Atomic Stupidity: Obama has all the Numbers! – UPDATE

In telling the GOP to use the Obama playbook, yesterday, did Mark Thiessen calculate poorly in his Washington Post piece? He’s a very smart man, but I suspect he did:

Thiessen’s recommendation makes a deadly miscalculation: He forgets that Obama’s single-minded pursuits are fully backed and protected by the mainstream press.

Whether in print or broadcast, our increasingly lofty and elitist media are a little like the FDIC to Obama’s commercial bank; they provide insurance and coverage. They differ from the FDIC only in conditions and limits, because where this president is concerned, the media have none. Although he displays little respect for their assistance, Obama’s deposits are always accepted; his withdrawals are penalty-free and he is never asked to fill out a form, repay with interest or show two forms of ID.

There was a moment during the ’12 campaign where I understood with absolute certainty that Mitt Romney could never win the presidency, despite all the optimistic blog headlines. It was knowledge derived not from Romney’s weirdly beige campaign, flawed as it was, but by what I was seeing in my twitter feed, in the back-and-forth conversations among members of the press. It was already clear to anyone half-conscious that the press was actively working for Obama, but when Romney dropped his “47%” remark, the mainstream media glee was something breathtaking to behold: they had the political stiletto they needed to finish Romney off — or they believed Obama had it — and they could not contain their excitement. I even remarked to one fellow that I’d never seen him so beside himself, after which he toned it down a little. Recall, after Obama’s first, listless debate, how infuriated the press was that the president’ hadn’t used that talking point.

The mainstream media is what’s missing from Thiessen’s calculation:

As a college professor once informed me in bright red ink, “you cannot do mathematics if you don’t have all the numbers”, and any reconfiguration on the part of the GOP must acknowledge that, currently, the essential component of the press is unavailable to them; hence, their math will not work:

“My Will, Squared, times Digging-in-Heels, divided by [Executive Order] only equals “Glorious Victory” when it contains a cosine “D” and is calculated with a vector + MSM.

The same equation: “My Will, Squared, times Digging-in-Heels, divided by [Executive Order] with a cosine “R” and + ALT vector can never, ever equal “Glorious Victory”; it will instead calculate—as we have seen repeatedly since at least 1992—as “Imperialistic Arrogance, Brusque Tone-deaf” with a straggly and useless remainder of “Out of Touch.” [...]
Thiessen is an intelligent man, but the calculation he offers is so fundamentally flawed that were it a cartoon it might be called Atomic Stupidity. Picture Huey, Dewey, and Louie fighting at the chalkboard, with Uncle Donald breaking yardsticks in rage, while Pluto and Goofy are using the correct formulation and launching an A-bomb in their direction, even as they squabble.

Post-impact, they stagger around in disorientation, because they are cartoons, and do not realize that they are actually dead.

I’m pretty sure that’s the case, that Obama’s single-minded persistence has, with a great deal of help from the press (and a steady assist from the Republicans, themselves) effectively vaporized the GOP; I’m not sure they can ever succeed when they are fighting amongst themselves even as trained, lock-stepping adversaries in the press, popular media and the academy have them surrounded.

But, as per Glenn Reynolds, there may be one more move on the drawing board. You’ll have to go to First Things to find out what it might be!

UPDATE: Matt Lewis has more thoughts on the incuriosity of the press when it comes to Obama.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Fiestamom

    I like Instapundit’s idea, but I wonder if it would work. The liberal snarkers led by Gawker, and pretty much the rest of the media would immediately go to work on delegitimizing an outlet like that. I can just see the Morning Joe crew making fun of the “hamhandedness” of something like that. Even though Gawker and Morning Joe would never make fun of liberals who believed Romney was going to outlaw tampons, for crying out loud. Can snark and irony ever be defeated?

    I’m glad you pointed out the weakness in Thiessen’s piece. I’m surprised he didn’t think of it. The Beltway is such a cozy club, I think conservatives don’t want to call out the media bias. Their kids probably go to school together, their spouses meet for lunch, etc. It’s a cliche to being up the phrase “cocktail parties” , but I wonder….

  • Mary

    They ridicule Fox, but they still report more towards the center now that they have competition.

  • Antonio

    There are other political parties. You can even start your own. Why not escape the political dualism of Democrat/Republican. Why do we not talk about the political premises that drive our politics.

    Example 1 – You must vote your conscience. This is a good political premise.
    Example 2 – You must choose the best candidate that is most likely to win (or, the lesser of 2 evils). This is a bad political premise and contravenes the first example I provided.

    I can’t help thinking that if so many the country were not wearing the blinders of having to vote against someone, versus voting for someone, this would be a better country. Why can’t we take a lesson from Mother Theresa’s playbook, and be for the good of this country rather than against someone else’s disordered vision of what that good might be.

  • michaelp71

    I thought that duck was Glenn Beck…my bad – O:-)

  • Manny

    You are absolutely right about the hole in Thiessen’s argument. Who says the GOP don’t have conviction politicians? In fact I thought we were criticized because we won’t budge off our convictions. Theissen’s argument is all wet. You are right. Both parties were ready to take the country over the cliff, but no matter what the outcome the Republicans were de facto going to get the blame. It was predestined by THE MEDIA!

  • Douglas Johnson

    For some reason my main point was censored at First Things so I will try to recreate it here.

    I have thought of an analogy. In my analogy, “the military” will take the place of “the media.” Imagine, if you will, that counties don’t have armies, but rather there is this disinterested thing called “the military” that does the actual fighting. Countries still have philosophers, historians, strategiests, religions, national borders, and most especially war, but they don’t have armies.

    What happens is this: One country decides they don’t like the way things are and they then decide to go to war with another country. At that point they get their smartest people together to make war plans, strategize battles, design uniforms, etc. and when all that’s done they take their stuff to “the military” and tell them to get going with the plan. Likewise, the country being invaded does all the same things and hands their defensive strategy over to “the military.” At that point the idea is that “the military” will put these two plans into action with actual fighting. When all is said and done the best ideas and strategies win.

    But imagine if after a half century or so of hiring the best historians and strategists, the United States managed to lose every battle even when going against the worst laid plans. In an attempt to get to the bottom of this Americans start talking to people in “the military” and lo and behold it turns out that “the military” is mostly composed of people who don’t like the United States. In fact for most of them, it was because of their dislike of the United States that they decided to join “the military” in the first place.

    Suddenly we’d realize that all those years of studying strategy and logistics and resource development, etc. was a total waste of time because “the military” was planning to stage an American defeat no matter what. Just to keep us coming back for more they might have staged some close battles along the way, but in the end, they were determined to defeat us.

    At that point we’d realize that there is nothing we can do with the current setup. Even if we bought a few branches of “the military” it wouldn’t do much good because the people who do the best military work would move to another branch. Remember, they joined “the military” in the first place to defeat the United States. What would we do? Would we continue handing over our strategies to “the military” while now complaining that “the military” shouldn’t be so “biased”? Would we go to war and then after losing to some little Caribbean country, would we shout “SEE?! This PROVES ‘the military’ is biased!” and then go on doing the same thing again for the next battle?

    I think we’d stop worrying about these other countries we go to war with and instead realize that our enemy is really “the military.”

    Okay, i don’t know if that was a total waste of 15 minutes or if it puts the problem in a different light. All I know is that First Things saw fit to censor it!

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