June 19, 2012
Obama, Messiah No MoreBy Geoffrey P. Hunt
It has become fashionable to label president Obama, the once and future messiah, now a "loser" and describe his erstwhile disciples "disillusioned." Every day brings another report of demoralized Obama acolytes discovering the allure of agnosticism. Denial before the cock crows, a la Peter in the Gospels, will be next.
Historians the likes of Doris Kearns Goodwin, Michael Beschloss, Robert Caro, Robert Dallek, Douglas Brinkley, HW Brands, David Kennedy, Kenneth Mack, and Garry Wills had dinner with Obama at the beginning of his term and on two more occasions.
At the outset, the range of premature ejaculations from this lot stretched from Beschloss, "Obama is probably the smartest guy ever to become president" to Robert Dallek, "The president's political mastery is on par with FDR and LBJ." Garry Wills, in the tank since Obama's Chicago days, thought Obama's 2008 campaign speech on race rivaled Lincoln's speech on slavery at Cooper Union.
Douglas Brinkley won the flooding bidet sweeps, "He's a voracious reader and he's got an insatiable curiosity...the cut of his jib, we haven't seen anything like it since John Kennedy... I'm constantly amazed at how much he's read and how much he knows."
David Kennedy, presumably still fawning over Obama's inaugural address, may be the only one who stumbled on to a truth of sorts: "history is likely to record that Obama set the country on the path to a future with fewer illusions."
No doubt this lot already penned Obama's triumphant admission into a second term by acclamation, his entry graced with palm fronds and perfumed oil, breathlessly lobbying for repeal of the 22nd amendment.
Instead Obama's magic has vanished. One of these historians -- anonymously speaking according to sensationalist biographer Ed Klein, whose credibility is, shall we say, intermittent -- lamented that Obama's disappointing tenure is because "Obama doesn't connect" with regular people, he's beset by the usual malady "failure as a communicator," all so surprising in that " he was supposed to be such a brilliant orator."
No kidding. A Pulitzer prize for that?
These venerable oracles must now wish they could be out-of-town on an Antarctic expedition or vicariously join a "want to get away?" Southwest Airlines commercial. When will they deftly deconstruct their enthusiasm in the face of mounting evidence that there are few if any redeeming features to justify Obama's re-election?
Historians with even an ounce of self-respect and intellectual honesty should now ask a form of the question that dogged George W. Bush in the wake of the Iraq invasion "If you knew then what you know now, would you still declare Obama the messiah, and vote for him?" Well, in all fairness, at least Garry Wills says Obama misled him on Afghanistan: "I cannot vote for any Republican. But Obama will not get another penny from me, or another word of praise, after this betrayal."
What these historians know now should not be confused with what they knew then but chose to overlook: Lack of a meaningful resume -- puzzling absence of any biographical detail in any form -- college transcripts, law review articles, any scholarly work accompanying his appointment as a University of Chicago Law School lecturer. Zero legislative accomplishments as a US senator or Illinois state senator.
Compromising associations with radicals such as Bill Ayers, Rev Jeremiah Wright , or Harvard professor Derrick Bell -- his affinity for black liberation theology and race-based jurisprudence. Lessons from his own teenage years' mentor, communist Frank Marshall Davis. His membership in the Chicago New Party and Democratic Socialists of America. The ambiguous birth records and Muslim roots from his childhood in Indonesia.
But what everybody knows now about Obama, apart from his still mysterious and fragmented biography, is the unambiguous record since inauguration day. Obama's record is pockmarked by enormous policy failures -- all rendering economic hard times impossible to repair -- followed up by revealing a divisive, detached, alienating, and polarizing persona. He is loose with the facts -- if not a boldface liar -- and eschews any personal accountability.
Obama's historical illiteracy and ignorance about fundamental economics is astonishing. His shallow command of policy detail, unwillingness to shoulder responsibility, accompanied by aversion to hard work in solving the toughest economic problems plaguing all Americans, and his inability to forge and sustain fragile political coalitions for meaningful legislation have matched what any thinking man's historian should have expected coming from an ether-filled resume.
The communications canard-- "the messaging deficit" -- is the diagnosis most often cited from Democrats and this lot of shameless hagiographers. Obama groupies and hangers-on are petrified that as Obama is swept away with the outgoing tide, so will their consulting contracts, paid second opinions , and book advances. Our friends at Politico devoted an entire column to Democrat advice-mongers suggesting a variety of new themes and "issue framing devices".
Such advice is as helpful as the business guru who suggests to a struggling company, in all earnestness, "what you need is a better identity, a more compelling message", when the product portfolio is thin and undistinguished, customer complaints are clogging the call center, and high costs are sinking profit margins.
It's pretty simple. If Obama had a record worthy of touting, he'd be touting it, wouldn't he?
Ignoring his blank resume and fuzzy biography before Obama took the oath of office is one thing. Succumbing to identity politics was a matter of taste, after all.
But, ignoring his destructive legislative and regulatory record once in office, overlooking his bullying and insulting the American people, and praising his performance as Commander-In-Chief - -alternating from cavalier to offhand indifference, combined with careless stewardship over military intelligence -- would be the act of willful nullification. For which no measure of sympathy or guilt-ridden identity politics can mitigate, even for historians occupying the staterooms on Obama's Love Boat.
We are all witnesses to the record. We no longer need to speculate on "what would Obama, the messiah, do?" The historical record proves such a messiah never was and shall never be.
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