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You may agree 100 percent with the president’s position on gun control, but his stagey histrionics, his endless reliance upon human props, his cheap sloganeering, his emotionally driven hectoring: all of that bespeaks a very deep contempt for his audience, which is the American people. If he really believes that surrounding himself with adorable little tots is a substitute for substantive arguments for well-thought-out policy proposals, he thinks that the people — you people — are a bunch of rubes. Unhappily, 51 percent of the American people are happy to endorse his low view of them. There is something peculiar to political enthusiasts, a phenomenon I observed at both conventions this year: People in political audiences know that they are being manipulated, cynically and professionally — and they enjoy it. Obama’s admirers look up to him because he looks down on them, not in spite of the fact. There is something more at play than the mere admiration of stagecraft…
The magic of theater is that is has the power to overwhelm thought: For a moment, you forget that you are watching actors reciting lines that they have memorized and making scripted movements, and you are taken into the world of the play. Obama’s politics of histrionics — the little children, the Sandra Flukes, the imperial stage dressing — also is conceived with the goal of overwhelming thought. That tells you something about the president and what he stands for. The continued success of this traveling medicine show of a presidency tells you something about the American people.