Unexamined Premises

Icarus Descending, Dishonorably

And away we go

And away we go

That the feathers have melted off the formerly high-flying Obama administration is now beyond dispute. First time tragedy (Benghazi), second time tragic-comedy (Bergdahl). And now, with the leak of the famous Obama “workout” video,  farce and ridicule. Ladies and gents, I give you the effective end of the Obama presidency. And off into the brave unknown we fly.

Has there ever been a presidency like this one? Jimmy Carter, whose administration I’m old enough to remember vividly, began with a similar euphoria of “hope,” coming as he did in the wake of Nixon’s resignation and Ford’s pardon.  The unknown governor from the South began his presidency on a wave of good will from all Americans, who were exhausted by Watergate and its aftermath. But it didn’t take Carter long to transmogrify from the “I’ll never lie to you” good guy into the national scold of the so-called “malaise” speech, which is better characterized as the “crisis of confidence” speech. (Watch the speech at the link and then try to convince yourself we’re not all trapped in the political equivalent of Groundhog Day: with Democrats, nothing ever changes).

But even with 20 percent inflation, international humiliation, the Iranian hostage crisis, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and gas lines, in retrospect Jimmy Carter seems like Pericles of Athens compared with Barack Hussein Obama, the least-qualified man ever to actively seek and win the presidency. When the full extent of the harm the Obama administration has inflicted on the United States is finally realized, not only will Obama come in for blame, but so also will the forces that put him in office, especially the Democrat-Media Complex, led by David Axelrod (a former Chicago Tribune reporter turned campaign consultant and presidential guru). My former Time magazine colleague, Evan Thomas, who went on to edit Newsweek, famously said during the election of 2004 that the media’s support for the Kerry-Edwards (oops) ticket was worth 15 points to the Democrats, and while even that wasn’t enough to put them over the top, it was the deciding factor four years later.

There’s one other base here: the media. Let’s talk a little media bias here. The media, I think, wants Kerry to win. And I think they’re going to portray Kerry and Edwards — I’m talking about the establishment media, not Fox, but — they’re going to portray Kerry and Edwards as being young and dynamic and optimistic and all, there’s going to be this glow about them that some, is going to be worth, collectively, the two of them, that’s going to be worth maybe 15 points.

Carter’s damage was limited to the four years he spent in the White House; the day Ronald Reagan was inaugurated, the American hostages in Tehran were released, the sun came out and it really was, however briefly, morning in America. Obama’s reign still has just under three years to go, a prospect that, in light of recent events, ought to appall all right-thinking people. As I wrote over at the Corner on NRO:

Unfettered by having to face the electorate again, a second Obama term would be a nightmare for the country — four years of unencumbered mischief in the Oval Office while the criminal organization masquerading as a political party gets on with the serious business of picking its next candidate to ensure that eight years of “fundamental change” are irreversible…

Most every president hopes for a second term, but this bunch understood from the jump that the second term is everything. Harry Reid sounds and acts like a man who never expects the Democrats to lose another election. And what are the Washington Generals up to now? Hey, look over there! It’s Chris Christie on top of the George Washington Bridge! Alert the media!

If the speed with which one enormity follows another — Obamacare, Fast and Furious, Benghazi, the VA scandal, the squandering of the American victories in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Bergdahl/Taliban swap, the economy slipping back into recession, and, soon enough, unilateral de facto amnesty and the effective end of American border controls — dazzles you now, just wait: in pursuit of “fundamental transformation,” this president knows he has absolutely nothing to fear from a supine and cowardly Congress. My friend and PJ colleague Andy McCarthy couldn’t ask for a better series of pegs for his new book, Faithless Execution, and no doubt dozens more horrors will be added to the indictment in the coming weeks, months and years. About which, of course, absolutely nothing will be done.

All of the Obama team’s transgressions, however, boil down to one simple element: its lack of honor. As I wrote here at PJ recently:

Benghazi matters because it was and is a matter of national honor. And the men and women currently in charge in Washington have no honor.

