The Cheneyfication of American political discourse

I forgot to mention one thing in my post about how I gauge the effectiveness of the Obama propaganda system by the way that his supporters in my social circle now say things in support of Obama’s actions in almost identical terms to the way that Bush/Cheney supporters defended them.

When I criticized all the actions of the Obama administration such as the NSA snooping, the secret interpretations of laws, the drone killings, etc., they said that all these things were necessary because we are at war with the terrorists. I responded that yes it definitely feels like we are in a war and that is why I am always fearful of a sudden attack and take a different route to work each day, in order to foil any al Qaeda snipers or any IEDs that may have been planted along my route.

My attempt at sarcasm was not appreciated, as is usually the case. They actually replied that the reason I did not have to take such evasive measures was because all the steps that Obama was taking to keep us safe were working. So clearly the conversation had gone well into Dick Cheney territory, someone whom they consider evil and had condemned when he was in office. But they seemed oblivious to that.

That exchange also reminded me of a 1996 episode of The Simpsons (unfortunately I could not find it online) in which the city of Springfield sets up a Bear Patrol in response to a bear sighting. Homer and Lisa have the following exchange while standing in front of their house.

Homer: Not a bear in sight. The Bear Patrol must be working like a charm.
Lisa: That’s specious reasoning, Dad.
Homer: Thank you, dear.
Lisa: By your logic I could claim that this rock keeps tigers away.
Homer: Oh, how does it work?
Lisa: It doesn’t work.
Homer: Uh-huh.
Lisa: It’s just a stupid rock.
Homer: Uh-huh.
Lisa: But I don’t see any tigers around, do you?
[Homer thinks of this, then pulls out some money]
Homer: Lisa, I want to buy your rock.

When your arguments in support of Obama have reached the level of Homer Simpson’s tiger repelling rock, you have hit bottom.


  1. MNb says

    “the effectiveness of the Obama propaganda system”
    I think there is more to it. After 8 years of Bush his opponents needed a leader. When Obama got voted I noticed his fans displayed the same attitude towards him as the Germans towards Hitler back then: finally we have a guy we can trust, who knows what’s best for us, who’s near to infallible. His fans have emotionally invested in Obama. Now they can’t afford to drop him – it would feel like betraying yourself.

  2. Jeffrey Johnson says

    Everything you wrote applies if you substitute Clinton for Bush, and Bush for Obama. And so on back in history. Not particularly enlightening. It’s basically just oversimplification and broad generalization that ignores particular facts in exchange for a comforting abdication of real thought.

    Anybody who makes an honest evaluation of the legislative accomplishments of the 111th Congress, if you are liberal or progressive, will find a great deal there to be very glad of.

    To have a President we don’t fear will receive commands from God to stage a full scale military invasion is a great relief. My feeling is that Bush was a singular disaster, probably one of the five worst Presidents ever, and that any President replacing him is a great relief. The transformation of American society between 2000 and 2008 is a pretty good record of evidence backing that up. Meanwhile I’ve seen gradual improvement from epic disaster to being at least within reach of real progress. Of course there is only one way that is going to happen: voters need to sustain support over the long term for the party fighting for that progress, but effectively stalled by Constitutional constraints and a lack of a clear majority in Congress. Too many on the left insist on purity and perfection or else they will withhold their fickle support. Republicans love that. A quick glance at political reality should be enough to see this is a self-defeating attitude, even though it may be politically correct and popular among peers.

    Sadly what happened was a big turnout in 2008, and a complete collapse in 2010 that has stalled any progress domestically. 2012 was not enough to overcome the disaster of apathy and stupidity we saw in the 2010 midterm. This failure is largely a product of the impatient lack of perspective represented by the kind of bland generalizations and incomplete analysis that your post typifies.

  3. Corvus illustris says

    MNb: his fans displayed the same attitude towards him as the Germans towards Hitler back then.

    Please read more carefully. The comparison is with the attitudes of fans of the respective persons, not the persons themselves.

    I must add that when I studied in Germany in the early 1960s I was amazed at the extent, even after the collapse in 1945, the firestorms, the partition, etc., to which this attitude hung on among the surviving then-older generation of Germans–and Austrians at the west end of that country. True fan-dom dies hard.

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