Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Second Thoughts Among Elites?

Peter Robinson in Forbes:
Congratulations this week to three journalists who have finally taken up that constant struggle: Christopher Buckley, David Gergen and David Brooks. All three used to insist that Obama was some species of centrist or moderate. Now that Obama has proposed the most massive expansion of government in the history of the republic, each has recognized that just conceivably he might have been mistaken. . .

Buckley, Gergen and Brooks all attended expensive private universities, then spent their careers moving among the wealthy and powerful who inhabit the seaboard corridor running from Washington to Boston. If any of the three strolled uninvited into a cocktail party in Georgetown, Cambridge or New Haven, the hostess would emit yelps of delight. Yet all three originally got Obama wrong.

Contrast Buckley, Gergen and Brooks with, let us say, Rush Limbaugh, whose appearance at any chic cocktail party would cause the hostess to faint dead away, or with Thomas Sowell, who occupies probably the most unfashionable position in the country, that of a black conservative.

Limbaugh and Sowell both got Obama right from the very get-go. "Just what evidence do you have," Sowell replied when I asked, shortly before the election, whether he considered Obama a centrist, "that he's anything but a hard-left ideologue?"

The elite journalists, I repeat, got Obama wrong. The troglodytes got him right. As our national drama continues to unfold, bear that in mind.
See also Todd Zywicki at the Volokh Conspiracy:
I think that there were a few other factors that drove the willingness of Brooks, Buckley, Gergen, et al., to believe that Obama was a moderate, despite all evidence to the contrary. First, Obama himself seems like he should be a political moderate because his personality comes across as so calm and moderate. Most people, whether far-right or far-left tend to have more extreme personalities as well. Obama doesn't come across as a radical bomb-thrower. . . So there is a tendency to infer from Obama's calm personality that he is a moderate. Second, some of the ideas that are floating around (like new tax increases and aggressive regulation in the midst of a recession and unrestrained budget-busting spending) just seemed so implausible that I think there was a tendency to discount them as something that Obama simply wasn't serious about and that perhaps they were nothing more than political posturing. Turns out it looks like he was serious about them.
(via Instapundit)


Tom Carter said...

I'm still not sure whether Obama is a moderate politician who leans to the left or a true-believing leftist. I still hope for the former, but the latter is looking more like the truth every day. The only silver lining in that particular dark cloud is the virtual certainty that he'll fail, and we can change leadership again in four years. The question is, how much damage will be inflicted by then.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Exactly. Whatever government he grows, won't shrink.

Zywicki's point is important. Much was dismissed of the criticism of Obama as overheated. Much as the right-wing nutcases turned out to have underestimated communist duplicity, despite all sniffing condescension to the contrary, the troglodytes were indeed closer to the mark.

I was only a half-troglodyte.

Bob in Los Angeles said...

If the conservative elite (a la Buckley, Gergen and Brooks) can fail so miserably, it is testament to the control of the so-called mainstream media on public opinion.

They simply fell victim to the dictum "repeating a big lie often enough and people will believe it."

I will admit that I too was of the opinion that Obama was too smart to try to impose socialism on a country in the middle of a recession.

I changed my mind in about three days.

See this post for my initial viewpoint, it was: Hey Obama, before you start messing with the economy, how about a lite econ 101?
... sigh I was so wrong.


OBloodyHell said...

I, otoh, have presumed from the start that he make us all appreciate Jimmy Carter.

You're welcome to doubt that, but sooner or later you'll find an October pre-election comment I've made to that effect.

OBloodyHell said...

Arg. Ate it.

"he make"=="he would make"


Anonymous said...

You knee-jerk right wingers have nothing but name-calling to contribute these days. I wonder why you make no reference to the disasters created by the Bush administration in getting us to where we are today. What names would you use to describe Bush? I can't see what he did to help our economy or country be better off then it was when he moved into our White House. You never gave Obama a chance because of your prejudices against non-Republicans.