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April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘the left’

In Polls: Labor Picking Up Speed as Likud-Beitenu Faces Loss of Seats

Monday, November 5th, 2012

Knesset Jeremy Weekly Average #4 (week of Oct 29-Nov 4) of 7 polls (Teleseker, two Panels, Dahaf, Geocartography, Smith, Dahaf):

Current Knesset seats in [brackets], Week 3 average in (brackets)

38 (36.6) [42] Likud Beitenu
22.1 (24.3) [08] Labor
14.7 (13.3) [---] Yesh Atid
11.7 (12) [10] Shas
9.1 (09) [07] National Union-Jewish Home
5.8 (5.3) [05] Yahadut Hatorah/UTJ
4.2 (05) [03] Meretz
4.0 (04) [04] Hadash
3.7 (3.3) [04] Ra’am-Ta’al
3.1 (03) [03] Balad
1.7 (2.6) [28] Kadima
0.5 (01) [05] Independence

03 [01] Am Shalem (based on 2 of 7 polls)

1.5 in one poll for Pensioners and Green Party each

66.3 (63) [65] Right
53.6 (57) [55] Center-Left

Visit Knesset Jeremy.

Troops in the Streets

Sunday, November 4th, 2012

Every now and then an email comes my way warning about the day when the government unleashes the military against its own citizens. This day isn’t likely to come because for one thing the current regime is not particularly fond of the military.

The Obama Administration isn’t inflicting massive cuts on the military, cutting their health care and pushing veteran officers out the door because it likes the military as an institution. It doesn’t. And it won’t until it remakes it into a fully politically correct institution dedicated to promoting tolerance and fighting global warming. Progress has been made on that front, the Navy is cutting ships and spending money on Green Energy. The Marines are celebrating gay marriage. Any day now the Air Force will be announcing its first wheelchair pilot. But it’s still a poor fit with the culture of the left.

If Obama has to have any kind of military, he prefers the kind where young men with college degrees sit in a room, push buttons and kill people thousands of miles away from remotely controlled aircraft. That kind of military is a closer cultural fit with a campaign that is in love with technocratic solutions and always looking for shortcuts to avoid the dangerous and dirty hard work that has to be done. It’s also much less dangerous.

Unleashing the military on a civilian population carries a price. Once you call out the troops to protect your regime, one of two things happen. Either the troops don’t do it and your government is done. Or they do it and your regime now lives or dies by the support of the military. Within the last few years the use of the military in Egypt and Iran turned generals into the arbiters of political succession. To the left, the idea of the people they despise deciding who should run the country and how is their biggest nightmare. It is one reason that we still have a democracy.

The more that a country depends on its military, the more likely it is to be run by the military. After the United States kept the Union together through a civil war, the first elected President after Lincoln was General Ulysses S Grant, the man credited by many with winning the war. His successor, Rutherford B. Hayes was a another general and a Civil War hero. As was Hayes’ successor, James A. Garfield and his successor, Chester A. Arthur. Democratic draft dodger Grover Cleveland briefly broke the pattern, but then the Republicans were back with Benjamin Harrison. From 1869 to 1893, America was ruled by the Republican victors of the war who had at one time been able to put the title of general in front of their name. And that’s in a democracy.

Popular wars have led to generals becoming presidents. The Revolutionary War gave us Washington. The War of 1812 gave us Andrew Jackson and Zachary Taylor. The Spanish-American War gave us Teddy Roosevelt, though he was only a Colonel. WW2 gave us Eisenhower. The Gulf War nearly gave us Colin Powell. The current war may yet give us Petraeus. But the Civil War gave us the largest amount of generals in the White House because it was an internal conflict.

Israel, another democracy which is heavily dependent on the military, has seated three generals in the Prime Minister’s chair since the 1990′s and far more who are involved in politics. The leader of the opposition is a general and there are five generals in Netanyahu’s cabinet. This is a direct result of the elevation of the importance of the military as an institution. The more important the military is to the welfare of the country, the likelier it is to become a career track to prominent positions in the business world and in politics. And that’s in a democracy. Imagine the situation in a dictatorship that depends on the military to stay in power.

