Michael Gerson in the Washington Post
Obama clearly believes that his brand of politics represents “facts and science and argument.” His opponents, in disturbing contrast, are using the more fearful, primitive portion of their brains. Obama views himself as the neocortical leader — the defender, not just of the stimulus package and health-care reform but also of cognitive reasoning. His critics rely on their lizard brains — the location of reptilian ritual and aggression. Some, presumably Democrats, rise above their evolutionary hard-wiring in times of social stress; others, sadly, do not.
Though there is plenty of competition, these are some of the most arrogant words ever uttered by an American president.
The neocortical presidency destroys the possibility of political dialogue. What could Obama possibly learn from voters who are embittered, confused and dominated by subconscious evolutionary fears? They have nothing to teach, nothing to offer to the superior mind. Instead of engaging in debate, Obama resorts to reductionism, explaining his opponents away.
One thing I believed about Obama was that his cerebral style would possibly lead to a bridge across the disastrous, emotional partisanship – on both sides – that is keeping us from squarely facing the important problems of the day. That’s what he said he was going to do, and that’s what he’s flatly failed to even try and do.
I wrote off the “bitter clinging” quote, because I felt that Obama was just bonding with his audience (rich Bay Area liberals). My mistake; that’s his default position.
In all my years of blogging, I’ve made it clear that what pisses me off are arguments that attempt to delegitimize opposing views. The idea that ‘relatively conventional’ liberal or conservative views should be so demonized that it’s illegitimate to even make arguments based on them is outrageous to me.
That’s what Obama has just done. And I’m outraged, on top of being disappointed. Six or eight months from now, we’ll see what he’s made of. So far, I don’t see much to be encouraged about.