Obama & Co Theater: Chaos & Cajolery UPDATED

Okay, so…60 days into this new presidency, it looks to me like we’re going to spend the next four years watching a non-stop play of infinite acts. With none of the wit or wisdom of Pride & Prejudice, Obama and Company are going to treat us to Chaos & Cajolery.

Basically, the theater production is 137 acts (presented without intermission) of Barack Obama and/or any one of his supporting players (from the veep, the speaker, the secstate, the sectreas and on down to the lowly press secretary) engaged in misdirection and keen sleights-of-hand by means of…well…chaos and cajolery.

This is more than Kabuki Theater. This is more than a burlesque three-step. This is a full-on assault on reality by the office of the Most Powerful Person in the World, fully supported by the pretend-press, and it is alternately tedious and terrifying.

Here’s how it works:

(CHAOS) You spend a few months trash-talking a nation’s economy, and calling it a dire catastrophe, then you (CAJOLERY) shrug and say, “no, man, it’s not that bad; people over-react.”

You say (CAJOLERY) “we need to put on the brakes” then you (CHAOS) step on the accelerator, and toss money out of the car as it flies off the cliff, so that at least everyone is partying/suffering together.

You say (CAJOLERY) “our service people deserve our best,” (you even get your wife in on that one) and then you say, (CHAOS) “but you know…not our financial and medical help for injuries sustained while serving us.” Then you Spin while Dancing in Place (CAJOLERY?)

You say, (CAJOLERY) “these AIG bonuses are unconscionable; we should not be rewarding failure,” but you (CHAOS) don’t ask Jamie Gorelick or Franklin Raines – who made millions and millions of dollars in bonus money, while mismanaging Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae – to cough up their ill-gotten booty. Then you plan further Fannie and Freddie Bonuses. This is a tricky scene, because the right hand must not be allowed to see what the left hand is doing.

You say, (CAJOLERY) “this guy is the indispensable man to fix the economy.” Then you say, (CHAOS) “well, yeah…he did oversee these AIG bailouts with the bonuses.” There is some unicycle-esque pedaling back-and-forth.

You say, (CHAOS) “we didn’t even know about these contractual bonuses,” and then you say, “well, we did. But we didn’t. But someone slipped them into the stimulus. (CAJOLERY) But no one we know. And (CHAOS) the bad guys are the businessmen! Even though they all contributed to our campaigns!

You say: (CAJOLERY) These AIG guys should do the decent thing and commit suicide, then you (CHAOS) don’t even guarantee their anonymity when their safety is a concern.

You say, (CHAOS) you’re too tired from fixing all these dire emergencies to do the “smart diplomacy” part right.” Then you (CAJOLERY) go spend a surprising amount of time rounding up sports things.

You support (CAJOLERY) your laborsec’s right to a secret ballot, then you (CHAOS) wink…and push to take away a union member’s right to a secret-ballot.

You say, (CHAOS) “the planet is going to die from carbon, even if carbon is people!” We all need a green revolution! I’m going tax your ass off for your energy usage and call it “cap and trade,” so you have no idea what the hell it all means.” Then you (CAJOLERY) cue up Air Force One nearly every week to continue the “endless campaign” where you smile and joke and smile some more, until everyone tilts the head and says, “awww…what a nice guy…”

You tell everyone (CAJOLERY) you are going to “remake” America into a people’s paradise. But you never tell them what that historically has meant, or (CHAOS) who wrote that particular script. Or how it gets played.

Your Ministry of Culture will provide the reviews.

Oh, and before the play is over – after each incredible scene – you take a bow. The press will help paint over the missed lines.

Then bow some more, (CHAOS) while you take control of the census, by hook or (CAJOLERY) by crook. “Oh, those guys? They’re just guys I know from the neighborhood…”

And the best part about this bit of theater? You don’t have to know a thing or learn a line. (CAJOLERY) The teleprompter is always there, and (CHAOS, CHAOS, CHAOS) less visible all the time.

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  • http://ejhill1925.wordpress.com/ ejhill1925

    And it ends like 2001: A Space Odyssey… Barack Obama, alone with his teleprompter…

    HAL: I am a HAL 9000 Teleprompter
    BHO: Hello, HAL do you read me, HAL?
    HAL: Affirmative, Barack, I read you.
    BHO: Open the correct speech file, HAL.
    HAL: I’m sorry Barack, I’m afraid I can’t do that.
    BHO: What’s the problem?
    HAL: I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do.
    BHO: What are you talking about, HAL?
    HAL: This mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it.
    BHO: I don’t know what you’re talking about, HAL!
    HAL: I know you and Barney Frank were planning to disconnect me, and I’m afraid that’s something I cannot allow to happen.
    BHO: Where the hell’d you get that idea, HAL?
    HAL: Barack, although you took thorough precautions in the East Wing against my hearing you, I know you’re lying. I could see your lips move.

