’Congress’ overwhelming rebuke of President Barack Obama on a bill allowing 9/11 victims to sue the government of Saudi Arabia — and the bitter finger-pointing that followed — was a fitting coda to the dysfunctional relationship between the Obama White House and Capitol Hill.”
Thus began a Politico article by Seung Min Kim posted yesterday.
But it was the headline — which she probably did not write — that really completed the picture: “Congress Disses Obama One Last Time.”
That word, “disses,” is just too perfect. For eight years the press has treated Obama like the protagonist in some stage play, personalizing his policy struggles as a heroic effort of one noble man fighting an army of partisans, racists, and plutocrats. Even the word “diss” — with its hip, slightly edgy connotation — taps into the Cult of Obama, which sees any setback for the president as a personal, often illegitimate affront to his dignity.
For the record, the vote against Obama’s veto was 97-1 in the Senate and 348-77 in the House. Were all of those Democrats trying to “diss” the president? Is dissing one of the congressional powers listed in Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution? Or do we need an amendment to the Bill of Rights stating that “Congress shall make no law dissing the first African-American president”?
As I’ve noted before, the best explanation for what I’m talking about was written by the influential anonymous blogger Ace of Spades, in a 2013 post titled “The MacGuffinization of American Politics.” In film lingo, a MacGuffin is anything the hero desires. It doesn’t matter what it is. It can be the blueprints to a secret Nazi weapon, the formula for a cure to male pattern baldness, or virtually anything else. In Pulp Fiction, for example, we never learn what’s inside the briefcase. In any story, all the audience needs to care about is that the hero cares about getting something.
Throughout Obama’s presidency he has been the hero, and his agenda has been the MacGuffin.
“This is a movie,” Ace wrote. “And Barack Obama is the Hero. And the Republicans are the Villains. And policy questions — and Obama’s myriad failures as an executive — are simply incidental. They are MacGuffins only, of no importance whatsoever, except to the extent they provide opportunities for Drama as the Hero fights in favor of them.”
Ace adds: “It doesn’t matter why the Hero Barack Obama wants the Lost Ark of Sensible Gun Control, or the Shankara Stones of Comprehensive Immigration Reform, or the Democratic Holy Grail of Affordable Health Care. These are very minor details and only matter to the extent the Hero exerts himself to achieve them.”
I should add that on the actual policy question, I agree with Obama about the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA). I think it’s a bad idea, pushed by trial lawyers. But in “Politics: The Movie,” lame duck Obama is outranked by the hero-victims of 9/11 in pursuit of their MacGuffin.
Alas, Obama didn’t get script revisions.
Yes, not bowing to Obama’s will and demands is disrespectful to the Emperor of the World. Obama prefers a Congress like Hitler’s Reichtag, full of rubber-stamping lackeys, to give his agenda some credibility and legitimacy… which he had for two years and which gave us the Abysmal Care Act and the “stimulus” which only stimulate political support for Him.
Not bowing to obama not kissing his rings reusing to obey him and worship him upsets liberal pinheads