Obama, The Accidental President

The world is going to hell in a hand basket; Japan, ravaged by an earthquake and a tsunami of biblical proportions, is teetering on the brink of yet another, nuclear, disaster; the Middle East is aflame; the national debt is skyrocketing while Congressional Democrats and Republicans are mud-wrestling over the budget; gas prices are inexorably climbing to the psychologically devastating $4/gallon level -- and meanwhile what is the U.S. President doing?

Amid all the turmoil,  he discusses an apparently world historical issue of school bullying; honors the 2009-10 Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks; delivers a radio address on another all-important subject, "Women's History Month;"  attends a fund-raiser; goes golfing (that darned weather: it was just too nice for the President to resist the temptation of hitting the links -- for the 61st time in his two plus years in office); yuks it up with the Washington press corps (pronounced "k-o-r", not "k-o-r-p-s," try to remember this, Mr. President) at the annual Gridiron Dinner. And to top it all off, the crowning event in Barack Obama's busy schedule -- drum roll, please! -- videotaping his NCAA tournament bracket picks. (Think about it: Obama discusses basketball with authority, which means that he must be spending a lot of time watching the games and listening to sports commentators. Exactly what he was elected for, wasn't he?) While Rome burned, Nero fiddled. While the world burns, Obama ponders the outcome of a college basketball tournament.

Faced with this blatant display of indolence and indomitable refusal to fulfill the duties of his office, Obama's supporters are puzzled: What happened to the giant who bestrode the world during the election campaign? Where have all the flowers gone? Something is definitely amiss.  But what? Muses NYT putative conservative David Brooks, he of the creased pant leg fame, "All in all, President Obama is an astoundingly complicated person. During the 2008 presidential campaign, and during the first two years of his term, I would have said that his troubling flaw was hubris -- his attempts to do everything at once. But he seems to have an amazing capacity to self-observe and adjust. Now I'd say his worrying flaw is passivity."  Maybe he is saving his extraordinary talents for a really monumental task deserving his undivided attention -- perhaps making bracket picks come NBA playoff time?

The multiverse theory that postulates the existence of numerous parallel universes, each governed by its own laws of nature, is currently gaining traction in scientific circles. I have no idea if the theory is true in cosmogony, but in the socio-political realm the elites definitely exist in a universe separate from the rest of country, divorced from the unwashed masses and common sense. It is ruled by its own peculiar laws which its denizens are required to obey unquestioningly on pain of being cast into the outer darkness of fly-over America. In that universe, a reduction in the rate of growth of social spending, say, from nine to seven percent, is a "devastating cut"; a budget reduction of about five-thousandths of one percent is tantamount to the Apocalypse; increasing spending is a sure-fire way of shrinking the budget deficit; raising taxes is a recipe for prosperity; Sarah Palin is an idiot; Michelle Obama is the most beautiful woman with the most exquisite taste in clothes since Helen of Troy; and -- the ultimate eternal verity -- Barack Obama is a colossus of superhuman intellectual gifts and powers.

The smart set living in an echo-chamber that reinforces their conventional wisdom have eagerly embraced this article of faith because in their world to question Obama's ability is to commit the deadly sin of racism. And don't think they are cynics who merely parrot the party line and go along to get along.  So deeply are they invested in the Obama myth that they summon all their intellectual resources to its defense.  Utterly terrified of committing thought crime, they have internalized their beliefs and with religious fervor keep faith with their creed.  To let any doubt creep into their minds is tantamount to aligning themselves with the "Obama-haters" -- all those "yahoos" and "knuckle-draggers" of the far right. Their greatest fear is to break ranks with the true believers and invite ostracism -- a prospect too horrible to behold.

And so they explain to one another that Obama's defiant detachment must have some reason too complex for mere mortals to discern; his powerful mind is too intricate and resourceful for anyone to understand or pass judgment on his actions (or inaction, as the case may be). Thus one of the theories gaining favor in their circles: Obama is focused on lofty objectives way beyond the capacity of our meager intelligence to grasp; he sees the deeper truth; he soars to such heights that our earth-bound concerns dwindle into total insignificance.  

Once upon a time there lived an emperor. One day two crafty weavers turned up at the palace and offered to make a new suit of clothes for the ruler -- clothes so marvelous that they would be invisible to those unfit for their positions, stupid or incompetent. And so when the emperor stepped out to show off his brand-new attire, the courtiers, fearful of being found out and ridiculed, would not admit to themselves the truth of what their eyes were telling them. Until an innocent child in the crowd of onlookers cried out, "He isn't wearing anything at all!", and the spell was broken.

Hans Christian Andersen did not indicate whether the weavers' names were David Axelrod and David Plouffe, but the similarity is striking. The two Davids brilliantly succeeded in packaging and selling to the country an unknown tyro from Chicago without a past or any visible qualifications other than imposing looks, a resonant voice and an ability to use the teleprompter. Like the weavers in the great Danish writer's fairy-tale, the Obama handlers insulated their candidate against criticism by preemptively warning that any doubt as to his fitness for office was proof positive of mean-spiritedness and racism. And the liberal crowd swallowed the bait hook, line and sinker.

