Populism is a double edged sword. On the one hand it is a position of making the wishes of the common man more valid and to advance them. It is also a method of conducting misleading political discourse. So it has two faces – one face is the smiling one of concern, the other a mask used to cover a different reality. Let’s explore the dangerous one.
I am of the belief Obama and progressives employ simple populist platitudes in appealing to the most base level of voter’s minds. Did anyone hear of Rosie O’Donnell’s statement on the BP spill? Populist all the way. She ranted and raved that “call it whatever ya want – Socialism, Communism . . . the government needs to take over BP” (paraphrased). Such asinine sentiments are pure populism.
Repeating fallacious talking points is already contagious amongst the “barely paying attention” crowd. It’s how Hitler sold what he did to the relatively sophisticated Germans in the 1930’s. It’s how Lenin and his pals sold the Revolution to the Russian population, when the practical result in the end was a worse reality for the Russian peasantry. Populism is the political manifestation of “be careful for what you wish – you just might get it.” Did German’s do so well after following all the populist rhetoric?
Obama uses the most base level platitudes to build populist support for his administration, and then uses that seeming acceptance to do a great deal more than he is really legally charged with. The health care reform debate and passage over the screaming objection of the majorities is a perfect example of this most foul effort.
That the health system may have needed SOME reforms is not really debatable, but what happened between the citizen’s wish for a better system and the end result? Obama and the minions built a ground swell of populist support that was a minority in numbers but very loud in hyperbole. That and populist pressure won the day for his administration. The losers are the United States. Clearly in this case the populist appeal was rather harmful.
“Hope” is populist. “Change” is populist. Appealing to the electorate as one of them is populist. Obama is not the common man in any way. He’s not a regular guy who rose to prominence. He is calculating and deliberate. Not that that is necessarily bad, but his portrayal as one of us was dishonest. He is not one of us at all. Nothing about him speaks to rank and file Americans.
Like the two most infamous despots of the 20th Century, Stalin and Hitler, Obama’s past is a manufactured one. Stalin’s real name was not Stalin – Stalin means “steel”in Russian, and the truth is Stalin was Georgian. He manufactured a history of himself to cover his butt. Hitler too. Hitler’s past was ugly with controversy including real accusations of murder and add in homosexuality, which back then was seen as completely unacceptable in public life. And Hitler was an Austrian by birth, and while Germanic, he was not a German.
The point is all three of these men have histories that are manufactured to some degree. They were either the leaders or very important players in political ideologies that used populist rhetoric to gin up support by pointing a finger at others and screaming “They are not one of you! I am one of you!” See my point here?
Populism appeals to the simple minded. I know that’s harsh, but it’s still the truth. The reality is systems of modern government and economy are exceptionally complicated and to apply the populist rhetoric to such complex entities as if to say it is to actually cause the desired change to manifest, is a fool’s errand. I can scream ’til Hell freezes over for some change that suits me but my voice will not make it so.
Even if millions stood behind me and agreed with my platitudes would still not make the screamed for change a reality. And therein is the real problem. Do rockets lift off the ground because you or I say they should? No they do not. It requires tremendous effort and money to make it happen. A complicated series of events must go exactly as planned for it to become reality. Will my screaming for it make is so?
Same with governments and economies. They do not change because we demand it. They change because great effort was applied somewhere along the line. It’s exceedingly simple to see something ya wish were different and demand it be so. It’s a whole different cup of tea to see that desire to fruition. See how lamenting a working yet imperfect health care system can lead to all manner of things that were not what one really wanted?
Despite the Obama assurances, it has already been revealed that Obamacare will balloon deficits regardless of all the “deficit neutral” lies that were presented. See what I mean? That was populism in the flesh folks, and for it we will suffer greatly.
Allowing the complicated realities of running economies and governments to be sold by breaking it down as if to demand it makes it so, leads to what we currently enjoy. Whatever real adjustments the system may or may not need, the truth is it is far more complicated to bring about that than just demanding it by appealing to the general public at large. The general public has the political acumen of a turd – myself included in that. Politics are easy to talk about and very difficult to administer. It’s easy to scream for Green this and that, but is it possible for what one desires to be delivered because they desired it?
Perhaps I can best prove my point with a real world analogy. Say ya want to order that new “thing” on the Internet. So ya go to the seller’s page, enter your info, payment, and hit ENTER. Easy, no? Takes about 2 minutes and bingo, your “thingy” is on the way to your door. But do you have any idea of the complicated efforts going on behind the scenes to make that magic thing land on your doorstep? But for the efforts of hundreds the complicated series of events put in place and managed by them behind the scenes, that thing would not be dropped in your lap based upon your available cash and a desire for it.
That is the reality of populist rhetoric. It’s so easy to demand it but making it so is very, very difficult. The problems arise in delivery. I mean kids can scream for their parent’s to do this or that, but do kids understand what it takes for the parent to make their desire reality? Kids are populists. I want it cause it’s popular and it’s up to the folks to work out the difficult task of delivery.
Many a man or woman has been swayed with smooth talking. Who do you think PT Barnum was talking about when he said “A sucker is born every minute?” Barack Obama is very good at selling snake oil and he’s really poor at concocting the evil elixir in that damned pretty bottle. See the connections? The elixir in the bottle is not the magic cure all and to forward it is dirty game playing and to believe it is exceptional ignorance.