Why is it that Americans are so hung up on rock stars, Hollywood celebrities, and anorexic models? Our culture is caught up (and brought up) in the influences of "America's Next Top Model" and "American Idol" hysteria. The obsession with these entertainment programs likely had some influence on the outcome in the 2008 presidential election, which resulted in the choice of a man who was not competent to serve in the government, let alone run the country.
On the heels of the Obama phenomenon that swept the country, one would think that at least a majority of Americans have learned their lesson. The electorate gave up the principled legitimacy of George W. Bush and John McCain for Obama's hope and change rhetoric, pectoral muscles flaunted on all of the magazine covers, swaggering across a Styrofoam stage with an air of confidence that only rock stars radiate.
But now, waking up from The Obama Show is like being on "Let's Make a Deal" and trading in your winning prize hidden under box number 1 for the "zonk" behind curtain number 2. Americans are stuck with the booby prize for the next three years. And buyer's remorse is setting in as the wrapping comes off the package and all that is left is an empty shell of ideology so far left from the mainstream that it reeks of practical joke.
The latest phenomenon on the iconic stage appears to be Scott Brown. Within hours of his win in the Massachusetts senatorial special election, headlines appeared broaching the possibility of a 2012 run for president. According to a recent report, Brown's election "has many Republicans hoping he'll make a White House bid."
It is surprising that with everything working in its favor for midterm elections in 2010 and a national election in 2012, some Republicans are falling for the latest rock star candidate to sweep the stage. This is disheartening when considering that Republicans have multiple viable candidates in Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Eric Cantor, and others. There are even signs that Newt Gingrich may throw himself into the mix.
And yet the media and pundits cannot help but attempt to create a candidate who embodies the rock star persona. In the mainstream, there has been more discussion about Scott Brown's 1980s pinup than his policies -- clearly the mainstream does not want to come clean with the real reasons why Massachusetts voters booted out the Democrats, so they focus on Brown as a cultural icon rather than serious politician.
The problem is that politicians like Obama, Palin, Edwards, and Brown often jet to the forefront of the American political scene faster than the public has time to digest anything beyond their good looks. Yet in Obama's case, there was plenty of time to digest his record, or lack thereof, and the majority of Americans still chose to go with his good looks and charm rather than the substance offered by the McCain/Palin ticket. Clearly the far left knowingly voted for the socialist agenda being offered by Obama, but the independent voters who helped him win fell for the faux persona and the rhetoric, which was music to their ears.
What happened to the days when experience and wisdom mattered? Appearance was not always paramount. What was important was the ability to govern, respect for the Constitution, understanding of foreign affairs, knowledgeable and respectable advisers, and high moral standards.
Obama was elected without any indication that he is capable of running the country, and after a year in office, he has proven that assumption correct. Furthermore, one would expect a Harvard Law graduate and constitutional law instructor to be familiar with, and hold in high regard the provisions of, the Constitution. Instead, Obama continues to show his disdain for the Constitution's limitations, and he most recently illustrated his ignorance of constitutional jurisprudence when he scolded the Supreme Court justices for their decision in Citizens United v. FEC.
Obama certainly was lacking in the area of foreign affairs. His selection of running mate Joe "we've lost the war/let's partition Iraq into three regions" Biden, his belief that Austrian is a language, and his misstatement that Japanese Emperor Hirohito signed the surrender to MacArthur are just a few of the indicators that should have set off alarms.
On the issue of surrounding oneself with respectable advisers and maintaining high moral standards, where does one begin? Obama has surrounded himself with tax cheats, America-bashers, and individuals who favor teaching homosexuality to elementary school students -- and this is just the tip of the iceberg. Obama's character can easily be called into question after one year of watching him consistently lie to the public, renege on all of his campaign promises, and ignore the will of the American people.
None of this is to say that Scott Brown or Sarah Palin may not make a fine president some day. The point is that they should be given time to grow as politicians, leaders, and representatives of the American people. They should be given time to accomplish more than the production of a successful autobiography, a few impressive interviews, and some great headshots. Americans do not need to elect an individual who is better left to the footnotes in the annals of history -- an individual who is enjoying fifteen minutes of fame while more serious leaders with less commercial appeal are being ignored.
John Edwards is thankfully all but gone from the public stage. Scott Brown is seated in the Senate, where he will take the time to grow as a politician on the national level and gain the electorate's respect while serving in office. Sarah Palin may or may not find her way to a future presidential ticket, but she will be given time to acquire the tools necessary in order to succeed.
Obama will not go down in the history books as a simple footnote, a political mistake based on a confused and misguided electorate caught up in his rock star persona, and this is unfortunate. When the show is over and the curtain comes down on the Obama presidency, he will likely be remembered as the worst president this country has ever seen. And all of the pictures of him topless on the cover of Vanity Fair and glowing with the aura of a messiah on the cover of Time Magazine will be overshadowed by his inexperience, his horrific decisions, and his devastating policies.