Change

I wrote this post in November of 2008, shortly after the presidential election. On May 30, 2009, I re-read it for the first time, and was struck by one statement – “we must make sure that the new America loves and respects that which is America, that it isn’t here just to enjoy the benefits without respecting the underpinnings that made the spoils possible.”

I believe that Barack Obama’s vision of what America should be is so foreign to the concept upon which the country was built that the support I was able to conjure for his presidency can only be viewed now as overly optimistic and naive. My sense of this nation’s greatness led me to believe that we had the strength to survive whatever his presidency might bring – indeed, I was optimistic that he would be swayed by the beauty of the vision of our Founders to abandon his radicalism. Now, just four months in, it is clear that my optimism led me astray.

This is the first post of the new version of the old Barack’s White Lies.
I’m moving onto a broader forum, which will eventually drop the old name and be rebranded as Real Clear Thinker. Here’s a bit of explanation.

November 2008

I took it in stride when Barack won, and decided that this is a time to adjust – we must accept his victory and learn the lessons that come with it. America has changed, and in order to be effective in doing political analysis, as well as affecting the course that the nation is following, it seems to me that you have to be here, in the moment – not stuck in some dream of the past.

If you’ll permit me an analogy, think of those of us who enjoy the political process, study it, and try to move people’s thinking to a better place, as singer/songwriters. We perform songs about the world we live in. While singing songs from the sixties might draw an audience – heck, it would even be fun – I don’t want to be an oldies act.

Singing nostalgia is valid because it offers escape, but I don’t want to engage in escapism, I want to be relevant to now. I want to grab hold of the moment and say, “it’s moving in the wrong direction, help me get it back on course.”

So don’t fear if you hear, A foreign sound to your ear, It’s alright, Ma, I’m only sighing.

In order to do that, I decided it is necessary to let go of some
things. I’m not going to worry about Barack being too young and
inexperienced, I’m going to try to trust that he is a gifted enoughperson that maybe he can rise to the occasion. I’m not going to wallow in the cruel hoax of turning to the people who are dismantling the American experiment and asking them to save it – I want to accept that Democrats have won because Republicans screwed up, and that’s how it goes in the toggle mentality of a two party system.

Their worst goals must be resisted, yes, but as an optimist, I will trust that the flaws of liberalism, when seen up close, will reaffirm in America it’s basic conservatism. We must help them be the tools of their own demise.

Although the masters make the rules, For the wise men and the fools. I got nothing, Ma, to live up to.

I also think we must accept that America has been altered inexorably – this is not the European culture we grew up in, the forces that sought to minimize it’s whiteness and make it a multi-cultural place have succeeded. That’s not a bad thing, per se, it’s just a different thing. It only hurts when you fight it. At the same time, we must make sure that the new America loves and respects that which is America, that it isn’t here just to enjoy the benefits without respecting the underpinnings that made the spoils possible.

In other words, if new people are going to be in charge, I can live with that. I don’t care who is in charge, I care what is in charge. What philosophies are going to guide us, what are our values going to be?


Bad values can be pushed by people of any culture or race, as can good ones.

So I decided that I had to accept the tipping point that Barack’s
election represents. Power has shifted to the new guys. Fighting that would be like trying to fight the British invasion of the 1960’s. The Beatles were not the revolution – the forces of change were unstoppable – they simply rode the wave created by the enormous demand for change.
Television, and access to money, gave kids a new voice in the
marketplace, and we used those tools to, for better and for worse, adjust the world to meet our tastes.

An’ though the rules of the road have been lodged, It’s only people’s games that you got to dodge. And it’s alright, Ma, I can make it.

The same has happened now – we have raised a couple of generations of suburban kids whose lives haven’t known the struggles of necessity. It is foolhardy to expect, for a moment, that they would view life the way we do. How could a twenty-something professional of today, earning a comfortable upper middle class living while sitting at his computer in Starbucks, have even the vaguest notion of the life that formed the Greatest Generation? We must stop expecting the impossible.

