of liberals as the youthful folly of a political Age of Aquarius when millennials tried to levitate the Pentagon by electing a brash inexperienced community organizer to fix the world. They are writing him off as an act of political naiveté by a war-traumatized generation still unaware of the practical limits of the real world.

And that infuriates and terrifies the left worse than anything else. The left can thrive on hostility, but it hates being dismissed by its fellow travelers as naive idealists who don’t understand the real world.

But that’s the historical revisionism that had been prepped and waiting in the wings all along for Obama. What the right does wrong is always attributed to malice, while the left’s worst atrocities from the Gulags to the killing fields are put down to idealism gone wrong. Obama takes his place somewhere between Mao and Eugene McCarthy as the Democratic Party rushes to reinvent itself as the adult party of serious experienced political leaders like Hillary Clinton. Its message is that it’s time for the Obama pajama boys to grow up and compromise on their progressive politics by voting for Hillary in 2016.

The left has few options left. Money can only buy so many votes. If Obama’s base stays home, then the magical turnout operation starts looking like a lot of political consultants taking credit for the Oprah tilt of black women coming out to vote for Obama. And there is no obvious replacement for Obama.

In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio was supposed to inaugurate a new era of progressive politics by pushing so far to the left as to make Obama look like Bob Dole. Instead Bill de Blasio has been tagged by the same progressive incompetent moniker as Obama. The analogy is being drawn explicitly by liberals even in left-of-center publications like the New York Times and the Daily News.

Bill de Blasio didn’t extend the progressive lifespan. He was elected just in time for everyone to be primed to expect the Obama progressive cycle of self-righteous cover-ups, thin-skinned media wars and grandiose policy announcements that go nowhere. The political future of the progressive mayor has been Obamanized off the scene. And that leaves few great hopes for the progressive cause.

Elizabeth Warren still fakes left, but she seems to know her limitations. 2018’s midterm election without a president on the ballot and a different demographic makeup for the electorate could easily topple her. If she tried for the big chair, she would be run over by harder Democrat candidates faking centrist. And without Warren, all that’s left are clown acts like Bernie Sanders and Seattle Socialist Kshama Sawant.

The progressive resurgence was powered by leftist billionaires and non-profits chasing power. They have the money and the organization, but they don’t have the candidates. Six years of Obama produced compelling conservative figures like Ted Cruz, Trey Gowdy and Mike Lee. There’s no equivalent to them on the left. It’s why liberal billionaire election spending is characterized more by the candidates that they are against rather than the ones that they are for. They have spent so much time and money battling the Tea Party that they have failed to build a post-Obama political future for their movement.

The left isn’t going anywhere, but its current incarnation as the party of diversely wimpy progressives who compensate for their lack of experience with their enthusiasm and their political connections is. Obama has done a great deal for the political agendas of the left while doing a great deal of damage to the political ambitions of the Democratic Party. And the Democratic Party won’t forget that. Obama was thinking about transforming America, but the Democratic Party is thinking about the next four years.

The liberal verdict on the age of Obama has been written. It may change with history, but for now the Hope and Change period will be praised for its idealism and its innovative political organizing, but dismissed for its policy incompetence and its inability to listen to voices outside its bubble. It was an elitist phenomenon whose diversity was faked with media imagery and the party will now work to try and recapture its lost position among the rest of the country, particularly among white Democrats.

The progressive will continue to haunt American politics, but his current hipster incarnation is headed for extinction.


Harvey said...

Good riddance, I hope. All he had to do was shut up once in a while, but as my wife always says, psychopaths ALWAYS overplay their hands.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

your wife is quite right

RAM said...

Until the Democrats eager to survive push O into early retirement, we're stuck with his antics and pouting and those of his equally wicked compadres like Kerry..

Anonymous said...

If you look at the demographics trends democrats are far from extinct. just look at California

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

I'm certainly not saying that liberals, let alone Dems, are extinct. Just that a particular brand of progressives and their style of politics is on the way out.

Kol Bo Gary said...

Daniel, well said, but I'm not optimistic given the abject stupidity of the electorate in 2008, and 2012. So, tick, tock...let's see what happens in 2 weeks, and in 2 years.

Chester Fester said...

This world was never meant for one as beautiful as Pajama Boy.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what you are saying Daniel. Were the pajama boy types all that powerful? Not really. Obama and De Blasio are really creatures of the Democratic one party machine cities and they have run America that way. Yes they are unpopular but the machines know they will be after they renege on all promises and grab the money. Their real business is hanging on when everyone knows they are incompetent and corrupt and they do that quite well. Decade after decade.

Pajama boy isn't the face of the party right now but the actual pajama boy is the child of connected Democrats and he will hold onto his salary and perks. He will grow out of his androgynous looks and become a nasty fat insider with the ability to hire and fire. He's here and he won.

lpa said...

"The progressive will continue to haunt American politics, but his current hipster incarnation is headed for extinction."

