A prediction about Obama’s capacity as a leader, August 2008
In August 2008, in a discussion that was mainly on Michelle Obama’s disconcertingly mannish physique, I wrote:
I want to add this about Obama. My guess is that his “graceful” aspect fits with his quality of being a dreamer, a fantasist of his own messiahship, rather than a strong leader. His entire campaign is about narcissism. He really believes that he is the change we’ve been waiting for, that his very being, his glorious being as the race-transcending (and perhaps gender-transcending?) One, will be the satisfactory fulfillment for America and the world. Such an unreal attitude suggests that if elected he will be an ineffective, bumbling president.Now the collapse that, I suggested, might happen during the campaign did not happen (except during the initial period of Sarah Palin’s meteoric appearance in the nation’s consciousness when Obama’s confidence did notably falter for several days—see The mythic fall of Barack—and then he was saved by the financial crisis). But is not what I predicted, happening now? Has not the talk of both right and left been about Obama’s remarkable lack of substance, force, and capability as a leader?
Consider Howard Fineman’s devastating comment about Obama’s relentless efforts to sell his healthcare plan: “The president’s problem isn’t that he is too visible; it’s the lack of content in what he says when he keeps showing up on the tube.” [Italics added.] Clearly Obama thinks his persona, his ability to talk, are sufficient components of leadership. It doesn’t matter to him that what he’s trying to put through is the opposite of what he claims it is and would be disastrous, and that more and more people see this. The fact that he is the one proposing the program is enough, so that, faced with hardening opposition, he thinks that by simply repeating the same empty phrases and transparent lies that he’s already spoken scores of times, somehow he can turn the debate around.
All this fits with what I predicted about him last year. His act has run out of steam and is about to collapse in a pile of cardboard Greek pillars.