Joel B. Pollack:
It is impossible to understand the Obama administration’s uniquely hostile treatment of Fox News without understanding the self-image of the Obama team. On the one hand, the targeting of Fox News for isolation and surveillance suggests an administration so lacking in competence that it cannot tolerate criticism or scrutiny. On the other, the attacks suggest hubris, a confidence that few would ever object to its conduct.
That contradiction has a religious quality to it. Indeed, President Barack Obama has led an administration that has, at times, been more of a religious movement than a governing body. Obama has made miraculous promises of political and planetary transformation; he has encouraged a cult-like following, even among formerly skeptical journalists; and he has constructed a demonology of his opponents, real and imagined.
Most of all, the Obama administration preaches a millenarian idea of history that places it at the apex of a process of moral evolution. In that view, the “long arc of history” that Obama cited in his victory speech in 2008 does not just bend towards justice in a moral sense, but towards him in a political sense. He and his supporters see his election as both the culmination and transcendence of everything that came before him.
Accordingly, Obama and his supporters refuse to be judged on normal criteria, such as the president’s actual record in office. Though he is quick to claim credit on the rare occasion–such as the bin Laden raid–when things go right, President Obama typically adopts a prophetic distance from the office he holds that insulates him from criticism and allows him to attack the very Washington he leads, the very political games he plays.
The heresy of Fox News is not just that it criticizes the Obama administration or that it provides a platform for conservative opinion, but that it rejects the attempt to place Obama beyond politics and accountability. It refuses, in other words, to endorse the idea that Obama inhabits a unique category, beyond the obvious (and, for most governing purposes, meaningless) historic fact that he is the nation’s first black president.
The problem with religion is there are no shades of grey – everything is either black or white. In a theocracy to disobey the state is to sin against God and God is infallible.
Look at Obama’s method of negotiating. His underlying premise is not just that he is right but that everybody knows he’s right. So if you don’t agree with him you are intentionally blocking him for nefarious reasons. His offers of compromise aren’t compromises, they are demands for capitulation.
It doesn’t help that his followers are all true believers. You can’t argue with religious fanatics. Right now many of them are like the people who, convinced that the end was near, sold everything they owned and went to wait on a mountaintop for Judgment Day. Well “doomsday” came and went but we’re all still here, so now what?
This is what separates the fanatics from everyone else. Most people would realize they made a mistake, but fanatics become ever more convinced of their righteousness.
“He’s just testing our faith!”