In Russian history, there is a series of figures known as the “false Dmitris,” pretenders to the throne of the Czar of All the Russias who claimed to be the son of Ivan the Terrible. (These events form the backdrop of Mussorgsky’s great opera, Boris Godunov.) One after another they gathered adherents, raised armies, and marched on Moscow, only to be defeated each time. And yet each False Dmitri represented, you should pardon the expression, hope and change — hope for the restoration of the true Czar (the real Dmitri died in a mysterious accident in boyhood, and rumors attributed his death to Boris) and a change in the habitual misery in which the Russian peasantry lived.
In the same way, Barack Hussein Obama arose from nowhere, proclaimed Hope and Change, and rode a wave of wishful thinking from the obscurity of the Illinois state house to the White House — by any measure, an astonishing accomplishment, and I don’t mean that as a compliment. But his wave was fueled by the perfect storm, the Hurricane Sandy of a dispirited and dispiriting Bush second term and the ineptitude of the McCain campaign, which torpedoed its own best asset, Sarah Palin, and let its supporters down in the cruelest way possible: by simply refusing to fight. They must have known that Obama was an arrant fraud, a man of no accomplishment who was cynically foisted upon the country by the Chicago mob — recall that Saul Alinsky, Obama’s rabbi in community organizing, was a close personal friend of Capone enforcer Frank Nitti, and that campaign guru David Axelrod, the former journalist now playing footsie with his former colleagues from the other side of the street, so vividly evokes in journalistic ethos the corrupt Capone-era Chicago Tribune legman/bagman, Jake Lingle. And yet they threw the fight anyway.
Now it’s Obama’s turn not to fight, at least not on the battlefield where a couple of former Navy SEALs sent some 60 of the dervishes to meet Allah before they were killed by mortar fire. Frantically calling for help while they delivered martyrdom to their assailants, the order to save them — a non-order that had to come from the top — never came. And so they were left to die, while their boss hit the sack in order to rest up for a fundraiser in Las Vegas the next day.
Instead, Obama saved his fight for the second and third debates, and America finally got a good long look at his nasty side. The indolent, bored, Choom Gang Obama of the first debate had kicked the props out from his own carefully manicured legend, so lovingly created by David Axelrod and assiduously tended by an adoring Washington press corps, and revealed himself to be the third-rate intellect and borderline inarticulate extemporaneous speaker some of us knew him to be all along. But instead of the TelePrompter-fueled, silver-tongued Demosthenes his acolytes had expected, in his place arrived a snarling and petulant little man who treated his opponent with contempt and frantically worked the moderators whenever he was backed into a corner. Leaving aside the apparently insane Joe Biden’s baffling act at the vice-presidential debate, Obama’s performance was the worst in American political history.
So this is how the first Obama administration ends: in retreat and defeat. The president stands revealed as just another False Dmitri, a pocket messiah with delusions of grandeur, a political Caesar — Little, not Julius — whose luck has finally run out.