Today's Topic



Audacity of Propaganda,
Part III

Part I
Part II

Natalia J. Garland

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Scott Brown won; President Obama lost. When Brown recently won Ted Kennedy's old Senate seat, despite Obama having campaigned for the Democratic opposition, it both demonstrated and symbolized the public's lack of satisfaction with the Obama presidency and the Democratic domination of American government. Brown's victory was not only over Obama, but also over the Obama-Chicago political machine and the Kennedy-Massachusetts machine.

Additionally, Brown's victory showed that if America had it to do all over again--that is, if the 2008 election were taking place today--Senator John McCain and Governor Sarah Palin would be in the White House right now. And, if we pushed hindsight back even further, perhaps the Republican Party would not have nominated McCain as their candidate. Perhaps today we would be listening to speeches by President Romney or President Huckabee.

The point is that Obama now seems to have failed to keep his campaign promises and seems to have attempted to re-organize American government in a way which many Americans find objectionable. Depending on one's political critique, Obama is regarded as having totally failed or as having given only mediocre performance as president. Anyway, there are a lot of people--Democrats and Republicans--who find him disappointing.

In Part II of this essay, I listed some of Obama's failures. Today, I will discuss what seem to be Obama's reactions to or explanations (excuses?) for his failures. I will also include his recent mention of the Bolshevik Revolution in this vein of thought. Beforehand, however, I want to review what a couple of others have said about Scott Brown. The first quotation below is from an article by Byron York, the second is from the Neo Neo-Con blog. York's article was written before Brown was elected, but the content is pertinent to today's theme.


Scott Brown (1)

There's a lot of talk about the possibility that Brown will become the 41st Republican senator, the lawmaker who can stop the Democrats' national health care plan. That's important, but here in Massachusetts, it's perhaps more important that Brown is seen as the solution to the problem of too much one-party government. As the Brown team sees it, the political situation in Massachusetts, dominated by the Democratic party and increasingly marked by corruption (three consecutive state Speakers of the House have been indicted and forced to resign in disgrace) is making state voters wary about the one-party domination of Washington, where Democratic leaders are rushing toward new extremes of federal spending and government intrusion. "I think I represent a breath of fresh air, where people know that I'm going to go down to Washington to be a check and balance," Brown says.

When Brown talks about what he's up against, he says it very simply: "It's me against the machine." By that, he means the Massachusetts machine--the Democratic party, the patronage, the entrenched network--as well as the national machine that has targeted him since word got out that he might win. "It's revving up," Brown tells reporters at Zoll. "They have, SEIU just took out a major buy, potentially the president is coming this weekend." Brown has his own weapons--talk radio and conservative Web activists have been huge helps--but in Massachusetts at least, he's still outgunned.
[End of quote.]


Scott Brown (2)

The other day I was watching an in-depth personal profile of Scott Brown by Fox's Greta Van Susteren. It featured interviews with the newly-elected senator's friends, neighbors, former colleagues in the state senate, ex-coaches, and even the guy who fixes Brown's truck.

They all seemed to genuinely love the guy (the car mechanic also verified the authenticity and antiquity of the famous vehicle). Person after person spoke warmly and even joyously of Brown's depth of character (in many cases, going back to his high school days): his work ethic, his integrity, his drive, his intelligence and affability, and his just-folks quality despite all this. The consensus was: what you see is what you get, and it's all good.

It struck me that, less than a week after the Brown election, we've already heard more good things from friends of the previously-unknown Brown than we've heard about Obama from his friends in the more than two years he's been in the spotlight. In fact, if it weren't for Obama's shady friends--the ones he suddenly wasn't all that friendly with, or whose dirty deeds he hadn't really known that much about after all, such as Ayers, Rezko, and Wright--we'd think him nearly friendless.
[End of quote.]


Now, let's look at how Obama seems to react when things go wrong or when he seems to anticipate resistance to his ideas. Although Obama has repeatedly used words such as cynic, partisan, and obstructionist, I have chosen only a few examples to make my point. There is no need to try to list every instance--anyone who has ever listened to Obama's speeches knows that my selection of these words is accurate to and typical of Obamian content. I chose some quotations from more recent speeches because of the ease of availability and in order to update this series of essays with current concerns.


Obamian Explanation for Failure

I mean, the fact of the matter is, is that many of you, if you voted with the administration on something, are politically vulnerable in your own base, in your own party. You've given yourselves very little room to work in a bipartisan fashion because what you've been telling your constituents is, this guy is doing all kinds of crazy stuff that's going to destroy America.