The left might flirt with the idea of a people’s military, but armies are their own institutions and their function forms their character. Communist attempts to create armies of the people still put guns in the hands of peasants who didn’t have much in common with their rulers. After nearly a century of repression when the last dying gasp of the Soviet elite called on the military to protect them from the people, the military for the most part did nothing. It wasn’t exactly the first hint that the Red Army might be unreliable. Not when 130,000 soldiers defected to the Vlasovites during WWII.

The Soviet Union did not depend on the Red Army, it did depend on the secret police. And the KGB took over. The KGB nearly seized power after Stalin’s death and had to be suppressed by the Red Army. In 1982, power fell to an actual KGB Chairman. Today Russia is run by former KGB officers, including a fellow by the name of Vladimir Putin.

The Russian and the Charmer

Monday, October 29th, 2012

It’s funny in a way how Israelis think of our leaders. As a young man, Bibi Netanyahu was thought of as a lady’s man, a charmer. He’s an excellent speaker, motivated, intimate. He gives you this feeling he is talking to you – and he can do it to a room of 20 people, 100 people, 1,000 people. As he did at the United Nations recently, he is a man that speaks from the hearts of many Israelis and you almost forget that it is his gift, to speak, to charm, to touch. The man is in his 60s; he’s a grandfather, and still there is this element of charm about him.

Avigdor Liberman moved to Israel in 1978. That’s 35 years ago – and still he is thought of as the Russian – more, he thinks of himself that way. His outlook on life is very much Russian and that’s how he runs his political party and his position as Foreign Minister. He is outspoken to say the least, and even, at times, a bit of an embarrassment because his concept of diplomacy involves a sledge hammer. Democracy is a concept to him; security a reality.

Both men are, above all else, pragmatic. They will defy logic and critics to shake up the political spectrum. Bibi has done it several times. A few months ago, polls guaranteed him a sure win if he called early elections. The announcements were made; dates were discussed and then, in the dead of night, he made a deal to unite with Kadima. No surprise to anyone, that deal fell apart rather quickly and Israel is once again on the path to elections.

And then another shocker – rather than make a post-election deal to have Yisrael Beitenu (Liberman’s party) join a coalition, the two men announced a joint ticket where the parties would run together. Israel was in an uproar – they had most definitely outmaneuvered the left. They had, to a degree, surprised the right wing as well.

As part of that agreement, Netanyahu announced that Liberman might even become Secretary of Defense. I did a quick Google search and found that Liberman had indeed done army service. I smiled when I saw he had been in Artillery, as Elie was. Liberman finished as a “Corporal” according to Google. That would make him, I think, a רב טוראי. By contrast, Elie finished the army two ranks above as a First Sergeant.

What qualifications could Liberman have to be Secretary of Defense? I asked Elie and his answer surprised me. I had considered the possibility of this man filling this position a joke – Elie was not nearly as pessimistic or surprised.

It was an analysis that I find myself agreeing with. No one thinks Liberman is stupid – far from it. What he is, is loud and decisive. He doesn’t care about diplomacy – he is most assuredly strong-willed. “If he threatens Iran,” Elie said, “the world is going to believe he’s crazy enough to follow through.”

While the world might doubt someone else, they will believe that an Israeli army under Liberman would be not only ready and able, but willing and even anxious to attack. That alone might really spur the world to stop Iran. And, added Elie, Bibi knows this.

Though I won’t vote for them – perhaps Bibi is right. He will, barring some major stupid action on his part, win the upcoming election. By taking in Liberman, he has sent a strong message to the left parties – they will have no place in the upcoming coalition. Not only will they remain in the opposition, they will be further weakened as Israelis, in reaction to many world events, turns just that much further to the right.

The left-wing will not join a government in which Liberman serves. Liberman once said, “The peace process is based on three false basic assumptions; that Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the main cause of instability in the Middle East, that the conflict is territorial and not ideological, and that the establishment of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders will end the conflict.”

The first of those has been proven again and again in the last year (Arab Spring). On the second and third point, it is something Israelis for the most part have accepted for a long time – but the world (media, Obama, etc.) still fail to understand.

