So where’s the beef? Obama, who was given a pass from Rev. Wright to Tony Rezko, is justifiably confused: who now changed the rules? Why should he suddenly be held accountable in a way he never was prior? He signed up to be a transformational president who was above politics, not someone subject to the vagaries of Washington scandals.
The result of the serial dishonesty is that Obama almost immediately reverted to his natural campaign mode, the soaring rhetoric and non-traditional persona that won him everything on the guarantee that there would be no audit, no assessment, no final appraisal. In other words, Obama never really became president of the United States. He simply kept running for the office against “them” even when he is now “them” holding the highest office. So Pavlovian was his campaign mode that he never quite stopped to wonder why he was running against himself — now damning the very abuses of power that he committed, upset only that someone might be disturbed about a record in a manner that they never were at Harvard, in the Senate, or during his first term.
Where do the scandals lead? To about three more months of Washington inaction. At some point soon, the Democrats will accept that the novelty of Obama in opposition to the First, Second, and Fourth Amendments has worn off. Who cares to hound out our first black president, our first northern liberal commander in chief in a half-century? Likewise the media will strut a bit to show it is not entirely reptilian, but then will revert to the usual hagiography. Why endanger Obamacare, or “lead from behind,” or the apology tours, or the new 50 million on food stamps by cannibalizing your own?
There are lots of metaphors for Obama. Some cite King Henry II, who dreams out loud for advantageous things to follow, only to shed alligator tears when toadies reify his deadly desires (Becket dead? That was a bit much, wasn’t it?). Others cite the clueless Jimmy Carter, whose agendas proved unworkable and ended up as caricatures of a presidency. I still prefer Chauncey Gardiner of Being There. In January 2012, I wrote the following on these pages:
What got Obama to the presidency was being a man without a past or present, Chauncey Gardiner of Being There — without a college record, a medical record, a scholarly record, or much of a legislative record, the “smartest” president in history without having to say or do anything smart, who “busted hump” his entire life without any proof that he ever did any such thing, who proclaimed himself a greater president than all but three, but left nothing great in his wake, now or in the past. Obama had forgotten that winning non-persona for a time, and so after 2009 fooled himself into thinking out loud that at times he would play a real Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, Kennedy, or Reagan.
But now Obama accepts what he was and always will be — Chauncey Gardiner.
And just being there is apparently the way to being president a bit longer.
Nothing has changed in the last 18 months, and the Obama presidency remains what it has been since 2009: a path-breaking candidate who was elected America’s first African-American president; a gifted teleprompted speaker who is as accomplished from a script as he flounders ex tempore; and an opportunist haunted by George Bush and the post-2010 Republican House that are supposed to be responsible for most of what he gets caught for.
Otherwise there is not a lot there—mostly a carnival of McCarthyite (AttackWatch, JournoList, IRS) henchmen and left-wing extremists trying to push through an agenda by any means necessary that the majority of America probably does not welcome.
Obama is perturbed that we question any of this malfeasance. I think he is right to be angry. In his case, we made up the Obama rules that symbolism (not performance) and amnesty (not accountability) count. So why break our covenant with him, and now start asking for concrete and honest accomplishment when the teleprompter was always enough? In 2008, did we ask for the specifics of “the audacity of hope,” or ponder how someone who did not miss a service at Trinity Church (“Yep. Every week. 11 o’clock service”) somehow missed Rev. Wright’s serial racist, anti-Semitic, and anti-American rants? That we now want to know the president’s role in Benghazi, or in the IRS, AP, and Fox scandals is something that was just not part of the smartest-president-in-history bargain—as if once upon a time America ever demanded, “What the hell is your hope and change?”
So as they say here in Selma, “Get over it”.