February 25, 2008
The Fierce Urgency of Lies
Obama's finest speeches do not excite. They do not inform. They don't even really inspire. They elevate. They enmesh you in a grander moment, as if history has stopped flowing passively by, and, just for an instant, contracted around you, made you aware of its presence, and your role in it. He is not the Word made flesh, but the triumph of word over flesh, over color, over despair.
- Ezra Klein, The American Prospect
Grown men weep in his presence, women faint, and thousands scream his name like a rock star. The liberal press prints glowing tributes to their new progressive prophet, calling him "the triumph of word over flesh" and other absurd and profoundly unwarranted accolades. Obama, a very junior Senator, will guide us to a Utopia that has yet to be defined, an America that the left envisions but cannot quantify; but rest assured it will be swell.
Obama's image is picture perfect Ivy League political correctness. He is an educated man of color. He is a socialist. He has an intelligent and lovely wife, which he publicly embraces with obvious devotion. Even better, he has a deep and melodious speaking voice, full of the heroic righteousness of Martin Luther King, which echoes a time of triumph over injustice. He is the embodiment of our popular culture, passionate and handsome, well spoken yet carefully imprecise, and so absent of consistency he cannot long endure critical examination.
His political history is painfully short; his track record, what there is of it, is pure leftist, there in nothing to indicate he has a uniting or bipartisan bone in his body. Yet he would have us believe he will "bring America together to solve problems" and fill us with an "Audacity of Hope." Of course, how he will do that is merely a repackaging of the same leftist boilerplate we endured from Hillary, Kerry or Edwards. There is nothing new, nothing uniting, nothing to match the flow of his rhetoric or the timbre of his voice.
What we hear from Obama is the eternal mantra of the socialists; America is broken, millions have no health care, families cannot afford necessities, the rich are evil, we are selfish, we are unhappy, unfulfilled, without hope, desperate, poverty stricken, morally desolate, corrupt and racist. This nihilism is the lifeblood of all the democrat candidates, even "hope you can believe in" performers like Obama. When Michelle Obama claims she is only newly proud of her country, she does not exaggerate. In her world as in Obama's, they believe we are a mess, a land filled with the ignorant and unenlightened, filled with despair.
"For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country. And not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change. And I have been desperate to see our country moving in that direction."
They learned these things from places like Princeton and Harvard, they have it reinforced by propagandists like Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn, they embrace the fiction of Michael Moore and the fairy tales of the New York Times. They revere failures like Jimmy Carter and America's enemies like Castro and Chavez. They believe we have done nothing of value and brought no good to the world. Their arrogance is just below the surface and it is clear they do not know the country or people they presume to lead. Mrs. Obama reveals the depth of this pathology when she says, "That before we can work on the problems, we have to fix our souls. Our souls are broken in this nation." This is a stunning revelation for those of us who live in the spiritually vibrant "flyover country." The Obama's would be our spiritual as well as political leaders.
Yet the truth of America is far different once you escape the ideological pandering and the supportive bias of a devious and self-serving press. Even as the public is bombarded with falsehoods, the truth filters through, especially when the reality of day-to-day life so often contradicts what our television screens tell us. Our economy bustles along, with inevitable ups and downs, but remains strong. Americans live better than ever before. As a nation, we live in the best of times, a place that the rest of humanity covets. We did this by the sweat of our brows and the energy of our people. We have more education, more luxury, more life options, more of everything good and far less of everything bad, less disease, less poverty and less struggle than ever before. We have prosperity, we have employment, we have technology. Hope is what America is all about; hope that has every expectation of success. Consider the millions that are desperate to get here. Even our poor have cars, appliances and entertainments. Our concern for them is not hunger but obesity. Never before in the history of mankind has this contradiction existed.
Ignore all those facts. What Obama tells us distills down to this: if we were nicer, if we were more generous, if we were better people, if we played better with others, if we gave more to the disadvantaged in the world, then we could fix this country (which sounds perfectly rational if your starting assumption is that it is broken). He claims he loves this country, and he just wants to help it reach its potential. In this, he is like a selfish husband, who says he loves his wife, but just wants her to have different hair, a different figure and a different voice.
In the cognitive dissonance of the left, the consequences of applying that insipid philosophy as demonstrated by Carter and Clinton is lost. The shattering attacks of 9-11 were conceived and pre-positioned under the nose of a self-absorbed and scandal-distracted President Clinton; his Middle East diplomacy was a sham and crumbled in short order. Iran is the danger that it is today because of President Carter's foolish foreign policies. He continues to enable brutal thugs in the Middle East, where his recent book sells well, just after Mein Kampf. Consequences are inconvenient things. When Democrats look back in fondness to those times, it is the power that they miss; they dare not point to their achievements.
Obama's inner circle includes radical academics, socialists, far-left propagandists as well as the unrepentant leftovers of the Clinton administration. Zbigniew Brzezinski, an Obama advisor and Jimmy Carter's National Security Advisor, is visiting Syria. The Democrats visit Syria, a known supporter of terror, with alarming regularity. Nancy Pelosi also visited recently, providing wonderful propaganda opportunities for their dictator-controlled press. Hezbollah is sucking the lifeblood from Lebanon with longstanding Syrian and Iranian support. The Syrian Intelligence Service has assassinated politicians and community leaders by the dozen. They have the blood of hundreds of Americans and thousands of innocents on their hands. The Democrats and Obama apparently believe they can talk this brutal regime into abandoning its current policies. After all, look how well it worked in North Korea. For some, constant failure is not a lesson easily learned.
The left invents injustice and crisis, injects it into the public psyche and then promises salvation, like a child manipulating a distracted parent. In that perpetually adolescent relationship, Obama calls for change for change's sake, criticizes all that came before, carefully ignores recent history, fudges the facts and with predictable frequency, calls America broken. He steals the words of Martin Luther King, but he does not have the righteous cause, he postures in a battle already won. Obama is a polished huckster, a used-ideology salesman, a slick fraud. He offers failure, not hope, simple slogans and easily remembered rhymes to confront a dangerous world.
The other great leaders I've heard, guide us towards a better politics, but Obama is, at his best, able to call us back to our highest selves, to the place where America exists as a glittering ideal, and where we, its honored inhabitants, seem capable of achieving it, and thus of sharing in its meaning and transcendence.
- Ezra Klein, The American Prospect
That is his appeal; he is an actor, a performer, a cinematic presence that stirs simple emotions, emotions that have little grounding in truth. His speeches are the inane lyrics to a popular song that endures only because it has a great beat. One must not think too deeply on what Obama says, for it turns to smoke and disappears in the light of day. Ezra Klein is correct, Obama's speeches do not inform, they pander, they propagandize, they harmonize with the mythology of despair and the chimera of entitlement. As his hagiographies proclaim, he represents a new Camelot, but one that does not hold America quite so precious, a Camelot of globalists, moral relativists and communitarians.
An Obama administration will be one of historical revision, of faltering American values, of ideologues crafting "progressive" policy, of radicals telling citizens how to live, what to drive, what to eat and what to believe. They will tell us that the constitution is a living document and should change to reflect the times. They will tell us that we must pay more and more for the common good. They will take away our choices and make more and more of us dependant. Obama's will be an administration of concocted class warfare, of racial exceptionalism and of pro-Islamist bias, and in the name of redefined justice and revolutionary inclusiveness, America will lose part of her soul and more of her freedoms. For all his rhetoric of hope, change and "coming together," we still live in a perilous world. In a time of Islamic terror and nuclear proliferation, an Obama presidency will undermine America as never before.