Democrats hold the White House and comfortable majorities in both houses of Congress. Their new president comes from humble beginnings. He grew up without the moral influence of a father. Unlike Gore and Kerry, who were born with silver spoons in their mouths, or even Carter, Dukakis, Mondale, or Humphrey, who came from upper middle class homes, Barack Obama has little in common with presidential candidates of either political party, except for one: Bill Clinton. Both men transcended their humble roots by receiving elite education and succeeding in electoral politics.
Watch how "Barry" behaves. Listen to his words. Ignore the inflection in his voice, his body language, his facial expressions, the fawning media, and all the distractions of meaning: listen to his words. He says nothing, just as Bill Clinton said nothing, and if you aren't really paying attention, it sounds good.
Long before Clinton was president, I introduced him as a speaker at a regional convention in Little Rock. He knew absolutely nothing about the convention or the organization he was addressing (and I mean nothing.) Yet Clinton got up, gave an engaging conversational speech, and sat down next to me to loud and sincere applause. Then-Governor Clinton turned to me and asked "What do we do now?"
Until that morning, I had been a mild a fan of Clinton. His image was as a genuinely moderate Democrat, chastened by one gubernatorial defeat, who represented a wing of the Democrat Party which was trying to be pragmatic and responsible: If Clinton could pull Democrats to the center, then good for him. The term "Slick Willie," which I had heard many times, had no clear meaning until I saw a purely political animal, a creature who craved popularity and power for its own sake, someone whose whole life had been immersed in a sort of childlike unreality.
We are finding that President Obama is really "Slick Barry," just as President Clinton was "Slick Willie." I believe it is a mistake to associate either man with passionate political or ideological beliefs. These perpetual adolescents believe in their own magic, their ability to charm the other kids who came from nuclear families in middle class neighborhoods, their craving insistence to turn everyone into someone who likes them. It is all about them as they vainly struggle to fill a void in the deepest part of the heart.
It is no accident that the lives of these two men took remarkably similar paths. Both men eschewed military service -- every other major party presidential nominee since Stevenson had either served in the military, the National Guard, or tried to enlist in the military. Not these guys. Slick Willie, ever the happy deceiver, even conned military officers in Arkansas, even as he later wrote "I have always loathed the military." Barry Obama could have found the military a wonderful means to advance as a black man. Few institutions of American society have provided more room for advancement for black men than the military. But he declined.
Obama, like Clinton, went to college, where they studied nothing practical like chemistry or computer science, but the mush of liberal arts, and then they both went to law school. Both men married bitter, angry women from Chicago who, like their husbands, went to law school. These four have spent their entire professional lives in law or in politics.
When Obama ran for president in 2008, he resembled, more than any other presidential candidate, Clinton running for president in 1992. Obama bandies jokes and acts ever so cool. Clinton brought sunglasses and a saxophone on television and showed Americans just how cool he was. These are men who care inordinately about how they look, how they sound, how they appear. Their march to the laurels of fame and power are not based on any true interest in doing good or defeating evil or even advancing, I believe, any grand design for America. They want - they desperately need - to be adored, fawned upon, and idolized.
Their early lives were wound up in lonely struggles of inadequacy. Their young adulthood was submerged in the chic Leftism of college campuses, less because they believed it and more because the only way to be chic on a college campus is to be a crypto-Marxist. Their careers were utterly intertwined in that surreal world of carefully parsed legalism and the sort of pretty boy showiness which was once the political career of John Edwards (another Democrat lawyer married to a lawyer and addicted to lying to be liked.)
These are the new creatures in our world of image driven, cognitively void, emotionally marinated political life. "Slick Willie" has given birth to "Slick Barry" and "Slick John," men who simply do not grasp the sin of dishonesty, the purpose of convictions, or value of sacrifice. They are caricatures of real men, and now, they are our leaders.