Obama's Broken Feedback Loop

How does a president learn and grow, if the press won't criticize him, and instead treats him as a god. Two articles published yesterday on Pajamas Media, taken together shed some light on the topic.  

Victor Davis Hanson's The Reckoning is a story about the beliefs Hanson developed while pursing his advance education and how they affected him.  He compares his return to run the family farm with Obama's entering the White House

Only someone who has not been in the real world, but only marketed rhetoric without consequences (e.g., if Obama had a bad day organizing, or legislating, was he fired?) could believe such things. In short, Obama reminds me a little of myself-at 26.

Hanson's tale of the bullying neighbor whose long term goal was to drive him off in order to buy the place cheap and how he tried to deal with his using the lessons learned in academia is priceless. 

Alas, I fear that Hanson has missed a key factor in his theory that Obama will also learn from experience. In addition to the fact that Obama is more than two decades older than Hanson was when Hanson tried to put the values of the faculty lounge into practice on a California farm, no one was telling Hanson each day that his efforts to deal with his neighbor were just great. 

My experience has been that typical academic lefties seldom learn from experience because they tend to surround themselves with other academic lefties who reassure them their ideas are just fine. The problems all lies with the knuckle dragging white trash who won't give those ideas a proper chance to work in the real world.   Those who keep receiving fulsome praise for efforts as opposed to results often have no reason to change. There comes a time when such thinking has become a habit that makes accepting reality increasingly difficult.  It is far easier to cocoon oneself deeper into that alternative universe where rhetoric is all that matters.

Perhaps the key factor that may hinder and even prevent Obama from learning in office is the news media. In Our Liberally Racist Media T.K. Farrow argues that a news media that desperately wants the nation's first African-American president to succeed has lowered the bar to the point where no honest criticism of any kind is being allowed.  

No liberal media member wants to be branded a dissident of Obama, much less be accused of dissenting for racial reasons. So even the liberal reporters who don't think Obama needs the help of the media have justifiable fear of being considered a hindrance to his agenda. And race, of course, is at the center of that fear.

The flip side of the lack of criticism is the hollow praise.  Back in February, 2007 in response to a question about whether the media had been piling on George W. Bush, Newsweek's  Evan Thomas responded  "Our job is to bash the president".  This week he called Obama "sort of god."  Both Jim Sleeper and Shelby Steele have written about the way well intended but undeserved and overly exaggerated praise by guilty white liberals has hampered blacks.  I can think of no finer example of this than the excessive gushing of our news media over Barack Obama.  It's as if the senior editors of our most distinguished media outlets have suddenly begun writing for Tiger Beat.  Name the teen idols that do much with their talent as adults. They are few in number because being worshipped seldom helps people develop their talents in useful ways. A president who enters the White House with no executive experience often benefits more from a bit of bashing than from breathless praise.

Victor Davis Hanson quickly learned that while his neighbor accepted his implied apology for the ethnic prejudices of his grandfather and agreed with all his fine words about reason and cooperation, the neighbor was stealing the precious water Hanson needed to make his farm show a profit!  It took Hanson a bit longer to learn that the way to stop it wasn't with more fancy words and appeals to reason, but with a padlock on the lateral that controlled the flow of communal water along with a threat to weld the gate permanently closed.

I worry that a president who receives excessive praise for his speeches while the results of his actions are all being laid at the feet of his predecessor is one who won't ever feel the need to make the transition from fine sounding words to padlocks. Hanson's conclusion about Obama is:

It is only a matter of when, under what conditions, how high the price we must pay, and whether we lose the farm before he gains wisdom about the tragic universe in which we live.

I fear that someone being called a god is someone who may be well along the road to thinking that he is already wise and that he doesn't make mistakes. 
How does a president learn and grow, if the press won't criticize him, and instead treats him as a god. Two articles published yesterday on Pajamas Media, taken together shed some light on the topic.  

Victor Davis Hanson's The Reckoning is a story about the beliefs Hanson developed while pursing his advance education and how they affected him.  He compares his return to run the family farm with Obama's entering the White House

Only someone who has not been in the real world, but only marketed rhetoric without consequences (e.g., if Obama had a bad day organizing, or legislating, was he fired?) could believe such things. In short, Obama reminds me a little of myself-at 26.

Hanson's tale of the bullying neighbor whose long term goal was to drive him off in order to buy the place cheap and how he tried to deal with his using the lessons learned in academia is priceless. 

Alas, I fear that Hanson has missed a key factor in his theory that Obama will also learn from experience. In addition to the fact that Obama is more than two decades older than Hanson was when Hanson tried to put the values of the faculty lounge into practice on a California farm, no one was telling Hanson each day that his efforts to deal with his neighbor were just great. 

My experience has been that typical academic lefties seldom learn from experience because they tend to surround themselves with other academic lefties who reassure them their ideas are just fine. The problems all lies with the knuckle dragging white trash who won't give those ideas a proper chance to work in the real world.   Those who keep receiving fulsome praise for efforts as opposed to results often have no reason to change. There comes a time when such thinking has become a habit that makes accepting reality increasingly difficult.  It is far easier to cocoon oneself deeper into that alternative universe where rhetoric is all that matters.

Perhaps the key factor that may hinder and even prevent Obama from learning in office is the news media. In Our Liberally Racist Media T.K. Farrow argues that a news media that desperately wants the nation's first African-American president to succeed has lowered the bar to the point where no honest criticism of any kind is being allowed.  

No liberal media member wants to be branded a dissident of Obama, much less be accused of dissenting for racial reasons. So even the liberal reporters who don't think Obama needs the help of the media have justifiable fear of being considered a hindrance to his agenda. And race, of course, is at the center of that fear.

The flip side of the lack of criticism is the hollow praise.  Back in February, 2007 in response to a question about whether the media had been piling on George W. Bush, Newsweek's  Evan Thomas responded  "Our job is to bash the president".  This week he called Obama "sort of god."  Both Jim Sleeper and Shelby Steele have written about the way well intended but undeserved and overly exaggerated praise by guilty white liberals has hampered blacks.  I can think of no finer example of this than the excessive gushing of our news media over Barack Obama.  It's as if the senior editors of our most distinguished media outlets have suddenly begun writing for Tiger Beat.  Name the teen idols that do much with their talent as adults. They are few in number because being worshipped seldom helps people develop their talents in useful ways. A president who enters the White House with no executive experience often benefits more from a bit of bashing than from breathless praise.

Victor Davis Hanson quickly learned that while his neighbor accepted his implied apology for the ethnic prejudices of his grandfather and agreed with all his fine words about reason and cooperation, the neighbor was stealing the precious water Hanson needed to make his farm show a profit!  It took Hanson a bit longer to learn that the way to stop it wasn't with more fancy words and appeals to reason, but with a padlock on the lateral that controlled the flow of communal water along with a threat to weld the gate permanently closed.

I worry that a president who receives excessive praise for his speeches while the results of his actions are all being laid at the feet of his predecessor is one who won't ever feel the need to make the transition from fine sounding words to padlocks. Hanson's conclusion about Obama is:

It is only a matter of when, under what conditions, how high the price we must pay, and whether we lose the farm before he gains wisdom about the tragic universe in which we live.

I fear that someone being called a god is someone who may be well along the road to thinking that he is already wise and that he doesn't make mistakes.