I have always been an admirer of David Axelrod — since I found out who he was. His creation of the Obama myth is one of the most impressive marketing and propaganda feats in history, carefully crafted from a simple set of rules and masterfully applied to challenging, shifting circumstances.
Axelrod knew just what he was doing. He created an African American candidate without the ghetto rap. He created an ultimate urban intellectual alternative to George W. Bush — a veritable anti-Bush. He created a pseudo-legend based upon a semi-fictional autobiography.
He created a quasi-evangelical being with the gift to heal the earth.
To create this myth, the Axelrod team had to suppress the dark pages of Obama’s life. Obama’s ideological convictions were simply too far off center, too much the result of a radical leftist ideology.
Obama was a lifelong student of Marxist and neo-Marxist thinkers, his life dedicated to a theoretic approach based on the “historical” conflict of opposing classes. Long before he received the Axelrod touch, Obama was planning the long march through the institutions as a student. He has been as much a brilliant strategist and tactician as Axelrod. He has known when to lay low, and when to attack; when to aggrandize, and when to diminish.
When Obama started to realize that a path to the White House could be opened, he knew he had a problem. As a student he created a trail of radical papers which could be catastrophic to his career. But he was lucky, and able, to hide them in time.
We don’t know what he wrote in his papers at Columbia and Harvard, but we do know they had to vanish. How unsettling did they have to be for that to be necessary? An infamous video of Obama speaking at the farewell party of a Palestinian activist sits in a safe belonging to the the Los Angeles Times, hidden from view by friendly media. Do you suppose it contains images that could harm the myth?
We have no knowledge of what interesting essays, knowledgeable articles, or surprising op-ed pieces he wrote. He has the aura of a sharp intellectual, but there is no proof of it, apart from his doctored autobiographies. He didn’t write op-eds out of a lack of ideas. He had ideas. But when he became a state senator, he realized there was more to gain. Radical ideas and radical speeches could be obstacles.
America is in a deep crisis, both internally and externally. But its most serious crisis is rooted in the continuous process of legitimating the American experiment as defined by its founding fathers. This is a uniquely American process. It seems as if every American president has to define America’s existence from the bottom up. In Obama’s case, he is trying to redefine America’s existence.
It’s his goal to transform the nation into a European welfare state, which he can only execute when he can work around America’s original ideas as formulated by the founding fathers. The almost boundless liberty of free citizens, he believes, should be limited by a strong federal state which demands a sizeable part of the fruits of the labor of its citizens. Obama is enforcing laws and introducing institutions derived from European socialist concepts of “social justice” — which should be, according to progressive thinking, society’s lodestar.
The state, a benign organism in this vision, can only cover the basic needs of its population if it regulates the free market and free enterprise. The obligation to lead a decent, healthy, prosperous life isn’t just the duty or the free choice of its citizenry but the obligation of the state. Only the state can lead the population toward the right economic and moral choices (as formulated by its leaders). In societies centered around the concept of social justice, the cultural and ideological elites tend to be authoritarian. They have an advanced consciousness of the rights and wrongs in the world, and they will show the way.
In the meantime, of course, they will lead luxurious lives while preaching their program of modesty for the masses. (The hypocrisy of progressives such as Gore and Soros and Michael Moore, and progressive dynasties like the Kennedys, is breathtaking).