The Obsolescence (And Adolescence) Of Barack Obama

Peter Wehner at Commentary Contentions directs that we “must read” a piece by Middle East scholar Fouad Ajami at the WSJ.  I do as I am told by the folks at Contentions, so I read it.  Very glad I did. 

The overall thesis is bang-on, and there are many powerfully argued and gracefully written passages that really resonate.  Like this one:

Mr. Obama could protest that his swift and sudden fall from grace is no fault of his [he is]. He had been a blank slate, and the devotees had projected onto him their hopes and dreams [including many who should have known better]. His victory had not been the triumph of policies he had enunciated in great detail [because their weren’t any]. He had never run anything in his entire life [I seem to recall some community campaign or something or other in Illinois]. He had a scant public record [because he voted present], but oddly this worked to his advantage. If he was going to begin the world anew, it was better that he knew little about the machinery of government [progressives don’t run things; they tell others how they must be run].

The annoying bracketed comments are mine, to be clear.  Sorry.

Other than the conclusion, which Mr. Wehner quotes in his post, my favorite part is where he contrasts Reagan and Obama, both of which were elevated to the presidency during difficult times:

It was canonical to this administration and its functionaries that they were handed a broken nation, that it was theirs to repair, that it was theirs to tax and reshape to their preferences. Yet there was, in 1980, after another landmark election, a leader who had stepped forth in a time of “malaise” at home and weakness abroad: Ronald Reagan. His program was different from Mr. Obama’s. His faith in the country was boundless. What he sought was to restore the nation’s faith in itself, in its political and economic vitality.

Big as Reagan’s mandate was, in two elections, the man was never bigger than his country. There was never narcissism or a bloated sense of personal destiny in him. He gloried in the country, and drew sustenance from its heroic deeds and its capacity for recovery. No political class rode with him to power anxious to lay its hands on the nation’s treasure, eager to supplant the forces of the market with its own economic preferences.

Precisely so.  Reagan was already a man of accomplishment before becoming President of the United States, and he rose to the occasion without developing a bloated sense of himself.  Obama accomplished very little before being elected President, yet he diminishes the office with his pettiness and obsessive self-regard while trying to reshape the nation in his image of how it should be.  I greatly prefer the former.

Please do read the whole thing.

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Published in: on August 11, 2010 at 2:14 pm  Leave a Comment  

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