EconoMonitor

How Obama AND Conservatives Both Won on Tuesday

Summary:  Today we continue explanation of a non-consensus view of the world, quite unlike anything from any of the 200 channels of your TV (all showing an almost identical picture of the world).  Since the news media see the election only as a race or joust, let’s use a sporting perspective.  How might the election look if seen from a blimp looking down on the Campaign 2012 stadium?  Third in a series.

Campaign 2012!

Politics is more complex than football. There are sets of players in uniform on the field, but four teams — all supported by a small set of powerful interest groups in the stands. Watching the plays in terms of the blue and red uniforms gives misleading results.

Today we take a brief (ie, highly simplified) look at the 2012 election, showing how the binary good guy – bad guy narrative tells us nothing — except that our OODA loop is broken.

The Blue team won, led by Captain Obama. They did so by moving to the right, co-opting many conservative policies.

  • Abandoning liberals reform ideas for health care (eg, single payer), Obama adopted RomneyCare (designed by conservative think tanks, greatly profiting insurance and pharmaceutical companies).
  • He institutionalized much of Bush Jr’s war on terror (widespread foreign interventions (eg, covert ops, assassinations), massive growth of intelligence (both domestic and foreign), massive domestic security apparatus, steady erosion of civil rights.  In the foreign policy debate Obama was to the right of Romney.
  • He abandoned the New Deal’s policy of close regulation of Wall Street, continuing the Clinton and Bushes Wall Street-led economic policies.

The Red team never effectively responded to this.  Their broken OODA loop produced the insane “oppose the radical socialist Obama”, which appealed only to those inside their bubble.

The liberal team (no uniforms) lost. The conservative team (no uniforms) won. Neither have distinctive uniforms, so this victory was not apparent to those getting their information from the sports media (ie, the horse-race obsessed “new” media).

It seems so obvious when Ainsley Earhardt explains things.

The crowds in the stands cheered and boo’d, having no idea as to the true nature of the games being played before them.  Our political gurus’ function to maintain this confusion. Explaining the actual dynamics (which many of them well understand) would confused the crowds, who might become unruly.

The most powerful interest groups in the stands won.  In America long-term political victory comes when both parties accept a policy. After WWII the GOP accepted the core New Deal policies. Our large wars (WWI, WWII, the cold war, the war on terror) all had transformative and long-lasting effects on US society possible only with support of the two major parties. They won through patient, long-term, large-scale investing in people and institutions with the goal of moving the Overton Window to the right.

They funded institutions which recruited, trained, and supported people: leaders to advance conservative interests. Think tanks, media, college programs, and a host of other kinds of political machinery were created or re-tasked (eg Hover Institution) and expanded. Look at this excerpt from The Shame Project’s bio of Megan McArdle. The Left has nothing of the same scale and sophistication. This is how one reshapes a nation.

McArdle received journalism training from the right-wing Institute for Humane Studies, headed by Charles Koch since the 1960s. According to the IHS, its journalism program “places talented writers and communicators—who support individual liberty, free markets, and peace—at media companies and non-profit newsrooms” and offers “mentoring and job placement assistance.” The program currently includes a $3,200 stipend, as well as travel allowance.

In 2011, McArdle returned to her Koch alma mater as a guest lecturer and instructor at the Institute for Humane Studies’ “Journalism & the Free Society” summer internship program. The program tackled such topics as “Is an ‘objective’ press possible — or even desirable?” Other faculty members joining McArdle that year included Radley Balko, then-editor at the Kochs’Reason magazine.

In a sign of just how close and trusted McArdle is to the Kochs, in October 2011, she was chosen to emcee Charles Koch’s 50th Anniversary gala celebration of his flagship libertarian think-tank, the Institute for Humane Studies, featuring Charles Koch as the keynote speaker and guest of honor. McArdle and Koch were joined by hundreds of leading GOP donors and activists. An IHS newsletter wrote of her performance: “Emcee Megan McArdle wove a humorous narrative through the program.” The IHS attempted to hide McArdle’s involvement, scrubbing her name from the dinner announcement page. (See side bar for more info on the gala event.)

