This is one of those.
Bush trampled on the Constitution, Candidate Obama alleged. Without a major terrorist attack against the homeland in seven years, the voters had the luxury to consider those charges. They seemed to agree that Bush and Cheney were nearly as much a threat to our freedoms as was Osama bin Laden.
But soon President Obama read the classified intelligence briefings. Suddenly military tribunals, renditions, the PATRIOT Act, Predator assassinations, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were not just Bush conspiracies after all, but serious, necessary tools of American overseas contingency operations to thwart real man-caused disasters. The media, Hollywood, and the intelligentsia agreed, and thus Code Pink, Michael Moore, and a screaming Al Gore either quieted down or dropped out the news.
No lobbyists, Obama thundered during the campaign — not one! — would serve in his administration. Impending legislation would appear on government web sites for the people’s perusal. White House logs would be available from Day One to enlighten the voters about who did and did not enter the people’s house.
Cabinet nominees and officials would be beyond ethical reproach. Speaker Pelosi would “drain the swamp,” end the “culture of corruption,” and ensure the “the most ethical Congress ever.” There would be no more plants at news conference; no staged questions from administration hacks; no serial presidential addresses hogging the airways at prime time; no constant press conferences of a media-hungry president; no direct talks to school kids on state television screens.
Barack Obama, you see, had felt the pulse of the people. He was an old-pro community organizer, a street-savvy politician who had encouraged dissent and vocal protest.
But then President Obama appointed lobbyists. For months he forgot all about the White House logs and websites. His cabinet nominees had strange habits, such as not paying their taxes despite advocating higher rates for everyone else. Obama’s face was everywhere; he held more press conferences in eight months than did Bush in eight years. Questions and questioners were on occasion planted or staged.
The community organizing and protests of others now became regrettable, even unpatriotic. Criticism of the establishment was the work of brownshirts, mobs, Nazis, and the selfish, who had no moral or religious concern about the health of others and were envious of the success of their president. Insurance companies wanted even more astronomical profits. Doctors were greedy and took out tonsils needlessly for profit. Surgeons rushed to lop off diabetics’ limbs for princely sums of $50,000 and more.
The new town-hallers and tea-partiers who went to meetings and press conferences and protested their government were not Chicago-style hoi polloi, but counterrevolutionaries or insurance toadies who feared real reformers. The dissidents were, of course, also racists. These inauthentic Astroturfers simply could not tolerate a black president and so, like the doomed dinosaurs, they mindlessly bellowed out at the new landscape that they could not live within.
Once upon a time the people deluded themselves into thinking a suave extremist was to be their nuts-and-bolts centrist. Now they don’t know whether to be mad at him or themselves — or both.