The fall

And this god is now become a man
Who peeps about among us petty men
To find himself a dishonorable grave.
— based on Julius Caesar, Act I, Scene 2*

Striking a theme similar to that of a VFR entry posted earlier today, Charles Krauthammer writes at the Washington Post:

Obama, the Mortal

What happened to President Obama? His wax wings having melted, he is the man who fell to earth. What happened to bring his popularity down further than that of any new president in polling history save Gerald Ford (post-Nixon pardon)?

The conventional wisdom is that Obama made a tactical mistake by farming out his agenda to Congress and allowing himself to be pulled left by the doctrinaire liberals of the Democratic congressional leadership. But the idea of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi pulling Obama left is quite ridiculous. Where do you think he came from, this friend of Chavista ex-terrorist William Ayers, of PLO apologist Rashid Khalidi, of racialist inciter Jeremiah Wright?

But forget the character witnesses. Just look at Obama’s behavior as president, beginning with his first address to Congress. Unbidden, unforced and unpushed by the congressional leadership, Obama gave his most deeply felt vision of America, delivering the boldest social democratic manifesto ever issued by a U.S. president. In American politics, you can’t get more left than that speech and still be on the playing field.

In a center-right country, that was problem enough. Obama then compounded it by vastly misreading his mandate. He assumed it was personal. This, after winning by a mere seven points in a year of true economic catastrophe, of an extraordinarily unpopular Republican incumbent, and of a politically weak and unsteady opponent. Nonetheless, Obama imagined that, as Fouad Ajami so brilliantly observed, he had won the kind of banana-republic plebiscite that grants caudillo-like authority to remake everything in one’s own image.

Accordingly, Obama unveiled his plans for a grand makeover of the American system, animating that vision by enacting measure after measure that greatly enlarged state power, government spending and national debt. Not surprisingly, these measures engendered powerful popular skepticism that burst into tea-party town-hall resistance.

Obama’s reaction to that resistance made things worse. Obama fancies himself tribune of the people, spokesman for the grass roots, harbinger of a new kind of politics from below that would upset the established lobbyist special-interest order of Washington. Yet faced with protests from a real grass-roots movement, his party and his supporters called it a mob—misinformed, misled, irrational, angry, unhinged, bordering on racist. All this while the administration was cutting backroom deals with every manner of special interest—from drug companies to auto unions to doctors—in which favors worth billions were quietly and opaquely exchanged.

“Get out of the way” and “don’t do a lot of talking,” the great bipartisan scolded opponents whom he blamed for creating the “mess” from which he is merely trying to save us. If only they could see. So with boundless confidence in his own persuasiveness, Obama undertook a summer campaign to enlighten the masses by addressing substantive objections to his reforms.

Things got worse still. With answers so slippery and implausible and, well, fishy, he began jeopardizing the most fundamental asset of any new president—trust. You can’t say that the system is totally broken and in need of radical reconstruction, but nothing will change for you; that Medicare is bankrupting the country, but $500 billion in cuts will have no effect on care; that you will expand coverage while reducing deficits—and not inspire incredulity and mistrust. When ordinary citizens understand they are being played for fools, they bristle.

After a disastrous summer—mistaking his mandate, believing his press, centralizing power, governing left, disdaining citizens for (of all things) organizing—Obama is in trouble.

Let’s be clear: This is a fall, not a collapse. He’s not been repudiated or even defeated. He will likely regroup and pass some version of health insurance reform that will restore some of his clout and popularity. [LA replies: why concede defeat in advance? Why?]

But what has occurred—irreversibly—is this: He’s become ordinary. The spell is broken. The charismatic conjurer of 2008 has shed his magic. He’s regressed to the mean, tellingly expressed in poll numbers hovering at 50 percent.

For a man who only recently bred a cult, ordinariness is a great burden, and for his acolytes, a crushing disappointment. Obama has become a politician like others. And like other flailing presidents, he will try to salvage a cherished reform—and his own standing—with yet another prime-time speech.

But for the first time since election night in Grant Park, he will appear in the most unfamiliar of guises—mere mortal, a treacherous transformation to which a man of Obama’s supreme self-regard may never adapt.

[end of Krauthammer column]


*The lines at the start of the entry are a take-off on Cassius’ speech to Brutus in Act I, Scene 2 of Julius Caesar:

And this man
Is now become a god, and Cassius is
A wretched creature and must bend his body,
If Caesar carelessly but nod on him….

Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world
Like a Colossus, and we petty men
Walk under his huge legs and peep about
To find ourselves dishonourable graves.

- end of initial entry -

September 5

Mitchell B. writes:

You can just see that deeply stupid, affirmative-action parasite, Obama, becoming more and more sullen and truculent as he experiences mass hostility for the first time. He is a natural fascist while also seeming to be a somewhat fragile spoiled brat. And like any spoiled brat when he feels that he is being thwarted he (and the rest of the left-wing bratocracy) will pitch a truly awesome tantrum. Ha ha. It’s hilarious to me that all the things they want to do as a matter of normal, regular business are the kind of things that would warm Stalin’s heart.

They’re gleefully destroying what’s left of the economy by doing the same things that got us where we are in the first place. They’re even trying to re-inflate the Diversity Housing Bubble!

We have no money so they just print more and call that brilliant, courageous, intelligent problem solving. Can Bernanke really be that stupid, or is it simple cowardice and dishonesty?

Unemployment is probably close to 20%, but their bright idea is to give amnesty to illegal aliens and open the door to millions more third-world savages. How contemptuous of American citizens can you possibly get? They don’t even bother to hide it.

They’re trying to ram through a Communist social engineering and income redistribution plan called “Health Care Reform” that will mean a job for every low-IQ, affirmative-action parasite they can get their hands on. Health care will be the last priority of this horror show and it will redefine what it means to squeeze blood from a stone when it comes to paying for it. It’s no accident they’re giving the IRS thugs the responsibility for health care insurance oversight. I don’t imagine very many private plans will meet their rather brutal standards.

Obama has officially defined everyone who disagrees with him as a potential terrorist. I’m already starting to listen for the boot crashing against the door. That is the logical conclusion to their agenda. The time for living in denial is over.

The hate crimes bill WILL destroy freedom of speech and put an end to political opposition to our one party, two faction government.

The new gun control bill (HR 45) will not only begin the total disarmament of solid American citizens, it will also make gun ownership a mental health issue. Our insect overlords will feel compelled to define as many of us as possible as mental defectives in order to disarm us. How very Soviet of them.

The Cap and Trade bill is quite simply an all out assault on American citizens. They took the Global Warming Big Lie and forged it into a deadly weapon against their own constituents.

All these things seem like perfectly reasonable, middle-of-the-road “solutions” to “problems” as far as the Washington Bratocracy is concerned. Obama and his Orcs see every abuse of power, every lie, every failure as acts of transcendent moral superiority. See how shrill they get when anyone disagrees.

When their largesse is angrily rejected and their little feelers are hurt, the first thing that’s going to pop into their offended little heads is “A State of Emergency.” I am convinced we’re headed for this scenario in some form.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 04, 2009 05:08 PM | Send

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