“Presidencies can go through various stages in terms of their effect on the opposition – from eliciting respect and some amount of fear, to provoking anger, to becoming the object of ridicule,” Peter Wehner writes at Commentary.
“Barack Obama has reached the third stage,” he adds.
Linking to Dana Milbank’s Washington Post critique of Obama’s speech on Thursday and the less than charitable reaction it received from Congressmen on both sides of the aisle, Wehner also quotes from an earlier Milbank column:
In a coincidence that calls to mind William Blake’s “fearful symmetry” phrase, it was also Dana Milbank who in July 2008, months before Obama was elected, reported that Obama attended an “adoration session” with Democratic lawmakers in the Cannon Caucus Room, where even committee chairmen arrived early, “as if for the State of the Union.”
Inside, according to a witness, Obama told the House members, “This is the moment…that the world is waiting for,” adding: “I have become a symbol of the possibility of America returning to our best traditions.”
Some of us warned at the time that any man who believes he is “the moment that the world is waiting for” and views himself as “the symbol of the possibility and best traditions of America” is an individual of staggering arrogance. To which I added this:
That is doubly so when, like Obama, you have achieved nothing so far in your life —in terms of scholarship or literature, legislation, acts of valor, self-sacrifice, or anything else – that qualifies you to view yourself in quasi-Messianic terms. One increasingly senses with Obama that he views himself not as a presidential candidate but as a world celebrity, with all the vanity and arrogance that accompanies such people. Obama, a literate man, might want to reacquaint himself with the Book of Proverbs, which warns that “pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall,” and the story of Icarus. Barack Obama is a very talented political figure, but he is not indestructible. And right now he is flying closer and closer to the sun. At some point – it’s hard to tell when – the wings of wax will begin to melt.
There is some poignancy in saying that for Barack Obama, a decent but imperious man, the wings of wax have finally melted away.
Decent but imperious? The latter half is undoubtedly true. Sadly though, the president’s words and deeds don’t allow me to agree with the first half of that equation.