The Politics Of Delusional Pundits On Delusional Pundits

I do dearly love my PDA phones and the great material I find on the Internet while using it. Quite often, stories that tend to be lower priority on the regular net are higher up on the wireless web. Such as this story of delusion

Every now and then in American politics, normally balanced people get swept up by delusions of greatness about a presidential candidate, based on an emotional attachment to the candidate’s oratory or image. The youthful William Jennings Bryan brought down the house and swept up the nomination with his famous “Cross of Gold” speech at the Democratic National Convention in 1896 — only to be crushed by the dreary William McKinley in November.

Political journalists have never been immune to the delusional style. But editorialists and pundits are supposed to be skeptical experts, who at least try to appear as if they base their perceptions in facts and reality. Enthusiasm for a candidate because of his or her “intuitive sense of the world,” “intuitive understanding,” and discovery of “identity” — the favored terms in some recent press endorsements of Barack Obama — is presented as the product of such discerning, well-considered thinking. But it is in fact nothing more than enthusiasm, based on feelings and projections that are unattached to verifiable rational explanation or the public record.

Well, true. So much of today’s politics are based on feelings, the way a candidate looks, dresses, talks, and how they speak to your inner person. Not so much on what a candidate really stands for. In this, Sean Wilentz, from The New Republic, as published at cBS News (there’s a shocker!) is correct. Substance loses out to style. How the ice cream looks is more important then how it tastes. That pretty presentation at the fancy restaraunt becomes more important then the fact that you are getting about 3 ounces of meat and spending quite a bit on it. Viva la backyard barbecue!

But, what happens when the writer himself becomes delusional?

In recent years, pundits from across the political spectrum — and not just in politics — have denigrated informed and reasoned decision-making in favor of hunches, snap judgments, instincts, and what the upscale middlebrow’s favorite trendspotter, Malcolm Gladwell, defends as “instant intuition.” The political pundits have praised candidates based on their projections about the candidates’ characters, personalities, and inner lives — and what they imagine about the candidates’ instincts. Possessed by a will to believe in somebody, the pundits intuit intuition. It is the delusional style in American punditry.

Ready? (FYI, some paragraphs are shortened, just included the relevant material, though I have tried not to lose the flavor of said paragraphs)

The style was particularly prominent during George W. Bush’s rise to the presidency. Although Bush had a thin record on domestic matters as governor of Texas, no record whatsoever on foreign policy, and things to hide about his past, none of it mattered.

Yet today, after seven disastrous years of the Bush experience,…….They have turned the delusional style into a rallying cry — in support, at least for the moment, of the candidacy of Barack Obama and his allegedly superior intuition. 

….. it is striking how Zakaria’s admiration for Obama is based in blind narcissism as well as utter projection.

…Democrats may simply be so battered after what the Globe calls “seven desolating years” that they are looking for a man on a white horse to deliver them from despair — and so they have invented one.

There is also the troubling possibility that what a senior Bush official once cheerily described as the downfall of “reality-based” politics, including “reality-based” reporting, and commentary, has in fact come to pass, and that fantasy has taken over. Eight years ago, defiance of reality in favor of delusions about instinct helped bring the incumbent president to the White House. A catastrophic presidency ensued…..

Sure appears to me as if Sean has gotten caught up in the “personal,” eh? Delusional writer heal thyself!

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2 Responses to “The Politics Of Delusional Pundits On Delusional Pundits”

  1. John Ryan says:

    No other President has ever had such poor approval ratings for such a long time.
    The value of our dollar against the euro has fallen by 50%.
    He will be leaving a mess in Iraq that will have to be cleaned up. He will be leaving a national debt that has increased by a factor of 80%. Under Clinton the National Debt was decreasing.
    Not everyone believes Bush was a catastophe, but he does have THE LOWEST approval ratings.

  2. Care to address the post, John?

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