Roger’s Rules

Obama as JFK, or What's Wrong With ths Picture?

Where’s the Dramamine? Quoth the distinguished William Rees-Mogg of the London Times, “Obama is the Kennedy of a new generation.” Have you ever read anything sillier? In fact, it is silly on two levels. In the first place, it posits a false comparison between Obama and Kennedy. The postmodern, left-wing racialist could hardly be more different from the patrician Machiavellian satyr. In the second place, it assumes that being like John F. Kennedy would be a good or at least a politically expedient thing to be–as if Kennedy swept into office courtesy an irresistible and progressive Zeitgeist. If you wipe the glaze of nostalgia from your eyes, however, you will recall that Kennedy barely squeaked into office, and the rasping wheeze you heard as the final votes were counted came from Cook County where mayor Daley had made sure that Democrats voted early and voted often.

Like so many Obamamaniacs, Mr. Rees-Mogg believes he has his finger on the pulse of history. He sees it all unfolding before him with the inevitability of the Hegelian dialectic. “On February 18,” he reminds his readers, “I wrote: ‘It is hard to see who can stop Senator Barack Obama becoming the next president of the United States. He has built up an excitement such as no candidate has created since President Kennedy in 1960.'” I have no doubt that Mr. Rees-Mogg is excited. He’s not alone. Most of the press corps is similarly agitated. Mark Steyn quotes MSNBC’s Chris Matthews who listened to one of Obama’s speeches and confessed that “I felt this thrill going up my leg.” (Is he sure is wasn’t a numbness creeping up his neck?) Anyone who doubts that hysteria is a contagious malady should observe the press in its ritual, self-reinforcing frenzy whenever the subject is Obama. It’s a bit like Beatlemania, but where that form of emotional intoxication affected mostly pubescent girls, this variety is non-gender specific and most virulent among aging left-liberals who have been rendered especially susceptible by repeated political disillusionment.

Like Mark Steyn, “Every time I hear an Obama speech, I start to giggle.” I know that contemporary political oratory sets a low standard, but, really, have you ever heard anything emptier and more calculatedly sentimental that the pabulum Obama emits? Of course, as Steyn points out, millions of voters have strong stomachs. And he’s right that “if Chris Matthews and the tingly legged media get their way and drag Obama across the finish line this November, the laugh will be on those of us who think that serious times demand grown-up rhetoric.” But I remain cheerful. William Rees-Mogg believes he can peek into the engine room of history. I think that the only thing that is inevitable is the capacity of the world to surprise us. Mr. Rees-Mogg says that “It is hard to see who can stop Senator Barack Obama becoming the next president of the United States.” I can help him out there. It isn’t really hard. His name is John McCain.

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