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Because you mention her, I think what happened with Susan Blackmore in her very brief career researching parapsychology is instructive. It appears to me that she lacked the scientific competence and the patience necessary to design experiments capable of detecting a small effect-size phenomenon like psi. But rather than admitting that she was just not capable enough to be a scientist, she loudly declares that her experience proves psi does not exist, as if her low quality experiments cancel out all the high quality ones done by others. It is much easier on her ego this way to decide everyone else is wrong than that she is incompetent. It really boils down to a bad case of Right (Wo)Man syndrome.

" To give a contemporary example, I recall seeing an interview with Barack Obama when he was running for president in 2008. The interviewer asked the candidate if he ever doubted himself. Obama grinned smugly and replied, "Never."

Michael, I'm not aware of that interview, and I'd be interested in knowing more about the context. As you describe the exchange, it does seem problematic, and I'm surprised it was never given more attention.

I'd also be interested in learning about another occasion on which he expressed the same thing.

Is it possible your politics are clouding your judgement when you bring Obama into the picture? Do you think he is more rigid in his certainty than George W. Bush was when he was president? Or Ronald Reagan?

I guess what I'm saying is that maybe it's easier to single someone else out as a Right Man when we disagree with their views.

It's easy for me to see Randi as a Right Man. George Bush, too.

But I'm less likely to call Obama a Right Man because I often agree with him.

So would you be more likely to see a Democrat as a Right Man than a Republican?

And if so, are you certain you're right? :o)

"I want to make it clear that I'm not saying that people can be readily divided into Right Men, who are entirely rigid in their thinking, and the rest of us, who are entirely flexible."

In looking at this, I realize that your position is more nuanced than my comments might have suggested. And I do applaud your last paragraph.

I guess I just got triggered by the political reference. Strange--*that's* never happened before. ;)

Allright--one final thought. Despite my last remarks, I'd still be interested in your response to the first comment I wrote.

Mike, you're preaching to the choir but man-oh-man-oh-schevitz you are one eloquent writer and make one heckuva point in your thesis.

This certainly resonates with my own experiences. I can't say I know for sure why some people behave in this way (ha!) but it is certainly very evident in debates about psi. I would say more so from the anti lobby, as the pro lobby are usually arguing from personal experience or research at least.

It's a trait that seems to reinforce itself too as it attracts those who want certainty but cannot or will not think for themselves, or consider the evidence in a dispassionate way. It also repels those of a more moderate view who may be disinclined to enter into 'combat' with people like this.

Nevertheless I think it is important to challenge "Right Ones" (to use a British expression as in 'we've got a right one here') so that their views are not the only 'show in town'.

I pasted a link (below) that has some thoughts somewhat related to the right man concept.

Partly I decided to share the link because of a weak, but definite, paranormal connection. My son and I were having a discussion last night about how stupid our politicians and their policies are and I worked in the right man theory, which my son thought was a useful and accurate explanation for a lot of what happens (combined with greed, etc.). So these last two Prescott posts were on my mind.

Then, this morning I had a dream wherein an Australian and an American were having an argument and the American pointed out that the Australian was suffering from right man syndrome. I woke up, went downstairs and got a cup and went to sic semper tyrannis (a military/foreign affairs blog I like) and, lo and behold, there was the post linked to below (in which an American contributor to the blog is discussing ego based issues concerning a disagreement with an Australian commenter and occasional contributor).

http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2013/06/wing-nuts-1-by-richard-sale.html#more

Excellent posts on an important, useful and woefully overlooked model. Wilson's A Criminal History Of Mankind certainly fits well with the current reign of kleptocrats.

I like Montaigne's "Que sais je?"

"Michael, I'm not aware of that interview, and I'd be interested in knowing more about the context."

All I remember is that one exchange. It was on a major TV network.

"I'm surprised it was never given more attention."

I think most people would see it as a sign of healthy self-confidence. Anyway, this is a well-known trait of Obama's. His coworkers at a brokerage firm (where he had an entry-level job putting out a small newsletter, not a big-time dealmaking position as he claims in his memoir) have said it was impossible to ever tell him he was wrong or to explain anything to him; he would just smile and ignore them. Some prominent Democrats visited Pres. Obama soon after he was sworn in and came away dismayed by the fact that, unlike any other president they had known, he did not seem at all intimated by his responsibilities; he gave the impression he thought the job would be a cakewalk for him. He is on the record as saying he could do the jobs of his campaign manager, chief of staff, etc. better than any of them.

