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Duck season

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Bugs Bunny knew. Perception is reality. Or at least it is as close to reality as you may need to get. Who cares if it is Wabbit Season? That is merely the arbitrary designation of some bureaucrat somewhere who probably never held a shotgun in his life. The problem is Elmer Fudd. If he thinks it is Wabbit season then Bugs is skinned and fried. If he thinks it is Duck season, well, then it is time for a larf and the relish of the crackle of roasted duck.

The President currently suffers in part from a similar problem to Daffy Duck. As he felt the need to inform us last week, contrary to some assertions, he cannot, repeat NOT swim down to the gurgling hole that was once under the Deep Water Horizon and slurp up the offending goo with a straw. So, not only is he not Superman, he is not even Aquaman! He is not even a benchwarming superhero who controls hydrocarbons. Nope, he is no Tar Baby either though we may long and pray for such a caped, gooey crusader.

This comes as an existential shock to some, most notably in the media. Keith Olberman did a head-faking bitch slap stating, “Yeah, this was a great speech, if you’ve been on another PLANET for the last fifty-seven days!” Oof! Coming out of the blue and from his own bleachers this had to ring Obama’s bell. And Olby was no one-off. His interlocutor, one Chris Matthews indicts Obama mercilessly and not merely from the Left but also objects that the Gulf events and a few others show the Odministration to lack basic competence. Across the Left half of the political spectrum the guns are turned towards Obama and we know how the guns of the Right are aimed.

What has happened? It falls to the proto-typical squish, Peggy Noonan to speak some truth to sour. She endorses Obama’s confession of mere humanity and declares him a victim of events and, even more, of over-blown expectations. But even this out and proud Reaganite does not delve deeply into the why. Perhaps because we all know already.

So where were the Olbermans and Matthewses and Maddows of this world yesteryear? Unless you have had an amateur amygdylotomy lately you recall that Matthews, for instance, attested that after a particularly soaring oration from Barack that he was experiencing something known decades ago as The Vapors. Today we see this often in crowds of younglings when Justin Bieber or a celebrity vampire makes an appearance. It is an ecstasy, partly sexual but completely emotional, that consumes rationality and produces shrieking approbation. Does anyone recall the routine announcement by Obama from the stage that some flutter-hearted attendee had passed out from exhilaration? We may forgive this in a fourteen year old girl who dreams of being spirited off by Robert Pattison, and perhaps even in a guileless attendee at a political event but Matthews is supposed to be not just an adult but a trusted mediator of public knowledge and public opinion.

No need to single out Matthews here, he is of a piece. Last year’s choir has become a surly mob. The facade of near unanimity in the nation was always just that but now as the plaster crumbles, undone by the unforeseen and unforeseeable the mediocracy coughs in the dust and claims they knew it all along.

Olberman makes a peculiarly vicious about turn. He is right along with Obama… mmm. Okay. Grandiose promises, that’s great. Castigation of wreckers and anti-progress trogs… good, tasty. But then… nothing. No policy specifics. Isn’t this shocking to hear? he asks the camera.

Well moron, it is many things but shocking it ain’t. Go to your archivist and spool any Obama address from the campaign and you will find it nearly indistinguishable from the disastrous burps of the other night except that it earned hosannas not just from the usual suspects at MSNBC and Emily’s List but also the pet Righties within the citadel like David Brooks.

But with the pulling off of one placard revealing another beneath, it is no longer Wabbit season; a merry turning of all arms against the shivering W, it is now Duck season. And even the PETA types seem loaded with steel shot. Even a devoted opponent of the President like myself cannot help but feel him a bit misused. Sure, according to me and plenty of others Obamism always was an unworkable fantasy at best and a flouting of the laws of history and the nation at worst but that is not what these current malcontents said, oh no. Obama was of course The One We’ve Been Waiting For. Not surprisingly The One echoed this back that his supporters were The Ones You Had Been Waiting For. Now the wait is over and the denouement is something less than a cost-free lowering of the seas and provision of lollipops. Has Obama changed? No. He marcheth on. And he marcheth Leftwards as hard as ever he may, not quite as hard as Roosevelt but there were no internets then.

So what has happened? The foreseen and the foreseeable: Reality has taken a nasty bite out of the unicorn. Do the supporters accept this and admit that there must be some compromise, if not with the hellish Republicans then at least with circumstances? Absolutely not. Do they state forthrightly that they did not leave the President but the President left them? Oh no. They just change the tune in midstep. Their sarcasm and bile has been pent up painfully since Bush left the field. There is only one target of suitable grandeur about and he sits at the Buck Stop. Who knew?

Anyone who followed this gruesome business, that is who. The above examples are only that. The phenomenon has occurred high and low. The Messiah is brought down and even his followers have turned against Him, some from the pain of shattered hopes but mostly it is just the psychology of the scrum. The pack has fixed on their leader and scent blood. For the most part it is as simple as that.

They do not and never will know that their support was as vapid and opportunistic as their current complaints but since these come abruptly and unexplained they are also cowardly, mendacious and low. Olberman yearns for specifics from Obama but how specific is his objection? And if there were meticulous specifics there would be as fragmented a support for them especially on the Left as is the new opposition monolithic. Of course this is the conventional art of politics, the art not only of the possible but of the salable. Mr Obama famously declared himself uninterested, even above conventionality in his profession and much of his appeal across the spectrum was the hope that he would forever remove Machiaveli from the formula.

Ooops! The laws of politics, not quite but nearly as immutable as those of physics have beset Charlemagne, Lincoln and Churchill. They are not overly impressed with Barack Obama. We can in part forgive Obama’s belief that they would be, especially as his supporters in media declared it so but now he is suddenly alone on the summit. Truman would have sympathised but Bugs Bunny would smirk. It is as simple as a posted sign as long as it is read and heeded. Brother, it is Duck season and in case you didn’t know it, that’s you.

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