But I liked Elie’s interpretation, liked even better his analysis. Avidgor Liberman is seen as the big ferocious, Russian bear – let the world be afraid. Let them think that Avigdor Liberman is a warmongering right wing fanatic that will lead us to war. Let them think it because in their fear, the nations of the world may react, they may stop a madman from carrying out his threat.

And, if they don’t stop him, if Israel will have to act to protect its citizens, perhaps the Russian and the Charmer make a good combination. Certainly better than anything Kadima, Labor, etc. has to offer. So, yalla – on to the elections.

Visit A Soldier’s Mother.

The Odd Couple of Barak and Joe

Monday, October 15th, 2012

The presidential and vice-presidential debates provided us with two snapshots of two different and yet very similar men.

The Obama who showed up to debate Mitt Romney and the Biden who showed up to debate Paul Ryan were outwardly different types. One white and one black, one elderly and one middle-aged, one a veteran of the Senate and the other a political tyro rushed through the ranks on the promise of his electability.

But Obama and Biden showed once again at the debates that they have more in common than anyone would give them credit for. Obama was surly while Biden was belligerent, but both men behaved the way they did out of an innate sense of entitlement. With their every word and gesture they made it clear that they were too good to be here.

While Romney and Ryan have often been accused of elitism, both as a personal accusation and as a class accusation, they behaved with dignity and discretion. Obama and Biden on the other hand treated their opponents with contempt beginning with their lack of preparation for the debates and their lack of grace in the debate.

Obama believed that he had won the debate after he lost it and Biden believed that he won the debate before it even began. Biden’s braggadocio and Obama’s disdain both came out of their own exaggerated senses of self-worth that made them feel that they were too good for the forum and too good for their opponents.

Biden and Obama may not have race, religion or age in common, but they both share a common narcissism that leads them to believe that their innate specialness transcends competence and that their rhetorical gifts can overcome their laziness and lack of preparation. Neither man bothered to hide their belief that their opponents are inferior to them in every possible way.

Strip away the years and races, the experience and the capped teeth, and you have two petty egotistical men who believe that they are destined for greater things than whatever thing they happen to be doing at the moment, even if what they happen to be doing at the moment is occupying the two highest offices in the land.

Their thin skins and fake smiles go together, along with their contempt for each other and the whole world. They are men who live oblivious to other men, who occupy a current of their own imagining, who are always certain that life has not rewarded them sufficiently for all that they have done, even though they have done nothing. They are men of ambition, but not talent. Their only gift is one of imagining themselves in greater and greater positions and the accompanying talent of convincing others that their imaginary abilities should be rewarded with real positions.

They are glib, but not smart men. They have a facility for speaking off-the-cuff, but that facility betrays them as often as it rewards them. Like actors they love the sounds of their own voices so much that they never notice when their own song becomes a siren call dooming them to the crash of their own stupidity.

They can tell stories, but they are always the stars of their own stories, the “I’s” of the legends that they build around themselves, the gods who stride from their own temples, the heroes who come to their own rescue and then marry themselves and cheer themselves on.

Both men have come out of political machines where rhetoric was more important than competence. Political machines disguise their mechanisms of corruption with high-flow rhetoric and tribal appeals that convince their audiences that while may be thieves, they are ‘their’ thieves who steal on behalf of their race, their community and their group.

Biden and Obama both excel at the rhetoric of grievance. They summon up displays of fake anger to disguise their own corruption and incompetence, striving to convince slices of the electorate that they are fighting for them, because they know that they have no hope of convincing them that they are competent managers.

Obama is the new face of the Democratic Party, the perfect public face of its coalition between the government upper class and their minority voters, while Biden is the face of the old Democratic Party, the one that played on the working class Irish, Italian and Jewish vote in urban centers on behalf of the social planners of the New Deal and the New Frontier.

The Democratic Party is losing its grip on the Reagan Democrats, the loss of manufacturing jobs and the growing conservatism of small business is leaving less and less room for the kind of barstool campaigns that Joseph Robinette Biden was once good for.

The 2012 election is the last hurrah of the Biden class, those grinning senseless storytellers and glib millionaires with hard-luck tales and rolled up sleeves pretending to be working class, shaking hands with union steelworkers, mill workers, factory workers, telling them, “Oh boy that’s tough, but lemme tell you about the time my wife almost caught me with Cindy. Don’t worry the Democrats have your back. Stick with us and we’ll take care of you.”