"Is it possible your politics are clouding your judgement when you bring Obama into the picture?"

Probably. Although the guy has a certain charm, I just don't like him.

"Do you think he is more rigid in his certainty than George W. Bush was when he was president? Or Ronald Reagan?"

Hard to say. As I said, leadership positions tend to go to Right Men. I think Reagan, at least, had more varied life experiences - sportscaster, movie star, union president (SAG), corporate spokesman, political pundit (he had a newspaper column and radio show), governor of the largest state. This may have given him a wider perspective. Obama strikes me as someone whose ideas froze in place while he was in college and have not changed much. Reagan, OTOH, went from being an FDR Democrat to a Goldwater Republican fairly late in life. He was also flexible enough to work with Gorbachev, over the objections of more doctrinaire conservatives who called Reagan "a useful idiot" for his apostasy.

As for W, I think he was a pretty poor president overall, and obviously too sure of himself when it came to, say, WMDs in Iraq. On the plus side, as far as I know, he didn't sic the IRS on his political enemies or wiretap journalists. Obama comes straight out of Chicago machine politics, as does his top advisor, Valerie Jarrett (not to mention Rahm Emanuel and Bill Daley, both key figures in the first term). As I see it, Obama is the furthest thing from the idealist he masquerades as. And I think that's becoming increasingly evident as the scandals pile up.

Your mileage may vary!

"Max Planck quipped, science makes progress one funeral at a time". That was funny :)

"In other words, rather than looking primarily for the Right Man in others, we might start by looking for him in the mirror. If we look hard enough, we may see him glaring back." That was great. Of course, it's not applicable to me :)

Seems you hit a center pillar in the foundation of our societies. Since the devotion to authorities probably is DNA-wired, there is a real task to turn the table. But it would be funny and interesting to take part in an elaborate effort trying to really do this. After all, since so many depraved anti-human manifestations (I am not going to give any examples) have emerged during the history of mankind, why couldn't such a pro-human issue gain some impact.


This is a very eloquently stated piece on something that's probably caused more harm for the human race than anything else! (Think about how many times the "right man" has led people into disaster.) It's a tenet of Buddhism that one must be prepared all the time to change one's opinion in the face of new facts. This is something the right man or woman can't do, and is often their undoing.

Michael, you make some pretty strong claims here.

Now it may be that every single one of them is exactly right. I'm truly open to that possibility.

OTOH, I wonder if this stuff comes from the right-leaning sources you rely on, and whether some of it is hyperbole, or just plain inaccurate.

"he had an entry-level job putting out a small newsletter, not a big-time dealmaking position as he claims in his memoir"

Can you tell me anything more about his alleged lie? If it's as blatant as you say, it would surprise me. What exactly did he say in his memoir, and what's the truth of the matter?

"His coworkers at a brokerage firm have said it was impossible to ever tell him he was wrong or to explain anything to him; he would just smile and ignore them."

Who are these coworkers? Do they have political leanings that might prompt them to say something like that?

"Some prominent Democrats visited Pres. Obama soon after he was sworn in and came away dismayed by the fact that, unlike any other president they had known, he did not seem at all intimated by his responsibilities; he gave the impression he thought the job would be a cakewalk for him."

Can you tell me who these prominent Democrats are? And did they really use words like dismay and cakewalk? Or are those exaggerations?

"He is on the record as saying he could do the jobs of his campaign manager, chief of staff, etc. better than any of them."

Can you tell me where this comes from? Or provide the exact exchange?

As I said, everything you said here may be true and accurately stated. But it would surprise me.

I myself am disappointed in many of Obama's policies. (Though I have no regret whatsoever that I voted for him, given who he ran against.) But I'm skeptical of what you say here, and will need some clarifications to believe it.

I don't mean this as an attack, truly. But when you talk about parapsychology, you do your utmost to present the situation fairly and without bias. Are you doing the same here?

Excellent essay! The Colin Wilson quip is gold.

I would agree that Reagan was not a "Right Man." I was going to give some of the reasons you did. He seems to have been pretty flexible to me, actually.

