“They are the P.T. Barnums of the flower kingdom, dedicated to the premise that there is a sucker born every minute.”
— Natalie Angier, The Beauty of the Beastly
Remarking on the career of Barack Obama as he advances through his first term in office, there can be no more doubt that he is a stalwart man of the Left. Indeed, he is a true paragon of the Left who has come, with the help of a party parasitic upon the welfare of the nation, to remake America in the image of its most dedicated enemies. He represents everything that the Left has come to signify for our time, with its ancestral suspicion of Jews, its staple practice of propitiating rather than confronting its enemies, its collectivization of the means of production and intrusive regulation of markets, its redistribution through tax mechanisms of honorably earned income, and its pro-Islamic complicities. As such, Obama also represents the end of the American empire as he proceeds toward the Europeanization of the United States, ineluctably reducing his country to a pallid simulacrum of its former greatness.
But what is perhaps most distressing about the 44th president is the consummate deceptiveness of his nature, a faculty in which he may arguably have outclassed all 43 of his predecessors lumped together. It has been widely reported that many of his specific campaign promises have not been fulfilled or are even in the process of being revoked — except, of course, for his promise to change America profoundly, where he seems to have kept his word. Nevertheless, the form and magnitude of the mutation surely transcended the boundaries of reasonable expectation.
Thinking they were dealing with a liberal democrat, few observers envisioned the sharp and careening leftward veer in which Obama has taken the country, steering it toward a socialist destination resembling not only that of the European Union but even, in some respects, of Venezuela as well. His move toward the effective nationalization of banks, health care, and the auto industry, not to mention his growing share in the mortgage game and the climate racket, is extremely worrisome. As Tristan Yates warns in Pajamas Media, “In the finance, transportation, energy, and health care sectors, government will own the largest firms in the market and also be tasked with regulating those industries, a dangerous conflict of interest.” Although we might note that this has never been a conflict of interest for a socialist government, whose self-appointed mandate is control of the economy and whose inevitable result is gross mismanagement.
Seduced by a flamboyant presence and consoling sureties, we have swallowed the bait of a false promise, crook, crime, and stinker. Obama’s America is not the America we used to know but the America we will come increasingly to regret. “The consequence of funding the metastization of government through the confiscation of the fruits of the citizen’s labor,” writes Mark Steyn, “is the remorseless shriveling of liberty.” Pursuing the goal of what Steyn, following Charles de Montesquieu’s seminal The Spirit of the Laws, calls “administrative depotism,” Obama also seems intent to curb or at least place rather severe restrictions upon freedom of the press, as his flirtation with the so-called Fairness Doctrine and the screening of questions at White House press briefings and town hall meetings suggest. (Here, it must be said, he is largely abetted by the media themselves that have come to behave like his personal janissary corps.) At the same time, the much-ballyhooed pledge to introduce transparency into administrative decision making has gone the way of many other campaign vows.
It is equally revealing to note that many American Jews, who voted in record numbers for Obama, presumably believed he would maintain the strong, traditional ties the U.S. has enjoyed with Israel. Many actually fell for the tenor of the speech he gave in Sderot to a rocket-battered community, assuring Israel of his support. Of course, Jewish credulity is legendary, founded in hope (that is rarely fulfilled) and change (that is often for the worse). It is now evident that Obama constitutes nearly as grave a threat to the security of the Jewish nation as Ahmadinejad or Khamenei. The “settlement freeze” he is attempting to impose upon Israel is only the first stage of a strategy likely intended to evacuate hundreds of thousands of Israelis from their homes, to bring about the surrendering of Jerusalem as the unified capital of the country, and to promote the eventual ceding of the Golan Heights to a perennially belligerent and terror-sponsoring Syria. As they say, just wait and see.
The fact is that Obama’s floral rhetoric and perfumed manner cannot be trusted. What it comes down to is this. Obama is the orchid of the political jungle, an efflorescent opportunist with a distinct agenda of his own. As Natalie Angier writes in The Beauty of the Beastly, orchids are “among the most artfully deceptive” of flowers, having acquired “an extravagant repertory of disguises in color, odor, shape, and overall engineering” in order to lure their unsuspecting pollinators to do their covert bidding. Many orchids are actually “named after what their flowers resemble: spiders, butterflies, baskets, shoes, peas, and donkeys,” anything that might appeal to an emissary. “Little about orchids,” she continues, “is what it seems”; most of them “are shameless charlatans.” One in particular, the Lady’s Slipper, seems engorged with nectar, yet “not only is it utterly dry inside; it’s also a nasty trap.” Food for thought, if not for anything else.
Orchids are among the most comely and longest-lived of all flowering plants, have almost no natural enemies, and are probably the most adept at attracting unwary pollinators to spread the genetic seed and bring their purpose to fruition. They are the cagiest and most determined of disseminators. If they were presidents, they would see to their election for at least three terms and, if they only could, probably for life. As for the human pollinators of concern, about half or more of the American public appear to have been taken in wholesale and are busily engaged in doing the orchid-in-chief’s surreptitious will.
“Suckers may come and suckers may go,” Angier concludes, “but the fakers of the world are built to last.” Notwithstanding, we should learn to give them a very wide berth. Even if baffled by economic theory or indifferent to political history, those still in thrall to an orchidacious president might bone up on their horticulture.