I think we could see what was coming. This presidency has about as much subtlety in plot as a grade-B western, soap opera, or teen-age tantrum.
Stage One: A lackluster McCain candidacy, the September 2008 meltdown, weariness with eight years of Bush incumbency, conservative anger over spending, liberal furor over Iraq, a toady media, and Republican congressional corruption all led to a 50/50 electorate that was open to being mesmerized by Obama’s rhetoric and the dream of the nation’s first African-American president.
With congressional majorities, a compliant press, soaring public support, a soon-to-be President Obama was convinced, as he had been convinced by his success in the Ivy League, in Chicago, and in the Senate (surely praise in Cambridge means those in Toledo would be similarly wowed), that he had a left-wing mandate and he could hope and change his way to almost anything he wanted — thin record, self-contradictions, constant inconsistencies, and general confusion be damned.
The hard left was salivating that at last they had an effective delivery system that could usher in a long awaited European socialism. So what followed was predictable: In his hubris, Obama cast off the campaign mask of moderation. Thick and fast came proposals for state-run health care, government take-overs, talk of nationalizing the student loan program, bailouts, mega deficits, more borrowing as stimulus, multicultural mea culpas abroad, loony symbolic appointments, and promiscuous talk of higher income, payroll, inheritance, and health-care taxes, but only on “them.”
In other words, we saw in a trendy, new cool form, the age-old attempt to institutionalize an equality of result, as freedom and liberty give way to mandated egalitarianism and fraternity.
But wait — two thorny problems arose.
(1) The country not quite yet is left-wing, but voted for Obama for the perfect-storm reasons outlined above. Anyone who had read the history of America could see that it was always a different sort of place than France, Germany, or Sweden — at least for a while longer.
(2) So to ram down a left-wing agenda, the thespian Obama would have to continue his role as the bipartisan healer, centrist, reformer, purple-state uniter, transracial unifier, etc. But, alas, instead old habits die hard; and the public soon began here and there to get glimpses of the old reality behind the new mask.
The wages of years with Rev. Wright and Bill Ayers, the easy path through the Ivy League, the Axelrod at our throat politics, and the snow job that had wowed deans, philanthropists, and tony suburbanites all reappeared. How could they not? Still, if one is going to hypnotize the electorate to sleep-walk them into Belgium, then one cannot in Pavlovian fashion revert back to hard-left idolatry.
So even as Barack Obama sought to convince the farmer, plumber, and insurance agent to accept state health care, a landscape of windmills, and an EU-foreign policy, he slipped back into his old self. Thus we got the nut Van Jones and his racist, truther bombast. Anita Dunn praised Mao. Commissars at the NEA boasted of the new Caesar.
Stimuli were in part apportioned on red state/blue state agendas.
The Skip Gates incident prompted the president to trash the police first, and get the facts second. Creditors were politically rescheduled for bailed-out businesses. The president thoughtlessly weighed in on everything from the Special Olympics and the tea party movement to Fox News and America’s purported sins.
Suddenly we were no longer exceptional, but the Muslim world in fact had jump-started the Renaissance and Enlightenment. The old bad guys — Ahmadinejad, Assad, Castro, Chavez, and Putin — earned new kind talk; the prior president was reduced to contemporary satanic status. Readers, you can cite far more footnotes to these now run-of-the-mill absurdities.