Obama’s New Maiestas

 

There are a lot of disturbing—and ironic—things about the new Obama effort (AttackWatch.com) to monitor, hunt down, and attack its critics. It used to be a classically liberal idea that conservatives and liberals would debate policies, put their views out, and let the public decide the validity of their positions. Supposedly disinterested newspapers would occasionally weigh in on disingenuous or especially egregious transgressions of good manners and basic professionalism

At certain times—so the liberal narrative went—this notion of an arena of ideas was perverted by the paranoid and vindictive right-wingers, like a Joe McCarthy shaking papers “with the names of known communists”, or Richard Nixon with his enemies lists. 

Yet go onto the new (“Paid for by Obama for America”) AttackWatch.com website. It reads and looks like some sort of Stasi file (“file” is their vocabulary, not mine). It asks readers to inform them of criticism of Obama. The format is, I guess by intent, supposed to resemble a government intelligence dossier (“Attack files”), with its blaring black and red headers: “Attack” /”Attackers” (followed by names and pictures of the supposed bad guys)/”Attack Type” /(“public statements”) followed by check off boxes like  “Have your seen or heard this attack?” “Yes/No”. It reminds me of of living in 1973 dictatorial Greece, when we all kept silent about the Colonels upon entering the apartment building, lest the government-paid concierge write something down not nice in her black book.

Apparently no one in the administration learned from the spooky tone of the now defunct Journolist. That obtuseness begs the question, what is it with these extra-journalistic efforts to intimidate critics, as if the 2012 campaign will be based around deterrence: e.g., as if: “Beware: if you criticize Barack Obama, your name and picture will appear on our “Attack File”. We are watching you, so you watch out!” 

So creepier still is the request to snoop around and collect evidence for what the Roman emperors and French monarchs used to call maiestas/Lèse-majesté—supposed crimes against the head of state, by circulating criticism of his authority that might lessen his proper sense of majesty. Indeed, on AttackWatch.com there is a special pop-up window that is reminiscent of Crimestoppers.com that supposedly will help form some sort of a clearing house: “Your email”/”content of attack or link”/”Attack type”, “Attach” with a link “Report” that pops up yet another window.

This is yet another disturbing symptom of Obama’s current malady: Near 40% approval polls; widespread terror of 2012 Democratic candidates that Obama may bring them down in the fashion of the 2010 tsunami (cf. the wipeouts in the Nevada and New York special elections); leftwing columnists scapegoating Obama in hopes that they can blame the public rejection of their own statist agenda on a supposedly inept messenger.

I predict AttackWatch.com will fail and go the way of Journolist. It is contrary to the American tradition of unfettered free speech to post, in psychodramatic style, names and pictures as if they were criminals for speaking out against the head of state. The request for millions of spies to report such incorrect discourse will offend rather than inspire. As in the case of the 2008 Obama rejection of public campaign financing funds, it is hypocritical; and also antithetical to the supposed liberal tradition of tolerance and free expression without worry of intimidation. 

I also predict in the following weeks we will see a lot of pushback from even the liberal media that will seek to disassociate itself from AttackWatch.com—lest the names and pictures of themselves start showing up on it.

There are 26 comments.

  1. tabula rasa Member

    There is a doublespeak aspect to the whole thing. The word “attack” does not appear to distinguish a reasoned argument (see VDH’s post above) from the ravings of a dangerous lunatic. Any criticism of the One is an “attack” and all “attacks” are bad and must be recorded. Pure hubris.

    • #1
    • September 14, 2011, at 8:39 AM PDT
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  2. Think So Inactive

    I can only imagine the adulation liberal drudges will get when they receive an automated email thanking them for helping big government track down those dangerous opposing views.

    • #2
    • September 14, 2011, at 8:41 AM PDT
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  3. Think So Inactive

    This site is an attack/smear website itself. Perry, Glenn Beck and Romney and all of the typical liberal targets are theatrically painted in sinister red and black tones. What hypocrites, doing exactly what they say they hate, smearing. This administration is simply unreal.

