Between Barack and a Hard Place
People learn by moving from the known to the unknown. An analogy inherently proposes the idea that if things agree in some respect they probably agree in others. Secular prophecy uses knowledge of the past and the present to predict the future. The past is the womb of the present and the present is the history of the future. As the past may be interpreted and the present may be misunderstood the future is never certain. Platitudes may outline the shape of something, but they can never define anything.
If Michelle is like Marie Antoinette to whom shall we compare Barack? The thought that he’s Louis XVI is unthinkable. George III is too easy. All of the megalomaniacs or despots of the twentieth century would be politically incorrect in the extreme. Some would be considered too far left and some too far right though in reality the extreme on both sides meet at the intersection of totalitarianism and brutality. Since he rode a wave of secular messianic fever into power perhaps an appropriate paraphrase would be, “Who do men say that he is?”
Recently a woman who fled Venezuela to escape Hugo Chavez and his democratic revolution was heard crying, “Obama is doing the same things as Chavez! He’s following the same path, going to the same place, but now we have nowhere to run.” Someone who escaped the USSR told me, “I’ve seen all this before. He’s like Nikita Khrushchev. He says he brings hope and change but really he’s just blaming the past because he hopes to rule the present while destroying the hope of the future.” According to an escapee of East Germany, “He’s like Leonid Brezhnev. He promises security, pensions and benefits but all he will do is bring taxes, regulations and more bureaucrats, always more bureaucrats.”
Not a Hitler, not a Stalin, not a Mao, not even a Mussolini to whom shall we compare this man who has brought the crest of the long building Progressive wave crashing against the American experiment? Perhaps we should see who he compares himself to?
President Obama announced his run for the presidency in Springfield, Illinois on the steps of the old state capitol building. Choosing a setting in Springfield where Abraham Lincoln once gave a speech condemning slavery and calling for the United States to unite inspired even the Progressives at ABC News to observe, “Springfield allowed Obama to immodestly and continuously compare himself to Lincoln.”
Immediately after his victory the cover of Time magazine depicted the President-elect as FDR riding in an open car with his trademark cigarette holder clamped tightly in his smile. So we know his promoters in the press want us to compare him to the four term president-for-life who until now has been the epitome of a Progressive president. But does President Obama make the comparison himself? According to Politico, “President Barack Obama compared himself to FDR.” Major portions of FDR’s new Deal were declared unconstitutional, .many economists believe his policies prolonged the Great Depression, Alger Hiss really was a communist spy, and at Yalta Roosevelt gave Poland, whose freedom World War II was fought to preserve, to Stalin. If we forget all that comparing yourself to FDR is a good thing.
In the words of the Washington Post when running for the presidency Mr. Obama, “Sells Himself as the New JFK.” While at the time other news outlets noted, that even fellow Progressives disputed the comparison using the headline, “Hillary to Obama: You’re No JFK.” President Obama continued to cast himself as the successor to Camelot. While he may be the rightful heir to such military adventures as the Bay of Pigs or such questionable victories as the Cuban Missile Crisis he has parsed the meaning of “ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” In newspeak this becomes, “If you’re a non-tax payer let me tell you what I’m going to do for you –if you’re a tax payer let me tell you what your country is going to do to you.”
President Obama also compares himself to the icon of the anti-Progressives Ronald Reagan. According to Politico in an interview with a print journalist the President, “made the case that his movement is as much about a national moment as about him as a ‘singular’ individual” also noting “he drew a rather odd analogy for a Democrat: Ronald Reagan.” President Reagan told us, “government is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem.” President Obama told us, “Only Government Can Fix the Economy.” President Ragan told us, “We are today, the last best hope of man on earth.” President Obama told us, “America is no longer what it could be, what it once was.”
All the people mentioned above who escaped socialism, who left homes, families, countries seeking freedom remind me of something else Ronald Reagan said, “If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth.”
Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College and History for the American Public University System. http://drrobertowens.com © 2010 Robert R. Owens firstname.lastname@example.org