It appears that President Obama is about to approve the extension of the Bush tax cuts and this has sent liberals into a frenzy. How to explain it? Well, Frank Rich of the New York Times has a very creative explanation: a weak Barack Obama has been spiritually kidnapped by Republicans and is now suffering from Stockholm Syndrome which allows him to sympathize with his captors. Here is Rich explaining it in "All the President's Captors" at his entertaining best:
THOSE desperate to decipher the baffling Obama presidency could do worse than consult an article titled “Understanding Stockholm Syndrome” in the online archive of The F.B.I. Law Enforcement Bulletin. It explains that hostage takers are most successful at winning a victim’s loyalty if they temper their brutality with a bogus show of kindness. Soon enough, the hostage will start concentrating on his captors’ “good side” and develop psychological characteristics to please them — “dependency; lack of initiative; and an inability to act, decide or think.”
This dynamic was acted out — yet again — in President Obama’s latest and perhaps most humiliating attempt to placate his Republican captors in Washington. No sooner did he invite the G.O.P.’s Congressional leaders to a post-election White House summit meeting than they countered his hospitality with a slap — postponing the date for two weeks because of “scheduling conflicts.” But they were kind enough to reschedule, and that was enough to get Obama to concentrate once more on his captors’ “good side.”
So what happened to the dynamic "hope and change" Obama heavily promoted back in 2008? According to Rich his willpower has been surrendered to his "captors."
The captors will win this battle, if they haven’t already by the time you read this, because Obama has seemingly surrendered his once-considerable abilities to act, decide or think.
Rich even goes so far as to compare "hostage" Obama unfavorably to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie:
I don’t agree with almost anything Chris Christie, the new Republican governor of New Jersey, has to say. But the popularity of his leadership right now is instructive. New Jersey has voted Democratic in every presidential election since 1992, with Obama carrying the state by a landslide margin of almost 15 percentage points. Yet Christie now has a higher approval number (51 percent) in the latest Quinnipiac state poll than either Obama or New Jersey’s two senators, both Democrats.
Christie’s popularity among national right-wing activists and bloggers has been stoked by a viral YouTube video where he dresses down a constituent in a manner that recalls Ralph Kramden sending Alice “to the moon.” But the core of Christie’s appeal at home is that he explains passionately held views in concrete, plain-spoken detail. Voters know what he stands for and sometimes respect him for his forthrightness even when they reject the stands themselves. This extends to his signature issue — his fiscal and rhetorical blows against public education. He’s New Jersey’s most popular statewide politician despite the fact that a 59 percent majority in the state thinks public schools deserve more taxpayer money, not less.
G.O.P. propagandists notwithstanding, Christie’s appeal does not prove that New Jersey (and therefore the country) has “turned to the right.” It does prove that people want a leader with a strong voice, even if only to argue with it.
So there you have it according to the Frank Rich theory. In contrast to a strong-willed Christie, poor weak Obama is suffering from Stockholm Syndrome which is causing him to agree with his Republican captors.