Magic Man: Now you see it, now you don’t
by Melvyn L. Fein
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February 25, 2013 02:45 AM | 1542 views | 9 9 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Melvyn Fein
Melvyn Fein
Many of his supporters believe that Barack Obama is magical. To hear them tell it, he virtually walks on water. Nonetheless, there is indeed something almost magical about our current president — although that something is not entirely flattering.

Once we had another president who was considered magical. Martin Van Buren was, in fact, called “The Little Magician.” Yet this was not because his policies were remarkably effective. They were not. It was because he was a skillful manipulator of the political spoils system.

It is in this latter respect, and another that is even less savory, in which Obama deserves to be regarded as talented. He too, it must be confessed, is addicted to rewarding his political friends. The unions, the solar energy industry, and the limousine liberals have all benefited from his generosity.

This said, it is as a prestidigitator where he really shines. No chief executive in living memory has been as accomplished in slight of hand as Obama — not even Bill Clinton. Barack’s ability to engage in “now you see it, now you don’t” tactics has been, as he would say, “unprecedented.”

Magicians work by misdirection. They focus an audience’s attention in one area so that they can make something else happen in another. What they achieve seems supernatural only because how it was done has been carefully hidden from view. It is in this that Obama excels.

What do I mean? Consider the president’s State of the Union address. He told us, for instance, that we must increase our investment in pre-school programs. This, he assured us, would be rewarded with $7 worth of economic growth for every $1 we expended.

Then the president went on the road to sell this “snake oil.” Accordingly, he touted his latest elixir by highlighting a Georgia program we were told is working splendidly. Wisely concealed behind the curtain, however, was research that demonstrates Head Start Programs produce no long lasting academic advancements.

Obama also plugged gun control by mourning the shooting death of an innocent Chicago teenager. In this case, he failed to note that Chicago has tougher gun control ordinances than almost any city in the country, but that this does not prevent it from being one of the most crime-ridden.

Among the other wily techniques in recent evidence were the president’s repeated allusions to helping the middle class, when the middle class is actually suffering; to increasing oil supplies, when his administration reduced the number of drilling permit’s issued; and to the “universally” acknowledged need for climate control, when not all experts agree.

But most important was misdirection concerning the budget deficit. Obama flat-out misspeaks when he tells us how much his administration has reduced spending and he flat-out lies when he says his multi-billion dollar programs will not cost a “dime.”

The president obviously does not want us to dwell on his budgetary excesses. We must certainly not count up his debts lest we realize they will soon usher us into the poor house. No, we must be so enchanted by his many glowing promises that we never ask about their cost.

I especially love it when Barack points to how much he will save by eliminating waste. At such moments I ask a question few others seem to ponder. What, I want to know, is this: If there is so much saving to be had from cutting waste, why hasn’t he done it already? After all, he has been president for four years.

What I also want to know is why so many Americans allow their attention to be diverted by secondary issues such as gun control. Why are they not scandalized by Obama’s dereliction of duty regarding the Benghazi scandal or his many unfulfilled promises about ObamaCare?

Are we as a people as easy to divert as children watching a Punch-and-Judy show?

The evidence suggests that we may be.

Melvyn L. Fein, Ph.D., is a professor of sociology at Kennesaw State University.
Comments-icon Post a Comment
February 25, 2013
Heck Foley, you didn't have to go to all that trouble. All you had to do is open your Progressive's Playbook and look to the chapter of how to ignore the facts before your eyes and find written misinformation, AKA, "The PR Man's Book of Arguments".

Kevin Foley
February 25, 2013
@ misterbill (whoever or whatever you are) - That's my point. Fein presented no facts. Are we going too fast for you? Pay attention.
February 26, 2013

Yes, you are too fast for me. Here is why:

"It is well said in the old proverb, ‘a lie will go round the world while truth is pulling its boots on’."

You are an anti-semite.

Kevin Foley
February 25, 2013
Because Fein seems only to rely on far right blogs and Fox News for his information, in the few minutes I had this morning, it took me less than 10 of them to do the research he didn't bother with:

Pre-school education

National Institute for Early Education Research, Rutgers University: Well-designed preschool education programs produce long-term improvements in school success, including higher achievement test scores, lower rates of grade repetition and special education, and higher educational attainment. Some preschool programs are also associated with reduced delinquency and crime in childhood and adulthood.

Chicago gun violence:

"The way the laws are structured facilitates the flow of those guns to hit our streets,” Garry F. McCarthy, the Chicago police superintendent, said in an interview, later adding, “Chicago may have comprehensive gun laws, but they are not strict because the sanctions don’t exist.”

Oil and gas production:

Institute for Energy Research: Since President Obama took office, total U.S. oil and natural gas production has increased.

Reduced spending:

Bureau of Economic Analysis: No administration has reduced aggregate government spending as a percentage of GDP as much as Obama’s in forty years. That is a record.

February 25, 2013
OK, Keven can try to find articles that match his views, but a few things to consider- Any information from a university that has an education program will of course say anything to back up their work.

If you check the Inst for Energy Research at this very moment, the top story says that production on federal land is down 13% and growth is due to state and local work, not His Eminence.

And the BEA? Really? You expect anyone to believe anything coming out of Washington that reports to His Eminence?

As for Chicago violence- look who has been running it for so many years. Just sayin'.
February 25, 2013
From Institute of Energy website today- In fact, between fiscal years 2010 and 2011, oil production on federal and Indian lands declined by 13 percent.
Devlin Adams
February 25, 2013
Careful, Foley. The first paragraph is betraying some of your anti-Semitism. The fact that you must jump in and talk disparagingly about Dr. Fein, every time he writes a column, makes it pretty evident.

Paul T.
February 25, 2013
What he says is absorbed by those enamored with him and they do not question any facts, much as a local PR person does. As long as there are people who refuse to research and question the comments, and do not go to the voting booth to make a difference, we will continue on the path to financial ruin
a clear fact
February 25, 2013
Obama is a liar and is incompetent. And I am still waiting for him to pay my mortgage!
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