July 19, 2010
President HatersBy J.R. Dunn
William Burroughs will never be an icon of the conservative movement. A proud junkie, an aggressive homosexual, a leader of both the Beat movement and the Counterculture, a man who shot his wife by "accident" while playing a party game, Burroughs was, if anything, the polar opposite of the conservative ideal.
But there was one element of Burroughs' thought not altogether alien to conservatives: his opinion of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Relatively late in his career, Burroughs published a short piece titled Roosevelt after Inauguration, which featured FDR swaggering around Washington (this is fiction, remember), wearing a purple toga and accompanied by a gang of killer baboons whom he sends after his enemies. The story climaxes with the massacre of the Supreme Court by the baboons, whereupon FDR gazes contemplatively across the Potomac at the country now lying at his feet and utters the line quoted above.
What inspired Burroughs to embark on this exercise in nastiness remains unclear. He himself claimed that he was promised a high position in the St. Louis sewer department only to be denied it by New Deal do-gooders, but this may be only part of the legend. Whatever the case, Roosevelt after Inauguration remains one of the purest expressions of political hatred ever put into writing. If every foul attack made over the years against Nixon, Reagan, Gingrich, Bush, Cheney, and Palin were rolled into one, the result would not match a single paragraph. Roosevelt after Inauguration is a masterpiece of political scurrility.
Which brings us to Barack Obama.
Two weeks ago, the White House informed the state of Oklahoma that it could expect no federal aid to help deal with the damage caused by recent flooding. There was no explanation, no expression of sympathy, no offer of alternatives.
Last week, it was revealed that NASA's new mission will be centered on making Muslims "feel good" about their scientific achievements of roughly a millennium in the past. This comes right on the heels of the cancellation of the Constellation program, which employed tens of thousands and promised to put the U.S. back into space in a big way.
At roughly the same time, J. Christian Adams, a former Department of Justice attorney, revealed that the voter harassment case against the New Black Panthers had been dropped for purely racist reasons, and that the word had come down to "never bring another lawsuit against a black or other national minority, no matter what they do."
While this doesn't match killer baboons, it'll do until Obama gets his pack trained.
Consider these actions. If anyone during the 2008 elections had implied, or even speculated, that Obama was capable of anything of the sort, he'd have been dismissed as a demagogue, a hater, even a lunatic. But today, after his abandonment of the state of Tennessee (also wracked by flooding); his betrayal of the Georgians; his pulling the rug out from under the Poles and Czechs; his dragging and cold response to the Gulf blowout; and his insults to the U.K., the GOP, the Supreme Court, Benjamin Netanyahu, and the Dalai Lama, it scarcely raises a shrug. That's Obama. That's how he acts -- with arrogance, superciliousness, and indifference. We can search the entire roster of American presidents, and we will not find a match. This is not the behavior of an elected chief executive; it's the conduct of a divine right monarch, and a pretty inadequate one as well.
Conduct of this sort inevitably produces a reaction -- contempt from equals and hatred from victims. Obama has created a lot of victims in eighteen months of power, and that reaction has been growing. In plain fact, Obama is on his way to becoming the most hated president of the modern epoch. More so than Roosevelt, more so than Nixon, more so than Bush -- keep in mind that W. was truly hated only by the hard left. With steady and unrelenting pressure over a period of six years, the left did succeed in planting doubts and discomfort in the country as a whole...but never extending to actual hatred.
Obama is different -- in part because of the way he was so relentlessly hyped during his ascension to office, and the way he played along with it, toying with the public's expectations and transparently enjoying his status as demigod. But he is no longer the godling of legend, the Illinois messiah here to lead us to a left-wing Eden. He is merely a community organizer in over his head. The blowback triggered by disappointments of such depth can be ferocious. FDR was never foolish enough to make promises on this level (listen to his 1933 inaugural speech), and it served him well over three full terms. Obama was, and now he must pay the piper.