In 2006, McArdle published an article in Reason, a magazine controlled by the Kochs since the 1970′s, headlined, “The Virtue of Riches: How Wealth Makes Us More Moral“. McArle’s article argued that wealth makes people “more tolerant of minorities, more welcoming to immigrants, more solicitous of their fellow citizens, more supportive of democratic institutions, and just plain better specimens of humanity.” In fact, studies show that the wealthiest Americans aremore likely to lie and steal, while the poor donate proportionally much more of their incomes to charity.

In August 2007, The Atlantic {owned by self-described neo-con David G. Bradley}hired McArdle as a business and economics blogger. Her first post, titled “Dont panic!” [sic], wrongly predicted that the liquidity shock that hit the financial system earlier that month wasnothing to worry about: ”Having a nasty market contraction does not mean that your economy automatically goes down the tubes.”

In 1980 we saw their first major win, bringing their rebuilt version of the GOP to national power. In 2008 we saw their next major win, brining their version of the Democratic Party to national power.  Even four years later the Left does not see this, because their OODA loop is just as broken as the Right’s.  As seen in this report by Charles Pierce (liberal and experienced journalist) at Esquire’s website yesterday: “The Greatness of Barack Obama Is Our Great Project“. Saying such things in November 2008 was optimism, saying them now is IMO delusional.

Part of what drives people crazy about {Obama} … is that he so clearly understands his own genuine historical stature, and that he wears it so easily, and that he uses it so deftly. It is not obvious. He does not use it brutally or obviously. It is just there with him, a long and deep reservoir of violence and sorrow and tragedy and triumph out of which comes almost everything he does.

He came into this office a figure of history, unlike anyone who’s become president since George Washington. The simple event of him remains a great gravitational force in our politics. It changes the other parts of our politics in their customary orbits. It happens so easily and so in the manner of an immutable physical law that you hardly notice that it has happened until you realize that what you thought you knew about the country and its people had been shifted by degrees until it is in a completely different place.

Change, he talks about. Change is the force around him when he walks into the room.

Pixie dust comes in many forms.

Charisma is pixie dust blown into our eyes so that we cannot see clearly.

6 November 2012 was a massive victory for the plutocracy, another step in the construction of The New America.

It might no longer be feasible to recover The America That Once Was.

My guess (emphasis on guess) is that we’ll need a few vision of America, both in terms of goals and citizenship, before we can even think about organization and tactics.

This series about Campaign 2012

  1. Conservatives, celebrate the historic victory you won today!
  2. The votes were counted and one wing of our one ruling party won. Rejoice!
  3. How Obama AND conservatives both won on Tuesday

For More Information

Posts on the FM website about politics are listed at these Reference Pages:

About hope and change:

  1. “Don’t Let Barack Obama Break Your Heart” by Tom Engelhardt, 21 November 2008
  2. Obama’s national security team: I hope you didn’t really believe in change?, 26 November 2008
  3. Obama supporters mugged by reality (and learn not to believe in change!), 9 December 2008
  4. Change you should not have believed in, 10 February 2009
  5. Quote of the Day, 20 May 2009 — Connect the dots between Bush and Obama to see the nice picture.
  6. Stratfor looks at Obama’s foreign policy, sees Bush’s foreign policy, 30 August 2009
  7. Motto for the Obama administration: “The more things change, …”, 5 September 2009
  8. Change, the promise and the reality, 11 October 2009
  9. Another bold action by the radical leftists of Team Obama, 9 September 2010

This piece was originally published at Fabius Maximus and is reproduced here with permission.

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Emre Deliveli is a freelance consultant, part-time lecturer in economics and columnist. Previously, Emre worked as economist for Citi Istanbul, covering Turkey and the Balkans. He was previously Director of Economic Studies at the Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey in Ankara and has has also worked at the World Bank, OECD, McKinsey and the Central Bank of Turkey. Emre holds a B.A., summa cum laude, from Yale University and undertook his PhD studies at Harvard University, in Economics.

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