This story is a lot of fun for proto-conspiracy theorists.

Some White House staffers have described a “reign of terror” in the White House over continued leaks and a troika of leadership that is making decisions without any input from the president. The troika reportedly consists of First Lady Michelle Obama, presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett, and the president’s mother-in-law, Marian Robinson, who resides in the White House.

Via Collins, A.J. Strata wonders if Democrats are working themselves up to turning on Obama over connections to Blagojevich and the Chicago Machine:

This is probably the source of the panic the White House Insider suggests will be coming with the GOP House. With connections to Jarrett, Rezko, Corutthers and his CD opponent Schakowsky this guy’s material is amazing.

Ulsterman quotes his anonymous “White House Insider”, who sounds less, ah, hysterical than Wayne Madsen, but whose message really isn’t fundamentally different:

It was very odd, very sophomoric how the White House so quickly circled the wagons inside its own walls.  And as for the president, well, I’ve already told you about him.  He was as detached and unfocused an executive figure as I have ever seen.  In the Obama White House, the insane are running the asylum.  And I’m only half joking…

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The Overton window, in political theory, describes a “window” in the range of public reactions to ideas in public discourse, in a spectrum of all possible options on a particular issue. It is named after its originator, Joseph P. Overton, former vice president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. –[Wikipedia]

There’s a similar effect in public perceptions of an issue that controls which criticisms are effective (we still have free speech for the nonce, so all criticisms are permissible, however little some may like it). There builds, not so much a consensus as a vector sum of attitudes, which is reflected in the general tone of news articles and opinion pieces as well as private conversations. This sum-of-the-opinions becomes the center of the “window” — accounts and suggestions which are too far away from that central point are dismissed as kookiness or worse, and in any case have no real effect on the discourse.

However, articles and opinions which fall near the edge of the window are admitted to the universe of discourse, however grudgingly and/or subliminally; they add a new vector to the sum, which moves the center of the window in that direction. When the center of the window moves, its extremes also move, and things that would have been dismissed as unthinkable fall within the window, though, again, near the edge; and if such fringe data are accepted (whether or not they are considered credible) the center of the window moves again.

The center of the window of perception of President Obama is moving. As recently as half a year ago, accounts like Madsen’s would have been dismissed out of hand as the work of kooks and conspiracy theorists. However, Madsen is, in a portion of his essay, citing public behaviors visible to everyone, and his accounts of behaviors out of the public eye are thereby lent some slight credibility; his account is outside the window, but only just. Meanwhile essays like those of the “Washington Insider” fall within the window of credibility, though near the extremes, and are slowly moving the window.

It is quite interesting that the leftoid Press and blogosphere are starting to admit concepts that were once the exclusive province of the doubting Right, and thus far outside the admissible window, while the sort of gushing admiration that was de rigeur only weeks ago now falls outside the window at the other extreme. What happens now? It’s anybody’s guess, but I haven’t seen any serious attempts to halt the movement, let alone shift it the other way — simply recapitulating the fawning admiration of a year ago is not a serious attempt, even if the fawners think so, because it isn’t in the window. This limits the flexibility of proponents, while offering new opportunities to critics if they can somehow wedge their criticism inside the new limits of the window.

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