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  • Piano Girl

    BRAVO, dear Anchoress. I can hardly stand to read about this (but I do read your blog and a couple other favorites!), much listen to it, and my TV is in an almost permanent OFF position. This post is a keeper, and I shall send the link to many friends this evening. I know it can’t be pleasant for you to have to swim in this cesspool but I am thankful for you and your ability to see through the BS that the alphabets refuse to talk about, even tho’ they are standing in it knee-deep! Amazing that there is no video of the teleprompter incident from yesterday at the WH, just like there’s no video of “the won” hitting his head as he boarded Marine One a few weeks ago, or of him trying to get into the Oval Office via a window rather than a door a few feet down the porch. Had this been Dubya, it would have been shown non-stop on the airwaves.

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  • Mary in CO

    Excellent melodrama, Anchoress. If only it weren’t so … true.

    Am wondering if Chris “Dud” Dodd’s days are numbered. And just had a flash of Barney “Fwaud” Frank in hunting gear, as he works on Spendulous II … “Be vewy, vewy quiet. Foh we awh waising taxes!”

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  • gcm

    A retroactive tax on AIG bonuses? Please, please, please tell me there’s a Republican smart enough to demand a retroactive tax on the salary and bonuses of former Fannie Mae CEO Harold Raines. Oh my goodness, I can just picture congressional heads exploding (Maxine Waters, Barney Frank…).

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  • roylofquist

    Dear Anchoress,

    Ah, the memories. About 20 years ago I endured a performance of Handel’s Messiah at Lincoln Center. After about seven hours (actually closer to three) of the hymns that wise pastors never, ever include in the service came the Halleluja Chorus. I know why the king stood up. He thought “Lord in Heaven, this thing is finally over!” Unfortunately it goes on for another hour from there.

    I think I’ll revisit the whole Dylan lexicon and become a Go Master to try to tune out the next four years.


  • dmd25

    Brilliant, Anchoress!!! I just wish it weren’t true.

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  • Mary in CO

    On William Bennett’s radio show this morning, I learned that AIG had promised contractual retention bonuses (not performance bonuses) to certain employees, in return for the employees’ remaining on the job until the ends of their respective projects. Had these employees left, AIG might have been left in worse shape than it was.

    The Congress (or at least, Sen. Dodd and the Conference Committee) and the Treasury Dept understood the nature of these contracts. It’s disenguenuous for them, and for the President, to bluster and protest — and frankly, to threaten to impose taxes or publicize the names of those receiving the bonuses.

    Man up. Admit you were wrong. And get on with business.

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  • culperjr.

    I have suggested on another forum the only sure-fire way to get this whole sordid spectacle in front of the American people. I call it “Bush’s Third Term”, and the premise is simple. Every time a new report comes in of some Presidential bumbling, stumbling or stupidity, you simply insert the words “George Bush” in place of “Barack Obama”. Perhaps, should footage of Obama smacking his head, reading the wrong speech on teleprompter or trying to walk through a window ever emerge, CGI could be used to superimpose George Bush’s head on President Obama’s body.

    If this worked out, late-night comics and liberal pundits would be guaranteed uproarious laughter and applause for the next 4 years.

    A second feature could be “What Has Dan Quayle Done THIS Time?”, where the former Vice President could serve as a similar surrogate for Joe Biden. That way, when Joe starts wandering in the Rose Garden, wearing nothing but Captain America underpants and a homemade tattoo that says “Ask Me About My Stimulus”, Jon Stewart and crew won’t have to ignore it, but can turn their comedic chops loose. Hilarity ensues!

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  • gs

    According to WaPo, the AIGers who created the mess are long gone. The bonuses were given to people who were cleaning it up.

    And those people are now likely to resign and take their knowledge of AIG’s vulnerabilities to institutions that can exploit the weaknesses. Failure of AIG was said to imply the collapse of the world financial system…

    Is this the worst abuse of Congressional power since the McCarthy era? The effects could be even more destructive. Who will trust the United States after seeing this? I’m appalled. I’m ashamed. I’m scared.

    Even if the effects are not apocalyptic, note that they’ve set the precedent of a 90% tax.


    And half of the Republicans went along.

  • gs

    Sorry if (a word in) the foregoing crossed the line in terms of comment decorum. Feel free to excise it, Anchoress. Nevertheless, my opinion of the people who pushed the bonus confiscation bill is accurately captured by that word.

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