Saturday, May 30, 2009

If Obama's lost Ted Rall . . .

. . . he's lost un-America:
We expected broken promises. But the gap between the soaring expectations that accompanied Barack Obama’s inauguration and his wretched performance is the broadest such chasm in recent historical memory. This guy makes Bill Clinton look like a paragon of integrity and follow-through. . . .
-- Ted Rall, "It's increasingly evident that Obama should resign," Springfield (Ill.) State Journal-Register, May 29, 2009
(Via Memeorandum.) You might also want to read this:
Details . . . were not the Obama campaign's strongest selling point. Rather, Obama succeeded by capitalizing on the kind of boundless Hope that prompted a Florida woman, Peggy Joseph, to her memorable declaration after a late-October campaign rally: "I won't have to worry about putting gas in my car; I won't have to worry about paying my mortgage. You know, if I help him, he's gonna help me."
Such irrational expectations are inevitably followed by disillusionment. No prediction of what the next four years might bring is safer than this: The yawning gap between Hope and reality will produce a bumper crop of ex-Democrats. . . .
-- Robert Stacy McCain, "Future Ex-Democrats," The American Spectator, Nov. 24, 2008
Of course, if Ted Rall becomes an ex-Democrat, he'll likely end up Green, but a complete 180 from far Left to far Right is not unimaginable. Whittaker Chambers and David Horowitz were both Communists once, and Ronald Reagan was such a "bleeding heart" liberal that in the 1940s he unwittingly joined two Communist front groups.

Horowitz announced his departure from the Left with a conference called "Second Thoughts," which term aptly describes how one goes from disappointment to repudiation. And the weird thing is, it doesn't really matter what the specific disappointment was.

The point is, if you feel like you've been suckered -- hustled, flim-flammed, bamboozled, sold out, ripped off -- and you have both pride and curiosity, you will begin to wonder whether it was all just a scam from Day One.

Neither Stupid Nor Naive
A man like Ted Rall thinks of himself as intelligent and cynical. One reason he so stridently identifies himself as "progressive," is that the alternative -- becoming a conservative -- appears to him something that only stupid and naive people would do.

Whatever you might say of David Horowitz, however, he is neither stupid nor naive. Horowitz knew full well what he was abandoning when he left the Left, and he joined the Right with his eyes wide open.

I love Horowitz's Radical Son (one the most important memoirs of our generation) but the first book of his that had an impact on me was Destructive Generation: Thoughts About the Sixties, co-authored with his longtime Ramparts colleague, Peter Collier. Destructive Generation exposes, in specific details, the utter falseness of the "progressive" vision, which fanatically pursues what Friedrich Hayek called The Mirage of Social Justice.

That intelligent men and women would dedicate themselves to the lifelong pursuit of a mirage says something about how incredibly tempting that mirage is. Ronald Reagan was not the first, but certainly the most famous, to say that what the Left offers is the same thing the serpent offered in Eden: "Ye shall be as gods."

The Evil Coalition of Liars and Fools
It is my firm belief that Reagan's background as an ex-Democrat, a labor union leader, and indeed something of a commie dupe, accounted for his tremendous courage and clarity as a conservative leader. He not only knew what ideas he was opposing, but he had some insight into the sentiments and character of the people he opposed.

I've described the Democratic Party as the Evil Coalition of Liars and Fools. Reagan had been one of those fools, and he possessed a very canny understanding of the liars who had misled him into believing in that progressive mirage.

Progressives are utopians, and it is important to remember that Thomas More coined the word "utopia" from Greek roots, so that the meaning of the word is, "nowhere."

The progressive is marching down the road to nowhere, seeking an objective that does not actually exist and can never exist. The progressive claims to cherish liberty and equality, yet supports a policy agenda that, if fully implemented, would annihilate liberty and render the great bulk of men the servants of a political elite.

Claiming to be humanitarian idealists, progressives in fact have succumbed to a form of malignant narcissism that compels them to pursue their vision -- The Vision of the Anointed, as Thomas Sowell so brilliantly described it -- because it reinforces their presumptions of moral and intellectual superiority.

This vision is what the conservative rejects, and what makes the conservative convert such an effective leader is that he knows full well what he has rejected -- and he knows it personally, first-hand, subjectively. He knows the flattering deceit of believing himself more enlightened, more tolerant, more sophisticated than his fellow man, merely because he identifies as a Democrat, a liberal, a progressive.

The Stalinist Ice-Ax
Knowing the psychological motivations of progressivism so intimately, the erstwhile liberal reflects on his own experience and realizes that others might also be persuaded to forsake their uptopian delusion. Who better to reach out to Democrats than the ex-Democrat?

Elizabeth Fox Genovese was a Marxist historian who became the head of the women's studies department at Emory University. Her intellectual rigor -- for dialectical materialism is nothing if not rigorous -- eventually led her to question some of the sloppy self-indulgence of feminist thought and Mrs. Genovese soon found herself accused of sexual harassment.

Rather than become a feminist analog of Trotsky -- who tried to maintain his dissident Marxism and ended up with a Stalinist ice-ax in his skull -- Mrs. Genovese turned on her erstwhile comrades. (You may see one example here.) Like Chambers before her, she embraced Christianity and called the radical-egalitarian lie a lie.

