The Obama Show

Life sometimes imitates art, even in the Obama presidency. The old movie, The Truman Show, starring Jim Carrey as the earnest and clueless Truman Burbank, a man literally raised in a bubble since he was born, and the star of a popular television show, is a decent analogy for Obama's first half year in office.

Let's start with the bubble itself in the film.  The enormously costly stage for the show is a sealed environment where everyone is scripted, except Truman himself, and all actions are tightly controlled.  The drama for the TV audience is in how Truman will react to the latest life-changing material from the show's writers.  He has some inkling that not all is as it seems, but doesn't know how to act on that feeling.  Obama's trajectory is similar.  Absorbing almost nothing except Far Left ideas from adolescence, and then choosing to live entirely in that echo chamber as an adult, he has only a vague notion of fairness in the place of any strongly held convictions.  That has allowed others to write the script, and as if on cue, Obama acts and reacts in unexpected ways.

On domestic legislation, the wildly unpopular Democratic Congress (current approval rating 35%) wrote the script on the stimulus.  Pelosi and Reid assembled a pork-loaded and ineffective boondoggle resulting in record deficits and crippling debt.  True believers expected Obama to denounce the pork, veto the legislation, and send it back to Congress for another try.  But they were shocked -- shocked! -- to see him endorse and sign it.  After all, hadn't he promised a change in the way Washington does business? 

Ah, but that was the script from an episode in The Campaign season, and obviously not Obama's words or ideas.  And in this season, His Rookie Year, Congress continues to churn out even more unpopular new scripts: bailouts for dying auto companies, regulating carbon based on crackpot climate change theories, and now nationalizing health care.  Viewers can hardly wait for the California Goes Bankrupt and the Here Comes Inflation Again episodes.  Like Truman in the film, Obama can only react.

These episodes don't come close to matching the drama from the foreign affairs scripts.  The first overseas episode came in The Campaign season, when Russia invaded Georgia, eliciting a surprisingly weak Rodney King-like can't-we-all-just-get-along response from Obama.  The most recent Russia episode in His Rookie Year shows Obama making meaningless missile reduction commitments and vague statements about Georgia's territorial integrity, essentially giving Russia a green light for the second invasion they're almost certainly already planning.  The media script called the meeting a summit, validating Russia's pretense toward world power and conferring on the nation a respect undeserved by an economically moribund backwater in severe demographic decline.

The Iran script about an obviously rigged election found Obama publicly expressing hands-off for the ruling mullahs!  This was then followed by the broadcast deaths of opposition protestors at the hands of Iran's ruling party thugs.  The North Korea script has the darkly comic, and probably psychotic, leader lobbing missiles every which way, including seven on July 4 alone!  The Honduras script was written in such a way as to give Obama an easy win but, alas, he condemned their democratic traditions and the peaceful transition of power under the rule of law to endorse instead the illegal Chavez-like attempted constitution rewrite and takeover of the government.  Viewers are looking forward to the Israel Bombs Iran and Al Qaeda Strikes Again episodes.

In The Truman Show, the hero was surrounded by friends, neighbors, and a spouse who were all utterly untrustworthy.  Those who tried to tell him the truth about his life and his fictional town of Seahaven were hustled off the soundstage and banished.  His alleged best friend, Marlon, was important to preserving the illusion, quelling any doubts Truman expressed as soon as they arose.

In the film, Truman misses the guidance of his father after his presumed drowning in a tragic boating accident.  The closest Obama parallel would be his father figure, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright.  He apparently sought Wright's advice many times but he would have heard only more radical views than his own.  If he misses Wright now, it's because his radical views became so politically toxic that Obama had to publicly reject his Church.

Rashid Khalidi and Bill Ayers were friends of Obama, despite media protests to the contrary, and both are substantially more radical.  Arne Duncan of Chicago is more a political acquaintance than a friend and his strong ideas about improving public education through charter schools (the Los Angeles model) have mostly been shelved in favor of the status quo favored by the teachers unions.  David Axelrod clearly supports and encourages a leftward tilt on every issue.  The antics of the profane Rahm Emanuel can be tiresome, but he has a reputation for being savvy and realistic, and his influence is a mystery.  Hillary Clinton is clearly not a friend but does share Obama's simplistic talk-talk view of foreign policy.

It's apparent that those who surround Obama are committed mostly to an aggressive left-liberal agenda rather than to Obama personally.  They see Obama as a means to their ends.  Ideas that might work that don't fit the agenda are actively discouraged.  Something similar happened at the outset of the Clinton presidency, with Hillary's attempted takeover of the health care system and other Cabinet-level debacles, before Clinton himself reasserted control more than two years after being elected.

Will Obama let those around him drive the agenda to his detriment or will he reassert control?  Truman actively challenged his own assumptions and his environment in the climax of The Truman Show, breaking free of those who refused to let him see the way things really are, even risking his life to do so.  He refused to accept the world as he saw it, and started anew. 

It's hard to be optimistic about Obama, though.  Based on past interviews, statements, and speeches, it's not clear he's even open to other ideas.  The Far Left indoctrination is so complete that the record shows no evidence that Obama has ever entertained other ideas, despite the Teleprompter rhetoric to the contrary.

Obama clearly doesn't have the political instincts of Bill Clinton.  Some have called Clinton the best Republican president of the last twenty years, not because he was conservative but because he recognized the policies favored by the majority of Americans and didn't care much about their political provenance.  In spite of the epic battles with Republicans, he was able to work in a bipartisan fashion to pass important legislation. 