    • #3
    • September 14, 2011, at 8:48 AM PDT
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  4. Johnny Dubya Inactive

    Richard Nixon would never have dreamed of making his enemies list public. The current president’s use of overt bullying tactics reminds me of another present-day, smiling, “transformational” leader who squelches dissent: Hugo Chavez. Mr. Obama should start wearing red shirts with his stylish, slim-cut suits.

    • #4
    • September 14, 2011, at 8:50 AM PDT
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  5. Paul A. Rahe Contributor
    Victor Davis Hanson:

    I also predict in the following weeks we will see a lot of pushback from even the liberal media that will seek to disassociate itself from AttackWatch.com—lest the names and pictures of themselves start showing up on it. ·

    This would be a consummation devoutly to be wished. But, Victor, what makes you think that the liberal media will not provide cover for BHO by ignoring the site and its sinister overtones?

    • #5
    • September 14, 2011, at 8:57 AM PDT
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  6. flownover Inactive

    ” The Lives of Others ” is a very good movie and displays the completely banal routine of oppression in East Germany by the Stasi. Once it becomes a part of the society it tends to blend into the background. If you aren’t actively trying to bring down the state, then you tend to forget about it, although you live in a sottovoce world.

    I signed up at the Attack Watch in order to receive what I am sure will be an interesting super secret decoder ring without having to dig through another box of cornflakes. Since I am already drinking Ovaltine, I expect it will direct me to find out what Glenn Beck is doing. If they ask me about Ricochet, I will just tell them to beware of the rebound. So far, they just quickly link to contribution site. Attack Watch is just a campaign site, but they wrap it in some very scary clothes.

    • #6
    • September 14, 2011, at 9:07 AM PDT
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  7. Anon Inactive

    I’m not a psychiatrist, but I believe that a comment from Dr. Krauthammer would go a long way toward understanding the rationale for gathering such a list, at this time, by this president. I wouldn’t be surprised to read such an exploration by him in the very near future.

    • #7
    • September 14, 2011, at 9:13 AM PDT
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  8. The Mugwump Inactive
    flownover: . . . you live in a sottovoce world.

    The very definition of politically correct speech. We self-censor everyday even here among friends.

    • #8
    • September 14, 2011, at 9:17 AM PDT
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  9. Mollie Hemingway Contributor

    This commercial for AttackWatch.com might not be Code of Conduct compliant, but it is very funny.

    “AttackWaaaaaatch.”

    • #9
    • September 14, 2011, at 9:19 AM PDT
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  10. kesbar Inactive

    If you want to see the public’s reaction in real time, just monitor the channel #AttackWatch on twitter for a few minutes. Mr. President, can you hear us now?

    • #10
    • September 14, 2011, at 9:20 AM PDT
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  11. C. U. Douglas Thatcher
    Mollie Hemingway, Ed.: This commercial for AttackWatch.com might not be Code of Conduct compliant, but it is very funny.

    “AttackWaaaaaatch.” · Sep 14 at 9:19am

    I caught that from Twitter. It had me laughing so hard, I almost got in trouble for watching YouTube at the office. Attack Watch is something of a joke already, and the Twitter hashtag has been absconded by those that AttackWatch is supposedly watching.

    • #11
    • September 14, 2011, at 9:47 AM PDT
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  12. James Of England Moderator
    Mollie Hemingway, Ed.: This commercial for AttackWatch.com might not be Code of Conduct compliant, but it is very funny.

    “AttackWaaaaaatch.” · Sep 14 at 9:19am

    This is very good. I’d like to note it, though, as another setting in which the transparently false claim that Romney claimed Obama was responsible for ’07-’08 job losses appears. If it’s OK to pimp my short response on the member feed outlining the silliness of this claim here, I’d like to.

    • #12
    • September 14, 2011, at 9:50 AM PDT
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  13. Crow's Nest Inactive

    Finally.

    Finally.

    Finally someone has had the courage to stand up and address all those false arguments promulgated by the evil right wing.

    Gosh, what will Media Matters, MSNBC, and the New York Times do with themselves….

    • #13
    • September 14, 2011, at 9:50 AM PDT
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  14. ManBearPig Member

    My favorite quote from the second page on attackwatch is this:

    “President Obama’s opponents are still using false claims against him and his record in an attempt to derail our momentum.”

