Obama — Alfred E. Newman or Dorian Gray

Guest Post by Monty Pelerin

My take on President Obama is that he is one sick puppy. But what if that assumption is incorrect?  What if there is method to his madness, a brilliance unseen? What if he is actually a genius, at least in terms of achieving his objectives? That possibility, to the extent true, presents serious issues for anyone trying to make sense of what is going on in Washington.

An interesting opinion regarding Barack Obama and the devolution of politics and freedom under his term is provided by Brian Wilson of Libertas Media. Brian is a  friend and commentator on the madness that is disguised as wisdom and civilization:

dorian grayalfred e neuman(2)A Different Take

From the Internet to the blog-o-sphere to E-zines to TV and radio chat shows, there is no shortage of opinions criticizing, ridiculing, psychoanalyzing our Fearless Leader. While taking different routes of reason, within acceptable boundaries one could conclude all of them accurate inasmuch as they share synonymous conclusions: Obama is a stumbling, bumbling fool, in over his head but with such a colossal ego or other psychologically dysfunctional handicaps is unable or unwilling to see the folly of his ways, much less accept the disastrous reality that he has created.

To virtually all the pundits, the Embarrassed on the Left and Giddy on the right, the upcoming midterm elections will be the left cross to the right uppercut in 2016 that does away with every socialist program and its stench that has engulfed and threatened the very existence of America.

In a recent article, some learned friends of mine tracked the significant events of the Obama administration – from the so-called “stimulus “in 2009 to the most recent scandal cum embarrassment, the instantly infamous “Saving Private Bergdahl” (MAD Magazine) and the 5-for-1 “Wow! What-A-Deal!” deal. With each individual event, my friends concluded

Every act, every initiative, every landmark development is the same. They all have enormous production value. They all carry massive price tags. And they all fall flat, to say the very least. Everything is for show. Nothing of substance is accomplished.Yet everything comes at a steep, steep cost.”

Who could successfully argue the point? For that matter, who could successfully argue against any of the boat load of opinion pieces that condemn the president for acting like a king – only in this case, the King of Hubris?

Well…I can.

What if they’re all wrong? What if we are the ones suffering with hubris? What if we are the fulfillment of Pogo’s observation: “We have met the enemy – and it is us.”?

In a recent discussion, I raised this question: What if all that we are witnessing, discussing, condemning is, in fact, the sum total of the Obama 3 Ring Circus? In fact, to P. T. Barnum’s famous “there’s a sucker born every minute” line, isn’t it possible – even probable – Obama & Company are playing us for the “Sucker” role?

Think about it….

While certainly fitting the diagnosis of blowhard, narcissist, incompetent, sociopath… Couldn’t the reality more accurately be: “No, Sucker, you got the part foolishly thinking we were just out of our league. Fact is this has been the game plan all along. You remember Alinsky, Cloward, Piven et al? Didn’t I tell you we were going to ‘fundamentally change America’? Didn’t I tell you my plan to shut down the coal biz and raise your utility bill? Don’t you remember ‘you can keep your doctor and health care plan. Period.’? Transparency? Hell, I’ve been telegraphing every one of my punches since my first stump speech. The ones that didn’t land? OK…a little embarrassing…but, hey – I just shrugged it off, said SQUIRREL! and my friends in the press did the rest…along with your own ADD, of course”

So why isn’t that the plan? Not part of the “popular narrative”? Contradicts the All-American Rule  of Law Paradigm? For someone who routinely complains about a recalcitrant Congress and then rips off a few executive orders circumventing it, why would a reasonably objective analysis not lead to the conclusion this guy has a lot more unpleasant surprises up his sleeve? After all, who is going to stop him? Congress doesn’t have the necessary body parts or legal apparatus to effectively move against him. Even if they did, any substantive legal action would have to be taken by Attorney General Eric “Waco Whitewash” Holder. When you consider Klapper, Sebelius, Lerner, Clinton and the rest of the Obama outlaws flipping off Congressional subpoenas and Contempt charges, roaming the streets with impunity, would you face palm yourself bloody in surprise if the AG was just “too busy to get around to it”? Even if Boehner/ Pelosi/Reid/McConnel allowed the Congressional process to move accordingly?  Well? Anyone? Buehler?

Between Bush’s Patriot Act to the NDAA and now Holder’s just announced  “war” on “domestic  terrorists” via The Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee, what Congressional committee, law, rule, regulation or any legal plumbing  would prevent Obama from declaring martial law at the drop of an ASP Baton? Black swan event? Acid indigestion?  By using the Administration’s patented “Ignore Button”, all the lousy ratings in all the public opinion polls have not adjusted his course one wit. So “public opinion” is a big nonstarter. Petitions? Face Book pages? Letters to Congressman/Senators/Editorial Boards? All as deadly and effective as a water balloon on an elephant hunt.

With everyone unilaterally tossing in the towel by chalking up the demise of America to a former “community organizer” with a lousy personality, psychological dysfunction and superior incompetence, I think there is ample proof for a contrary and, yes, accurate conclusion. People are indeed connecting the dots but the picture that’s coming into their focus is Alfred E Newman.

