In the Old West, buildings were often built with “false fronts”, or façades, that hid the fact that the actual building behind them was much less than it appeared on the surface. The word “façade” is defined as “a superficial appearance or illusion of something”. Now many are probably not aware that the White House in DC has a façade. But it’s not in front of the WH – it’s inside it. President Barack Obama is a human façade – a living, breathing illusion.
Victor Davis Hanson discusses Obama The Myth in his column “When the Legend Becomes Fact, Print the Legend”. Throughout the 2008 Presidential campaign, the façade that is Barack Obama was prominent. The media was in love with this god-like persona (“He’s sort of a god…he’s going to bring all different sides together”). He caused some media figures to practically swoon in adoration (“a thrill going up my leg“) But what does reality tell us?
Hanson documents the reality of the Obama myths.
Consider. Did Obama achieve a B+ average at Columbia? Who knows? (Who will ever know?) But even today’s inflated version of yesteryear’s gentleman Cs would not normally warrant admission to Harvard Law. And once there, did the Law Review editor publish at least one seminal article? Why not?
At Chicago, did lecturer Obama write a path-breaking legal article or a book on jurisprudence that warranted the rare tenure offer to a part-time lecturer? (Has that offer ever been extended to others of like stature?) In the Illinois legislature or U.S. Senate, was Obama known as a deeply learned man of the Patrick Moynihan variety? Whether as an undergraduate, law student, lawyer, professor, legislator or senator, Obama was given numerous opportunities to reveal his intellectual weight. Did he ever really? On what basis did Harvard Law Dean Elena Kagan regret that Obama could not be lured to a top billet at Harvard?
Where did this aura of brilliance originate? Padded resume, perhaps?
Hanson distills the problem:
In short, the myth of Obama’s brilliance was based on his teleprompted eloquence, the sort of fable that says we should listen to a clueless Sean Penn or Matt Damon on politics because they can sometimes act well. Read Plato’s Ion on the difference between gifted rhapsody and wisdom — and Socrates’ warning about easily conflating the two. It need not have been so. At any point in a long career, Obama the rhapsode could have shunned the easy way, stuck his head in a book, and earned rather than charmed those (for whom he had contempt) for his rewards. Clinton was a browser with a near photographic memory who had pretensions of deeply-read wonkery; but he nonetheless browsed. Obama seems never to have done that. He liked the vague idea of Obamacare, outsourced the details to the Democratic Congress, applied his Chicago protocols to getting it passed, and worried little what was actually in the bill. We were to think that the obsessions with the NBA, the NCAA final four, the golfing tics, etc., were all respites from exhausting labors of the mind rather than in fact the presidency respites from all the former.
Conclusion? Obama is a heck of an actor who knows how to erect a wonderful façade and illusion of competence.
Hanson proceeds to dismantle the myths of Obama The Healer, Obama The Reformer and Obama The Magnanimous One. Obama was to be the one who would heal the nation of racism (but who has brought more racial polarization than ever, primarily through the racists who he surrounded himself with, such as Eric Holder and and Van Jones). He was to be the one who was to reverse the ills of the Bush administration, but in fact has turned back few Bush policies and instead has introduced “the Chicago/Illinois system of Tony Rezko, Blago, and the Daleys” to DC and has brought new flavors of corruption with episodes such as Jon Corzine & the missing billion, GE’s Immelt tax dodging, Solyndra, Fast & Furious, etc. He was to roll back Bush foreign policy, yet has failed to shut down Gitmo, has attacked U.S. allies (Pakistan) and continues to intervene in countries like Libya. And who’s surprised at what has already happened in Iraq, after Obama (finally) fulfilled his promise to pull the troops out?
Hanson points out:
We went in a blink from the surge that failed and made things worse and all troops must be out by March 2008 to Iraq was a shining example of American idealism and commitment. It was as if the touch-and-go, life-and-death gamble between February 2007 and January 2009 in Iraq never had existed. Bombing Libya was not warlike, and those who sued Bush on Iraq and Guantanamo now filed briefs to prove that we were not at war killing Libyan thugs. We hear only of reset; never that Obama has now simply abandoned all his “Bush-did-it” policies and is quietly going back to the Bush consensus on Russia, Iran, Syria, and the Middle East in general. We will not only never see Guantanamo closed or KSM tried in a civilian court, but never hear why not. Are we to applaud the hypocrisy as at least better than continued ignorance?
And it would be funny if it wasn’t so sad that Obama actually believes his own mythology.
The ego is amazing – it reminds me of an old song by Mac Davis:
Oh Lord it’s hard to be humble
when you’re perfect in every way.
I can’t wait to look in the mirror
’cause I get better looking each day
To know me is to love me
I must be a hell of a man.
O Lord it’s hard to be humble
but I’m doing the best that I can.
With Barack Obama, it’s all a façade. Behind the pompousness and self-inflated ego, behind the false front of an alleged healer and reformer lies an underachieving leftist ideologue who has accomplished little more than digging the nation into a far deeper hole than when he began Occupy White House 2008. As I have contended all along, Barack Obama’s problem isn’t that he lacked executive experience – the problem is his leftist ideology and inherent incompetence.