    Heaven forbid we should stop that momentum, which is not unlike a cinder block falling from a tall building…

    • #14
    • September 14, 2011, at 10:05 AM PDT
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  15. Liver Pate Inactive
    Mollie Hemingway, Ed.: This commercial for AttackWatch.com might not be Code of Conduct compliant, but it is very funny.

    “AttackWaaaaaatch.” · Sep 14 at 9:19am

    New campaign slogan for President Obama: “Even a stopped Waaaaaaaaaaaatch is right twice a day.”

    • #15
    • September 14, 2011, at 10:11 AM PDT
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  16. Cas Balicki Inactive

    The site accepted [expletive][email protected] followed by a fake zip. The next screen asked me for a credit card number, see the email address for my response to that request.

    • #16
    • September 14, 2011, at 10:12 AM PDT
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  17. Liver Pate Inactive

    Can’t wait to read Sarah Palin’s Facebook page about this. I tried to rat myself out to Attack Watch to boost my street cred amongst dog catchers, but they want my credit card, a minimum donation of $10 and some type of goofy declaration that I’m a US citizen. I was surprised they didn’t ask for my long form birth certificate.

    I figure Ms. Palin, should sign up and send a never ending stream of Facebook updates to Attack Waaaaaaaaatch, purely for the entertainment value.

    • #17
    • September 14, 2011, at 10:15 AM PDT
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  18. Liver Pate Inactive

    Hey! I just got an email from Barack Obama! For a moment, I thought Kennedy Smith was playing a prank on me, but no, its the TOTUS in my handheld device begging me for $5.00 for Attack Waaaaaaaaaaatch.

    I think I’m going to email back, explaining that I eat cat food and am not a US citizen and see if I can get the $5.00 donated by Acorn to cover me.

    • #18
    • September 14, 2011, at 10:26 AM PDT
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  19. Tom Paine Inactive

    President Obama doesn’t wash his hands after going to the bathroom

    So report me.

    • #19
    • September 14, 2011, at 10:30 AM PDT
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  20. G.A. Dean Inactive

    The problem with making your “enemies list” public is that your opponents will fight to get on it. Note Mark Steyn’s response this morning. How long before conservatives begin bragging about the size and virulence of their “files” on this site.Can you be taken seriously as a Republican if you’re not listed?

    Although intended to be a fundraising tool for the Dem’s, it may well become an effective fundraising tool for their opponents.

    • #20
    • September 14, 2011, at 11:45 AM PDT
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  21. flownover Inactive

    Someone needs to tell Lucianne Goldberg ,because AtaturkWatch (whatever!).com looks like Lucianne at certain times, then the articles flow in from weeklystandard,amspec,nro, etc. all those gucci trodders without socks.

    you have to wear socks with jackboots, so there trumka !

    • #21
    • September 14, 2011, at 11:56 AM PDT
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  22. Squishy Blue RINO Inactive

    This one made me laugh:

    Dear #AttackWatch

    What’s hairy, smelly, lives in the woods, and reports you to the government?

    A liberal chick? Yes.

    Also #attackSQUATCH!

    • #22
    • September 15, 2011, at 5:57 AM PDT
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  23. Jimmy Carter Member

    I reported Stu and Outstripp.

    Maybe Obama and his posse will leave the Country in search for Them?

    • #23
    • September 15, 2011, at 9:39 AM PDT
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  24. Think So Inactive

    My favorite tweet was…

    Dear #AttackWatch. I noticed you used Media Matters and Think Progress as trusted sources. May I also recommend Dr. Seuss and peyote?

    • #24
    • September 15, 2011, at 9:56 AM PDT
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  25. Sisyphus Member

    It’s the best $10 billion of deficit money we ever spent. Bumbling Barry is having a nervous breakdown and is crossing lines so extreme even a Reid Senate may consider conviction if the man is impeached. Nixon just got bumped up one in that list of most respected Presidents.

    Due process for Attack Watch will undoubtedly be assassination by Predator drone.

    • #25
    • September 15, 2011, at 10:25 AM PDT
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  26. Sisyphus Member

    What an odd noise. So that’s what a Predator sounds li…

    • #26
    • September 15, 2011, at 10:26 AM PDT
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