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. . . .(Via Memeorandum.) You might also want to read this:
-- Ted Rall, "It's increasingly evident that Obama should resign," Springfield (Ill.) State Journal-Register, May 29, 2009
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."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.
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
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.