Progressive Self-Delusion: From Hope and Change to This Changes Everything

When Obama was running for president in 2008, a prevalent fantasy among progressives was that Obama was a cunning community organizer, who cleverly outfoxed America’s aristocracy, thus becoming the front-running Democratic candidate while they weren’t looking. The reality, of course, was that Obama had sold his soul to Goldman Sachs in 2004, thus ensuring that America’s aristocracy was solidly behind his historic candidacy.

During Obama’s 2008 campaign, his community organizing employer, Ralph Nader, stated publicly that Obama was just another opportunist, who’d padded his populist resume by doing a stint in his organization. Nader also noted Obama’s sell out, which had been documented in an article at Harper’s in November 2006, but progressives were already hallucinating on the Hope and Change Kool-Aid, making it impossible for this dose of reality to take effect.

When 350 started using a modified Obama logo, to brand its Rockefeller-financed campaigns as progressive, they were simply usurping an emotive symbol known for its mesmerizing effect. When 350’s Naomi Klein marketed herself as radical chic, anti-capitalist Superwoman, she was counting on the proven gullibility of American greens.

True to form, progressive suspension of disbelief enabled Klein to create a separate reality, where she miraculously tricked the aristocracy into backing her socialist revolution under the slogan This Changes Everything. Even the oil industry’s cashing in on her phony XL and divestment campaigns wasn’t enough for progressives to withdraw from her spell. As their new cultural icon, her celebrity completely overwhelms any critical judgment they might have acquired after Hope and Change.

As infantile consumers of spectacle, American progressives will apparently believe anything, as long as it is packaged in a wrapper of false hope, decorated with catchy phrases, and promoted as a painless revolution that asks no sacrifice, but promises them the world on a platter. In time, This Changes Everything, like Hope and Change, will be relegated to the dustbin of empty campaign promises. At which point, if history is any guide, progressives will partake of group therapy sessions, and prepare themselves to be duped again.

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