Those voters are vanishing, falling through the cracks of EPA fascism and globalized outsourcing. If Obama wins another term, there may still be room for a few thousand of them to put together solar panels and windmills from China, but even those jobs will go to the new face of America. To Somali refugees and Mexican immigrants, and those workers will not need Biden to stand outside their bar and shake their hands. Some of them won’t have bars and most of them won’t care about anything but the benefits package they get through their local cultural center.

That’s the new face of America that Obama represents. It’s the same old story of the urban political machine which caters to the revolving door of new immigrants, stocking up front men who speak their language and know all their customs, only to give those front men the boot when the demographics of the alleys of Slumville and Immigrant’s Row change.

Tammany Hall’s leadership went from English to Irish to Italian, Jewish and Black in some 170 years. The process has since accelerated and Joe Biden with his fake working class mannerisms and outdated jokes doing his best to be everyone’s fun crazy uncle is almost done.

Biden’s currency, like Obama’s currency, was his identity. Not a real identity, but an artificial identity. Crazy Uncle Joe is as authentically working class as Barry Hussein is an African-American. Neither of them was chosen for anything but their ability to mimic the identities of others in order to project a lower class sensibility that they have no part of.

Debating Ryan was Biden’s last hurrah, it was the thunder of a dinosaur crashing through the trees, snapping his teeth and roaring at the sky, without understanding that the big fire above is a meteor coming down on top of him. The world in which Biden might have aimed at the top job is long gone. Biden’s function today is to snap his teeth, to roar and remind the youngsters that old time political crooks didn’t need to call themselves community organizers or bolster their credentials with fake teaching gigs. All they needed was a barstool and a great deal of nerve.

Biden has ushered in that new world, and yet he has no apprehension of it. Joseph Robinette Biden imagines that the future still belongs to him and that he can keep hold of it so long as the hair plugs keep hold of his skull. And while he may be an object of fun back at the White House, his boss should carefully consider his fate as an object lesson.

The only thing really separating Obama from Biden is a generational shift and the shift is driven by the political agenda of the left. It is not too difficult, although quite horrifying, to imagine an America in the year 2037 where Barack Hussein is as much of an anachronism as Crazy Joe. The Democratic Party has reinvented itself numerous times and the stresses that it imposes on the country come out of the left’s program.

The smirking fake working class pol was not the endpoint of the Democratic Party, though in his own time the creature seemed every bit as radical as a man with Muslim roots in the White House. There is no reason to think that Barack with his Third Culture image and his fake veneer of culture is going to be the endpoint either. If the left has taught us anything, it is that its narrative of cultural destruction is always able to conceive of more and more horrifying worlds than anything we might behold today.

Obama has already gotten his, and so has Biden, though the corrupt Senator still fantasizes about a White House he cannot have. The difference between political ambition and political success is often timing and luck. As a child, Obama used to tell his classmates that he was an Indonesian prince. That position wasn’t open to him, but he lucked into a political career that coincided with a wave of Muslim terrorism and an accompanying wave of appeasement by his party.

Had that not happened, it’s quite possible that Obama’s exotic bio would have meant nothing and he would be sitting in the Illinois Senate watching Cory Booker making his acceptance speech in the race to unseat President McCain. And conversely, had the Democratic Party not swung so far to the left and stayed focused on the American working class instead of an artificially imported diversity overseen by a college educated upper class. Had it embraced tariffs and protected American manufacturing, then the country might be a very different place and President Joe Biden might be inveighing against Republican elitism while boasting of showing Chinese products the door.

But these worlds are not places that narcissists like Obama or Biden, who believe in their own specialness, rather than the random chance of world events and the influence of ideological movements, can visit or appreciate.

Obama and Biden see themselves as men of destiny, when they’re actually front men for a massive scam that has been going on long before their grandparents got out of diapers. The scam has evolved and become more sophisticated, and that growing sophistication is why Biden is only useful to the scam as a scarecrow shouting at Ryan about anything and everything, while Obama is useful as the healer who will reassure the country of its new moral stature.