George W. Bush, however, seems like an excellent example. OTOH, he might have just been an idiot.

As for Obama, to me he is just a cipher. I can't say how his psychology works, since I just can't understand *him*. He talked a good talk but then ended up being just a pretty ordinary chief executive--what I call a "placeholder president."

I'm not sure the scandals have anything to do with Right Manness, do they? That would seem to have more to do with competence.

"Then, this morning I had a dream wherein an Australian and an American were having an argument"

But then, of course, you dream about contentious Australians all the time, right? ;o) Cool precognitive dream, no one. Just the kind of "coincidence" I would have ignored for most of my life.

"I'm not sure the scandals have anything to do with Right Manness, do they?"

Probably not. I was just trying to explain why I don't like him. Plus, I'm enjoying the scandals. They're fun. Pass the popcorn!

Bruce, here are some citations. For Obama's newsletter job:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/30/us/politics/30obama.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

A more detailed post about the newsletter, inc. info on Obama's attitude toward his coworkers:

http://sweetness-light.com/archive/did-obama-turn-down-a-wall-street-career#.UbT-oBZ8u-8

Obama's claim to be better at everyone's job (second to last paragraph):

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/03/books/03book.html

(I got the details wrong, though; he said he could do everybody's job *in his campaign* better than they could. He also claimed he's trying to change his attitude, which, if true, is a good thing.)

The "do you ever have doubts" interview is online as a video here:

http://ztruth.typepad.com/ztruth/2008/07/question-to-barack-obama-do-you-ever-have-doubts-never.html

The question comes at the end, about the 9:00 mark. It's more narrowly focused (in context) than I recalled. He's being asked if he has doubts about his ability to handle the foreign policy aspects of his job. Still, I've never heard him express doubts as to his abilities in any area. Have you?

Can't track down the story about the prominent Dems visiting him after he was sworn in. It's possible I exaggerated it. Can't always trust my memory on these things. "Cakewalk" is definitely my term; I was trying to give a sense of his nonchalant attitude.

My father, a Fundamaterialist, agnostic Right Man to the core (your post serendipitously appeared on the very day I needed to see it, after a conversation that proved his emotional wounds are beyond my reach), is the best teacher; in so many ways he's shown me how *not* to live.

I can vouch that he is not one to believe he is at all capable of being wrong. No surprise, he also soaks up science publications voraciously and openly mocks the 'woo'.

You have low expectations of your action flicks if you consider the scandals a popcorner, Michael. :)

They are not really going to have any effect on anything. Obama's not going to do much over the next four years, and then I hope neither Hillary nor Biden run (or that, if they do, they lose), and maybe, who knows, a sincere Democrat can run in 2016.

Michael, those four claims you made about Obama certainly seem less damning after getting the details.

I do agree with you that Obama seems to have overinflated his resume. But what he said was that:

"a consulting house to multinational corporations agreed to hire me as a research assistant."

How does that get turned into (your words) "the big-time dealmaking position he claims in his memoir"?

Maybe you got that confused with the part where he said:

"I would catch my reflection in the elevator doors-see myself in a suit and tie, a briefcase in my hand-and for a split second I would imagine myself as a captain of industry, barking out orders, closing the deal, before I remembered who it was that I had told myself I wanted to be and felt pangs of guilt for my lack of resolve."

Now those remarks sound like the words of someone who can poke fun at himself and his own delusions of grandeur, so it's especially ironic that they would get turned around by conservative pundits (if that's where you got them), and used to make exactly the opposite point.

As to this:

""His coworkers at a brokerage firm have said it was impossible to ever tell him he was wrong or to explain anything to him; he would just smile and ignore them."

In your sources, I found only one comment that points in that direction, a remark by a Bill Millar who found Obama "arrogant and condescending." Since those articles were focusing on the negative, it may be significant that they couldn't find other detractors to support that observation.

"I got the details wrong, though; he said he could do everybody's job *in his campaign* better than they could. He also claimed he's trying to change his attitude, which, if true, is a good thing."

Notice too that he was talking, in a general way, about an *upcoming* (senatorial) campaign, rather than people he had already hired:

“I understand that intellectually, but this is my life and career. And I think I could probably do every job on the campaign better than the people I’ll hire to do it. It’s hard to give up control when that’s all I’ve known in my political life. But I hear you and will try to do better.”

