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The Obama Breaking Point

A Bright and Shining Lie?

The sources of discontent are growing across the spectrum. Perhaps the disgruntled Left saw that promises about “don’t ask, don’t tell,” gay marriage, and amnesty only were kept late in Obama’s tenure when he had lost independents and needed, cynically, to rev up his base. Or was it that what in 2008 had come across as teleprompted eloquence, by 2011 was the same old monotonous and hackneyed “Make no mistake about!” and “Let me be perfectly clear!”?

Liberals used to go gaga over the man who promised that Guantanamo and renditions would be part of our distant criminal past, only to gag that he has embraced and expanded almost every one of the Bush-Cheney protocols that he once demagogued. Obama even recruited Yale Law Dean Harold Koh, who used to sue the government on behalf of Guantanamo detainees, to write surreal briefs explaining why stepped-up Predator missions can quite legally vaporize American citizens suspected of terrorism, and why American planes dropping bombs over a foreign country do not constitute warlike acts. A Yale Law dean who does that is like the proverbial dog walking on two legs, eliciting wonder not just that it is done, but why it is even attempted.

The once green Leftist who promised to bankrupt coal and whose energy secretary designate bragged about sending gas prices up to the “levels in Europe” now runs ads accusing Romney of being too hard on the coal industry, and brags that private energy companies fracked and horizontally drilled on private land to increase the nation’s fossil-fuel production. Who could believe that message of  "vote for me because I couldn’t quite stop all the drilling and so now we have more domestic oil and gas than ever"?

Calling Dr. Freud

I think a growing number of Americans slowly grasped that with Obama, the best guide to his character is what is sometimes known as psychological projection -- or the syndrome in which those unsure of themselves seek to massage their own natural but bothersome impulses by ascribing them to others, almost always in a negative context. The vicarious president who gave us “get in their faces,” “bring a gun to a knife fight,” and “punish our enemies”; ridiculed the Special Olympics; slurred millions of doctors with accusations that they like to amputate for profit; and smeared, as fat cats, the one-percent, corporate jet owners, and Vegas jet-setters (his own generous Wall Street donors) of course also preached about the need for a new bipartisanship and civility. Like a moth to a light bulb, Obama was drawn to swanky golf resorts, Vegas, and vacations on Martha’s Vineyard of the sort he dismissed as the haunts of the one percent. When the president struggles to repress yet another appetite, we can be assured that he will attribute such a character flaw to others.

The Chicago Way

Of course, independents are tired of the scandals. One Fast and Furious, Secret Service debacle, or GSA mess is tolerable. But bit by bit the mosaic of a fast and loose Chicago way of fixing things was built from one too many scandalous tesserae -- like the Blago mess, the wind and solar con, and now the Libyan cover-up.

The undecideds also are starting to see that while every recession has a recovery, it was needlessly prolonged in the case of Obama, due to his “never let a crisis go to waste” obsessions with socializing health care, taking over unionized bankrupt companies, and expanding food stamps, unemployment, and disability insurance. It took many four years to figure out that for Barack Obama, the need to transform America into some weird version of Greece or Italy trumped any concern about getting millions back to work and the economy going again. Obama’s prime impulse was not restoring lost income, jobs, and net worth, but seeking to ensure the wealthy did not prosper, even if that meant the far more numerous poor did not either. Stagnant equality was his aim.