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State of Obama's Union: Barack's Love Affair (with himself)

  

Things have not been going President Barack Obama's way.  Especially for someone who, we all thought, could walk on water.  A year ago, he was a transformational, post partisan figure, a healer and uniter, a messianic, once-in-a-lifetime leader.  Now, he is a mere mortal with warts, twitches, and defects.  What a difference a year's worth of unchecked liberalism makes. 

With Obama's inauguration, it seemed, the nation's history had started anew.  Future tomes would describe it as a turning point in the national trajectory, pre-Obama and post-Obama.  A new age, a new era of hope and change; hymns and hosannas; sunshine and rose petals; Obama's ascendancy would redeem America's dark and troubled past and set us on the path of light and truth.

Domestically, Obama would set the nation aright.  He would summon forth new programs and spending bills that would solve the nation's ills.  The man who had not spent a day in the private sector, would elevate the moribund economy, balance budgets, materialize national health care, reverse global warming, and prevent the oceans from rising.

America would get right with the rest of the world too.  Especially after that intolerable rube from Texas.  The Muslim/Arab world.  Europe.  Russia.  China.  Even the staunch hold outs and inveterate America-haters.  Iran.  North Korea.  Venezuela.  Cuba.  All would climb on board.  By virtue of his presence and manner.  His tone.  His voice.  The soothing cadences and uplifting oratory.  A few speeches, a few grins, a few hearty handshakes, and all would be well again between America and the planet.  The era of Obama.  Ancient rivalries, competing interests, festering hatreds, intractable conflicts, ethnic animosities, none of it mattered because Barack Hussein Obama (BHO) had arrived, ushered in on the wings of angels.

So when did things begin to go south for the great one?  When did the halo, light, and aura begin to fade?  Perhaps, it was the tea party movement that erupted in open rebellion against Obamacare last summer?  Or the record breaking deficits and his over-the-top "stimulus" package?  Or the bailouts and takeovers?  Or the attempt to throttle the economy with cap and trade? 

Or was it the embarrassing failed personal appeal in Copenhagen to deliver the 2016 Olympics for his beloved Chicago?  Or his even more embarrassing selection by the Nobel Committee in Oslo for the Nobel Peace Prize for no discernible reason, other than, perhaps, to make a fashion statement. 

There were his endless apologies for his country, and his policy of "engaging" and reaching out to the world's worst dictators and thugs in places like North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, and elsewhere, many of whom were also his nation's worst enemies, who generally rewarded him with contempt and defiance.  On the other hand, he was heavy handed with allies, like Israel, Great Britain, Czechoslovakia, and Poland. 

Proud liberal that he is, tribune of human rights and democracy and all that, he declined to meet with the Dalai Lama (until recently, I understand, but rebuffed him before) or speak up for the pro-democracy demonstrators in Iran or support the constitutional ouster of lefty Chavez-wannabe Manuel Zelaya in Honduras. 

There were the infamous bows to foreign leaders.  Did he really think the Queen of England needed an i-Pod containing his speeches?  There was his unceremonious ending of the "special relationship" with Britain signified by sending back the bust of Churchill or snubbing Prime Minister Gordan Brown (lefties don't like "colonialist/imperialists" like England, even from the past). 

Or promising to close Guantanamo and put on a public show trial for KSM (Khalid Sheik Mohamed).  Or stating the police acted "stupidly" during the Skip Gates affair without having the foggiest idea of what he was talking about.  Or endlessly blaming his predecessor for his various woes and follies.  Or his administration's fumbling and general incompetence in responding to the Fort Hood Massacre and the more recent Christmas Day "underwear" bomber.  

But the cracks really began to show when Democrats began losing elections - even after personal appearances by Obama.  First in the governor races in very blue New Jersey and purple Virginia last November (both states heavily pro-Obama in 2008); and then, of course, spectacularly so, with Republican Scott Brown's senate victory over Martha Coakley in ultra blue Massachusetts in January for Ted Kennedy's former seat.

And, so, the golden boy, the sainted one, the redeemer, has taken a bit of a tumble.  For no matter how Democrat apologists may want to explain them away, each of these elections were referendums on the Obama agenda.