And I would just say that we have to think about tone. It's not just on your side, by the way--it's on our side, as well. This is part of what's happened in our politics, where we demonize the other side so much that when it comes to actually getting things done, it becomes tough to do.

From Obama's remarks at the GOP House Issues Conference, 01/29/10.
[End of quote.]


Frankly, how some of you went after this bill, you would think that this thing was a Bolshevik plot. That's how you presented it. I'm thinking to myself, how is it that a plan that is pretty centrist--no, look. I'm just saying. I know you guys disagree, but if you look at the facts of this bill, most independent observers would say this is actually what many Republicans--it is similar to what many republicans proposed to Bill Clinton when he was doing his debate on health care.

So, all I'm saying is, we've got to close the gap a little bit between the rhetoric and the reality. I'm not suggesting that we're going to agree on everything, whether it's on health care, energy or what have you. But if the way these issues are being presented by the Republicans is that this is some wild-eyed plot to impose huge government in every aspect of our lives, what happens is you guys then don't have a lot of room to negotiate with me.

From Obama's remarks at the GOP House Issues Conference, 01/29/10.
[End of quote.]


No wonder there's so much cynicism out there. No wonder there's so much disappointment.

I campaigned on the promise of change--change we can believe in, the slogan went. And right now, I know there are many Americans who aren't sure if they still believe we can change--or that I can deliver it.

But remember this--I never suggested that change would be easy, or that I could do it alone. Democracy in a nation of 300 million people can be noisy and messy and complicated. And when you try to do big things and make big changes, it stirs passions and controversy. That's just how it is.

From Obama'a State of the Union Address, 01/27/10.
[End of quote.]


And in this cause, every one of us--every American, every elected official--can do our part. Instead of giving into cynicism and division, let's move forward with the confidence and optimism and unity that defines us as a people. For now is not a time for partisanship, it's a time for citizenship--a time to come together and work together with the seriousness of purpose that our national security demands.

From Obama's remarks on Strengthening Intelligence and Aviation Security, 01/07/10.
[End of quote.]


And it's not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

From Obama's remarks on his difficulty getting working-class votes in the Midwest area.
[End of quote.]


If you disagree with Obama, then you are a cynic, partisan, or an obstructionist. I think the label cynic is the most disturbing because cynicism is not a typical American attitude. Americans are, generally, an optimistic, resilient, and generous people. It is as though Obama places the public in an either/or bind: either you agree with him or you are a cynic. And nobody wants to be a cynic--and that's the very bind!

When Obama gave his State of the Union Address in January, he said, "I know there are many Americans who aren't sure if they still believe we can change--or that I can deliver it." We cannot really know what was in Obama's heart when he said that. Perhaps it was a moment of honest introspection. Anyway, every time I feel favorably impressed by Obama, he says something else to uncoil my pathos and to dangle doubt and distrust from the frayed ribbon of his message.

Obama went on to add, "And when you try to do big things and make big changes, it stirs passions and controversy. That's just how it is." In other words, it is not his fault. This is just the way things are (which almost contradicts any concept of hope and change, which in turn would make you a cynic). Passions and controversy seem like code words for cynicism, partisanship, and obstructionism.

Now, Obama is trying to do big things. So, if you are disappointed with his progress, then it is because you are a cynic or because you do not understand how things get done. What appears on the surface to be a reasonable explanation, is possibly a blaming of others and an attempt to restore a narcissistic self-reflection (see Part II of this essay for a definition). A narcissist, for example, cannot bear to admit to any imperfection or incompetence: such admission would be an affront to the grandiose self.

Do I hear someone asking, "What about when Obama said 'the buck stops here?' Did he not accept responsibility for his actions?" Okay, Obama sometimes makes strong statements like that. I am the President. I am the first African-American President. The buck stops here. But, are these statements of responsibility, or could they be examples of what I call narcissistic posturing? I would not say Obama is dramatic--not in a theatrical sense--but there is a certain 'acting-as-if,' or an imitation of someone who is important and in charge. Obama has an almost statue-like presentation of himself. I am the President seems not a statement of responsibility but a self-affirmation, a reminder that he won the election in 2008 and the Republicans lost, a sort of mantra or just another slogan.

Obama mentioned the Bolshevik Revolution. I had to do some research on what he meant. I was not aware that some politicians and bloggers think Obama is conducting a Bolshevik Revolution in America. I know some have referred to him as a socialist or Marxist who wants to impose European-style socialism on America, but I had not heard the specific accusations of Bolshevism. So, what was the Bolshevik Revolution? Since I used the Glencoe World History textbook to discuss Mao-Tse Tung (see Part I), I will turn to that book again for a basic definition of the Bolshevik Revolution.



