Why Obama reminds me of Evita
As I watch the saga of the current Presidential administration play out on the Internet, television, and newspapers, I can not help but be reminded of one of my favorite Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals when I recently heard the POTUS utter the phrase, "I love you back. If you love me, you gotta help me pass this bill" at a political rally in North Carolina.
This desire to be desired by the masses is eerily similar to another populist who stood at a window in the Buenos Aires' Casa Rosado palace singing for the people's hearts and minds, simultaneously managing to drive a wealthy nation in bankruptcy and third rate status - Evita Duarte Peron.
I love you and hope you love me...Don't cry for me Argentina - Evita by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Now I confess, I am an admitted Anglophile who cheered when British Prime Minister, Lady Margaret Thatcher, her forces to victory over Argentines during the invasion of the British Falkland Islands in 1982. But, I still have a soft spot for the musical about the life of Eva Duarte, a young Argentine woman who worked and slept her way to power in the Argentina of the mid-twentieth century and would become the inspiration for a hit Broadway show and later movie. The actual story of Evita and her husband, Colonel Juan Peron, is neither romantic nor inspiring.
The Perons were the Obamas of their day. They were popular, good looking, loved initially by the media, and socially progressive in a way that stood Argentina on its head. In the course of their reign, the Perons managed deplete the national treasury, alienate business and foreign (especially British) investors by nationalizing industries, pushed for higher taxes on the rich, created an entire class of people dependent of government handouts, and align Argentina with the Fascists and Nazis (both forms of Socialism) during the Second World War. During this time Evita was spending public monies on clothes, jewelry, and European tours, justified as the price of being the "Spiritual Leader of the Nation" as she was later christened after her death. All the while her supporters where marching on the homes of opponents and destroying the offices of newspapers critical to the regime. Notwithstanding, the Perons did embrace the Suffragette movement and created a national identity for Argentina in the post-World War Two era, but for a price.
This leads me to the recent pronouncements in Raleigh, North Carolina, where the Chief Executive need to feel, to quote a song from Evita, "High flying, adored!" It is hard not to see Obama's need for adoration every time he preaches to the masses calling for more austerity from businesses and the middle class, while the First Couple vacations at Martha's Vineyard and Hawaii (not that there is anything wrong with either place mind you!). What good for thee is not good for me appears to be the Obama mindset. The President has taken a page right out of Evita: tax millionaires, spread the wealth, vilify investors, embrace international terrorist states/organizations, and hype the masses into putting on their "marching shoes" to encourager les autres! All the while, creating a cult of personality that has people and the media believing he is a living god who can stop the oceans from rising.
Maybe I missed something in Leadership 101 during my days of military college training at Norwich University, but if your sole reason for being a leader depends on the adoration of the masses, you are certain to fail spectacularly. When Evita finally entered into immortally, Juan Peron's presidency collapsed under the weight of corruption and lies that the regime's cheap Styrofoam columns of the day could not bear. The same can be said of our own First Couple in the White House, and it comes as no surprise if someday soon the "Spiritual Leader of the Nation" stood at the window of the Casa Blanca in Washington, D.C., and sang, "If you loved me...You'll pass this bill!" If history is an indicator of the future, once the singing starts, the final act of what is likely a one-term Obama administration must be near at hand.