His remark that he could do "every job on the campaign better than the people I’ll hire to do it" sounds pretty realistic to me. So where you hear cockiness, I hear primarily an admission that he needs to get better at delegating.

"The question comes at the end, about the 9:00 mark. It's more narrowly focused (in context) than I recalled. He's being asked if he has doubts about his ability to handle the foreign policy aspects of his job."

Not just foreign policy, but he may have been referring specifically to his last comments about assuring the nations of the world that the US would be a responsible partner and leader.

Also, it's pretty understandable that he would express confidence in the middle of a presidential race!

It also struck me as a pretty lighthearted response--even humorous--given the big grin, and the fact that it came at the very end of the interview, when both parties realized there was no time to expand on his answer.

"Still, I've never heard him express doubts as to his abilities in any area. Have you?"

Actually, I like that elevator story quoted above. I could be very wrong about this, but my guess is that with people he trusts--people like his wife who aren't looking for sound-bytes to attack him with--he probably talks like that a lot, making self-effacing jokes about how he's not living up to his hopes and dreams.

But as I say, I could be wrong.

I think it's useful that you talk about politics from time to time, Michael, so that lurkers on this blog can see that your regular commenters have the capability of disagreeing with you. I'd hate for them to think we're a bunch of toadies. :)

Or maybe I should not say "strong," since their egos are in fact remarkably fragile; what I mean is, such people are ego-dominated to an unusual extent.
A better word is "overbearing."
The authorities of Science have decided, by executive fiat, what is to be taken seriously and what is to be mocked; and the Right Men (many of whom, remember, are not actually scientists but only science groupies) nod in approval of all such proclamations. To do otherwise would be to question authority.
It's more subtle and indirect than that, in most cases. The authority has been vested in a purportedly reliable, self-correcting and hence virtually infallible process: Scientific peer review and intramural critical give-and-take. Henry Bauer's recent book, Dogmatism in Science and Medicine, at http://www.amazon.com/Dogmatism-Science-Medicine-Dominant-Monopolize/dp/0786463015/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1370848052&sr=1-1&keywords=dogmatism+in+science+and+medicine, reveals how this supposed free market in ideas has been perverted as a result of the rise of Organized (bureaucratized, high-expense) Science.

Here are some quotes from Bauer's Science or Pseudoscience? at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0252026012/qid=1070360257/sr=1-3/ref=sr_1_3/103-2148347-8449427?v=glance&s=books#product-details"

54: A common but noteworthy version of the appeal to science by debunkers runs like this: “Science should always be believed, because science is self-correcting and changes its mind as called for by the evidence.” Unwary bystanders might swallow this rhetorical trick instead of realizing that the issue then becomes, is this particular anomaly perhaps one of those over which science will change its mind?

7. much popular wisdom idealizes science. Perhaps the most common illusion is that science uses a “scientific method” that guarantees objectivity (Bauer 1992a; Bauer and Huyghe 1999).

86: The god-professor was a characteristic feature not only of French science but also in Germany…. People who attained such a position, like Blondlot, could find it quite difficult to recognize that they had made an error, let alone admit it publicly.

47. The passion in many arguments … [is] an inevitable corollary of a human wish for certainty.

16: The “skeptical” in Skeptical Inquirer and the “skeptics” in the names of many groups employing that label interprets skepticism in the sense of those ancient Greeks who actively disbelieved, the atheists, rather than in the nowadays more commonly understood sense of agnostics, people who suspend judgment, who maintain an attitude of doubt.

197: Perhaps much more generally damaging than any given belief are the fanaticism and dogmatism that hinder some people from deviating in any situation from rigid ideologies.

ix: those who sneer at “pseudoscience” reveal scientism, the belief that only science is authoritative when it comes to knowledge.