Honorable people do not let American diplomats twist slowly in the wind while they attend “debate prep” and rest up for a shakedown meeting with the One Percent. Honorable people do not suddenly go AWOL while American soil is under attack. Honorable people do not fail to mobilize the formidable resources of the American military, even if it might not be possible for them to get there in time. Honorable people, under questioning by Congress, do not lose their temper and start shouting. Honorable people do not look the bereaved in the eye and lie about who and what killed their loved ones.

Further: honorable people do not go before the public on the Sunday talk shows and knowingly transmit a bald-faced lie. Honorable people do not continue to lie about what took place. Honorable people do not say “We are Americans; we hold our head high,” and then hang their heads in shame as they cut and run at the first sign of trouble. Honorable people do not continue to reward the dishonorable with ever-higher posts. Honorable people resign.

And until honorable people are restored to Washington — not credentialed Ivy League lawyers with high name recognition steeped in cheap Marxism and fashionable anti-American contempt, but genuine patriots who understand that something has gone terribly wrong with America and needs to be redressed — there will be no justice for the victims of Benghazi.

The Bergdahl disgrace follows this pattern. The gum-flappers currently occupying the seats of power in Washington — now we know what government of the Ivy League, by the Ivy League and for the Ivy League looks like — have no experience with the military (other than viewing the enlistees as people too stupid to get into Brown) and no appreciation for the old-fashioned virtues we used to call “American” before the eggheads took over. Obama positively drips with contempt for the country he nominally leads and in which he had so little formative experience. He and the rest of his crew are the simulacrum of Americans without any of the defining characteristics that once birthed a nation. The reason they never anticipated any blowback against the exchange was that they viewed Bergdahl as a victim who — as an added bonus — seemed to feel exactly the same way about the country and its armed forces as they do.

Ecce homo

Ecce homo

Which brings us to the instantly infamous Polish workout snaps. There comes a point in the descent when things go from smooth sailing to turbulence to headlong plummeting; by the time you hit ridicule, you know you’re in free fall.  As Allahpundit noted at Hot Air:

As a confirmed beta male myself, I’m no position to judge — although the eight thousand “Do you even lift, bro?” jokes on Twitter today did make me giggle. Remember back in the summer of 2008, at the zenith of Obamamania, when a German reporter claimed she watched him curl 32-kilogram, a.k.a. 70-pound, dumbbells? Either that was part of the Hopenchange hype or he’s lost a lot of mass since, so much so that this practically serves as a metaphor for how far he’s fallen. Don’t be too judge-y, though: In his defense, he’s going to be 53 this year and has a job that keeps him pretty busy, what with all the celebrity dinners and golfing and horrendously bad prisoner swaps and all.

The glide path that Obama has long enjoyed, the mysterious, weightless soar from Punahou to Occidental to Columbia to Harvard to the Illinois state senate to the U.S. Senate to the White House, reached its apogee on election night, 2012.  It’s all straight down from here.  Just ask Ovid, who tells the rest of the story in the Metamorphoses:

And now Samos, sacred to Juno, lay ahead to the left (Delos and Paros were behind them), Lebinthos, and Calymne, rich in honey, to the right, when the boy began to delight in his daring flight, and abandoning his guide, drawn by desire for the heavens, soared higher. His nearness to the devouring sun softened the fragrant wax that held the wings: and the wax melted: he flailed with bare arms, but losing his oar-like wings, could not ride the air. Even as his mouth was crying his father’s name, it vanished into the dark blue sea, the Icarian Sea, called after him. The unhappy father, now no longer a father, shouted ‘Icarus, Icarus where are you? Which way should I be looking, to see you?’ ‘Icarus’ he called again. Then he caught sight of the feathers on the waves, and cursed his inventions. He laid the body to rest, in a tomb, and the island was named Icaria after his buried child.

At least Daedalus could pick up the pieces. What will be left by January, 2017 that we will still recognize as America, and what will we do with it?