The Bolsheviks began as a small faction of a Marxist party called the Russian Social Democrats. The Bolsheviks came under the leadership of Vladimir Ilyich Ulianov, known to the world as V.I. Lenin.

Under Lenin's direction, the Bolsheviks became a party dedicated to violent revolution. Lenin believed that only violent revolution could destroy the capitalistic system. A "vanguard" (forefront) of activists, he said, must form a small party of well-disciplined professional revolutionists to accomplish the task.

At the same time, the Bolsheviks reflected the discontent of the people. They promised an end to the war, the redistribution of all land to the peasants, the transfer of factories and industries from capitalists to committees of workers, and the transfer of government power to the soviets. Three simple slogans summed up the Bolshevik programs: "Peace, Land, Bread," "Worker Control of Production," and "All Power to the Soviets."

This overthrow of the provisional government coincided with a meeting in Petrograd of the all-Russian Congress of Soviets which represented local soviets from all over the country. Outwardly, Lenin turned over the power of the provisional government to the Congress of Soviets. The real power, however, passed to a Council of People's Commissars, headed by Lenin.
[End of quotes.]


Let's go through the Glencoe excerpts point by point. One great difference between Obama and Lenin is that Obama does not advocate a violent overthrow of American capitalism. Moreover, if Americans do not like what Obama is doing, they can vote for someone else in the next election. Nevertheless, there are some similarities that warrant inquiry. These similarities could be coincidental or they could indicate a troubling reality.

...a small party... Obama seems politically immersed in an elite group of hardcore liberals, radicals, and extreme multiculturalists.

...of well-disciplined... Obama's presidential campaign was superbly well-disciplined.

...reflected the discontent of the people... Many Democrats had an intense hatred of George W. Bush. And, there were a few but outspoken individuals who believed in 9/11 conspiracy theories (i.e., that Bush orchestrated the attack on the World Trade Center).

...promised an end to the war... Many Americans wanted withdrawal from the Iraq War.

...the redistribution of...the transfer of... Obama could be suspected of having begun such a process through his affiliation with ACORN and SEIU, and through the economic crisis bailouts and the proposed healthcare bill. Obama's views on illegal immigration (amnesty and a pathway to citizenship) could also possibly fall into this category.

...a Council of People's Commissars... Obama has appointed a large number of czars who are accountable only to him.

The Glencoe textbook goes on to say that Lenin was able to achieve his revolution, in part, because the opposition was not united. Some Russians wanted to return to an aristocracy, others wanted a more democratic form of government. It remains to be seen if the American opposition to Obama becomes united. At present, the Republican Party is re-energizing its platform. If Republicans can harness the Tea Party Movement, fiscal and social conservatives, and possibly dissatisfied Democrats, as well as nominate a suitable candidate for 2012, then the Republican opposition can be viable. We have already witnessed this viability with the election of Scott Brown. The people are discontented again--this time with Obama.

There are, therefore, two major differences between Obama and Lenin: Obama will not use violence, and the opposition to Obama may become united, focused, and the majority. If Obama were to effect any sort of revolution, it would have to be accomplished mainly through propaganda as a means of getting the votes and persuading people that his ideas are in their best interests.

If Obama had really wanted to counteract accusations of Bolshevism, he should have done something in the same manner as I did--that is, give a point by point defense of his policies and strategy. He should have honestly revealed his political relationships and affiliations, past and present. He should have clarified the direction in which he wants to take America.

In the above quotations, Obama never denied any tendency toward socialism. He talked about a tendency to demonize one another, as though doubts and distrust of him could not be taken seriously. The other side has demonized him and that is why it is difficult for him to get things done. The reality is that even some of his fellow Democrats are unhappy with him. Obama should have made a precise statement such as: I am not a socialist, in the same way that he says I am the President. Instead, he reversed the focus of the issue: "what happens is you guys then don't have a lot of room to negotiate with me." In other words, you are the one with a problem.

Unfortunately, Obama went on to make matters worse. At the Senate Democratic Policy Committee Issues Conference, Obama made remarks that can only be described as censorship. This censorship or, at least, this dislike of FOX News in particular, is not new. It can be traced back to 2004 in a little-known interview with Chicago Sun Times reporter, Cathleen Falsani. In other words, this is a pattern with Obama. The difference between then and now seems to be that the tendency toward censorship now includes ALL the cable T.V. news programs as well as the blogs.


