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September 30, 2008

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Patrick S. O'Donnell

Well said, and I think you're definitely on to something with the narcissism explanation (although I tend to favor psychological and social-psychological perspectives--and studies of 'social character'). Conspicuous consumption, the schizoid alteration between the Calvinist work ethic and crude escapist hedonism, the cult of celebrity and the worship of images, the fragmentation of consciousness and the inability to sustain attention, an inordinate fondness for casual sex and vicarious violence, among other things, assure the hypnotic success of bread and circuses in our democracy. I'm reminded yet again of Eric Fromm's remark that "the fact that millions of people share the same forms of mental pathology does not make these people sane" (hence his locution, 'the pathology of normalcy,' the idea of which long predates Fromm).

Patrick S. O'Donnell

Erratum: I should have said "schizophrenic alteration...."

Kathy S

Great post!! This is why I am not looking forward to watching the vice presidential debate. I think it is just going to make her supporters more entrenched, even if, or perhaps especially if, she flounders around like she has in these two interviews. I know I'm stating the obvious, but the phenomenon Nareissa identifies is very connected to class resentment. I just still haven't figured out how the Democrats lost the class battle, but maybe their insistence on being the smartest in the room is part of it. Somehow, Bill Clinton, a Yale law grad, was able to pull off an "I'm just an average joe" image, but neither Obama nor Biden has been able to (even though their backgrounds are far less 'elite' than McCain's).
What is this thing that Clinton and Bush and Palin have that Gore, Kerry and Obama don't? If only we could bottle it...

Vanceone

I'm a (reluctant) McCain supporter. And it doesn't matter if McCain was found in bed with a live boy--I could never, ever vote for Obama. Yes, Racism, right? Wrong.

It's Simple. Obama is, to put it bluntly, a disaster. He's the worst form of Carter mixed with Chicago Mob politics.

If Obama wins, he has shown enough to make me fear if I'd ever get to vote against him again. His stalinist tactics, the complete and utter MSM sellout pushing him, Obama's fantastic levels of corruption.

Voting for Obama is no different than if Soros was the Democratic nominee. The republic would survive Hillary--and if Hillary was the nominee, this would have been over. But Obama scares me fundamentally. If he's elected, this country may not ever recover.

I know he's the ultimate far left wet dream, but that is just it. When all the communists will throw themselves on the pyre to vote for him by hook or by crook, it scares Americans. At least, sane ones.

Obama hates traditional America. Everything in his past says so. Wright, Ayers, Rezko--these are people he has as friends. They hate America. His wife hates America. Obama's campaign is out there saying you can't criticize him without being a racist. I criticize him on the grounds he is a compulsive liar, a far left radical, and a Saul Alinsky devotee.

Obama will, if elected, do his damndest to make sure anything resembling traditional American values are ruined permanently. This is a man who tried to force born children to be left to die.

And his cult--because that is what the far left has turned into--is sheer frightening. We are watching the 1930's all over again with Obama. I don't want to get the 1940s from him either.

You think this is hyperbole? Ask yourself this: Why did Obama get hired by ACORN? Why did he lie about his close working relationship with Ayers? Why cannot he run a clean campaign? He's a chicago machine politician with ambitions to let Soros run the country.

The country may or may not survive an Obama presidency. If he loses, his followers will riot unlike anything we have ever seen. If he wins.... how long before we have a civil war as Obama tries to cram down his far left economic disaster and social policies? Say goodbye to the first amendment (criticizing Obama is racist hate speech!), the Second Amendment, the fourth (our new civil rights commissions will have to look for your evidence of dissent), and so forth.

The above is why many, many people will vote for McCain. At least we know he actually likes America and doesn't want it to become the Soviet Union.

me

"I think that over the past few generations, Americans have simply redefined what it means to be a leader. . . [W]e went from admiring our leaders and according them a lofty status to relegating them to the status of normal human beings."

Not true. Why do you think we have the traditional stories of Washington cutting down the cherry tree and Lincoln splitting rails? Every president and/or candidate has tried to connect with the people somehow.

Obama: Not a "great man." I won't say he's not qualified, but how do you think a white man with similar experience would be doing if running as a Republican? How do you think he would be getting treated by the media and bloggers? Put the resume of Obama side by side with the other three people in the race. It's clear that, at best, he is third in qualifications and, arguably, only the equal of the vice presidential candidate of the other side.

Who's morals, beliefs and preferences will Obama represent? Not many people whom I deal with on a daily basis. The majority of people that I know of who are going to vote for him are doing so because they are so tied into the Democratic party their futures are tied to its success or people who vote Democrat because their Daddy voted Democrat, their Grand-Daddy voted Democratic, and everyone in their family has done so since the Civil War.

Personally, I think it will take a miracle for McCain to win. Unlike the poster above, I don't believe our system is so weak that he will destroy it. However, I do think he will quickly lose his shine and either become a do-nothing president who cannot move Congress or fall into the same situation Clinton did and start out trying to satisfy his left base and face a massive backlash (and not be able to move Congress after 2 years). As for foreign policy, I am hopeful that things have stabalized enough in Iraq that Obama will not be able to do permanent damage. I also suspect that Afghanistan is going to be such a long-term project that any 4 year president probably won't make much of a difference.

Patrick S. O'Donnell

While I don't view the atheism/theism question quite like he does, I think Sam Harris well expresses the problems with Sarah Palin's qualifications for vice president (and president). Without using the term, he provides further support for the narcissism thesis:

'The problem, as far as our political process is concerned, is that half the electorate revels in Palin's lack of intellectual qualifications. When it comes to politics, there is a mad love of mediocrity in this country. "They think they're better than you!" is the refrain that (highly competent and cynical) Republican strategists have set loose among the crowd, and the crowd has grown drunk on it once again. "Sarah Palin is an ordinary person!" Yes, all too ordinary.

We have all now witnessed apparently sentient human beings, once provoked by a reporter's microphone, saying things like, "I'm voting for Sarah because she's a mom. She knows what it's like to be a mom." Such sentiments suggest an uncanny (and, one fears, especially American) detachment from the real problems of today. The next administration must immediately confront issues like nuclear proliferation, ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (and covert wars elsewhere), global climate change, a convulsing economy, Russian belligerence, the rise of China, emerging epidemics, Islamism on a hundred fronts, a defunct United Nations, the deterioration of American schools, failures of energy, infrastructure and Internet security … the list is long, and Sarah Palin does not seem competent even to rank these items in order of importance, much less address any one of them. [....]

Ask yourself: how has "elitism" become a bad word in American politics? There is simply no other walk of life in which extraordinary talent and rigorous training are denigrated. We want elite pilots to fly our planes, elite troops to undertake our most critical missions, elite athletes to represent us in competition and elite scientists to devote the most productive years of their lives to curing our diseases. And yet, when it comes time to vest people with even greater responsibilities, we consider it a virtue to shun any and all standards of excellence. When it comes to choosing the people whose thoughts and actions will decide the fates of millions, then we suddenly want someone just like us, someone fit to have a beer with, someone down-to-earth—in fact, almost anyone, provided that he or she doesn't seem too intelligent or well educated.'

Read the entire piece here: http://www.newsweek.com/id/160080/page/1


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