Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Obama Spell is Broken

Fouad Ajami offers trenchant but polite criticism of the Obama Presidency

Those of us who have lived in the third world, where cult of personality politics reigns, were the first to see it.  Mr. Obama may have no pretensions of being an American Caudillo, but all of the trappings were there, and it made us nervous.

The politics of hype and charisma is the thread running through Fouad Ajami's analysis:

Reality Always Returns
There is nothing surprising about where Mr. Obama finds himself today. He had been made by charisma, and political magic, and has been felled by it. 

He was a blank slate, and devotees projected onto him what they wanted or wished. In the manner of political redeemers who have marked—and wrecked—the politics of the Arab world and Latin America, Mr. Obama left the crowd to its most precious and volatile asset—its imagination.
Mr. Obama himself authored the tale of his own political crisis. He had won an election, but he took it as a plebiscite granting him a writ to remake the basic political compact of this republic.
Mr. Obama's self-regard, and his reading of his mandate, overwhelmed all restraint. The age-old American balance between a relatively small government and a larger role for the agencies of civil society was suddenly turned on its head. Speed was of the essence to the Obama team and its allies, the powerful barons in Congress. Better ram down sweeping social programs—a big liberal agenda before the people stirred to life again.
You, Sir, are no Jack Kennedy!
Americans don't deify their leaders or hang on their utterances, but Mr. Obama succumbed to what the devotees said of him: He was the Awaited One. A measure of reticence could have served him. But the flight had been heady, and in the manner of Icarus, Mr. Obama flew too close to the sun.

We have had stylish presidents, none more so than JFK. But Kennedy was an ironist and never fell for his own mystique. Mr. Obama's self-regard comes without irony
Fouad Ajami -  The Spell is Broken


Ray said...

Good piece...Need a do over. Wish we could have got through sooner to those people, the damage is already great.

Lisa said...

I never saw such a collective bunch of misfits chanting the name of someone they knew or cared nothing about.
You would have thought this election was held in 1945 in all it's naiveness.
I still can't believe they think he can do no wrong. Have people become that complacent?

WomanHonorThyself said...

the thrill is gone!

Silverfiddle said...

Yes indeed. Ann Coulter's criticism doesn't interest me, but when a scholarly man such as Professor Ajami speaks, I listen

Most Rev. Gregori said...

A very insightful analysis by Fouad Ajami. However, it really doesn't take people who have lived in third world tyrannical hell holes to have realized what Obama was all about. Many of us born and raised in the U.S. who have at least two working brain cells, knew, and that is why we did not vote for him. But alas, we were few and far between.

A Guy From Brooklyn said...

I also agree with MOST of what you said here. And how about Ms Polosky!
It's a wonderful thing to have a Speaker of the house (Ms. Nanzy) from such a liberal area. The harder left she runs the more votes she gets, and the worse her party looks to the normal parts of the country.
She is an incredibly polarizing far left crazy, and I think if Obama was serious about change and bi partisanship the FIRST thing he would have done was gotten her out of the speaker of the house position! She is by no means a person that will work with the other side! And let me add that she's an idiot who has no value for this country and should be removed.

And I'll add that I also believe Sarah Palin is more qualified to be President than Barack Obama, yest that may not be saying much, but it don't take much to be more qualified than Barack Obama, who's qualifications are next to none.

Silverfiddle said...

Brooklyn: Good point. Obama let the House and Senate lefties run wild. How convenient. He can pretend to be centrist while Pelosi does the dirty work.

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