The President Who Never Was

Finally, there is furor rising against Syria. All this schizophrenic heat is also reminiscent of Jimmy Carter circa 1979-80. After three years of proclamations about having no inordinate fear of communism, of loudly elevating human rights in sanctimonious fashion as the adjudicator of foreign policy, of lecturing allies and reaching out to enemies, of blasting Kissinger realpolitik, the charade ended with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the communist expansion in Central America, the end of the Shah and the seizure of power by Khomeini, the hostage taking in Teheran and rise of radical Islam, general chaos abroad as China invaded Vietnam, and so on.

Carter, then, got angry that lesser folks had betrayed his trust, and suddenly we had defense increases, a new angry Carter Doctrine, and saber-rattling talk. That is natural, as we see too with Obama: those abroad did not appreciate his godhead, and now he too is furious that enemies are, well, even more enemies, and friends are less friendly. If they cannot see that he is not Bush, well then screw them.

As the Curtain Falls

What are we left with in the end? Empty soaring rhetoric of the day, as the president without an identity desperately searches for one about every three months. In the old days the masks were a Bill Ayers for revolutionary fervor, or a Rev. Wright for black fides. Now they are dead presidents.

Where does this lead? Nowhere. Obama’s TR persona is based on an untruth. The “rich” are not ruining his economy; indeed they pay an inordinate percentage of the income tax burden, and give us everything from iPhones to fracking. All their net worth, if confiscated, is not enough to match the trillions Obama himself has run up. For every extra $20,000 Jerry Brown can squeeze out in taxes from an about-to-leave California employer, three more deserving are waiting to gobble that up in all sorts of entitlements as their “fair share.”

Them

It is true that Wall Street greed in 2008 helped crash the financial markets. But mold to appear needs moisture. And Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers were well watered by a corrupt Congress that empowered both Freddie and Fannie. Chris Dodd was the poster boy, taking Wall Street perks and covering them with liberal concern about housing the poor. These Fannie/Freddie troughs, in turn, were fed at by hungry ex-administration insiders and retired gadflies — a Jamie Gorelick, Franklin Raines, Jim Johnson, and, yes, for a bit, Rahm Emanuel and even Newt Gingrich. Even those were not the only guilty. “They” were also “us” — the millions who jumped into a hot real estate market to flip houses and make thousands with little labor in an endless round of musical chairs with the music supposedly never stopping, the chairs never one short. And there were the millions more — with lousy credit ratings, and no history of discipline or thrift. But they "deserved" “home ownership” and so bought a house that neither their income nor savings, such as they were, warranted. They walked away. They were innocent "victims." And they let others pick up the tab as others "should."

And?

The next year will be nothing but more teenage petulance. The world has disappointed Barack Obama. Like any adolescent, he will keep reinventing himself, endlessly trying on new presidential masks and blasting “them” who were not so charmed. What else can a man without an identity do, a president who never really was?