Kevin Williamson on the histrionic presidency:
You may agree 100 percent with the president’s position on gun control, but his stagey histrionics, his endless reliance upon human props, his cheap sloganeering, his emotionally driven hectoring: all of that bespeaks a very deep contempt for his audience, which is the American people. If he really believes that surrounding himself with adorable little tots is a substitute for substantive arguments for well-thought-out policy proposals, he thinks that the people — you people — are a bunch of rubes. Unhappily, 51 percent of the American people are happy to endorse his low view of them. There is something peculiar to political enthusiasts, a phenomenon I observed at both conventions this year: People in political audiences know that they are being manipulated, cynically and professionally — and they enjoy it. Obama’s admirers look up to him because he looks down on them, not in spite of the fact. There is something more at play than the mere admiration of stagecraft…
The magic of theater is that is has the power to overwhelm thought: For a moment, you forget that you are watching actors reciting lines that they have memorized and making scripted movements, and you are taken into the world of the play. Obama’s politics of histrionics — the little children, the Sandra Flukes, the imperial stage dressing — also is conceived with the goal of overwhelming thought. That tells you something about the president and what he stands for. The continued success of this traveling medicine show of a presidency tells you something about the American people.
He wrote that yesterday, not knowing that the White House was hours away from rolling out video of child props actually reciting lines. (It was thoughtful of them to include the P.S. from the little boy in blue about Obama doing his best.) The clips are another example of O being more aggressive in pushing his agenda in his second term, which will be egged on by a media that’s eager to see some fightin’ liberalism in the Oval Office, Josiah-Bartlet-style. I think there’s more to this than just that, though: One of the reasons he’s relying so heavily on kids, I suspect, is because he knows gun control is going nowhere in Congress. Less than 40 percent of the public thinks new laws will stop gun violence; Senate Democrats from red states are already headed for the exits. Obama can’t do much legislatively for his base here but he can, at least, reassure them that they’re morally superior to the opposition and that they, despite their entrenched, passionate support for abortion rights, care about The Children in a way conservatives never will. In fact, I’d bet cash money that there’ll be response ads from conservative groups aping the format of these on other issues that don’t work out as well for Democrats. The national debt is an obvious area to be mined, but it’d be just adorable to see a two- or three-year-old asking “Mistah Pwesident” to discontinue his support for infanticide. For the children. Pwetty pweeze?
The money line here from the little girl in red, summing up liberal ambitions eloquently: “No guns, no guns, no guns, no guns.” Exit question for Chris Christie: While you’re busy grandstanding about that NRA ad for your blue-state audience, any thoughts on Obama’s use of kids to carry his water agenda-wise? I vaguely recall you goofing on teachers’ union stooges who are quick to enlist kids when arguing that pay cuts for public-school teachers will damage their education. Okay to do that sort of thing on an issue where you agree with O?