“Fox News is Obama’s Only Friend” from LastingLiberty

Hat Tip to Harry.

“At the White House, as we like to say, we love MSNBC.”
-Kareem Dale, special assistant to the president for arts and culture and a key White House advisor on disability policy.  4 May 2009

It’s no secret that like-minded people enjoy each other.  Indeed, this weekend, LastingLiberty editors attended the Philadelphia Society conference in Indianapolis on the “Pursuit of Truth”.  It would be hard to assemble a larger group of philosophical conservatives, and we felt right at home, nodding our heads in synch as the speakers satisfied our appetites.

Enjoying as we did the chorus of choir preachers, we were reminded of a problem that plagues many people; that is, though it is fun to listen to those who reflect our beliefs, echoes eventually make people crazy.  Without listening to dissenting voices, beliefs gradually become more radical and irrational.

Nowhere is this phenomenon more evident than in Hollywood and Washington.  Actors go to parties with other liberal actors where they talk the same tripe.  They give each other awards for courageously promoting what they all believe.  They see the admiration, hear the clapping, and begin to believe their own lie.  “I really am a foxy yet serious superhero,” she says.  “You love me . . . you really love me.”  Politicians are a similar lot.  They write self-promoting memoirs, give speeches to adoring crowds.  When the spotlight is on and the crowd is in a roar, they can’t help but embrace their godlike status . . . “I am the one they’ve been looking for.”

There’s a joke going around the Internet about the difference between God and Obama.  The difference, so goes the punch line, is that God doesn’t believe he’s Obama. The joke plays off what many already think about Obama, that he is arrogant enough to believe his own rhetoric—that he really believes he can heal America and save the world from the evils of war, disease, and pollution.

People like Obama who believe so strongly in themselves are particularly sensitive to criticism and often fall prey to groupthink.  History is full of powerful men whose egos robbed them from the wisdom of others.  One is reminded of Neville Chamberlain who, because of his pride, surrounded himself with sycophants.  Chamberlain was a brilliant administrator and by all accounts a smart man.  But he loved himself too much and dismissed those who did not share his admiration.   Instead of listening to wide ranging counsel, he embraced yes men and spurned able ministers (especially Churchill) who warned of the growing threat of Nazi aggression.  The result was a Britain drastically unprepared when war inevitably came.

In Obama’s case, the yes men are not only in the White House, they are in the media as well.  The administration’s love affair with MSNBC (see opening quote) and its disdain for Fox News is evidence the Obama team is guilty of collective rationalization, a term used to describe organizations that insulate themselves from the wisdom and benefit of criticism.  Even if Obama cannot stomach Glenn Beck or Sean Hannity, at the very least, he should respect the opinions of fair-minded thinkers such as Wallace, Krauthammer, and Hume.  Sadly, Obama seems willing to paint all his critics with the same brush; they are foes of real reform and, as Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson so eloquently put it, “enemies of America”.

Obama’s handling of the health care debate is further evidence of his willfully blind self-assurance.  Particularly telling is Obama’s dismissive and trite handling of opposition voices.  Instead of listening to his critics respectfully, Obama is put off by what he sees as disingenuous attempts to diminish him politically.  According to Obama, opponents of his plan are simply playing “politics of the moment” and trying to “delay reform” to “score political points.” In other words, Obama believes the debate is not about limited government or deficit spending or personal responsibility.  The debate is about him.

As the writer of Proverbs 15 instructs:

“A mocker resents correction;
he will not consult the wise . . .

Plans fail for lack of counsel,
but with many advisers they succeed.”

We all have bad ideas.  But we hopefully have friends who tell us they are bad. This Administration needs such a friend.  His first task would be to tell Joe Biden it is a bad idea to “spend money to keep from going bankrupt.”   His second task would be to tell Obama that subsidization never lowers costs, that government programs are inherently wasteful, and that Americans still believe in individual responsibility and freedom from government coercion.  A true friend would be honest about the dangers of government seizing the health care industry or about the real limits of soft power.  The real friends of Obama are those who dissent.  The real friends are those who tell the truth and refuse to fall in line—such as the broadcasters at Fox.  In this sense, at least in television, Fox News is the only real friend Obama has.

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