I’m not arguing that the fight is over – the struggle between
conservative and liberal values is a permanent one, as is the political fight between the groups aligned, however loosely, behind those banners. I’m just saying that we have to realize that some things have already been decided – that liberalism has, to a large extent, already won, and we must map carefully the piece of land we’re standing on so that we can best defend, and perhaps extend, our ground.

It is in this spirit that I begin a gradual relaunch of Barack’s White Lies.
A new look, a new location, a new name. While I liked the edginess of the name for the election – I enjoyed that it made liberals uncomfortable – my old fashioned conservative sensibilities lead me to feel uncomfortable calling my blog Barack’s White Lies.

I don’t wish to be disrespectful to the office of the President of
the United States, which, hopefully, will always be occupied by a
person who loves the ideals and the brilliance of the men, and the document, that created it.

But I mean no harm nor put fault. On anyone that lives in a vault. But it’s alright, Ma, if I can’t please him.

The blog will live on under the name of Real Clear Thinker. It’s an amalgam of the names of a couple of my favorite places to read – Real Clear Politics and The American Thinker – not so much inspired by them as
absorbed and reconstructed.

When shocked liberals ask how I have come to a particular
conclusion, I just tell them that I thought about it. And that’s the truth. I like thinking clearly, and I believe that if others engage in a similar enterprise, they’ll come to conclusions that are pretty close to mine.

That’s what Real Clear Thinker is all about.


12 Responses to “Change”

  1. 1 joe parrinello

    Todd: I like your style and adoption of McCain’s “graciousness” although I share your apprehension of the next four years and not just because of Obama….I fear the financial crunch and creeping socialism is the beginning of a new era in American political history…one that will seductively envelope us in a cocoon of dependency.

  2. OK, sure, the neocomrade has adequately explained “what Real Clear Thinker is all about.” But where was the REAL BIG WRITER _shtyk_ swiped from? And

    whence, pray,

    was “absorbed and adopted”

    the

    it-sure-ain’t-prose-so-I-guess-it’s-gotta
    -be

    -poetry layout?

    Now about “we have raised a couple of generations of suburban kids whose lives haven’t known the struggles of necessity” — which, by the way, comes as a surprise to those of us who took the neocomrade to be a good deal younger than he is, some rejuvenatin’ side-effect of SquawkRadio, would that be? But no, not to dabble in mere personalities….

    Perhaps this way instead, then: two-thirds of one generation have been brought up on Dr. Limbaugh. (I.e., he’s been at it twenty years.) And surely two-thirds of the two-thirds must be suburban, loosely speaking, considering that Roxbury and Harlem and H*rv*rd Square and Morningside Heights are notoriously not very interested in the medium, whilst Wasilla and South Succotash are too far out in the boonies to get the signal. Ought there not, then, to exist somewhere a strong phalanx of neo-kiddies that have imbibed the stern lessons of the Struggles of Necessity™, at least in the CliffsNotes™ version? They may not be a majority of their age group, and of course Citizen Rush must be presumed at least slightly inferior to Lady Experience herself as a preceptor, but nevertheless there ought to be *some* signs of moral and spiritual readaptation for the Psocialist Darwinian fray by this point, no?

    SquawkRadio in general does not aim secondarily at mere education, to be sure, but down at the third or fourth level of agenda objective, is it completely unreasonable to expect that it might have done some good for the children — naturally with ‘good’ defined in its own terms rather than those of cultivated despisers?

    Alternatively, what is to prevent the core constituency of WRKO-AM 680 Boston Entercom Boston, LLC and InterTech Media, LLC (&c. &c.) from suspecting that questions are being raised about their own pædagogic practices? Indeed, about their parents’ pædagogic practices as well, if we readmit the full two generations?

    It is always fun to try to play the neocomrades’ cards for them, so perhaps this keyboard may venture a positive suggestion connected with the foregoing: let them hire a few social scientizers to survey the current crop of Homeland kiddies with an eye to ascertaining whether wingnut kiddies have been copin’ with Mortgagegate 2008 and the Crawford Crash better or worse than — or perhaps much the same as? — l*b*r*l kiddies.