I do believe this right man hypothesis to be true about arguments that are abstract.(Psi, afterlife, god, finer structure in the universe ext.) but I also think there are some things that people have a right to get angry and upset about

Love your blog, Michael, but you frankly lose me when you venture into political territory. I'm deeply disappointed in Obama, but does a "Right Man" bring political adversaries into his office for their opinions after being sworn in, as Obama (trying to emulate Lincoln) did? (Foolishly so, IMO). I know of no incident like you described with the prominent Dems, but if you can find the link, I'm open to seeing it. And for the record, the Bush administration *did* sic the IRS after political foes, including the NAACP, and gave special scrutiny to African American churches over whether they violated the law by supporting a politicial candidate, while not giving the same scrutiny to churches that supported conservatives. And if you want an archetypal example of a Right Man in politics, look no further than Dick Cheney.

Aside from that, you do great work.

Those are good points, Bruce. It's interesting, though, that I don't see you subjecting my "Right Man" criticism of Rush Limbaugh to the same scrutiny! After all, the Limbaugh story is at least as vulnerable to attack as any of the Obama stories. There are many possible reasons why a radio personality might be nervous when auditioning for a TV show. And the claim that he sweated a lot is apparently taken from a single source, a guy who is now a producer at PBS. Given PBS's political leanings, the source is quite likely to be hostile to Limbaugh, so maybe he's exaggerating or just making it up. Who knows?

This whole debate-within-a-debate dovetails pretty neatly with Wilson's book "The New Inquisition," which stresses the role of what he calls "reality tunnels" in our lives. We tend to see what we want to see, and ignore what we want to ignore. As he observes wryly, "The human mind is ingenious enough to prove or disprove any proposition, to its own satisfaction, if not to the conviction of those who lack the Faith to believe it."

In my reality tunnel, Obama comes across as an arrogant narcissist, who is incompetent, corrupt, and rather sinister in his politicization of government agencies and his demonization of political foes. In your reality tunnel, he evidently comes across as a self-effacing, reasonable, well-intentioned guy, something of an idealist and a humanitarian. To each his own ...

"does a "Right Man" bring political adversaries into his office for their opinions after being sworn in, as Obama (trying to emulate Lincoln) did?"

He does if he thinks of himself as another Lincoln – which is a sign of narcissistic grandiosity, at least.

"And if you want an archetypal example of a Right Man in politics, look no further than Dick Cheney."

I agree that Cheney fits the profile, but that doesn't mean Obama doesn't. The two possibilities are not mutually exclusive, even though the men have different ideologies. Obama has far more personal charm than Cheney, that's for sure. But in his basic psychology, I think Obama is essentially another Nixon – paranoid, thin-skinned, vindictive, and constantly scheming to undermine his "enemies," whom he sees everywhere.

But that's my reality tunnel, not yours.

"...so that lurkers on this blog can see that your regular commenters have the capability of disagreeing with you."

Wrong! Nobody can disagree with me! You're all banned - you ... and you ... and you! And who ate my strawberries?!

Points well-taken, Michael---except, perhaps, for the comment about O. emulating Lincoln. An old classmate of mine went into the monastery years ago, and once explained to me how he strives to "practice the presence of Christ" in his daily life. I'm not sure his desire to emulate Jesus necessarily means he's identifying with him in a "narcissistic" way. But if you're able to telepathically read Obama's mind and know his secret motivations, then my hats off to you.

"I'm not sure his desire to emulate Jesus necessarily means he's identifying with him in a "narcissistic" way."

No, but the situations aren't comparable. It would take the skills and political genius of a Lincoln (generally considered one of the top two or three presidents in history) to manage a "team of rivals." Obama must have believed he had such skills, or he wouldn't have risked it.

Emulating Jesus by trying to master his compassion and wisdom is one thing; emulating him by trying to raise the dead is another. The former is humble; the latter is not.

Of course, Obama never promised to raise the dead. He did, however, promise to make the seas stop rising ... :-)

"And for the record, the Bush administration *did* sic the IRS after political foes ..."

PolitiFact rates this claim "mostly false":

http://www.tampabay.com/news/business/politifact-did-irs-target-liberal-groups-during-bush-administration/2125465

But let's say it was true. Is it really a defense? I thought Bush was supposed to be evil and incompetent. I thought Obama was supposed to be better than Bush. I thought that was a large part of the rationale for electing Obama.

Now we find out that if Bush did it, then it must be okay. So does this mean Bush was a good president after all? Or does it mean Bush was still lousy, but lousiness is all we can expect from a president? Or was it bad when Bush did it, but good when Obama did it?

All this spin is making me dizzy. Anyone got Dramamine?