But though they play different roles, that does not make them different men. It is the accidents and plans of the machine that made them fit only for these different roles, that left Biden no choice but to play the loud buffoon, while Barack got the star part of the new JFK.

Barry and Joe are the same man because the machine they serve is the same machine and though they imagine that they rule the machine, it is the machine that chose them, it is the machine that uses them and it is the machine that will throw them away when it is done.

Originally published at Sultan Knish.

Liberal Overconfidence Is Helping Romney

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

The 2012 election is once again proving that having most of the mainstream media in your pocket is a huge advantage for a presidential candidate. President Obama’s reelection effort has been materially aided by being largely able to set the narrative of the race as the year unfolded. Mitt Romney’s gaffes are treated as game-changers, while Obama’s misstatements and scandals, like the security leaks from the White House, are often treated like footnotes rather than major stories.

Media spin helped turn his convention into a hit and the Libya disaster, combined with Romney’s “47 percent” gaffe, has seemed to produce a genuine surge for the president in the past few weeks. Conservatives may dispute the accuracy of polls that may be based on samples skewed to the Democrats or based on expectations of a repeat of the “hope and change” turnout figures of 2008. But after months of the race being seen as a dead heat, there’s little doubt Obama is ahead right now. However, the glee on the left contains within it the possibility of a reversal.

The media narrative of the election having been largely decided in the last month is so strong that prominent outlets are openly expressing shock that the GOP hasn’t already conceded the election. They push this line about Romney’s incompetence relentlessly; accept speeches filled with misstatements and distortions at the Democratic National Convention at face value after treating GOP convention speeches as “fact-checked” lies and thereby help manufacture a post-convention bounce; and then declare the race (which is still largely within the margin of error in most polls) over and consider it a “curiosity” that Republicans still like their chances and understand tying their fates to Romney is a lot smarter than writing him off.

In other words, if Republicans don’t accept the media narrative and give up, they are in denial. It never occurs to the chattering classes that about half the country still plans to vote to turn President Obama’s incomplete into an “F” in November and that his wife shouldn’t be fitted for her second inaugural gown just yet.

Some are speaking as if Romney must not just win the debates but mop the floor with the president if he is to have a chance in November.

But the problem with this triumphalism on the left is that it can breed a fatal overconfidence. As encouraging as the president’s current poll numbers may be, his margins are still too small and there is still too much time left before Election Day for the left to assume the thing is in the bag. Even more to the point, it can breed a backlash against the media that can energize Romney’s camp and help fuel a competing comeback narrative.

The president may not only have peaked too soon, but the overkill on the part of his journalistic cheerleading squad could be just the shot in the arm Romney needed.

It should be conceded that with just a few weeks to go, it is a lot better to be ahead – no matter how large or small the margin – than behind. The president’s good month has encouraged Democrat donors and depressed those of the Republicans. Such a state of affairs could, if the GOP misplays its hand in the coming weeks, theoretically snowball into a repeat of the party’s 2008 debacle.

But the notion that Romney is already so far behind that he will never be able to catch up is risible. For all of his missteps, he remains within striking distance of the president. The economy is still poor and the idea that the patent collapse of his foreign policy vision as our embassies are attacked in the Middle East will help rather than hurt him among voters is highly debatable.

Moreover, Americans hate being told an election is over when they know it is still close. That gives Romney a clear opening to spend the remaining weeks running hard against the media as well as the president.

Nobody may like a heartless plutocrat – the false image the left has foisted on Romney – but everyone likes an underdog who is being undercut by a chattering class telling voters that all has been decided even before they vote. If Romney can tap into this sentiment, dissatisfaction with the president’s performance in office can still be the decisive factor in determining the outcome.

I Lashed a Guy

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

Here’s a Lelov chassid in Bet Shemesh, outside Jerusalem, getting 39 lashes on the eve of Yom Kippur. It’s part of the process of atoning for sins which used to be in wide practice even by non-chassidic Jews and is now not nearly as popular.

We spent Yom Kippur in the holy, kabbalistically saturated city of Tzfat, where I davened with a dear, old friend at a chassidish shul, overlooking mountains and valleys and a tiny bit of the Kinneret.

