Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Two Columns

Two columns in this morning's stack of reading that truly summarize the Magical Mystery Tour of Hopey Change that we've been on this past year plus campaign season.  The first is Victor Davis Hanson's excellent piece: "A Humpty Dumpty View Of The World."  The second is Shelby Steele's missive in this morning's Wall Street Journal: "Obama and our Post-Modern Race Problem."  Both pieces deal with the inability of our young President to, as the Marines would say, "adjust, adapt and overcome" because of a world view that he cannot get past.

VDH rightfully takes him to task for his naivete in thinking that smooth rhetoric and a hearty handshake would somehow make all the bad guys like us.  This sprang from the frighteningly amateurish view that all the problems with foreigners not liking us were because Bush was such a meanie.

Remember, in this reset narrative, there are no such bothersome things as irreconcilable differences, antithetical agendas, or reductionism such as thugs like Ahmadinejad, Assad, Chavez, or Putin, who always interpret magnanimity as weakness in their nonstop quest for more influence and power at the expense of the perceived weaker party.
So here we are after all the apologies, all the bowing, all the trashing of Bush, all the Cairo speeches and al Arabiyainterviews: Putin brags about a new generation of nuclear weapons, bullying his neighbors and doing nothing to stop Iran; Iran kills its dissidents while we sleep and promises a bomb to come.  Chavez wants one too, and Syria does it best to destroy Lebanese autonomy. And that is just the beginning.
It was not supposed to happen that way. (All those adoring crowds in the streets of London, Cairo, and Nairobi were supposed to translate into their leaders’ infatuation with Obama.

As Hanson points out, all Presidents come into office with a "narrative," a campaign line.  One of W's big narratives was that nation-building was a bad thing.  The challenge is that they have to adjust and change the narrative as the world situation demands.  Obama has continued to fail to do this and it is at our peril.  The world is a far more dangerous place now than it was just 12 months ago.

Steele's storyline is similar, only it involves the narrative of race and the election of Barack Obama.  A man singularly unqualified to be in office, who got there because of his race.
Barack Obama, elegant and professorially articulate, was an invitation to sophistication that America simply could not bring itself to turn down. If "hope and change" was an empty political slogan, it was also beautiful clothing that people could passionately describe without ever having seen.
Mr. Obama won the presidency by achieving a symbiotic bond with the American people: He would labor not to show himself, and Americans would labor not to see him. As providence would have it, this was a very effective symbiosis politically. And yet, without self-disclosure on the one hand or cross-examination on the other, Mr. Obama became arguably the least known man ever to step into the American presidency.

As Steele has written before, the beauty of the unknown in BHO gave simple-minded people the chance to project whatever they wanted to onto the beautiful dais with the Grecian columns.  Twelve months later, America now knows what it is stuck with.  Sadly, BHO doesn't realize that we've largely figured it out.

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