My concern is that next incarnation will be even more virulent. When I read about Marylanders, aka socialists, walking out on Obama's recent campaign speech, all I could imagine was that they didn't consider him Leftist enough.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

It's possible. I think there will be a bit of reaction and then the next wave will kick in.

Edward Cline said...

Obama may be headed for extinction but he still has a malignant bite, and he'll do as much damage as possible before he exits the White House. I think the next two years are going to be worse than first six.

Anonymous said...

Great article. Well written and compelling. However, none of it is true. This country will continue to veer left permanently.

The Senate will remain under Democrat control due to low voter turnout, massive voter fraud, and forced demographic change (unrestricted immigration). The next President WILL be a Democrat. Whether it's Hillary or not is beside the point.

This content of this article is nothing but wishful thinking.

Y. Ben-David said...

I think Obama-ish "Progressivism" is the wave of the future. Obama himself is viewed as incompetant, but most Americans seem to approve of his world-view. Even MItt Romney pointed this out during the 2012 election campaing. There has been a seismic upheaval in American values in the last generation. See Charles Murray's book "Coming Apart". Almost half of all American children are being born to single mothers. Not only will these children not have the benefit of having a stable father figure to guide them, but this will put even more pressure on Uncle Sam to increase the welfare handouts to help raise these these children who Mom will have a hard time with on her own.
Other traditional values that Americans and other Westerners have lived with for centuries and which I believe form the bedrock of civilization have been thrown in the junk heap...things such as Family, Sexual modesty and self-control, importance of education for future generations. Today we see glorification of violence in the media, support for terrorists like HAMAS , "understanding" for social pathologies and many others, which seem to be irreversible.

Even if Obama falls, the malady is still there and apparently becoming even more virulent. I don't see grounds for optimism for the future of the US.

Anonymous said...

The cult of the self victimized can vote, but cannot govern.
The fact that all Obama's appointees from Rice on down, come across a latter day thugs testifying before a House committee does not go unnoticed, unremarked, perhaps by the press, but not the audience.

tom hood said...

Which has what to do with Switzerland squash

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the era of the asexual, androgynous, pajama boy, progressive is over but it was, from a liberal perspective, an unqualified success. The welfare state ratchet has been turned left and locked into place. The twin towers of Obamacare and Medicaid expansion virtually guarantees that universal, taxpayer-funded health care is inevitable. Eligibility requirement thresholds for welfare programs have been lowered, and self-certification has become the norm. Housing assistance has been expanded and Obama's Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing and regionalism initiatives will accelerate that growth.

Democrats have achieved welfare state nirvana--cradle to grave coverage of basic living expenses for a sizable segment of the population and provided by the courtesy of the ever-shrinking base of taxpayers and by deficit spending. Republicans can't compete with this. I suspect we will never see a Republican President again.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Since some people have misunderstood the article,

I am not saying that the left has been defeated, let alone that it has lost at the policy level, but that the particular viral strain we've been dealing with has suffered an image and messaging setback and that the left will have to get a new brand and a new image.

Anonymous said...

The model for pajama boy was one of the two or three faux intellectuals at opposed to the outright morons that gather there.

When I first saw him, I thought he was part of an SNL skit.

Daniel, I think the Occupy movement was the beginning of the end, apparently their mothers never warned them that they would be judged by the company they kept..Their descent into feral behavior was mind blowingly quick.


Anonymous said...

The strain of leftism we have suffered under Obama may seem defeated in your eyes Daniel but the left will invent a new brand and a new image because they know they have nothing to lose and everything to gain since their transformation of America has gained considerable ground since Obama's rule.

Even without the election of Obama, the left has won the minds and hearts of most young people who will, after all, be the future. And we all know the young have been given over to the state to raise and mold into the mindset of the left. The U.S. is going down as the only superpower and common sense tells you will be replaced either by China or an Islamic World Caliphate because the young have been taught to hate everything America stands for and reject all Jewish/Christian moral and ethical principles that require self control, sacrifice, and morality.


swimologist said...

It's as Mark Steyn remarked recently, once the culture has turned irrevocably left--from academia to the media to the judiciary-- it doesn't matter if you elect a Republican. Nothing "conservative" will ever be achieved.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Again, I think people are misunderstanding the article and that's clearly my fault for not communicating well enough.

I am not saying that the right has won and the left has lost. I am saying that the particular brand of progressivism is about finished and is being traded for something else.

natskvi said...


Robert What? said...

I hope you are right, but it all depends on the people who have programmed the voting machines. I know they've already programmed a Hillary win. The question is: did they program a Senate win for the GOP? Maybe: since the GOP are toothless and harmless to the Progressive agenda, maybe they consider that a GOP Senate win is no big deal.

Anonymous said...

So where does the surge of immigrants fit in? Can it be stopped? If not, I would guess the left will continue its long march.

Anonymous said...

I don't consider the goal of the confiscation and distribution of wealth at gunpoint an "ideal". I don't consider this administration "Idealist". I think its time to take "idealism" away from violent, left-wing thugs.

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