Saturday, March 21, 2009

More on the O

So I finally watched Obama's appearance on Leno. (Ain't DVR grand?)

I think this assessment is not far off. At the very least, I think the Carter comparisons seem pretty apt.

Now I must concede that I was not alive when Carter was in office, so I cannot make any direct comparisons. But I have read extensively on his presidency, and I base these comments on that background of information. Okay? Okay.

As I mentioned the other day, I think that the key to these communication shortcomings from Obama, and that paralysis of decision, is a lack of ideology. We (and I use the term "we" loosely) have elected a man who has never been forced to make a decision, take a stand, and defend it vociferously. It has always just been good enough for him to be an intelligent black man running in a district that wanted an intelligent liberal.

I think this was true even last year. The country got on board with "hope & change" because they wanted the anti-Bush. But instead of a different ideology, a different governing philosophy, we got no ideology or philosophy. And this is going to continue to cause problems for the President.

Think I'm alone in seeing it this way? After I'd drafted the above, I stumbled across David Warren, writing from Canada. It seems that Mr. Warren has reached the exact same conclusion I did:
Again, to my mind -- and it is the only one I have with which to write this column -- we would be wrong to think of Mr. Obama as an ideologue. I think he was perfectly sincere in denying that he was anything of the sort, and in claiming that he would be looking for bipartisan consensus. I also think he is sincere in proceeding with an agenda -- on bail-outs, the environment, Medicare, life issues, foreign policy, etc. -- that leaves most Republicans, and quite a few of the more conservative Democrats, utterly aghast.

How to explain this apparent contradiction? I'm afraid it is easy. As I mentioned during the presidential campaign, Mr. Obama was seriously unqualified for the job of president. He had no practical experience in running anything, except political campaigns; but worse, his background was one-dimensional.

All his life, from childhood through university through "community organizing" and Chicago wardheel politics, through Sunday mornings listening to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, to the left side of Democrat caucuses in Springfield and Washington, he has been surrounded almost exclusively by extremely liberal people, and moreover, by people who are quick and clever but intellectually narrow.

He is a free soul, but he is also the product of environments in which even moderately conservative ideas are never considered; but where people on the further reaches of the left are automatically welcomed as "avant-garde." His whole idea of where the middle might be, is well to the left of where the average American might think it is. To a man like Obama, as he has let slip on too many occasions when away from his teleprompter, "Middle America" is not something to be compromised with, but rather, something that must be manipulated, because it is stupid. And the proof that it can be manipulated, is that he is the president today.

It is at this point that the phenomenon known as "too clever by half" sets in. Technically, it is indistinguishable from arrogance and hubris, but it is unnecessary to stress the point. Sixty days into his first term (and I begin to doubt there'll be a second), he would seem already to have dug a hole from which no rhetorical skill can lift him.
Smart guy, that David Warren.

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