Wednesday, October 6, 2010

To Dream the Impossible Dream

I need to be reading tonight (James Church's mystery set in North Korea, A Corpse in the Koryo), so I'm going to be quick if not brief.

Avedon enlarges on an argument she's made before at the Sideshow:
Last night on Virtually Speaking Sundays I tried to make the point that Americans voted for a president who the media told them was "very liberal", a "far-left liberal", an "extreme liberal", and "a socialist", and I think both Culture of Truth and Chris Kendrick missed my point: that no one was representing Obama as "centrist" at the time (except a few liberal bloggers who didn't trust him and were screamed down as "PUMAs" and racists), and Americans, most of whom had no reason to think he was anything other than a liberal (just read most "progressive" blogs of the period if you think his "centrism" was what people believed about him), voted for this guy who was supposed to be unusually far left for a politician. Obama's entire campaign was about his being a sharp break from the kind of right-wing politics Bush represented, and while it was true that McCain's craziness and irresponsibility (especially after he picked Sarah Palin as his runningmate) were what made the real difference on election day, the fact remains that voters were more afraid of having another irresponsible right-winger in the White House than they were of a lefty. While it may be that most people didn't really believe Obama was a socialist, they didn't recognize how far right he was, either. They thought they were electing someone from the left. And remember, most of those voters had planned to vote for Obama long before McCain went over the deep end. The American public did not knowingly choose a "centrist", they chose a lefty.
This fits with something I've noticed before: that Obama's apologists (including the man himself) have gone from vilifying anyone who pointed out that Obama was not a "progressive" but a center-rightist, to vilifying anyone who didn't recognize that he was a center-rightist all along: C'mon, all you silly hippie hard-left utopians in your green fastnesses up on Mount Disdain, did you really think Obama was going to bring about world peace or something? Of course I didn't; but one could (and still can) reliably enrage his groupies merely by pointing out that he was just another Democratic pol, about as progressive as John McCain. Only a cynic would say such a thing.

And here I must make a confession. Despite the fact that I am just such a cynic, Obama has turned out to be much worse than even I expected. Much like George W. Bush, come to think of it.