I’m seeing Dorian Gray.

Mr. Wilson’s hypothesis is as consistent with observed outcomes as the alternative “bumbler-in-chief” meme.  As one who has actually used Alfred E. Newman as a prototype for this president, I had interest in the Dorian Gray alternative.

Behavior and Motivation

Human behavior is purposeful. It represents action intended to attain goals.  Behavior is observable;  goals are not. Goals and motivation must be inferred.

The distinction between behavior and motivation is important. When we characterize someone’s behavior as “senseless” or “crazy,” it is in reference to the achievement of some goal or goals. We usually assume that these goals are similar to our own and that such behavior has no chance of attaining them. But, what if our goals are not the goals of the actor we are judging? If this person is pursuing different goals than we assume, then his behavior may be entirely rational and effective.

It is the unknown goal(s) that make the judgment of someone’s behavior dubious.

Alfred E. Newman or Dorian Gray

Those of us who view President Obama as incompetent and likely to be viewed as our worst president yet, assume his goals are consistent with our own. That is, we assume that he wants to improve things in line with traditional American values. Beginning with that assumption as his goal, we conclude that he is an Alfred E. Newman character. His actions and behavior have no chance of attaining these goals. Hence we assume that he must be hopelessly inept.

If, however, we viewed Obama’s goal as destroying the country (at least in terms of traditional ideals), then our evaluation of his actions would be different. While we might no approve of his goals, the effectiveness of action must be judged as to whether it advances the football closer to the goalpost. In that respect, Obama’s behavior no longer looks inept but calculated and advancing his agenda.  If the first approach might be termed the Alfred E. Newman one, then this second one would be the Dorian Gray approach.

Depending on what you assume his objectives are, you have vastly different assessments of his competence and success. In pursuit of the goals you believe are important, he appears to be a  bumbling, incompetent fool. In the other case, he has achieved rather significant successes.

The Alfred E. Newman inference implies incompetence rather than different goals. The Dorian Gray hypothesis infers goals not consistent with the perceived interests of the country, at least as defined by most citizens. Alfred E. Newman is assumed to be seeking the proper goal. His incompetence prevents him from being successful.  Dorian Gray is pursuing goals that are different from those normally assumed. The pursuer of wrong goals can still be an Alfred E. Newman in terms of capabilities. One would hope that would be the case.  In such an instance, the law of unintended consequences actually works for the country.

My guess is that we have a bit of both at work with Barack Obama. He is Dorian Gray, but he is also Alfred E. Newman, at least in terms of administrative and managerial abilities. Regardless of what goals are being pursued, incompetence is not an aid to attaining them.

9 thoughts on “Obama — Alfred E. Newman or Dorian Gray”

  1. The greatest theme in The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891) is Aestheticism and its conceptual relation to living a double life. Throughout the story, the narrative presents aestheticism as an absurd abstraction, which disillusions more than it dignifies the concept of Beauty. Despite Dorian being a hedonist when Basil accuses him of making a “by-word” of the name of Lord Henry’s sister, Dorian curtly replies, “Take care, Basil. You go too far. . . .”; thus, in Victorian society, public image and social standing do matter to Dorian. Yet, Wilde highlights the protagonist’s hedonism: Dorian enjoyed “keenly the terrible pleasure of a double life”, by attending a high-society party only twenty-four hours after committing a murder.

    Moral duplicity and self-indulgence are evident in Dorian’s patronising the opium dens of London. Wilde conflates the images of the upper-class man and lower-class man in Dorian Gray, a gentleman slumming for strong entertainment in the poor parts of London town. Lord Henry philosophically had earlier said to him that: “Crime belongs exclusively to the lower orders . . . I should fancy that crime was to them what art is to us, simply a method of procuring extraordinary sensations” — implying that Dorian is two men, a refined aesthete and a coarse criminal. That authorial observation is a thematic link to the double life recounted in The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886), by Robert Louis Stevenson, a novella admired by Oscar Wilde.

  2. After Releasing Terrorists and Arming Them With Stinger Missiles, Obama Rails Against Guns to Promote a “Safer Society”

    My memory may not be the best, but didn’t the biggest mass-murder in history occur on 9/11/2001 when 3,000 people perished at the hands of Islamofascists?

    Coming then as it does on the heels of the release of five of the most vicious, bloodthirsty terrorist generals in history, Obama’s latest anti-Constitutional screed strikes me as unintentionally idiotic.

    President Barack Obama Tuesday suggested that the U.S. government should follow Australia’s example in dealing with shooting sprees, which involved strict gun bans on semiautomatic and automatic weapons.

    Gee, doesn’t the U.S. have a Second Amendment which protects the government from encroaching on the citizens’ right to keep and bear arms? And isn’t Australia missing such a citizen protection clause in their highest law?