Right after Mincha, on the eve of the holiday, this nice gentleman approached me asking if it won’t be too much trouble to lash him in honor of the coming Day of Awe.

It took some persuasion, I’ll tell you. I’m not the aggressive type, I don’t recall the last time I was engaged in any incident of violent confrontation. Like every decent human being, I channel all my aggression to watching really awful action movies where other people do all the hurting for me. So it took some persuasion. But I finally consented because, hey, you have to try everything at least once.

So the guy handed me his leather belt, leaned over a bench and waited. He told me not to go too easy on him, not to fake it, hit like a man.

So I smacked him one across the back and he quickly changed his initial instructions and asked for a little less hard.

I finally found my groove and started hitting quite expertly, one on the left shoulder, one on the right shoulder, one across the back, 39 altogether. In the end the guy was happy, and I found something new I could do if the writing thing doesn’t work out.

This is Yori Yanover with another report on Jewish life today…

From the US to the UK, the Left Delegitimizes any Criticism

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

How does the political left win so many arguments? More than any other cause, it seems to be that the political right ends up time and again fighting on terrain which has been set out for them to lose on. Take two recent examples, one from the U.S. and one from the U.K.

In the U.S. last week Sandra Fluke addressed the Democratic Party’s convention. Ms. Fluke, it will be remembered, came to fame earlier this year when Rush Limbaugh criticized her congressional testimony. Ms. Fluke had appeared before the hearing to argue over whether she should pay for her birth control – as a student in her thirties – or whether someone else should pay for it. Being criticised by Limbaugh gave her a certain fame; by the time she stood in front of the Democratic party last week she was able to portray her opponents as not merely opposed to her, but opposed to women as a whole. Indeed worse.

The mandatory references to the idiotically wrong remarks about rape made by GOP Senate candidate Todd Akin were used to suggest that the GOP was actually a pro-rape party. Indeed in Fluke’s version it is even worse than that: according to her, the GOP rapes women twice over, seeking to deny them most, if not all, basic rights.

So Fluke’s stand became not over who should pick up the bill for her birth control, but what must be done to keep the Republican party from power. She was cheered to the Democratic party’s rafters for explaining how the Republicans “shut out” and “silence” women, whereas the Democratic party gives them microphones. She had “spoke[n] out,” she said, and suggested that this November “each of us must speak out” by voting for Obama.

It is true that almost any battle between two conflicting political ideologies can be made easier if you can frame the disagreement between you and your opponents as the difference between people who are in favour of rape and those opposed to it. If you do it fulsomely enough, you can even assume the wonderful aura of sanctimony Fluke did as she presented the political divide in this way. But whether originating from left or right, this is the shoddiest way to go about things. The right in America, however, is set on the run by this. So instead of it being the Democratic party which has to answer questions about why anybody but Ms. Fluke should pay for her birth control, or why a serious political party would put her on stage at their convention, the question remains whether Republicans are secretly or not so secretly in favour of rape.

This summer the U.K. saw a similar manoeuvre thanks to one of the most popular victories that the left could hope to achieve. Since the post-war Labour government, one of the main battle-grounds of British politics has been, as with America, the fight between Big State and Small State. For the British left this has been epitomized by not just gratitude for, but a kind of veneration of, the National Health Service (NHS). It doesn’t matter how many times you get bad treatment on the NHS, how many times the service fails you, or how many people you know die from avoidable infections in its hospitals – the British left will continue to tell you that the NHS is “the envy of the world.” It certainly is the envy of the third world, but there are few people from other first world countries who envy the NHS when they experience it. There are many criticisms to be made of the NHS, despite some of the excellent people who work in it. But those criticisms and the necessary corrections can never be performed as long as it is made not into a publicly-funded institution but a religion.

Knowing this, the political left continues to interpret any criticism of the NHS as tantamount to baby-killing: an expression of an obvious desire to see as many people die on the streets as possible. And this summer they got one of their best advertisements for the idea.

In the opening ceremony of the Olympics, directed by the movie director Danny Boyle, the NHS was not simply praised, it was worshipped, albeit in a strange nineteenth century version. Actual nurses played fake nurses in Victorian nursing costumes. There were no slovenly orderlies or people who had never paid into the system pushing their way in the waiting lists past those who had. What there was, instead, were these Mary Poppins-like figures smoothing down the bed-sheets of delighted, happy children.

