And the Band Played On

The Titanic's band leader Wallace Hartley paid little heed to the North Atlantic saltwater bubbling up through the floor in the first class lounge. It took an extreme case of denial or uncommon nerve to keep the beat while fellow passengers stood horrified, slowly realizing that someone shorted the lifeboat count before leaving Southampton.

Those few eyewitness accounts tell of an eerie, surreal detachment recounted here:

Many people later commented on how strange it seemed to be wearing a lifejacket, awaiting orders to get into the lifeboats, whilst the band continued to play as though nothing had happened ... what went through their minds as they played together can only be guessed. As the slant of the decks increased more and more, did they even consider that this was their last hour alive, or did one or two of them hold out a slight hope that eventually one of the officers would amble over and instruct them into a lifeboat? Whatever their thoughts were, we will never know. All eight bandsmen were lost.

How surreal is President Obama's Titanic-esque band leader performance as we approach his midterm congressional elections? His erstwhile allies, in full denial mode, are now fleeing an association they found so dear and irresistible a year ago. The nation, awash in debt, sinking in an economic quagmire, groaning beneath unrelenting regulatory intrusions and taxes, outwitted by the nuclear ambitions of a terrorist state, and numbed by the hopelessly despondent jobless, sees a president imprisoned by his own caricature as a post-colonial malcontent dreamer babbling of windmills, demons, and slavery.

Many of us remarked months ago about Obama's "cool and detached" demeanor. Actually, being cool and detached was a virtue for band leader Hartley on the Titanic. It enabled him to do his job making music amidst rising dread.

That cool and detached nonchalance -- once a calculated cover for a lack of seriousness, incompetence and unbridled rage for our Commander-in-Chief -- has now been abandoned. Grasping for a trailing warp of any sort while lashing out incoherently in all directions, discrediting the office, and embarrassing his friends, the president blames everyone but himself for our sorry state of affairs. He believes we have forgotten that only two years ago he was convincing a majority of us that no matter the missteps or mismanagement of his predecessor, he was our secular redeemer. And how soon he has forgotten that it was he, not we, who anointed himself The One.

Obama's abject failure has provoked the most implausible of grassroots forces, the Tea Party, and like-minded neo-federalists and government minimalists. We now know with certainty that Obama is incapable of leading us through one of our nation's most perilous times, where, to borrow Lincoln's anxious pleading at Gettysburg in 1863, American democracy and its accompanying economic engine indeed may perish from the earth.

Most Americans, now counting among them many of Obama's most loyal supporters, fear the consequences of having only a band leader in the White House when what we need is a seasoned ship's captain.

Can anyone imagine the White Star Line ever having hired Hartley the band leader to be the captain of their most prominent vessel? The Titanic's captain, Commodore Smith, was a distinguished and most senior captain in White Star's fleet. Despite his untimely and catastrophic assignment on the Titanic, he had successfully piloted a half-dozen of the world's most heralded modern passenger liners on their maiden voyages, including Titanic's sister ship, Olympic.

Of course, with the many tragic missteps leading up to the fateful encounter with the Atlantic ice, it didn't matter much who was on the bridge that night. It might just as well have been Hartley the band leader. This seems to be the last refuge sought by Obama's defenders -- he's an innocent, captive to events not of his own making and out of his control.

But that's a feeble defense for a president who by his own hand selected no one in his inner circle who has run a government, an agency, a company or any other organization during a crisis.  None have ever made a product, met a payroll or created a real job. Our leaders hold an ideology that would cripple the engine of prosperity, handing out redistributions that are unaffordable, unsustainable, will never be enough and are greeted with scorn and derision for being the tainted spoils of America's bounty, which Obama detests.

Band leader Hartley, self-composed and never overreaching, avoided interfering with those able to help Titanic's frightened and doomed passengers. But not Obama. Incapable of inspiring unity and giving life to his own exhortation of hope, he has instead attacked, intimidated, and interfered with anyone and everyone who would give aid, comfort, uplift, and repair to our battered nation adrift.

Hartley earned a legacy of valor because he had no pretensions of being anything more than a band leader. He did his job and did it memorably. Did Hartley know enough to direct  passengers to the lifeboat stations? Could he run the winches to lower the lifeboats? No one knows. We do know he didn't try. He was a music man, and he worked his art until the very end.

The account of Hartley the band leader continues thus: "Almost two weeks after the disaster, his body was recovered from the icy Atlantic, still wearing his bandman's uniform, his music box strapped to his body."

