The Secret to Defeating Demagogue Obama

(Getting political, as I am in this post, might mean that I alienate and lose half of my readers, which probably comes out to about four or five people. Oh well. I did, by the way, send a copy of this to the Republican National Committee. They haven’t gotten back to me about it. So, I think that at this point my essay has more intellectual than practical value, for the election will soon be over.)

“I promise you. We won’t just win New Hampshire. We will win this election and, you and I together, we’re going to change the country and change the world.” — Senator Obama

Ordinary politicians make specific campaign promises. They pledge, for example, to repair a city’s infrastructure, to achieve victory in a war, to lower taxes, and to provide jobs. The charismatic demagogue, on the other hand, promises to transform the world.

Consider Senator Barak Obama’s slogan: “Change you can believe in.” For as long as he could, Obama remained vague, not stating what he meant by change. Left indeterminate, his slogan hooked into a fundamental human longing: the desire for a new life. There are a great many people who wish that a savior would emerge, someone able to transform their lives of quiet desperation into something new, hopeful, and glorious. Social, economic, and political changes cannot, of course, effectuate a personal transformation. Nor can they transform this “vale of tears,” into a utopian paradise. But a charismatic and cynical demagogue will exploit such fantasies.

Obama has neither the competence, nor the character, nor the moral compass to lead our nation. If he gets elected, the miasmic fog of socialism will envelop America. With less than two weeks till election time, it may very well be too late to do anything, but for what it’s worth, here is my further analysis and my remedy.

Obama’s Worldview
Over time, Senator Obama’s past has emerged. And despite his initial efforts to remain vague about what he means by “change,” his political views have also emerged. Senator McCain now has a target for his criticism: from Obama’s America-hating, racist pastor to his association with domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, from his failure of judgment about the surge in Iraq to his foolish tax policy.

But for McCain’s criticisms to have any real force, they would have to be seen as manifestations of a single theme, translatable into a slogan. Only then, could his criticisms of Obama be graspable and intelligible. For example, the Republicans — focusing on Senator John Kerry’s voting record — reduced their many criticisms to a single word, “flip-flopper.” And Obama, suggesting that he was hip and that McCain wasn’t, said that “McCain just doesn’t get it.”

Is there a theme that can unify all that we know about Obama — from his political past to his current platform? We have been using the word “theme,” but what we are really looking for here is a worldview. The importance of this factor in defeating Obama is expressed by Tom DeLay:

“It hasn’t sunk in yet how radical Obama’s worldview is, because you can’t tie him down to a worldview,” DeLay says, “And I don’t know if anybody who works for McCain understands the whole notion of worldview. And what they ought to be going after is his worldview. Not how he feels about healthcare, or how he feels about energy — what is this man’s worldview?” (Interview with Ronald Kessler, Newsmax, October 2008. P. 48)

Through his past associations, his statements, his voting record and his platform, Obama’s worldview begins to emerge. Obama has simply reached into the trash bin of history, to recycle that failed nostrum known as socialism — the egalitarian redistribution of the fruits of our labors. Socialism involves a regression, from the ethos of individual initiative to that of a family, where all members must be provided for. As Marx put it, “From each according to his abilities to each according to his needs.” Individualism challenges people to develop into responsible, hard-working adults. But the communitarianism, that Obama advocates, infantilizes them, stifling individual initiative.

Socialists are often driven by an even darker agenda. They are envious and resentful towards the more affluent members of society. Such feelings lead to a scapegoat mentality and to conflict. One does not need the fiery style of a Fidel Castro to foment class warfare. Obama does it in smooth and dulcet tones. Those who are bereft of historical knowledge — either because they are uneducated or congenitally obtuse — find such millennial hopes to be new and exciting. It always seems so, at the early stages of a Marxist revolution, before the other shoe drops.

Only recently did McCain finally refer to Obama’s proposed policies as sharing some of the tenets of socialism. But McCain fell far short of doing what he should have done, simply calling Obama a socialist. After all, socialism is not just a theory of economics. It is a secular religion, in which the state is made into a god. The rage for equality is a spiritual disease that finds expression in all aspects of life.

Most socialists are, no doubt, well-meaning. But, like all individuals who harbor a utopian worldview, socialists have a proclivity for violent thoughts, words, and deeds. That is why, there invariably emerges from the ranks of socialists: totalitarians, nihilists, anti-Americans, racists, and antisemites.

What is the connection between socialism and violence? Like all utopians, the socialist — owing to a lack of inner development — has no patience for the give and take, the compromise and the imperfections, that are intrinsic to living in a democracy. When people, who harbor utopian ideas, encounter obstacles, out of frustration, they ferociously try to destroy — those obstacles. And so, it is their impatience that leads them to become violent revolutionaries.

This violence might involve using intimidation tactics to pressure banks into granting subprime loans (as in the case of Acorn), stuffing ballot boxes (also in the case of Acorn), castigating Jews, whites, and America (as in the case of Jeremiah Wright) or domestic terrorism (as in the case of Bill Ayers). It is no coincidence, then, that Obama the socialist surrounded himself with these and other vile individuals. The connection between socialism and violent hatred needs to be made clear to the American public, as does the connection between Obama and socialism.

Anxieties About Losing Autonomy
There are some very real fears connected with socialism, particularly among Americans. There is the fear that the government will legally steal one’s possessions. Furthermore, there is the fear that a socialistic government will do what socialistic governments tend to do: to curtail all of one’s other freedoms, from free speech to the right to bear arms. There is also the fear that it will destroy the moral fabric of America. Finally, there is the fear that our national sovereignty will be undermined.

But, as Freud noted, underlying fear is anxiety. We can flee from that which we fear, but not so with anxiety, for it is intangible. The anxiety at play here is the dread of losing one’s autonomy. It is powerful enough, at least among Americans, to trump Obama’s appeal to change.

How might that anxiety be exploited? In a different context, Apple Computer did so cleverly in their “1984” TV commercial introducing the Macintosh Computer. That commercial — in the science fiction genre — portrayed IBM as a totalitarian dystopia. The implication was that anyone who bought an IBM PC was a brainwashed conformist. Seen by millions of people during the Super Bowl, it was highly effective.

McCain could have run similar ads along that same theme. He might have had ads featuring a classroom of children raising their hand to offer various anti-American opinions, or a giant roomful of hypnotized people chanting “Obama! Obama! Obama!, or ads about America transformed into a gray and grim Eastern European nation. Then, as a photo of Obama appears on the screen the announcer could say: “Socialism: Change you can believe in.” There are infinite other possibilities. If the Republicans have failed deliver an effective message, in a creative manner, it is because they have not really understand their dangerous opponent.

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