    I more or less assumed indistinguishability above, but of course that was just the sound of one amateur guessing. Who knows, maybe there really exists a Limbaugh-toughened cohort out there somewhere? It can do no harm to look. Better we go looking for them than they come lookin’ for us!

    And come what may, such a survey would provide a handful of new jobs, would it not? “Better to light one little candle, . . . .”

    Merry days.

  3. 3 Susan G

    I like your new look! I’ll be watching for updates.
    Thanks for your time and….whatever.

  4. 4 shirtsbyeric

    It’s funny how the media now has a positive outlook for our economic future. They created panic in the October surprise bailout bull and now they think there is hope.

  5. 5 Joy

    Todd you could of just kept all this bull crap to yourself and just admitted that you have surrender to this idea that America is going to become a sociaist country. I am a c0nservative who will never give in to the idea that America has lost it’s way. I pray that God himself has a plan on how to bring the American people back to it’s senses even if it has to lead to a horrific terrorist attack, better for a million people to died than an entire Empire be destroyed. I am afraid this is what it’s going to take to get it down. January 20. 2009 wil have sealed the deal on this one, sad to say of course, but the American people could of chose wisely but dcided not to. They will have brought this one onto themselves and wiil have no one else to blame but each other.

  6. 6 anthony

    Had Senator McCain chosen a vice presidential candidate with experience and a moderate record, folks would have been more apt to support him. The way Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity speak of Ms. Palin as the future of the party is scary, when she’s proven already to be such a polarizing figure. I like her but I have to admit that she’s attractive only to conservatives like myself, and last I checked we make up about a quarter of the voting bloc. The best we can hope for is a Mac, Lindsey Graham, Eric Cantor, or someone Lieberman-like (minus his being a democrat for 30 years). Better a center-right moderate than a dem, let alone the most liberal one in the whole bloody senate. Get real and let Sarah fade away already. Look to Eric Cantor!

  7. 7 gnomestrath

    Have you considered that the US is quite a young country and is evolving socially and politically. The consequences of this is that it will tend to trend towards a European model of social democracy because that is a stage it has to go through.

    The interesting thing about America is that the freedom of speech allows statements which wish the death of a million of ones own fellow citizens in order to re-establish leadership in a political process. It’s also interesting to note the demographics of this election where the more educated and presumably therefore thoughtful you are the more likley you were to vote Democrat.

    Remember you will have to have a more European type captialist set up because without it you will continue to end up with 10s of millions of your fellow citizens in grinding disease ridden poverty. The GOP strategy is for a small elite to prosper using Religion and fear (of terrorism) to keep the poor majority in line. A bit like Europe more than a centruy ago.

  8. 8 Jonathan Barros

    The name change was a good idea because there is no such thing as a white lie, as all lies are black. There are big lies and small lies, but all lies are black. There are no gray or white lies.

  9. 9 sanityinjection

    The name change is good, your explanation is even better. Those of us who opposed the election of President Obama do have a responsibility to be firm but respectful in our criticisms. We must not do what our opponents did and cause the office of the Presidency to lose respect here at home and around the world through unseemly attacks on its occupant.

    Nothing we say or do is going to change the fact that Barack Obama will be our President for the next four years. Our goal should be to encourage him to support wise policies, and to point out the problems with policies of his that are unwise. In doing so, we should keep in mind that despite any mistakes and errors in judgment he may make, President Obama, like us, is motivated by the desire to do what he believes is in the best interest of the United States of America.

  10. 10 Carl Marcks

    Joy– good luck with your basic English class!

  11. Dear Todd,

    I listen to you and Tom (Tom squared!) I enjoy your views and agree with you almost all of the time. Tom Finneran is a ” Tip Oneal” type Democrat and you both make a good combination for the WRKO forum. Keep up the good work!!!!

  12. Greetings!
    When are we going to hear you talk about the need for court reform and the travesty of judicial immunity?


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