Which brings us to Obama's State of the Union speech.  Coming so soon after the Scott Brown debacle, would the exalted one acknowledge the blemishes on the cool Obama veneer, the smudges and spots sullying the polished exterior?  Would he pivot ever so slightly to the center to at least demonstrate some simpatico with the many moderates and independents who went with him in '08, only to abandon him and his party today? 

For someone who has probably never encountered serious setbacks or criticism in his life, someone who has generally been coddled and indulged, embraced and adored  every step of the way, this past year has had to have been something of a rude awakening.  And, indeed, coming so soon after the Massachusetts upset, one would be forgiven for thinking that Obama might pull a Clinton and at least triangulate a bit.  But not so fast.  In Obama, we have not a moderate or New Democrat but someone deeply wedded to leftist ideology - not unlike the party he leads.

And so in the State of the Union speech we find Obama doing head fakes to the center but delivering a hyper-partisan speech, more or less "doubling down" on his agenda.  He may have spoken of bipartisanship, but still found time to blame his predecessor half a dozen times; he may have indicated a willingness to listen to GOP ideas, but where was he the entire past year when he and the Democrats shut Republicans out while attempting to ram health care through; he spoke about cutting the deficit but still insists on yet more extravagant spending proposals. 

Obama seems to think that simply mentioning "bipartisanship" is the same as being bipartisan - not advancing actual policy proposals that Republicans could buy into.  Offering more of the same far left nostrums while talking "bipartisanship," just doesn't qualify.   

Recognizing that jobs and the economy are the main concerns for Americans, he spoke about the "anguish" and "devastation" of the middle class, but then plays populist by targeting banks and proposing new bank taxes, as if that will create a single job. 

He nodded in the direction of small business, throwing in such triflings as accelerated depreciation, tax credits for hiring employees, some cuts in capital investments, but nothing sweeping or profound; certainly nothing that will inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs. 

He plans to use money paid back by Wall Street banks to give $30 billion to community banks to ease lending restraints, which, according to TARP, should go to deficit reduction. 

He was critical of lobbyists and earmarks during his campaign but employs lobbyists in his administration and has signed off on thousands of earmarks; he was also content to see pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, doctors (the AMA), and Senators bought off with special deals to pass health care behind closed doors (absent C-SPAN coverage).  He also enjoys cozy relationships with certain large corporations (GE, Google, JP Morgan Chase, GM, others).

As part of his deficit reduction efforts, he promised to freeze spending in non security discretionary spending at current levels for three years as if this was some grand gesture, ignoring that he increased such spending some 24%; this will result in savings of less than 1% of the deficit, provided Congress agrees; it unfortunately registers as another political ploy; it also ensures that he will lock in current bloated spending levels and not make any serious cuts. 

He also left out of the mix any plans to tackle Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security, the three massive social programs teetering on bankruptcy with enormous unfunded liabilities. 

He also failed to mention that there is $512 billion unspent in his "stimulus" ("porkulus") bill from last year that he will not use to reduce the deficit but rather as a slush fund for more pet Democrat projects.  To imagine that any of this can be taken as a sincere effort at deficit reduction is to insult the intelligence of most Americans. 

He proposed a toothless "bipartisan" fiscal commission to tackle deficit reduction that will have no authority over Congress to control spending; another frivolous political gesture. 

He also found time to take a swipe at the Supreme Court over the recent 5-4 Citizens United decision, safe guarding freedom of speech for unions and domestic corporations, including non-profits, a cheap shot embarrassing to the judges especially with his Democrat cronies hooping and hollering as the justices sat there silent and stonefaced; it was no different and a good deal worse than the Joe Wilson outburst that so "outraged" the left.  

The President was also factually inaccurate: he stated that the above decision had "reversed a century of law and would open up the floodgates for special interests, including foreign corporations, to spend without limit in our elections."  On the contrary, it dealt only with domestic corporations and unions, preserving the checks against foreign nationals and "entities"; it also maintained the 100 year prohibition on political contributions by domestic corporations.