" In your reality tunnel, he evidently comes across as a self-effacing, reasonable, well-intentioned guy, something of an idealist and a humanitarian."

Let's just say he's capable, at times, of exhibiting those qualities .

What worries me about Obama has nothing to do with the side shows (IRS , Benghazi, etc) currently being blown out of proportion by his enemies. It's something much more basic and insidious: the government is crawling into bed with Monsanto, an evil entity if ever there was one. And that puts our entire food chain at risk.

http://earthopensource.org/files/pdfs/GMO_Myths_and_Truths/GMO_Myths_and_Truths_1.3.pdf

"It's interesting, though, that I don't see you subjecting my "Right Man" criticism of Rush Limbaugh to the same scrutiny!"

Hey, when you're right, you're right. :o)

"No, but the situations aren't comparable. It would take the skills and political genius of a Lincoln (generally considered one of the top two or three presidents in history) to manage a "team of rivals." Obama must have believed he had such skills, or he wouldn't have risked it.

Emulating Jesus by trying to master his compassion and wisdom is one thing; emulating him by trying to raise the dead is another. The former is humble; the latter is not."

This line of argument is tongue-in-cheek, right? I mean, you're not seriously saying that any president who tries to manage a "team of rivals" should be faulted for over-reaching?

Being "incorrect" doesn't equate with "losing face." Losing face means engendering disrespect. One can be "correct" and lose face.

Being "right" also doesn't equate with being an "alpha." An "alpha" likes to be in charge - considerations of correct/incorrect don't come into play. An alpha will not infrequently express an approach that is like "I don't want to hear whether it's right or wrong, just do what I tell you to do."

People who have a strong "need" to be right are hardly ever alphas. They are often people looking to bolster their opinion of themselves. In fact, they are more similar to people who have a habit of thinking they're incorrect.

"Being 'incorrect' doesn't equate with 'losing face.'"

For some people, having to publicly admit they were incorrect would equate to losing face, because it would feel humiliating.

"People who have a strong 'need' to be right are hardly ever alphas."

That seems unlikely to me, based on my personal encounters with people I would regard as alphas.

"... you're not seriously saying that any president who tries to manage a 'team of rivals' should be faulted for over-reaching?"

For a newly elected president as politically inexperienced as Obama, yes, it's overreaching. A guy who was a state senator and then an absentee US senator for less than a full term just doesn't have the chops necessary to pull off a feat like that. (And yes, I know Lincoln's resume was thin, too. But whatever Barack Obama may be, he ain't Abe Lincoln. At this point, I'm not even sure he's James Polk.)

Obama has always overestimated his own abilities, and now, as Rev. Wright might say, the chickens are coming home to roost. He may spend the rest of his term unsuccessfully fighting off calls for a special prosecutor(s) and then unsuccessfully fighting off subpoenas issued by the prosecutor(s). This from a guy who promised "the most transparent administration in history."

Some of us did warn you, you know.

Thus endeth my diatribes on Obama.

" But in his basic psychology, I think Obama is essentially another Nixon – paranoid, thin-skinned, vindictive, and constantly scheming to undermine his "enemies," whom he sees everywhere."

I have the exact opposite complaint! I think Obama is too idealistic and trusting of his political opponents. If you had followed his stimulus, budget, and health care negotiations closely, you would see that his negotiating starting point would often be right in the middle of the Democratic and Republican positions (as defined by the median positions of rank-and-file Congresspeople from each party), as if just by asserting a moderate positions, his political opponents would come to the table in agree with him! Obama also avoided heavy-handed tactics such as the 14th amendment or the platinum coin solutions to the debt ceiling, despite the urgings of many prominent liberals, like Paul Krugman. Many liberal commentators have said Obama isn't paranoid enough, given the determination of the GOP to never cooperate with him.

Obviously, our views of Pres. Obama are mutually exclusive. I think it's very hard to get a clear understanding of contemporary politicians without the hindsight of history. During his presidency, Lincoln was harshly criticized too and now we consider him the greatest U.S. president. It's impossible to say what the history books will say about Pres. Obama.

Michael,

The dislike of Obama seems rather personal. I can understand how someone could feel that way about *a* politician. I despised Bush both politically *and* personally.

