This takedown of the conservative obsession (ostensible) with machismo and self-made-man grittitude in political leaders is packed with such a cornucopia of win that it made my excerpting decision excessively difficult. Probably as hard as it was for Mr. Sese Seko to write the offending post. In the portion below, the former Prime Minister is focused on separate sports-centric Obama pieces from the National Review and Weekly Standard. Because, really, there is little else of consequence to discuss, and what better measure of a leader:
Taken together, the two magazines have a combined subscribership of 210,000 people. According to the current US Population Clock, that’s merely 1 in 1,472 Americans — or .0005% of America. Their impact in any truly democratic sense runs the gamut from barely discernible to meaningless. At most they are, respectively, sinecures for a man whose career relies on trading on his father’s works and a group of also-ran thinkers retreading dead old William F. Buckley and dead old Ayn Rand for a new generation of people constitutionally incapable of encountering a dissonant fact or an atmosphere without affirmation. And they have failed.
Both these outlets embrace an ideology of competition, of value as set by the marketplace. But they have never been able to survive the marketplace. Their existence has always relied on the self-interested largesse of oligopoly. That the darwinism of the marketplace they advocate would logically preclude their own existence is an irony secondary only to the Standard and Review‘s continued dependence on subsidies from the exact sorts of business interests most threatened by the readers of meaningful journalism, a market that has already evaluated their works and found them wanting.
Obama draws their petty ire because the man is a market player. He’s lived their core narrative so well as to come to dominate them. He was man of limited means and a broken family. He was hindered by a society that discriminated on race and not only earned himself a first-class education but won a state and national senatorial seat and then was elected President of the United States, at age 47. Sixty-nine million people decided he was the person most fit to lead, over a field of old-guard powers and established brands. It’s no overstatement to suggest he represents the apotheosis of the compelling leader and self-made man, the character conservatives portray in their welfare theater, the person who has a natural right to determine the future of a nation.
Hence people like the Standard and Review‘s Jeffrey Anderson and Daniel Foster’s snipes about Obama’s manliness, especially in relation to America’s National Pastime. (See more below.) Suggesting he’s not a real American man is just a genteel, Buckleyite and toned-down way of saying he isn’t even an American by birth. The first is a social assertion, and the second is a legal one, but as men who understand neither system, the notes sound the same to their dead ears. At the same time, it feeds the comforting fiction that they have not lost, that their supposedly inviolate and exclusive right to control the corridors of power has not been legitimately abridged. Obama cheated, somehow — perhaps with the complicity of the same “liberal” media eager to disappear footage of ill-tossed baseballs. He convinced everybody he’s something he’s not. He proffered and represents an ignoble lie.
In the meantime, the solution to their temporary and illegitimate setback is providing the readership with coverage of the president’s errant throwing arm and waiting for the votes to flow rightward. You know, just hanging out, being stupid and useless, caring about dumb shit, writing badly. Time to self-importantly inveigh about what makes a red-blooded American male for a hobbyist publication built out of a legacy by Bill Kristol, a second-generation New York City Jew who sounds like an inexplicably gayer Waylon Smithers and sports a smile as grotesque as the cartoon Joker’s. Better to castigate the weak of arm, limp of wrist and weak of spirit in the pages of a journal founded by William F. Buckley, a New York and Connecticut patrician whose enunciation was so affected that he sounded like Margaret Thatcher doing drag.
Kristol and Buckley couldn’t even clear brush for a photo-op on an ersatz ranch.
For those keeping score, Mr. Destructo is one of my new favorite sites. Kudos to The David Horowitz of Ex-Libertarians who first put me on to this trove.