Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Community Organizer Who Would be King

I really have to stop reading MayBee's sarcastic comments   just  before bedtime. She was making fun of Michelle Obama's teleprompter speech to some lady donors: 
"It's also pretty funny to picture them, actually sitting on a sofa in the WH residence, her in a designer dress with her Jimmy Choos kicked off in the corner, him with his WH brewed honey ale, reading the 10 letters for the day and saying, 'Michelle, it just isn't right, what people are going through.'  'Why, what do you mean Barack?'  'We have to fix it. I am tired, but I can't rest until this is fixed!'"
The next thing I knew I couldn't get the image of Kipling's The Man Who Would be King out of my head. You might remember it. It's the story of two men who travel to a place called "Kafiristan" (actually Afghanistan)  where they offer themselves up as military advisers and trainers to the locals.
After helping them defeat their most hated enemy, one of the men (Danny) is treated as a god, a reincarnation of Sikander (Alexander the Great) by monks who mistake his Masonic Jewel for one worn by Alexander when he passed through the land centuries earlier.  He's treated to treasures which once belonged to Alexander.
Then, he loses touch with reality and develops delusions of grandeur. By chance his intended bride, fearful of  being wed to a god, punctures the myth by biting him and making him bleed. Since gods don't bleed, the Kafiristan denizens realize he is human and, angry at being misled, kill him.
I think we've reached a similar turning point in this presidency where  (a) Obama's(and Michelle's) delusions of grandeur have become objects of ridicule; b) Obama's feet of clay are obvious. He may be the only person left in Washington who has not yet realized how inadequate he is to the tasks before him; (c) the people and the press are beginning to turn on him, and as his failures become even more obvious with each passing day, more people will feel free to attack him and his policies and their attacks will become ever more savage as the gap between the promise and reality grow ever more stark.
Obama entered office on a groundswell of a disconcerting mania, a mania in which voters imagined on this blank slate of a candidate all sorts of truly fantastic abilities and policies, none of which were warranted in his paltry, truly shabby history.
The man with no available school records, for example, was painted as a genius and his brief time as a University of Chicago adjunct (basically teaching assistant) puffed up to a professorship in constitutional law. The guy who cannot speak a logical, coherent, grammatical sentence on his own was pawned off as a literary genius to unsuspecting, foolish voters. It was inevitable that the reality of his time in office could never match the dream. It was unfortunately equally inevitable that he would prove inadequate to the difficult job of the presidency.
Still, which of those who voted for him could have envisioned the hash he's made of things in every respect? Unemployment far exceeds what he warned it would reach if we didn't pass his stimulus package; the housing market shows no sign of lift off; the dollar sinks more each day; manufacturing is at a virtual standstill, and Americans grow more pessimistic about the economy each day. The landmark legislation of his first (and I hope final) term, ObamaCare, is so badly conceived and drafted that Americans are likely to see the best medical service in the world destroyed unless it is soon repealed or ruled unconstitutional.  In the meantime, as uncertainty about its future grows, more and more businesses are paralyzed and unable to plan for their futures.
Internationally, we keep alienating our allies and boosting our enemies. Like the Duke of York* in the nursery school rhyme, he had "10,000 men marched them up the hill and then marched them down again." He ordered a surge in Afghanistan, the place he argued in 2008 we really should be instead of Iraq, and then order pulling them out before the job is done, and in a manner sure to increase the danger to them.  Without Congressional authorization, he's committed our troops and weaponry to a rather pointless fight in Libya; pushed Mubarak out of office in favor of heaven knows what successors; failed to do a thing to prevent Iran from going nuclear; done nothing to stop Syria's Assad from daily slaughtering his own people; and each and every day puts the life and welfare of our staunch ally Israel at risk.
This week's press conference revealed him as a man desperately clinging to the same rhetorical devices that have long worn thin: demagogic false choices, class warfare and a preposterous description of himself as the reasonable adult in the legislative process.
Fill in the blanks here, for this is the same speech we have been hearing for his entire term:
Republican leaders need to ask their constituents if they are willing to sacrifice the [ health, safety, welfare, future ]of their children for [you name it].

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