When Do We Get to Attack Obama's Character?
Barack Obama is not a bad man, just a bad president, Mitt Romney said in his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, echoing the self-characterization of the Wizard of Oz. The political pros advise against it, and with well-studied reasons. Responding to a question of this genre at a political conference some months ago, Karl Rove explained that if you attack Obama personally, you make all the people who voted for him feel badly. The way to get people to do what you want, by contrast, is to make people feel good about themselves. Politics is the art of flattering the voters, and that is just what Romney did: he told the voters that they had every right in the world to feel good when they voted for Obama, and they should vote against him now because the best feeling they had about Obama was then they voted for him.
I am not a candidate's handler, though, and have no aspirations to be one. I don't dispute Karl Rove's competence or second-guess Romney's speech writers. Like most conservatives, I was disgusted by the Obama administration's apology for a hitherto unnoticed YouTube video. Obama is the first American president who truly dislikes the United States and blames its hegemonic position for most of the world's troubles.
Almost a year before the 2008 election I characterized then-candidate Obama as a third-world anthropologist profiling us. There's nothing in American culture with which to compare him, which is what makes him dangerous: he is an invasive pest with no natural enemies. He bears comparison to the carnival mentalist played by Tyrone Power, Jr. in Nightmare Alley, but his motivations are ideological rather than pecuniary.
How is it possible that we elected a president who embraces the Muslim Brotherhood, and who has thrown under the bus not just Israel, but all of America's Middle Eastern allies? I addressed the issue in an essay published in Asia Times Online on Feb. 26, 2008, reposted below. Its major omission is the role of Valerie Jarrett, Obama's Senior Counselor and general factotum. Otherwise I stand by the thesis.
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"Cherchez la femme," advised Alexander Dumas in: "When you want to uncover an unspecified secret, look for the woman." In the case of Barack Obama, we have two: his late mother, the went-native anthropologist Ann Dunham, and his rancorous wife Michelle. Obama's women reveal his secret: he hates America.
We know less about Senator Obama than about any prospective president in American history. His uplifting rhetoric is empty, as Hillary Clinton helplessly protests. His career bears no trace of his own character, not an article for the Harvard Law Review he edited, or a single piece of legislation. He appears to be an empty vessel filled with the wishful thinking of those around him. But there is a real Barack Obama. No man -- least of all one abandoned in infancy by his father -- can conceal the imprint of an impassioned mother, or the influence of a brilliant wife.
America is not the embodiment of hope, but the abandonment of one kind of hope in return for another. America is the spirit of creative destruction, selecting immigrants willing to turn their back on the tragedy of their own failing culture in return for a new start. Its creative success is so enormous that its global influence hastens the decline of other cultures. For those on the destruction side of the trade, America is a monster. Between half and nine-tenths of the world's 6,700 spoken languages will become extinct in the next century, and the anguish of dying peoples rises up in a global cry of despair. Some of those who listen to this cry become anthropologists, the curators of soon-to-be extinct cultures; anthropologists who really identify with their subjects marry them. Obama's mother, the University of Hawaii anthropologist Ann Dunham, did so twice.