Obama vowed to end the "don't ask, don't tell" policy regarding gays in the military, probably not an issue most Americans consider urgent let alone correct. 

He continued to push strongly for health care reform, cap and trade, green jobs, and more "stimulus" (now camouflaged as "jobs" bills).  He made some conciliatory noises but otherwise appears intent on pursuing the very same liberal agenda.

In other words, it was vintage Obama, unchanged, unchastened, unrepentant.

It appears we have a young President, allegedly facile and adept, yet incapable of changing course, pivoting, or recognizing the serious difficulties he finds himself and his country in, and therefore of resolving them.  With Obama, it is always what can your government do for you?  He cannot see past his ideology.

Obama believes in two things: government and himself.  And it is difficult to say which he holds with greater regard and affection.  His answer to every problem is more government.  And, if this doesn't work, well then he can always give a speech or two or simply appear.

As a progressive, which is to say, a socialist, he discounts the fundamental principles defining his country: the belief in liberty, the individual, limited government, the free market, capitalism.  Rather, government is his lodestar, the engine of social and economic virtue and progress; the regime as all-knowing, all-compassionate, and all-powerful; the state, in other words, as religion, even as "God." 

That America was built by unleashing the entrepreneurial spirit extant in all individuals, who pursue their self-interest and endeavor to better themselves, lured by the prospect of "profit" (a dirty word for the left), is lost on an individual committed to the progressive ideology.  Capitalism, truth be told, for such as Obama, is anathema, a cesspool of immorality and selfishness, to be despised and shunned, as the left generally does.  Rejection in elections, falling poll numbers, the abandonment of large segments of the population of one's agenda, the failure of his policies, are irrelevant to a doctrinaire socialist.  Think of it, again, as a religion.

And then there is his love of self.  Truly, there is no greater love than this.  With a fawning media swooning over his every utterance, adoring crowds and intimates, he has come to believe in all he has been told about himself, in the power of his being and presence, his magnetism and charisma, his profound intellect, his uniqueness and appeal.  He transcends the nation or, better, is the nation, its embodiment.  The fate and fortunes of the country depend on him.  A God-King.  A lefty Pharaoh.  An Alinsky Emperor, or, perhaps more to his liking, "Czar" (considering how many he appointed).  When surrounded all one's life by breathless admirers who project on you their greatest dreams and hopes, it is difficult to be bound by earthly constraints, the laws of physics, to be a mere mortal.  Indeed, adolescent narcissism is a difficult thing to overcome. 

Obama may not realize it, but the spell has been broken.  His wings have melted; he has fallen to earth.  His policies have failed and he has been spurned.  But Obama, being Obama, will not see it.  He will not adapt, modify, or adjust.  As an elitist, he will assume the unwashed simply do not get it.  It is not his fault nor the fault of his policies.  Rather, it is the fault of others.  He is a dogmatist, a zealot, a believer.  He believes in liberalism - and in his own myth. 

Obama as onion.  Peel away the obfuscations and the layers, and you get two things: Socialism and Self.    

Comments

  • Sam DeArment

    February 13, 2010

    Richard,
    As usual, you are "right on" with the facts, as well as your conclusions about this boy/man who would be king.
    I know you are quite sucessful as an MD and have helped a lot of people, but you should consider running for public office....this November, so get started! We need people like you in Washington.
    Thanks from your Kilimanjaro trekking partner,
    Sam DeArment

  • Theodore Kass

    February 13, 2010

    It always amazes me how the left puport to act on behalf of the downtrodden while they themselves amass millions of dollars and feed like leeches of the wealth and work effort of others.

    Hopefuly, G-d will continue to bless this country and return us to our past glory.

    With Love of the USA

    Theodore Kass

  • Larry Moss

    February 14, 2010

    Rick, we have had our first black president, our first Catholic President, nearly had our first woman president----- BUT YOU MAY BE OUT FIRST JEWISH PRESIDENT. Keep up the fight for your beliefs.

  • Richard Moss

    February 16, 2010

    Thanks guys. Rick.

  • Noel Putman

    February 17, 2010

    You have a firm understanding of the political landscape and express it well in print. Noel Putman

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