Obama is hated for a good reason -- for causing suffering to no purpose. A president must cause grief and pain; in this fallen world, he has no choice. He must and he will make decisions that hurt people. Hard decisions, decisions that kill. This is one of the reasons that presidents age so swiftly. The classic case here is Lincoln. No president caused more bloodshed and sorrow than Lincoln. No president suffered more for it, as much as it was done for a good and transcendent cause. The result is apparent in his photographs -- the somber but healthy figure about to take office transformed into the wraith of 1865, with his haunted eyes and skin stretched parchment-tight across the bones of his face.
But the suffering generated by the reign of Obama is unnecessary and uncalled for, as any short examination will reveal:
The Economy - Obama has made the same errors as FDR in his first term, without FDR's charm and earnestness to make up for it. Without even grasping that they were errors, for that matter. Of course, giving most of the stimulus money to the same financial industry that kicked off the crash was a brilliant ploy. We have to admit that worked.
The Border - A state under siege attempts to reimpose order through accepted legal means, and Obama's response is to unleash Eric Holder, the only person in the country (possibly even the galaxy) more arrogant than he. This is going to haunt him.
Health Care - Even now, the chicks are coming home. The system is starting to go, four years before anything will be ready to replace it. A former colleague of mine was told this week that her doctor will no longer accept Medicare. She lives in New York City, not friendly to Medicare patients in the best of times. She is understandably distraught. That story is being repeated across country in thousands -- perhaps hundreds of thousands -- of cases. And what is O's Plan B? You tell me.
The Gulf - During the worst ecological disaster of the era, as all levels of his administration repeatedly fumbled the ball, Obama golfed, partied, listened to Paulie Beatle, and went on vacation no fewer than three times. Let them eat cake!
In direct consequence of these actions and countless others, Obama has become a hated man. That hatred will only grow.
What would the prudent man do? He'd put away his purple robes, give up his grand schemes, cease the bullying and arrogance, and simply try to get through the next two years without civil disorder or other forms of ugliness. But Obama is not a prudent man. Nor are the members of his personal baboon pack -- Emmanuel, Axelrod, and the rest.
So to avoid a state of permanent crisis, it will be necessary to dismantle the Obama presidency while it still exists. The new Congress will put a halt to much of the programs already in motion and must also move to assure that the levers of power are moved out of Obama's reach. The Supreme Court will step in regarding a number of questionable decisions and programs. The sheer pressure of democratic checks and balances, so blithely ignored by Obama up until now, will begin to squeeze like a vise.
His own cronies, with no honor among them, will peel off as the downward spiral becomes evident. They will move to save themselves -- cut their deals, make their testimony, cop their pleas. We will learn a lot we don't now know about why certain decisions were made. The collapse will accelerate.
Thanks to the Gulf blowout, we know that Obama's crisis mode is to retreat. And retreat he will, until he can retreat no farther. Eventually he will become a ghost in his own White House, querulous and isolated, afraid to go out among his own people. In the end, he may well become the first president forced to live in foreign exile. And this is the best he can expect.
It will not be an easy period. The Iranians, the Chinese, and the jihadis will take what advantage they can. All the figures Obama has so assiduously courted, everyone he bowed to, will simply stand aside. Contempt felt for a ruler extends as a matter of course to his country, and we cannot avoid that. Regaining international respect will take time, and it will not happen under this regime.
But it's far from hopeless. Those of us who lived through Watergate are aware that this country prevails even when the leadership is derelict. America is resilient, Americans at their best amid crises. America's "decline" is situational, not permanent. We can look forward to a period of renewal when it's all over and we've cleared away the Styrofoam columns. A lot of illusions will be dead, a lot of worthless ideas exposed. Those who hold them will be have to come to terms with the fact that no, Americans will never be glad to "mutate."
And who will be Obama's Burroughs? Who will be the one to define him for all time with a few well-chosen, vicious words? We may have to wait -- it took Burroughs himself nearly forty years. But we can be sure of one thing -- a lot of people will be trying. I'd give it a shot myself, but you know...I'm not sure I'm enough of a hater.
J.R. Dunn is consulting editor of American Thinker and editor of the forthcoming Military Thinker.