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Works and Days

Where Has the Thrill Gone?

November 22nd, 2009 - 9:04 pm

The Harder They Fall?

Who appointed over 40 ambassadors on the sole basis of campaign contributions, or has as many lobbyists in government as did any President in memory?  And who releases touchy news—whether increased unemployment or trying Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in civil courts—on Friday nights, or wants his Democratically-controlled Congress to debate unpopular legislation on Saturday nights?

You see where this is going. Prophets fall harder than normal politicians. When you claim that seas recede and planets cool before your presence, and that Latin mottos, new presidential candidate seals, neo-classical victory trophies, and faux-Greek temple sets are the appropriate backdrops for Your speeches, then you raise the bar a bit high. Obama is not necessarily any more partisan than a Nixon or Reagan or Bush, only just as partisan—but when he claimed something quite different.

Add in the hope/change mantra, and a cadre of lackeys talking about tingling legs, his majesty Caesar, and apotheosis into a “god”, and our young Icarus was simply soaring too near the sun for his own fragile wax-feather wings. The problem is not just that Obama is proving Clinton-like in his Chicago hardball partisanship (cf. the trash-talk of Rahm Emanuel, Mao-admirer Anita Dunn, or the Truther Van Jones), but that his entire persona was fabricated on a touchy-feely “there is no red state, no blue state America.”

Despite Obama’s vows to restore science to its rightful place in government (I think that was his dig at George Bush’s opposition to human embryo, stem-cell research), we get superstition. Instead of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ non-partisan, depressing unemployment figures, we are instead to rely on a new unproven notion of jobs “saved” and “created”, and in nonexistent, made-up congressional districts, listed, no less, on a government recovery.gov official website. War against reason?

Remember the “reset” button promises abroad? Do we have a safer, saner relationship with Putin? Is Iran closer to disarmament? North Korea quieter? Did George Mitchell transform the Middle East? Is the “good” war still good, the “bad” one still bad? Do the Brits feel the special relationship is stronger? Maybe Sarkozy is more impressed now with America, or are the Poles and Czechs?

And do Chavez, Castro, Ortega, Morales, Zelaya, and others in Latin America feel more pressure to be democratic or less? Is one third of the planet in India and China more comfortable with the messiah Obama or with the hated Bush?

At Home

And the future? Will the country look eagerly forward to cap-and-trade taxes? The new income tax rates? Will small businesses like the caps off FICA taxable income, and health care surcharges? Perhaps the people can get behind impending “comprehensive immigration reform” (in the way we are now for “comprehensive health care”), which will de-emphasize enforcement and emphasize amnesty?

As Obama’s popularity falls, expect his own partisanship to increase, and the Chicago brass knuckles to be more evident. Obama knows that he can hope and change only until he hits 35-40% approval ratings, and is rendered shouting to half-empty audience halls and a triangulating congress.

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