Obama is a New Kind of Leftist

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

Visit Barry Rubin’s blog, Rubin Reports.

Barack Obama is not a Communist, a fascist, a Muslim, a Marxist, a Progressive (in the pre-1920s’ meaning of that word, before it just became a cover for Communists and other leftists), or even a socialist. Obama and those who control much of America’s academia, mass media, and entertainment industry—plus a number of trade unions and hundreds of foundations, think tanks, and front groups—are believers in a new, very American form of leftism. It is very statist, very dangerous for freedom, and economically destructive. But we first have to identify what “it” is. Our difficulty in doing so has been a huge reason why we have not persuaded more people–though goodness knows a lot of people have woken up that there is a huge problem here.

Yet calling Obama those various names doesn’t persuade a large portion of the American population because they sense that these definitions aren’t accurate and can come up valid counter-arguments or be fed by schools and media with phony ones. And all of those who rage in the talk-back columns of websites aren’t persuading anyone anything except, perhaps, that Obama’s opponents are delusional. You may not like hearing that but it’s the truth.

I’m amazed and amused by people who say that Obama cannot be a leftist because he–gasp!–appointed people from Wall Street to his cabinet and favors certain specific companies and banks. Excuse me, you are merely saying perhaps that by engaging in corruption and getting some big favored capitalists to give him big campaign donations in exchange for favors that Obama isn’t an “honest” leftist. If the left can get support from some such people it would be foolish to throw away the chance. Refusing to act like that was how the Old Left and the 1960s’ New Left behaved and we saw what happened to them.

We are in a totally new era. The nineteenth and early twentieth century debates and categories no longer hold. Indeed, when the New Leftists climbed out of the wreckage of the 1960s-early 1970s they realized this and successfully built something very new. (If you are looking for a “prehistoric” founding document in terms of some important themes, albeit very much altered, read the original Weatherman Manifesto and then delete all the hysterical parts. Dress it up in a suit and tie and seat it behind the desk of a professor, foundation director, reporter, or politician. I don’t have the space here to explain this point in detail.)

Let’s start with the word “socialist.” The European socialist, or social democratic, movement was strongly anti-Communist. Did they hate their countries? Remember, these were the people who remained patriots during World War One, that’s one of the main reasons they first broke with the Communists. The European Socialists gave up the idea of abolishing capitalism many decades ago. While some parties were further to the left (notably in Spain and Sweden), most had settled into relatively moderate positions. When was the last time they nationalized anything?

Moreover, remember that European statism is as much of conservative as of socialist origin. Consider France, a country whose high degree of centralization goes back to feudal times and Napoleon, not to mention the Gaullists. America is very exceptional all right, but because it broke with both European conservative and leftist models. The welfare states there were the results of multi-partisan efforts.

Have European socialists—I’m not talking here about left-wing academics and journalists—fallen in love with Barack Obama? Not at all. They might like Obama more than George W. Bush but they liked Bill Clinton better than either one. Not only do they not see Obama as a comrade but they could probably give him good advice about why his policies will inevitably fail. They may not have the answers for their own countries but they understand capitalism and how to make it work—and want to make it work—far more than he does.

So here’s a key point: Obama and his ideological comrades—let me call them the New New Left (NNL)—are to the left of almost all of the European Socialist parties.

Is Obama and company a Marxist group or a bunch of Communists, (referring to the movement begun by Vladimir Ilyich Lenin and run thereafter by Joseph Stalin). Well, certainly there are parallels and ideas taken from that movement. But in many ways they have turned Marxism on its head. Let me give one critical example. Marxists held that material conditions were primary and would determine the course of history. The NNL rejects this and argues that it can use ideas and modern methods of advertising, educational indoctrination, a takeover of most media, and so on to bring about the fundamental transformation of America. They draw mainly from a deviant form developed by such people as Antonio Gramsci and the Frankfurt School. But they have learned the most by taking mainstream American techniques and putting them at the service of radical ideology.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/rubin-reports/obama-is-a-new-kind-of-leftist/2012/09/11/

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