    “Australia had a mass shooting [in 1996] similar to Columbine and Newtown, and just said, ‘That’s it, we’re not seeing that again,’ and basically imposed very severe tough gun laws and they haven’t had a mass shooting since,” Obama said, after he was asked for his reaction to recent shooting episodes in California and Oregon. Those laws included the confiscation of nearly all handguns and rifles.

    You mean gun control like that enacted by Chicago and Washington, DC which have both banned handguns for decades?

    But the country needs “commonsense rules in place that make a dent in what’s happening,” he said, after an emotional appeal to the students and young people who were watching the Tumblr broadcast, which was advertised as a question-and-answer session about student debt… “My greatest frustration so far is that this society has not been willing to take some basic steps to keep guns out of the hands of people you know who can do just unbelievable damage,” he said.

    You mean like keeping firearms away from the mentally ill, as the NRA has repeatedly suggested? Basic steps like that, which might require committing the truly insane as we did before the ACLU and the rest of the left wing radicals got their hands on the mental health system?

  3. We are all fallen creatures. Everyone is part Dorian Grey.Moral duplicity and self indulgences come with our flesh……Matt:26:41..watch and pray ,lest you enter into temptation . The spirit (human)is willing , but the flesh is weak.Some people fight the evil within while some give in to their evil desires.James 1:13,14…each man is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then,when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin ,and sin when it is full grown, brings fourth death
    We are all enticed by the sinful desires in our own hearts.Dorian grey was drawn into a life of sexual and drug idolatry because he gave into his flesh. AWD knows , ask him.

  4. All American Presidents are figureheads. The decisions are made for them, on the consensus of their handlers, who put them where they are. Obama isn’t nearly smart enough to be a character in an Oscar Wilde novel, or to have some dark hidden agenda. Every decision is made now based on how many votes it might buy. Nothing else matters in the world of politics anymore.

    He is who he appears to be. The President Affirmative Action gave us.

    The real problems for any man elected President are these:

    “How do you fix problems that aren’t fixable?”

    “How do you do anything for the people when you owe your soul to the banksters?”

    “How do you maintain the status quo when the country is way past bankrupt?”

    No one except an egotistical idiot would even want the job. Failure is guaranteed. The game is completely rigged, and the outcome is certain. Only the timetable is in question.

  5. The FSofA created by 80+ year of socialism is way past its “sell-by” date. The “rough beast” slouches onward and the day of its “birth” is at hand. BC-LR to all

  6. Suicide By Congress

    June 10, 2014

    Monty Pelerin

    “Suicide by Cop” is a term that describes the intentional behavior of a person wanting to be shot and killed by police. Wikipedia describes it this way:

    Suicide by cop is a suicide method in which a suicidal individual deliberately acts in a threatening way, provoking a lethal response from a law enforcement officer or other legitimately armed individual, such as being shot to death.[1]

    Barack Obama seems to be applying this concept to a higher level. Obama may be attempting “suicide by Congress.” No bullets are involved in this scenario. Impeachment, the equivalent of political death, ends this threatening behavior.

    Obama increasingly seems to dare Congress to initiate impeachment hearings against him. He routinely bypasses them, violating their authority and the Constitution as well. He also delights in taunting them, threatening with his pen and phone.

    Is this a strategy with some unknown purpose? Is Obama more delusional than many believe?

    By my count, there are now 26 scandals, some more serious than others. Probably a half-dozen of these are impeachable offenses were Congress to move. Nixon was impeached for a cover-up and IRS “indiscretions.” Obama’s actions in these two areas alone are worse than Nixon’s? The nation’s moral and ethical decline is not enough to explain the pass he has thus far received. Democrat loyalty and control of the Senate is probably the best answer. However, both these stopgaps could change after the 2014 mid-terms.

    The VA scandal continue to grow. This issue galvanized the public in ways that other scandals did not. It is probably the least threatening to Obama. Incompetence and fake books at the VA preceded him, and there is no evidence that suggests he intentionally made matters worse.

    The Bowe Bergdahl incident also resonates with the public. Perhaps it was the straw that brought the entire facade of competence and integrity issues of the Obama presidency down. There was only one person responsible for that decision and it was Barack Obama. Nothing else has responsibility defined so clearly. Rather than explain the reasons why the exchange occurred and why it might be in the interests of the United States, the Administration lies and stonewalls. Joseph Miller identifies eight White House lies with respect to the Bergdahl affair.

    Obama’s behavior is bizarre. It always has been. Is his Messianic complex responsible for behavior that looks like suicide by Congress? Has his delusional side taken over? Or, is he looking at the clock and realizing that all that stands between him and displacing Jimmy Carter as the worst president in modern history?

    The big question is how much more of this behavior is required before Congress acts? My guess is no more. The 2014 election results will make it permissible for Democrats to abandon their guy.

  7. “The big question is how much more of this behavior is required before Congress acts? My guess is no more.”

    My guess is he’ll be in office until the 2017 Inauguration. Unless we nuke Iran this weekend, which is a distinct possibility.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

You can add images to your comment by clicking here.