The Fall of the House of Obama
"Madman!" screeched Roderick Usher to the narrator as they both recoiled in terror at the wraithlike apparition that faced them at the door in Edgar Allan Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher."
"Madman!" he screamed again at the narrator of this tale of horror, who by this time had "perceived ... a full consciousness on the part of Usher of the tottering of his lofty reason upon her throne."
A sound conclusion this was, for Roderick Usher was insane. His fevered imagination conjured images of fantastic dimensions, such as the living, breathing nature of the house his family had inhabited, as well as the room he painted -- ghoulish, subterranean, frightful, one in which "no outlet was observed in any portion of its vast extent, and no torch or other artificial source of light was discernible; yet a flood of intense rays rolled throughout, and bathed the whole in a ghastly and inappropriate splendor." It was, in short, a cavern inside a bubble concocted by one who has lost his connection to reality. This was one who also accused his exalted visitor, the narrator of this story, of a condition from which he alone suffered -- madness.
Which of course brings to mind President Obama's re-election campaign themes, as well as those seen at the Democratic National Convention. Take for instance accusations made against Mitt Romney for being somehow responsible for the death of a woman whose husband worked for a company for which Mr. Romney's responsibilities had ended seven years earlier. Or consider the groundless accusation that Mr. Romney did not pay taxes for a decade or so, which generated further the charge that he is a felon and a liar. Or take further the maniacal frothings of Democratic partisans who essentially accuse Republicans of being Nazis -- this from a party that constitutes the poster boy for the most statist, anti-free enterprise, and arrogant regime in American history.
It gets worse. Consider President Obama's near-pathological insistence that the rich are not paying "their fair share," when any cursory review, easily accessible from the CBO, shows that the top fifth of all income tax earners pay approximately 94 percent of all income taxes. The bottom half, or close to it, pays no federal income tax. The implication is that we're all pulling our weight, but that the "millionaires and billionaires" are making out like bandits. And somehow, throughout all this, the Republicans are guilty of perpetrating, as one Democratic congressman put it, some variant of "the big lie."
After your heart rate returns to normal, consider the next brilliant offering: let's tax the rich more. Oh, what the devil -- confiscate every income over one million dollars; that ought to do it. Do what, exactly? Actually, it would pay no more than one half of an Obama-year's budget deficit -- did you get that? One half. So, yes, it really is the spending, stupid -- not the rich, not the oil companies, not troglodytic Republicans, and emphatically not that unindicted felon who leads them, Mitt Romney.
All of which has been stated before, but usually in terms that stress the sheer dishonesty of it all. But it's more than that. In fact, as in the House of Usher, a miasma of "mental disorder" clings to statements made by Obama partisans, creating an "atmosphere which had no affinity with the air of heaven, but which had reeked up from the decayed ideas -- a pestilent and mystic vapor, dull, sluggish, faintly discernible, and leaden-hued." Okay, so I changed one word here -- "trees" to "ideas" -- but you get the point, which is this: the Obama campaign is not only based on prevarications, obfuscations, and denials of reality (public debt, for instance); it is inspired by a "house is alive," "spirits haunt the hallways," and "the tarn is swallowing my mansion" departure from reality.
Nowhere was the Obamanite House of Usher more evident than in the Democratic National Convention. Indeed, in Poe's words, "an excited and highly distempered ideality threw a sulphureous lustre over all." It's not hard to see why, considering the list of speakers -- Sandra Fluke, Joe Biden, Jennifer Granholm -- there's a trio waiting for a Poe-like treatment right there -- and of course the loquacious and insufferable Bill Clinton, topped off by that Roderick Usher of all politicians, Barack Obama. How can we describe this menagerie in toto? Here again, Poe comes to our rescue: their voices "varied rapidly from a tremulous indecision ... to that species of energetic concision -- that abrupt, weighty, unhurried, and hollow-sounding enunciation -- that leaden, self-balanced and perfectly modulated guttural utterance, which may be observed in the lost drunkard, or the irreclaimable eater of opium, during the periods of his most intense excitement." Enough said.
So, where does this leave us? Let us say, in a state of horrified caution. Because even the narrator in Poe's work "felt creeping upon [him], by slow yet certain degrees, the wild influences of [Usher's] own fantastic yet impressive superstitions." In short, the rest of us either succumb to Obama's "phantasmagoric" images or, like the narrator, flee for the sake of retaining our own sanity. And like the narrator in Poe's story, pray that we may observe the Fall of the House of Obama.
Dr. Marvin Folkertsma is a professor of political science and fellow for American studies with The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College. The author of several books, his latest release is a high-energy novel titled The Thirteenth Commandment.