The Rant and Grant World of President Obama
As a community organizer Barack Obama mastered the art of the elegant, refined bitch-and-moan to rally the troops to shake-down a government agency or foundation for a grant to redress a social injustice. The President's speeches don't sound like rants but behind the gravitas and masterful rhetoric what you get is a rant. As a community organizer the president lived in his rant-grant world and he still is. Only now the President has the largest grant agency in the world in his grip - the US taxpayer funded Treasury. Rant and grant. That is all he knows. The inestimable Krauthammer does not use that terminology but he makes exactly that point:
How does his Olympian vision coexist with the lassitude of his actual governance, a passivity that verges on absenteeism?
What bridges that gap is rhetoric. Barack Obama is a master rhetorician. It's allowed him to move crowds, rise inexorably, and twice win the most glittering prize of all. Rhetoric has changed his reality. For Obama, it can change the country's. Hope and change, after all, is a rhetorical device. Of the kind Obama has always imagined can move mountains.
It has even gotten to the point, with the US treasury behind him, that the elegant rant is all that is needed. It is as if he is living in a world of word magic:
That's why his reaction to the Obamacare website's crash-on-takeoff is so telling. His remedy? A cross-country campaign-style speaking tour. As if rhetoric could repeal that reality.
Byron York concludes his 2008 article in National Review on Obama's work as a community organizer with the following prediction:
He'll be the biggest, strongest organizer in the world. He'll dazzle the country with his message of hope and possibility. But we shouldn't expect much to actually get done.
Unfortunately a bit optimistic. A lot has been done. Obama has built an administration of bunglers that have led this country from fiasco (Solyndra) to disaster (Obamacare) to tragedy (Benghazi).