Whatever Happened to Authenticity?

In article at Dissent on the legacy of the Obama Administration Corey Robin describes the “defining achievement of Barack Obama” as the Affordable Care Act, which has been undergoing attack from Republicans since it was enacted but more recently from Democrats as well. He refers to :”the Obamanauts”, the True Believers in the historic mission of the Obama Administration. He writes:

Leftists often dismiss liberals and Democrats as bloodless technocrats and pallid wonks. But that’s not true of the Obamanauts. Theirs is a libidinal attachment. Not to science, reason, or Harvard but to an incongruous sense of history—dopey and epochal, encyclopedic yet uninformed. Obamanauts think of themselves as a “storied band of brothers.” They grill five-year-olds on the facts of presidential history. They speak of history lying in “our hands.” Yet many of them know little of consequence about the past. Pfeiffer thinks the demand for politicians to be authentic is a “new rule,” but Nixon was dogged by the charge of inauthenticity all the time. Virtually all of the Obamanauts are dumbfounded by the Republicans’ hatred of the Affordable Care Act, even though opposition to universal healthcare has been a rallying cry of conservatives since Harry Truman first proposed it in 1945. But Obamanauts do know that, with the exception of Harold Stassen, Obama was the first presidential candidate to campaign outside the United States and that John Kerry’s three-week trip to Vienna was “the longest any secretary of state had ever remained in any single city outside the United States in the history of the country.”

Whatever happened to authenticity? It has practically vanished from the public scene. None of the prospective candidates for president, Republican or Democrat, can lay any real claim to it. Joe Biden might have authentically been a scrappy middle class kid from Scranton 50 years ago but 50 years is a long time.

The intellectuals aren’t authentic intellectuals, the victimized minorities aren’t authentic victimized minorities, and the tribunes of the plebs aren’t authentic tribunes of the plebs. What happened? Other than if you can fake sincerity, you’ve got it made.

10 comments… add one
  • bob sykes Link

    Well, Trump is certainly an authentic, Big City trash talker. Authenticity is his big attraction. It’s way he’s always in trouble for his tweets and rallies. Romney, of course, is a total fraud. In fact, everyone in Washington, elected, appointed or civil service is a fraud. Include the courts, too.

    What is odd is that none of the Dems other than Biden seem to know that ACA exists. Certainly, they are acting as if it didn’t.

  • Today “Big City trash talkers” are pantywaists whose grandfathers were tough.

  • steve Link

    Trump’s mother drove him to private school in a Rolls Royce, yet he believes, as do his supporters, that he is a self-made man. He inherited millions and his father bailed him out of trouble when he bankrupted. Yet he made it rich all on his own. He faked his way out of military service and his charities were a farce, yet his supporters believe he “loves America”. His total lack of authenticity, but his supporters believing his shtick is amazing.

    It was along article and very little was about what you got from it. Is it really surprising that the people who worked for Obama would like to think they were wonderful? Isn’t this the norm for those who worked in the White House? The article was also one of the better documentations of how the Republicans decided to oppose everything and anything Obama proposed from the very start. They never had any intention to work with him. Almost kind of sad when the Democratic staffer whined about it saying that since Democrats hadn’t done that to Bush, they expected the GOP to work with them also. Shows how the Obama team coming into office completely misread the GOP.


  • Andy Link

    I go out of my way to read diverse opinions, but I have never heard of, nor encountered an “Obamanaut.” Where can these people be found?

    As for authenticity, it vanished because people concluded it is an impediment to winning elections.

  • Grey Shambler Link

    Way I heard it was: Character is everything, if you can fake that, you can get away with anything.

  • The quote attributed to Jean Giraudoux is “The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that you’ve got it made.”

  • TarsTarkas Link

    ‘Today “Big City trash talkers” are pantywaists whose grandfathers were tough.’

    Describes Biden to a ‘T’.

    Trump is an asshole. Always was, always has been. And he’s never pretended to be anything other than that. However and unfortunately that attitude is attached to someone who actually gets something TF done. Which is more than the lying BS’ing clown show opposing him. It would be nice if he was politer, smoother and didn’t incessantly respond to every little slight, real or imagined. But Bush II was like that and it didn’t do him a bit of good.

  • Guarneri Link


    Tars hits the nail on the head. Trump is what he is, an authentic asshole. But as Tars also notes, Trump has 4-5 core objectives and prosecutes them sincerely. Those objectives conflict with inauthentic Washington and media. So they are out for blood.

    steve has been reading fairy tales about Trump. I suppose he finds comfort. He would do well to turn off MSNBC and read O’Reilly’s recent book.

    Speaking of authenticity.

    Mueller apparently lied under oath about interviewing for the FBI job. Not to worry, Rosenstein immediately appointed him to an alternative job waiting in the wings. Can you say recusal for conflict of interest? Naw. That would be authentic.

    John Brennan is now on TV trashing the integrity of Barr and Durham. Brennan, or Barr/Durham?? It would be laughable if the stakes weren’t so high. Barr and Durham are most assuredly right over the target. Brennan is displaying desperation in its purist form. Deny, deny, deny.

    Clapper is telling us “Obama made us do it.” The rats are fleeing. (BTW – its true.)

    I don’t even want to address Schiff, Nadler or Pelosi. No serious person can take them or the authenticity of their hijinks seriously. They may do some serious damage to longstanding tenets of rule of law, but they will fizzle. Speaking of desperation…….

    I have no crystal ball, but my sense is that the next three weeks are going to be very interesting.

  • steve Link

    “and read O’Reilly’s recent book.”

    No thanks. I only read believable stuff like science fiction.

    ” Trump has 4-5 core objectives and prosecutes them sincerely. ”

    You win the internet.


  • Guarneri Link

    Deny, deny, deny, eh steve?

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