The Un-Midas Touch

The presidential style? We assume that every Obama speech is an exercise in the use of the first-person pronoun. Every tired emphatic ("let me be perfectly clear," "make no mistake about it," "in point of fact," "I'm not kidding"…) is proof of just the opposite. Equivocation, not clarity, is the goal of an Obama speech. In lieu of candor, there is always a macho brag that proves empty; always a straw-man, Emmanuel Goldstein-style enemy whom we are supposed to hate collectively; always some clueless clinger, devious capitalist, old Tea Party guy, or carbon polluter who is the source of all our problems. We assume that when the president gets off the teleprompter his speech will be incoherent and laced with "uh uh uh" -- as the press gushes that it is Lincolnesque.

Obama is a community organizer in endless search of a war to distract from the reality that he is Icarus falling with melting waxen wings. Without drumming up an old white guy war against women, against Latinos, against children at the border, against the environment, against gays, against blacks, against mom and apple pie, our Obama is what he always was -- a smooth version of Rev. Wright, a community organizer whose bullhorn could not deliver a crowd.

The press? But there is no press. Long ago it became a ministry of information and decided that Obama was the rare gift to enact a so-called progressive agenda. If or when there is a non-liberal president, we will be told golf is aristocratic time-wasting, that mention of race is hatred, that tampering with the IRS, NSA,  or any other agency is an impeachable offense, that ignoring enforcement of the law is treasonous, that $300 billion deficits are ruinous, that junketing to resorts is frivolous, that bombing without the approval of Congress is amoral, and that the teleprompter is proof of vapidity.

Our culture? Cool is all that matters. Outsource, offshore, speculate, crony capitalism -- just do it with Birkenstocks and shades. If you are hip, rules melt. Nerds like Al Gore are cool and so seek to dodge new capital gains taxes, profit from oil-rich dictatorships, and offer snake-oil nostrums to the crises they hype as they lecture us about our selfish carbon-spewing sins. The key to understanding a John Kerry, Al Gore, Warren Buffett, or Bill Gates is that they are cool, and thus seek to avoid the property, capital gains, or inheritance taxes that they urge be hiked on everyone else. The Obama cultural legacy is that it does not matter what you do, only how coolly you do or describe it. Appear hip, and greed is forgiven. Buy a ticket to a $35,000 Obama fundraiser, wear something hip, and sound cool, and you are a progressive egalitarian. Silicon Valley, Hollywood, and Wall Street learned that con long ago.

The president enjoys a 40% popularity rate and thus has institutionalized a new facet of American political life: redistributionist policies such as Obama’s guarantee that 4 out of 10 Americans will always stay supportive and that abroad most will like what the U.S. is becoming. That is the real Obama legacy: there are no politics any more, just an endless class war between patriotic progressives and counter-revolutionary clingers.

Everything our un-Midas touched turned to stone.