The life of Trotsky proves the same point that the life of Danton earlier proved: The Left is always more dangerous to its friends than to its enemies. Just as the Jacobins ultimately sent the tumbrels for those who had made possible the French Revolution, so too did Stalin order the execution of the original leaders of the Bolshevik Revolution.

There are many conservatisms, but there can be only one Left. You either support the leadership cadre in whatever they say and do, or else you will be an outcast and a pariah. Just ask David Horowitz what his erstwhile "friends" said of him after he began to question the New Left's support of the Black Panthers and the Weather Underground.

Many other things could be said on this topic, but I find that commenters in another thread have accused me of arguing ad hominem, and I must go there to update with my gleeful confession. A mastery of ad hominem invective is one of my more useful skills, and if some of these arrogant preppy sons of bitches would get out of my way, I might have more time to employ these arts against the Left.

UPDATE: Before I go over to that other thread and smack around the pompous wienerheads who have accused me of ad hominem, let me first throw some Rule 2 action on Moe Lane of Red State:
Ted Rall defines himself by what he hates; when he flips, he’s going to end up in some other internal head-space that’s just as tediously scary and banally ugly as the one that he was in for the last eight years. And when the next President takes office, he’ll hate that office holder, too; and so on, and so on, and so on. So let him rot where he is.
Sorry, Moe, I disagree. Hate can be a useful force in politics, and if Rall's disillusionment with Obama causes him eventually to hate the Left, I will welcome him with open arms.

BTW, today is Rule 2 Saturday, when Smitty delivers the weekly Full Metal Jacket Reach-Around, an expression of what might be called the Orgasmic Theory of Traffic Enhancement: If you link them, they will come.

Doug at Daley Gator can explain, as he delivers a few loving caresses of linkage . . .

UPDATE II: Stop the ACLU takes a stroll down Memory Lane with some of Rall's most disgusting attacks on Republicans and says:
So, when he publishes a screed like this . . . you know things are not all fairy dust and unicorn poots in Liberal World.
Indeed, the solidarity of the Left is the product of a unifying force-field of hatred. As much as they hate and resent each other, such intramural antagonisms are but the tiniest fraction of their all-encompassing hatred for everything right, decent and wholesome.

A failure to comprehend the depth and intensity of the Left's hatred is why so many Republicans (e.g., the Bearded Church Lady) make the mistake of thinking they can win with the Politics of Niceness. It's very easy to derogate the brashness of Mark Levin, but give Levin credit for being smart enough not to play that idiotic game.

Or, in the famous words of Rahm Emanuel . . .

UPDATE III: Welcome Instapundit readers! Please feel free to click around, visit the blogroll sites. Also, check out my Jacksonian ruminations at the Hot Air Green Room. And don't forget that it's Full Metal Jacket Saturday with the Rule 2 reach-around.

'Cause I'm the King of Rock 'n' Roll, baby! So hit the tip jar. Thankyuhvrrruhmuch.


  1. Excellent reminder and summary of true "change" and its possibilities. Horowitz was a tremendous influence on me. I also recommend the Canadian writer/intellectual and former leftist David Solway, whose book The Big Lie is the most comprehensive and withering takedown of leftism I've read.


  2. There were Obama realists and Obamabots. And the Obamabots outnumbered the Obama realists immensely. Ted Rall wants President Obama to implement a progressive agenda that won't work. And Rall's foolish for not realizing that REALITY HAS SET IN FOR OL' OBAMA. That's why is maintaining many Bush-era philosophies. I identify myself as center-left (formerly a far, far left until I realized how SUPER ignorant the far left is). I have issues with Obama's economic plan. But I support his keeping of many Bush-era foreign policy ways. BECAUSE I'M A REALIST.

  3. WOW! Thanks for the link. Although most of the Rall column seems pretty smart, he shows his intellectual deficiency when he asserts that Obama should resign. The One would never do this unless backed into a corner ( a la Richard Nixon).

  4. I think Rall was disappointed with Obama a week after the inauguration. He's probably mad Obama didn't strangle George W. Bush in the car when they rode to the Capitol.

  5. Another great post! Keep up up TOM....

  6. One could argue that losing Ted Rall is exactly what Obama wants to do, and that doing so only makes him more dangerous -- and/or proves how dangerous he is.

    By taking or feigning "centrist" positions on high-profile issues (which is the logical path of least resistance anyway), Obama has only more and better cover to institute leftist change which truly and materially affects American life and structures. After all, closing or not closing Gitmo is little impact on American society -- it's a "spiritual" issue to the Left, really. But turning automakers over to the unions, usurping and degrading capitalism a little more each day, promoting a government takeover of healthcare, allowing Acorn to subcontract the census, undermining Israel, and undermining the First Amendment with legal office rulings against lobbying voices -- this is what matters, and this he does with impunity. Who the hell is "Ted Rall" anyway? A nobody. Obama isn't losing the leftist vote, no how no way, and he knows it.