Such a symbolic fate awaits our nation's 44th president, his first and only term defined by leading a band but never having the ability or temperament to lead a nation.
The Titanic's band leader Wallace Hartley paid little heed to the North Atlantic saltwater bubbling up through the floor in the first class lounge. It took an extreme case of denial or uncommon nerve to keep the beat while fellow passengers stood horrified, slowly realizing that someone shorted the lifeboat count before leaving Southampton.

Those few eyewitness accounts tell of an eerie, surreal detachment recounted here:

Many people later commented on how strange it seemed to be wearing a lifejacket, awaiting orders to get into the lifeboats, whilst the band continued to play as though nothing had happened ... what went through their minds as they played together can only be guessed. As the slant of the decks increased more and more, did they even consider that this was their last hour alive, or did one or two of them hold out a slight hope that eventually one of the officers would amble over and instruct them into a lifeboat? Whatever their thoughts were, we will never know. All eight bandsmen were lost.

How surreal is President Obama's Titanic-esque band leader performance as we approach his midterm congressional elections? His erstwhile allies, in full denial mode, are now fleeing an association they found so dear and irresistible a year ago. The nation, awash in debt, sinking in an economic quagmire, groaning beneath unrelenting regulatory intrusions and taxes, outwitted by the nuclear ambitions of a terrorist state, and numbed by the hopelessly despondent jobless, sees a president imprisoned by his own caricature as a post-colonial malcontent dreamer babbling of windmills, demons, and slavery.

Many of us remarked months ago about Obama's "cool and detached" demeanor. Actually, being cool and detached was a virtue for band leader Hartley on the Titanic. It enabled him to do his job making music amidst rising dread.

That cool and detached nonchalance -- once a calculated cover for a lack of seriousness, incompetence and unbridled rage for our Commander-in-Chief -- has now been abandoned. Grasping for a trailing warp of any sort while lashing out incoherently in all directions, discrediting the office, and embarrassing his friends, the president blames everyone but himself for our sorry state of affairs. He believes we have forgotten that only two years ago he was convincing a majority of us that no matter the missteps or mismanagement of his predecessor, he was our secular redeemer. And how soon he has forgotten that it was he, not we, who anointed himself The One.

Obama's abject failure has provoked the most implausible of grassroots forces, the Tea Party, and like-minded neo-federalists and government minimalists. We now know with certainty that Obama is incapable of leading us through one of our nation's most perilous times, where, to borrow Lincoln's anxious pleading at Gettysburg in 1863, American democracy and its accompanying economic engine indeed may perish from the earth.

Most Americans, now counting among them many of Obama's most loyal supporters, fear the consequences of having only a band leader in the White House when what we need is a seasoned ship's captain.

Can anyone imagine the White Star Line ever having hired Hartley the band leader to be the captain of their most prominent vessel? The Titanic's captain, Commodore Smith, was a distinguished and most senior captain in White Star's fleet. Despite his untimely and catastrophic assignment on the Titanic, he had successfully piloted a half-dozen of the world's most heralded modern passenger liners on their maiden voyages, including Titanic's sister ship, Olympic.

Of course, with the many tragic missteps leading up to the fateful encounter with the Atlantic ice, it didn't matter much who was on the bridge that night. It might just as well have been Hartley the band leader. This seems to be the last refuge sought by Obama's defenders -- he's an innocent, captive to events not of his own making and out of his control.

But that's a feeble defense for a president who by his own hand selected no one in his inner circle who has run a government, an agency, a company or any other organization during a crisis.  None have ever made a product, met a payroll or created a real job. Our leaders hold an ideology that would cripple the engine of prosperity, handing out redistributions that are unaffordable, unsustainable, will never be enough and are greeted with scorn and derision for being the tainted spoils of America's bounty, which Obama detests.

Band leader Hartley, self-composed and never overreaching, avoided interfering with those able to help Titanic's frightened and doomed passengers. But not Obama. Incapable of inspiring unity and giving life to his own exhortation of hope, he has instead attacked, intimidated, and interfered with anyone and everyone who would give aid, comfort, uplift, and repair to our battered nation adrift.

Hartley earned a legacy of valor because he had no pretensions of being anything more than a band leader. He did his job and did it memorably. Did Hartley know enough to direct  passengers to the lifeboat stations? Could he run the winches to lower the lifeboats? No one knows. We do know he didn't try. He was a music man, and he worked his art until the very end.

The account of Hartley the band leader continues thus: "Almost two weeks after the disaster, his body was recovered from the icy Atlantic, still wearing his bandman's uniform, his music box strapped to his body."

Such a symbolic fate awaits our nation's 44th president, his first and only term defined by leading a band but never having the ability or temperament to lead a nation.

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