The famous Occam's razor principle states that the simplest explanation is the most plausible one. Applying it to dispel the fog of propaganda, it becomes glaringly obvious that Obama is an accidental president, a lazy and indecisive incompetent devoid of any ability or desire to perform the job to which he was elected by a gullible majority, who loves the perks but hates the duties of his office; who loves to play but hates to work. Have a good look at the man occupying the White House: what you see is what you get. The Emperor has no clothes.
The world is going to hell in a hand basket; Japan, ravaged by an earthquake and a tsunami of biblical proportions, is teetering on the brink of yet another, nuclear, disaster; the Middle East is aflame; the national debt is skyrocketing while Congressional Democrats and Republicans are mud-wrestling over the budget; gas prices are inexorably climbing to the psychologically devastating $4/gallon level -- and meanwhile what is the U.S. President doing?

Amid all the turmoil,  he discusses an apparently world historical issue of school bullying; honors the 2009-10 Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks; delivers a radio address on another all-important subject, "Women's History Month;"  attends a fund-raiser; goes golfing (that darned weather: it was just too nice for the President to resist the temptation of hitting the links -- for the 61st time in his two plus years in office); yuks it up with the Washington press corps (pronounced "k-o-r", not "k-o-r-p-s," try to remember this, Mr. President) at the annual Gridiron Dinner. And to top it all off, the crowning event in Barack Obama's busy schedule -- drum roll, please! -- videotaping his NCAA tournament bracket picks. (Think about it: Obama discusses basketball with authority, which means that he must be spending a lot of time watching the games and listening to sports commentators. Exactly what he was elected for, wasn't he?) While Rome burned, Nero fiddled. While the world burns, Obama ponders the outcome of a college basketball tournament.

Faced with this blatant display of indolence and indomitable refusal to fulfill the duties of his office, Obama's supporters are puzzled: What happened to the giant who bestrode the world during the election campaign? Where have all the flowers gone? Something is definitely amiss.  But what? Muses NYT putative conservative David Brooks, he of the creased pant leg fame, "All in all, President Obama is an astoundingly complicated person. During the 2008 presidential campaign, and during the first two years of his term, I would have said that his troubling flaw was hubris -- his attempts to do everything at once. But he seems to have an amazing capacity to self-observe and adjust. Now I'd say his worrying flaw is passivity."  Maybe he is saving his extraordinary talents for a really monumental task deserving his undivided attention -- perhaps making bracket picks come NBA playoff time?

The multiverse theory that postulates the existence of numerous parallel universes, each governed by its own laws of nature, is currently gaining traction in scientific circles. I have no idea if the theory is true in cosmogony, but in the socio-political realm the elites definitely exist in a universe separate from the rest of country, divorced from the unwashed masses and common sense. It is ruled by its own peculiar laws which its denizens are required to obey unquestioningly on pain of being cast into the outer darkness of fly-over America. In that universe, a reduction in the rate of growth of social spending, say, from nine to seven percent, is a "devastating cut"; a budget reduction of about five-thousandths of one percent is tantamount to the Apocalypse; increasing spending is a sure-fire way of shrinking the budget deficit; raising taxes is a recipe for prosperity; Sarah Palin is an idiot; Michelle Obama is the most beautiful woman with the most exquisite taste in clothes since Helen of Troy; and -- the ultimate eternal verity -- Barack Obama is a colossus of superhuman intellectual gifts and powers.

The smart set living in an echo-chamber that reinforces their conventional wisdom have eagerly embraced this article of faith because in their world to question Obama's ability is to commit the deadly sin of racism. And don't think they are cynics who merely parrot the party line and go along to get along.  So deeply are they invested in the Obama myth that they summon all their intellectual resources to its defense.  Utterly terrified of committing thought crime, they have internalized their beliefs and with religious fervor keep faith with their creed.  To let any doubt creep into their minds is tantamount to aligning themselves with the "Obama-haters" -- all those "yahoos" and "knuckle-draggers" of the far right. Their greatest fear is to break ranks with the true believers and invite ostracism -- a prospect too horrible to behold.

And so they explain to one another that Obama's defiant detachment must have some reason too complex for mere mortals to discern; his powerful mind is too intricate and resourceful for anyone to understand or pass judgment on his actions (or inaction, as the case may be). Thus one of the theories gaining favor in their circles: Obama is focused on lofty objectives way beyond the capacity of our meager intelligence to grasp; he sees the deeper truth; he soars to such heights that our earth-bound concerns dwindle into total insignificance.  

Once upon a time there lived an emperor. One day two crafty weavers turned up at the palace and offered to make a new suit of clothes for the ruler -- clothes so marvelous that they would be invisible to those unfit for their positions, stupid or incompetent. And so when the emperor stepped out to show off his brand-new attire, the courtiers, fearful of being found out and ridiculed, would not admit to themselves the truth of what their eyes were telling them. Until an innocent child in the crowd of onlookers cried out, "He isn't wearing anything at all!", and the spell was broken.

Hans Christian Andersen did not indicate whether the weavers' names were David Axelrod and David Plouffe, but the similarity is striking. The two Davids brilliantly succeeded in packaging and selling to the country an unknown tyro from Chicago without a past or any visible qualifications other than imposing looks, a resonant voice and an ability to use the teleprompter. Like the weavers in the great Danish writer's fairy-tale, the Obama handlers insulated their candidate against criticism by preemptively warning that any doubt as to his fitness for office was proof positive of mean-spiritedness and racism. And the liberal crowd swallowed the bait hook, line and sinker.

The famous Occam's razor principle states that the simplest explanation is the most plausible one. Applying it to dispel the fog of propaganda, it becomes glaringly obvious that Obama is an accidental president, a lazy and indecisive incompetent devoid of any ability or desire to perform the job to which he was elected by a gullible majority, who loves the perks but hates the duties of his office; who loves to play but hates to work. Have a good look at the man occupying the White House: what you see is what you get. The Emperor has no clothes.

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