But I don't get the hate about *Obama.* I think he's been a pretty mediocre president, and though he doesn't charm me very much (any more--the lofty rhetoric has grown tiresome without commensurate results), he doesn't seem like an odious person to me. This really seems more like Right Wing echo chamber and less like your own individual lens affecting perception.

Is Limbaugh a "Right Man"? It's hard to know what he really thinks, since his propaganda has made him so much money over the years. There has certainly not been any external incentive to change. I will confess I used to listen to and enjoy him in the 90s (I was more or less a Conservative until the 2000 election). I could be wrong, but he seems to have grown more poisonous and hateful over time.

Here is a blog post I wrote that touches on my political evolution. I think it has some insights into the conservative "brand." I'm kinda proud of it:

http://mattrouge.com/2009/08/the-key-to-understanding-the-self-branding-of-the-right-american-honky-tonk-bar-association/

"For a newly elected president as politically inexperienced as Obama, yes, it's overreaching."

If he had selected cabinet members who were all likely to agree with him, you probably would have been asking why he didn't learn from Lincoln's example and choose a more diversified group. Look into your heart and say it ain't so.

Ray made a good point when he brought up Obama's cabinet selections. They were clearly not those of a Right Man.

And the same goes for the woman Obama chose to be his wife. Michelle strikes me as a strong, independent-minded person. She's more in the Hilary Clinton mode than any First Lady I can think of--certainly not the sort you'd want to have around if you were looking for sweet, silent, adulation. She's no librarian.

"Some of us did warn you, you know."

I'm sometimes disappointed by Obama, occasionally thrilled by him, and most of the time I see his administration as politics-as-usual. Which, I freely admit, is not what I hoped for.

On the other hand, I'm *always* relieved that we have a Democrat in the White House (and I might add, consistently exasperated by the behavior of Republicans).

"I despised Bush both politically *and* personally........But I don't get the hate about *Obama.* ...."

Matt, Can you really say that Obama is very different than Bush when it comes to the things you dislike about Bush?

Let's just touch on a few highlights.

War? Obama escalated the senseless war in Afghanistan. More US troops have been killed and maimed there under Obama than under Bush. Attempts to garner support for intervention in Syria on the side of radical Islamic extremist rebels and, not entirely indirectly to overthrow the sovereign Syrian government represented by Asad. Extra judicial summary execution, usually by drone, of US citizens.

Civil liberties? I would say that Obama's record has been worse than Bush's. Spying on the free press, increased spying on US citizens, attempted suspension of the 2A, forced a very silly an ineffective healthcare insurance plan on the people.

Economy? Worse than Bush years.

Transparency? In addition to the spying and drone executions there is Benghazi, where clearly the Obama administration sacrificed security for its happy one world story and then tries to cover up its disastrous consequences.

Social policies? I admit Bush was all about taking from just about everyone to give more to the haves - but you knew that about him going in. Obama OTOH is all about taking from the hard working and the veterans who fought his war and giving to those who don't contribute anything.

Some veterans are, half joking, saying that they will renounce their citizenship, move to Mexico, swim across the Rio Grande and, once back in the USA as illegal aliens, reap all of the benefits that they don't get now. That's what the class warrior Obama has brought us.

I fail to comprehend why an employed white person favors Obama's social policies since they clearly favor minority low wage and unemployed welfare types. It seems like some form of self loathing born of a sense of collective guilt that comes from taking too seriously what America hating leftists are trying to push down everyone's throats.

And this is where my strong personal dislike of Obama come in. Bottom line; The man is not my friend. He doesn't care about me. He cares about minorities. He is - and always has been - a radical social Marxist, always playing the race card as opposed to developing real talent - and he sees me as the enemy. He wants to take what I have worked for, take my rights so he can create a USSR style welfare state for minorities.

Oh...I should add that I do see Obama as a right man in that his ideas of rightness are similar to Mao's. He is absolutely certain of his Marxist views.

Tying into the post about the interesting photo that the family thinks is the Virgin Mary, it's kind of amazing that people who mostly agree on some pretty non-mainstream stuff and whose thinking is generally not unalike - based on comment exchanges long enough to clog an NSA server - can look at the same person - Obama - and see such a radically different character.

Obama as Rorschach test.