Obamian Censorship

Last point I would make about this. You know what I think would actually make a difference, Michael--I think if everybody here--excuse all the members of the press who are here--if everybody here turned off your CNN, your FOX, your--just turn off the TV--MSNBC, blogs--and just go talk to folks out there, instead of being in this echo chamber where the topic is constantly politics--the topic is politics. It is much more difficult to get a conversation focused on how are we going to help people than a conversation about how is this going to help or hurt somebody politically.

And that's part of what the American people are just sick of--because they don't care, frankly, about majority and minorities and process and this and that. They just want to know, are you delivering for me? And we've got to, I think, get out of the echo chamber. That was a mistake that I think I made last year, was just not getting out of here enough. And it's helpful when you do.

From Obama's remarks at the Senate Democratic Policy Committee Issues Conference, 02/03/10.
[End of quote.]


I haven't been challenged in those direct ways. And to that extent, I give the public a lot of credit. I'm always stuck by how much common sense the American people have. They get confused sometimes, watch FOX News or listen to talk radio. That's dangerous sometimes. But generally, Americans are tolerant and I think recognize that faith is a personal thing, and they may feel very strongly about an issue like abortion or gay marriage, but if they discuss it with me as an elected official they will discuss it with me in those terms and not, say, as 'you call yourself a Christian.' I cannot recall that ever happening.

From Obama's interview with Cathleen Falsani, Chicago Sun Times, 03/27/04.
[End of quote.]


Americans should turn off the cable news, turn off talk-radio, and stay away from blogs in order not to become confused? What's left?! Obama's speeches? I understand that much news nowadays is really commentary, and that some news stories go unreported or under-reported while others are over-emphasized. It is as though Obama is saying: Do not listen to the T.V. propaganda, but listen only to my propaganda. What Americans need to do is to listen to the news programs which they trust the most, and to balance their news intake by listening to other stations as well--find out what the opposition is saying; sometimes they are correct. And, do some fact-checking on the internet.

Can anyone really imagine a world without blogs? Without citizen journalists? Especially given the fact that much mainstream media coverage is biased--often biased in favor of Obama? I cannot help taking this personally. I write for the web. My essays are not dangerous. I do my research and I document my sources. I also make it clear that I could be wrong, that my essays are works in progress. Yes, I analyze, evaluate, and interpret: but I regard my readers as intelligent enough to assess the validity of my work. It's all about checking sources and using critical thinking.

Obama says that people are tired of politics. He said, "They just want to know, are you delivering for me?" My suspicion is that this means entitlements, guarantees, and special interests. People want politicians to keep their promises, but that should also include protecting freedom of speech and freedom of the press. So, "...the topic is constantly politics..." because we need to know how Obama thinks, what his relationships and affiliations are, and what he is doing. If Obama is engaged in politics (i.e. 'politics as usual'), then we need this information. Writing and reading blogs is one of the ways people "...get a conversation focused on how are we going to help people..."

President Obama: if you want to deliver for me, then please do not discourage people from reading my essays. (Written 02/22/10: bibliography available.)

[ADDED NOTE: Comparison to the Bolshevik Revolution does not entirely describe Obamian politics. Let us look at how Communism was able to develop in Europe. The following quotation is from The End of the European Era.


Eurocommunism was adopted by the great Communist parties of Western Europe in response to the decline of Soviet prestige after the events in Hungary and Czechoslovakia; had they not distanced themselves from Russia, the European Communisits feared, they would have risked losing votes to their closest competitors, the socialists. Moreover, many leading Communists were severely shocked by Russia's ruthless actions. The advocates of Eurocommunism also made the point that in a society characterized by a mixed economy, where large industrial enterprises belong to the government and where much of the economy is directed by the government, it makes no sense to overthrow the regime. Europe in the 1970s was quite different from the society Marx had analyzed and from the society encountered by the Bolsheviks in 1917 Russia. In contemporary Europe it made more sense to join the government and extend its sphere of control until a socialist society evolved. Beyond these shared ideas the motives for adopting Eurocommunism varied according to the conditions characterizing each country.
[End of quote.]


The Eurocommunism model, rather than the Bolshevik model, is perhaps more aligned with the method by which socialism could be developing in America today under the leadership of President Obama. One might say that Obama has joined the government, that he is working within existing structures while extending his sphere of control over those structures, and that eventually a socialist society could evolve.] (Written 04/12/10)

Until we meet again..............stay sane.

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