  7. The commenters above pretty much totally get Rall wrong. (As does McCain.)

    First, Rall is NOT pulling a Horowitz. In case you don't know, he worked in the financial district, on the Street itself, before becoming a columnist and editorial cartoonist. He's already made his big political move.

    Contra McCain himself, as for Rall being a "Democrat," I'm pretty sure he's not. He's either an independent or else he's a registered Green.

    I know because I've exchanged e-mails with him on this issue, going back a full year.

    Here’s a linkto all 29 posts mentioning Rall on my blog.)

    Third, contra T-Steel, Rall saw reality vis-a-vis Obama long before this point.

    Contra JaneMarie, perhaps showing HER intellectual deficiency, saying "Obama should resign" is a rhetorical device, not a plea to Barack Obama.

    Not contra to, but riffing on, Anonymous: it's the goal of people like me to work on Obama losing more true progressive voters, however I can.

  8. I don't expect to see many Democrat renunciates, in all honest.

    I expect them, like most such fundamentally immature, unserious people, to simply abandon the shiny toy Obama when it no longer amuses them and pretend their support for him came with neither responsibility nor consequences. Hell, they spent thirty years ignorning the killing fields of Cambodia and the boat people; how hard can it be to ignore one vainglorious black man?

  9. Stacy,

    If you think Rall had a noseful, check out how upset Rachel Maddow, yes, THAT Rachel Maddow, is at Obama...specifically about prolonged detention. She eviscerates Obama on this. (It's kind of delicious)

    O dear, what must MSNBC think of THIS???

  10. What a super post this is, Mac.

  11. "What a super post this is, Mac."Agreed. Well done, son.

  12. I like David Horowitz.

    But under no circumstances would I be pleased to have Ted Rall on my 'side'.

    Rall is a man without intellectual integrity---has he ever dealt with any of his subjects fairly, or with any honesty whatever? His problem is not simply adherence to particular political illusions, but the nature of his character.

  13. I appreciated your comment that the Left can accept no deviation from its leaders' dogmas. And I was reminded of one of the worst calumnies against conservatism: the denial that National SOCIALISM in Germany was a Leftist phenomenon. Hitler was a darling of the Progressives until Stalin saw him as a competor for leftist mindshare.

    Everyone knows enough about Fascism to hate it, and vaguely associate it with Right Wingers, but everyone conveniently forgets that free minds, free markets, smaller government, and lower taxes are the antithesis of Fascism. (Why Yes, I did read Liberal Fascism, how did you know?)

    Maybe someone should tell Ted Rall that he needn't become a Conservative to become a Libertarian.

  14. I've no doubt that Rall lacks intellectual honesty, as an earlier poster said, but that's not important for lightweights of either side.

    I've read his screed on Obama and detentions and I've seen his cartoons. The man can't write and the man can't draw. All he has going for him is bile. The Right is better off with Rall on the Left.

  15. If Rall becomes a conservative and is still a jerk, I'll still avoid reading him.

    Extremism is style, not substance.

  16. One has to give Rall some credit here. At least he sees what is before him. That puts him ahead of the whole MSM on grounds of consistency and honesty. During the campaign it was my pleasure to inform my Obot brethren that what O was selling was fantasy, domestically and on FP. The chickens have come home to roost, at least Rall has the stones to see it and say so. All the unicorn-based theories of the Left are now being tested in the crucible of Reality as never before. They are failing spectacularly killing golden goslings on every side. Some of our Lefty friends are not ineducable at least so long as the lessons are bitter. Even O himself is learning. As a youngish fellow, is there enough capability for CHANGE there to inspire HOPE? Maybe I'm a big softy but I think so. I certainly hope so. Let's not whizz on this spark when we see it, even in Ted Rall

  17. So, Ted Rall is disappointed in Obama? Big tsimmis.

    First, it should be remembered that Obama himself is truly 0bama; a shallow narcissist whose only desire -- and ability -- is to eat waffles and Wagyu steaks in his shirtsleeves. The real power is held by the cabal of black racists, hard-core Marxists, and machine politicians that take turns sticking a hand up his ass to make his arms wave and his voice squeak.

    Second, it must be remembered that the Petulant Left was never part of that cabal. Oh, they gave the cartoon messiah their blood, sweat, and tears -- not to mention their money and vaginal secretions -- and hoped that out of gratitude, or at least embarassment, Obama would give them a seat at the table. But Obama's a cardboard cutout that can feel neither gratitude or embarassment, and his owners are hard-eyed men who, if they deign to talk to the likes of Rall, will say, "Deal? We never had a deal. Now get out of here while you can still walk."

  18. Akatsukami, that was wonderful.


  19. This post peaked too early. The opening line is awesome. But, the length of the post on TED RALL, one that would welcome him with open arms if he pulled a Horowitz is fairly absurd. The historical view of others who went from left to right is great and interesting, but, really, you'd welcome Ted Rall with open arms? Ted Rall has poor character and poor taste, regardless of his politics (post 9/11 he stood out as a particularly awful critique of the Bush administration). He's not the sort I'd ever feel good about agreeing with. If I were a liberal progressive I'd hate that he considered himself part of the club. Sort of how many (hopefuly most) conservatives and libertarians feel about the likes of Michael Savage.