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Purely pavlovian

March 27, 2012

VDH talks about all the times Obama insists he sees injustice before the facts are out here

a disturbing pattern has developed in his editorializing, which is aimed exclusively at those whose policies and language he implies lead to horrific acts like the shooting of African-American teenagers, the smearing of young feminists, the shooting of Democratic congresswomen, or the jailing of African-American professors. Yet in every case, further evidence, more information, and subsequent events suggested that the president had offered either incomplete or misleading commentary to the nation, predicated not on a desire for healing or truth, but on a wish to gain partisan advantage.

When these national controversies arise, the president should take a deep breath, let emotions subside, and simply announce, if he must say anything, “Let’s wait and see,” and then turn his needed attention to ongoing and impending wars, near economic insolvency, and our energy dilemmas.

The issue comes down to training and habit. As a manager I’ve found that it takes a lot of effort on someones’ part to learn new skills & to put the habitual reactions away. It is particularly hard when you aren’t sure what to do in your new role & people keep calling you for your old one. Add in a mix of pavlovian “societal injustice is always at the core” – the community organizer will opt to tackle the problems he or she knows a solution to (demagouge & get some reparations) instead of the problem he or she does not (recessions, economic development and foreign policy)

You can’t make someone learn new content, delve into a new area of expertise, etc if they really love what they did and are giving lip service to the new gig while it lasts. At some point wiring & desire come into play – you can lead them to water but….

3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 29, 2012 3:46 pm

    Maybe it’s just habit, this appeal to emotion without the facts. Maybe it’s purposeful throwing of red meat to the base. Frankly, my head hurts when I try and peel that onion, LOL.


  2. Lynn Comp permalink*
    March 28, 2012 6:38 pm

    Keith – in some sense, it almost seems like the way guys like Chavez in Venezuela manipulate their simple minded audiences. Get them worked up over “red meat” and distract the audience – so this is potentially manipulating the base? or perhaps he’s forgotten that the wider world outside the communities in Chicago that he organized thinks independent thoughts? It’s kind of a bubble effect

  3. March 27, 2012 6:59 pm

    I wonder how much of this is fed to him by speechwriters. He certainly has been known to fire off judgments in major, scripted speeches that have turned out to be very ill-advised. The school that he singled out last year, for example, that turns out to have finally become successful only after completely ditching the teachers’ union.

    The president’s comments are so often wrong, so frequently unhistorical, and so evidently false, that this pattern seems even larger than described above.

    And seeing this pointed out in the press hasn’t fazed him at all.

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

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