Can Obama depart from the Far Left playbook and risk his political life to accomplish something important for America?  In the face of looming double-digit unemployment, he needs a Truman Burbank-like breakthrough, and soon.
Life sometimes imitates art, even in the Obama presidency. The old movie, The Truman Show, starring Jim Carrey as the earnest and clueless Truman Burbank, a man literally raised in a bubble since he was born, and the star of a popular television show, is a decent analogy for Obama's first half year in office.

Let's start with the bubble itself in the film.  The enormously costly stage for the show is a sealed environment where everyone is scripted, except Truman himself, and all actions are tightly controlled.  The drama for the TV audience is in how Truman will react to the latest life-changing material from the show's writers.  He has some inkling that not all is as it seems, but doesn't know how to act on that feeling.  Obama's trajectory is similar.  Absorbing almost nothing except Far Left ideas from adolescence, and then choosing to live entirely in that echo chamber as an adult, he has only a vague notion of fairness in the place of any strongly held convictions.  That has allowed others to write the script, and as if on cue, Obama acts and reacts in unexpected ways.

On domestic legislation, the wildly unpopular Democratic Congress (current approval rating 35%) wrote the script on the stimulus.  Pelosi and Reid assembled a pork-loaded and ineffective boondoggle resulting in record deficits and crippling debt.  True believers expected Obama to denounce the pork, veto the legislation, and send it back to Congress for another try.  But they were shocked -- shocked! -- to see him endorse and sign it.  After all, hadn't he promised a change in the way Washington does business? 

Ah, but that was the script from an episode in The Campaign season, and obviously not Obama's words or ideas.  And in this season, His Rookie Year, Congress continues to churn out even more unpopular new scripts: bailouts for dying auto companies, regulating carbon based on crackpot climate change theories, and now nationalizing health care.  Viewers can hardly wait for the California Goes Bankrupt and the Here Comes Inflation Again episodes.  Like Truman in the film, Obama can only react.

These episodes don't come close to matching the drama from the foreign affairs scripts.  The first overseas episode came in The Campaign season, when Russia invaded Georgia, eliciting a surprisingly weak Rodney King-like can't-we-all-just-get-along response from Obama.  The most recent Russia episode in His Rookie Year shows Obama making meaningless missile reduction commitments and vague statements about Georgia's territorial integrity, essentially giving Russia a green light for the second invasion they're almost certainly already planning.  The media script called the meeting a summit, validating Russia's pretense toward world power and conferring on the nation a respect undeserved by an economically moribund backwater in severe demographic decline.

The Iran script about an obviously rigged election found Obama publicly expressing hands-off for the ruling mullahs!  This was then followed by the broadcast deaths of opposition protestors at the hands of Iran's ruling party thugs.  The North Korea script has the darkly comic, and probably psychotic, leader lobbing missiles every which way, including seven on July 4 alone!  The Honduras script was written in such a way as to give Obama an easy win but, alas, he condemned their democratic traditions and the peaceful transition of power under the rule of law to endorse instead the illegal Chavez-like attempted constitution rewrite and takeover of the government.  Viewers are looking forward to the Israel Bombs Iran and Al Qaeda Strikes Again episodes.

In The Truman Show, the hero was surrounded by friends, neighbors, and a spouse who were all utterly untrustworthy.  Those who tried to tell him the truth about his life and his fictional town of Seahaven were hustled off the soundstage and banished.  His alleged best friend, Marlon, was important to preserving the illusion, quelling any doubts Truman expressed as soon as they arose.

In the film, Truman misses the guidance of his father after his presumed drowning in a tragic boating accident.  The closest Obama parallel would be his father figure, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright.  He apparently sought Wright's advice many times but he would have heard only more radical views than his own.  If he misses Wright now, it's because his radical views became so politically toxic that Obama had to publicly reject his Church.

Rashid Khalidi and Bill Ayers were friends of Obama, despite media protests to the contrary, and both are substantially more radical.  Arne Duncan of Chicago is more a political acquaintance than a friend and his strong ideas about improving public education through charter schools (the Los Angeles model) have mostly been shelved in favor of the status quo favored by the teachers unions.  David Axelrod clearly supports and encourages a leftward tilt on every issue.  The antics of the profane Rahm Emanuel can be tiresome, but he has a reputation for being savvy and realistic, and his influence is a mystery.  Hillary Clinton is clearly not a friend but does share Obama's simplistic talk-talk view of foreign policy.

It's apparent that those who surround Obama are committed mostly to an aggressive left-liberal agenda rather than to Obama personally.  They see Obama as a means to their ends.  Ideas that might work that don't fit the agenda are actively discouraged.  Something similar happened at the outset of the Clinton presidency, with Hillary's attempted takeover of the health care system and other Cabinet-level debacles, before Clinton himself reasserted control more than two years after being elected.

Will Obama let those around him drive the agenda to his detriment or will he reassert control?  Truman actively challenged his own assumptions and his environment in the climax of The Truman Show, breaking free of those who refused to let him see the way things really are, even risking his life to do so.  He refused to accept the world as he saw it, and started anew. 

It's hard to be optimistic about Obama, though.  Based on past interviews, statements, and speeches, it's not clear he's even open to other ideas.  The Far Left indoctrination is so complete that the record shows no evidence that Obama has ever entertained other ideas, despite the Teleprompter rhetoric to the contrary.

Obama clearly doesn't have the political instincts of Bill Clinton.  Some have called Clinton the best Republican president of the last twenty years, not because he was conservative but because he recognized the policies favored by the majority of Americans and didn't care much about their political provenance.  In spite of the epic battles with Republicans, he was able to work in a bipartisan fashion to pass important legislation. 

Can Obama depart from the Far Left playbook and risk his political life to accomplish something important for America?  In the face of looming double-digit unemployment, he needs a Truman Burbank-like breakthrough, and soon.