In a way it's kind of validating of the paranormal because apparently very different people, meaning their overall world view as defined by the proxy of politics, can share the same appreciation of the paranormal.

Actually, I think Michael and I might be outliers. The again, Matt might return to political righteousness again ;-) I would expect most believers in the paranormal to be left of center. But I'm kind of curious now.

Well, no one, I care about you AND minorities. :)

No one: I would expect most believers in the paranormal to be left of center. But I'm kind of curious now.
Not me.

@no one

I disagree with you vehemently about Obama. But I think that most of the skeptics of psi are on the Left. The two skeptical behemoths being Academia and Militant Atheism, both of which lean very left-wing. For example, Daily Kos is obviously a left-wing website but it has a militant atheistic and psi-denialist slant to it as well. Now Academia is an interesting case because a majority of professors actually do believe in or are open-minded about psi but a taboo is being enforced.

Stephen, agreed that many leftists are atheists. This is line with Marxist thought, but also, with the daily kos crowd's rampant rebellious hatred of American traditions and, especially, the traditions they see as pertaining to white male dominance (everything is about dominance, class struggle and social revolution with these people). So, for them, spirituality and paranormal is associated at an emotional level (the emotional level being where all of their associations are made) with patriarchal religions. Therefore all of it must be discarded with extreme prejudice.

I guess I was thinking more of the New Age types who value empathy, the feminine, equality, love thy neighbor, etc. I would think that Obama's socialist rhetoric would appeal to them at a values level.

How many "right men" are also sufferers of Narcissistic Personality disorder?

I know many "right men".. they have an opinion on anything and everything regardless of whether they know the first thing about it. Their opinion is often made up of what they consider their own "common sense" but in every case these people have been Narcissists.

If you want to emulate ,Lincoln you can suspend the writ of Habeus Corpus,order news papers burned down that offend you. An interesting read(Lincoln's Wrath: Fierce Mobs, Brilliant Scoundrels and a President's Mission to Destroy the Press )Order a Congressman arrested and sent to the enemy and other such things.you could also authorize attacks on civilians and their property sign a resolution to abuse and starve enemy Pows. etc and so on.
Lincoln like almost all people of his time was a white supremacist (read the Lincoln Douglas debates). OH did I forget the mass execution of the Mankato Sioux the largest execution in American History.
Obama reminds me too much of the dark side of Lincoln we forget, and very little of the good side of Lincoln that we do remember.

Politicians like to look to the past as their models,with Reagan it was FDR. What a strange fit that was. To paraphrase Samuel Johnson's quip about the Irish, substituting conservatives and liberals "they are a very truthful people they never speak well of one another"
i learned along time ago not to conflate the chaos caused by political incompetence with directed malice. I doubt Obama has the organizational skills to do an intentional Nixon riff.
The IRS and Department of Education are full of little Robesierres. Perhpas Obama's associates such as Holder can take education for Robespierre whoi said
"If virtue be the spring of a popular government in times of peace, the spring of that government during a revolution is virtue combined with terror: virtue, without which terror is destructive; terror, without which virtue is impotent. Terror is only justice prompt, severe and inflexible; it is then an emanation of virtue; it is less a distinct principle than a natural consequence of the general principle of democracy, applied to the most pressing wants of the country ... The government in a revolution is the despotism of liberty against tyranny.
Or lets audit them.

i love this quote from Berlinski The tone is characteristic. Peter Atkins is
a professor of physical chemistry at Oxford
University, and he, too, is ardent in his
atheism. In the course of an essay
denouncing not only theology, art, poetry,
and philosophy as well, he observes favorably
of himself that scientists " are at the summit
of knowledge, beacons of rationality, and
intellectually honest." It goes without saying,
Atkins adds, that "there is no reason to
suppose that science cannot deal with every
aspect of existence. "Science is, after all, the
apotheosis of the intellect and the
consummation of the Renaissance."
(Berlinski, 2009, p. 7)

If that does not encapsulate the essence of Scientism I do not know what does. the right man is also a social man for without social commerce he would not be able to pronounce his "Rightness". Therefore in my opinion he or she(rarely) seeks out a group that agrees and together they manifest the 'True Believer" Hoeffer wrote about. Their moral superiority is their Intellectual superiority.what I call the Cult of Intellect.

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