Monday, April 25, 2011

Narcissism and Ignorance Have Never Been Virtues, Mr. President

Barack Obama is two years into his presidency and he’s managed so far to post an even worse record than George W. Bush. His economy has lost over 3 million jobs, consumer confidence is at half of its historical average, unemployment is over 9 percent and has been that way for well over a year. To what extent is Obama's lack of executive experience  responsible for this?  It has been said the early George Bush and Obama have a lot in common. The difference between them, which is why Obama is the more dangerous for the economy, is he has proved he has very little by way of a skill set to understand the kinds of complex problems that he needs to address. But what he does have is an arrogance, if not unbounded confidence in himself.

Last spring Obama brought together a group of presidential historians for what was supposed to be the first of many meetings.  He was curious about the rise of the tea party, curious as to whether there had been precedents for this sort of backlash against the established order. He listened to these experts on the American presidency, but was prickly and didn't give anything away.

What most engaged Obama before his rise to the highest office in the land was his own biography.   Where so many of his predecessors had sought comfort and guidance in the ordeal of past presidents , there was no great deference in him to the burdens those forty-two men carried. He didn't look like those other presidents on the dollar bills, he said early in his political odyssey.

A president steeped in history would have never pushed ObamaCare on so thin a reed of public approval. Americans haven't ever worshiped at the altar of charismatic leadership like some peoples have, for we have been the most skeptical of peoples. We may have trusted several of their presidents through wars and economic downturns, but we have insisted on the wisdom of the public and on the ability of this republic of laws, institutions and precedent to see our way out of great dangers. 
Obamabots  nod to American history with evocations of FDR’s New Deal and superficial parallels to JFK. But Kennedy had seen combat, was a Cold Warrior and believed in the burdens of American power. He would have never journeyed abroad to apologize on behalf of his country.

If he was indeed a student of history as Obama described himself in his 2009 Cairo speech, our president would have known that a command economy is alien to the American temperament and that liberal unfettered government spending was bound to arouse the antagonism of the American people. We were not all Keynesians after all, and the American people, much to liberals’ wonderment, do care about budget deficits and the future they leave their children. It’s time to let  John Maynard Keynes RIP and admit his failed theories have helped bankrupt many of the western democracies.

The era of charisma, which began when Obama was swept into office by delirium and enthusiasm has drawn to a close. The ‘Styrofoam Greek Columns’ and his  pedestal have been wheeled  away, and replaced with a golf cart.

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