Smoke and Mirrors: The Magic of Barack Obama

Every good magician can alter one's perception of reality by use of deception. In context of a magic show, trickery is a good thing; when it comes to a political show, it's not so good. President Obama has come to be known as one of the most eloquent politicians in American history. But it was not eloquence alone that got him into the White House; it was eloquence coupled with pretense. And with those twin characteristics Obama is almost effortlessly imposing his extreme-left agenda on the country.

From the womb of the Democrat National Convention in 2004 a star was born. And not just any star but, The Star, the savior of all things liberal arose from obscurity to instant national media fame. Yet, interestingly, the famous speech delivered by the future president contained no overtures of liberal policy. While delivering the convention's Keynote Address, Obama spoke of America "as a beacon of freedom and opportunity." He spoke of his father who herded goats in Kenya and his maternal grandfather who "signed up for duty" after the attack on Pearl Harbor. He even mentioned the "Creator" and "inalienable rights."

The unknown state senator from Illinois also informed the convention crowd that he understood that people "don't expect government to solve all their problems. They know they have to work hard to get ahead, and they want to. Go into the collar counties around Chicago, and people will tell you they don't want their tax money wasted . . . ."

At the 2004 convention, Obama began the transformation from ultraliberal Chicago machine politician (of whom not many outside of Chicago politics knew anything about) to the smoke-and-mirrors image of a post-racial, post-partisan, middle of the road, nice guy of hope and change. The speech effectively promoted Obama as an all-American, apple pie moderate who could win at the national level; while doing little to promote the Democrat's actual candidate of 2004, the liberal (but less so than Obama) John Kerry.

Obama's Keynote Address was one that most Republicans could have given. But that was just the beginning of Obama's audacity: In 2008, as a rookie U.S. Senator, Obama's presidential campaign rhetoric outmatched the conservatism of any conservative.

Yes, I'm speaking of the same Barack Obama from Illinois who was able to earn the distinction of becoming the most far left, liberal senator in the U.S. Senate in just a half-term (according to the National Journal, Obama was to the left of open socialist, Sen. Bernie Sanders in 2007). Yes, the same man, the mother of all liberals, Barack Obama, ran his presidential campaign on the platform of giving tax breaks to 95% of Americans. Take that Republicans! And if you're ready to get dizzy, consider that Obama shamelessly says his trillion-dollar "stimulus" plan from which taxpayers will be enslaved for generations, will cut the taxes of the 95%.

"That's insane," you might exclaim. Well, yes, if words retain their customary meaning. When Obama said in 2004 that people don't want their tax money wasted, the meaning of the word "wasted" is the key to understanding The One. Obama believes that "reinvesting" tax money into the welfare system is a responsible use of government-forced contributions from the "wealthy." When Obama speaks of tax cuts, often he is actually speaking of redistributing tax money. In Obama's world, government spending can actually mean cutting taxes. Words take on new meaning when Obama the Great performs his magic.

A leading intellectual of the left, George Lakoff, in his piece, "The Obama Code," instructs that many pundits, in interpreting Obama's words, completely miss the Obama Code. "For the sake of unity," notes Lakoff, "the President tends to express his moral vision indirectly." That's the understatement of the year. In other words, Obama would cause division if he were to say what he really means. If he can dupe a majority with words, division is allayed; even as Obama goes about implementing a system of which most people would otherwise fiercely oppose.

"The Obama Code is both moral and linguistic at once. The President is using his enormous skills as a communicator to express a moral system. As he has said, budgets are moral documents. His economic program is tied to his moral system," Lakoff observes. Professor Lakoff also informs us that, "tens of millions of Americans--both conservatives and progressives--don't yet perceive the vital sea change that Obama is bringing about."

At this point, the sea change is becoming fairly apparent -- it's nothing less than, as Obama puts it, "the remaking of America." All of Obama's domestic policy -- education, health care, welfare, global warming, liberal activism, voter-base expansion, Chicago politics out of Washington, etc. -- is tied to his moral system. And his moral system just happens to be shared with his former Chicago alliances of whom we weren't allowed to mention during the campaign.

President Obama's moral system is one of social, redistributive justice. As Rev. Wright put it at the very first Trinity service Obama attended, "White folks' greed runs a world in need." Ten out of 10 radicals surveyed agree that America must be remade via spreading the wealth around. That means confiscating increasingly more money from society's hard-working wage earners and job producers and redistributing or "reinvesting" the booty in liberal programs and bureaucracies. No matter that the welfare state has been an abject failure, having destroyed the traditional family and shipwrecked tens of millions of lives. "The welfare system just needs more taxpayer money and then it will finally succeed," dreams the radical left.

The moral system of the far left requires big government for its big programs and big ambitions. But if Obama had expressed his "moral vision" directly, he wouldn't have been elected. And currently, though big government is the money train of his moral system, he dare not say it.

That's why Obama said, with a straight face, on Feb. 24: "I asked this Congress to send me a recovery plan . . . that would put people back to work and put money in their pockets, not because I believe in bigger government -- I don't -- not because I'm not mindful of the massive debt we've inherited -- I am."

The president doesn't believe in bigger government, yet two days later on Feb. 26 he unveiled his intention of confiscating from future taxpayers $3.6 trillion more dollars for his 2010 budget spending plan (the largest in U.S. history). In doing so, Obama actually had the audacity to release the following statement: "The time has come to usher in a new era -- a new era of responsibility in which we act not only to save and create new jobs, but also to lay a new foundation of growth upon which we can renew the promise of America."

That's sort of like having a "Fiscal Responsibility Summit" after pledging to waste $787 billion, plus interest, of taxpayer money while calling it "economic stimulus."

Don't be confused. Learn to decipher the Obama Code: Laying the foundation of Obama's moral system with trillions of taxpayer dollars is, of course, fiscally responsible.

Speaking as an uncanny prophet of liberalism, Keith Olbermann commented on Obama's Aug. 28, 2008 speech at Invesco Field: "For forty-two minutes not a sour note, and spellbinding throughout in a way usually reserved for the creation of fiction." No doubt fiction was created and continues to be created.

The magic of Obama is to say one thing while simultaneously believing and doing the opposite.

Monte Kuligowski is an attorney who writes on topics of faith, culture, policy and law. His blog site is