From his misguided wishes (i.e., policies) to his functional incompetence to his attitudinal detachment, critics have a hard time knowing where to start.
I was reading a piece criticizing Obama in Pajamas Media by Tony Katz. It was a good piece, well-written, good points, and spot on. Like so many other articles about our president, however, it was difficult for me to read because I felt the author’s frustration.
Don’t get me wrong; he did as good a job as he possibly could. But when anyone is writing about a subject concerning Obama, there is simply too much that pops into his or her mind. Each point instigates another dozen things that require explaining, making it extremely hard not to wander off track chasing down salient points.
For the reader, the article can be taken on its merits - understandable and reasoned. But as a writer, I found it painful. It brought back all the times I sat at my word processor and tried to sketch out something coherent about Obama that was short enough to be accepted by a news organization. In the end, after inserting and deleting an untold number of relevant points, all my proposed articles came to the same end; Obama is hard to pin down, incompetent, out of touch with American values, disconnected with the American people, and is nothing more than a walking, speech giving, self-aggrandizing pile of conflicting negativity-based ideas. And all of this figures into virtually everything he does.
So how are you supposed to write about anything he does without including everything relevant to the particular subject at hand? It’s difficult, so you are limited to just repeating the actual statement he made or the action he took, with a few explanatory comments. This usually results in missing some of the intricacies of the issue that prompted you to write in the first place.
Unlike many of Obama’s detractors, I don’t think his actions are part of a plan. Instead, I see him politically as an ideologue who has no idea what to do or even what he wants, so he doesn’t do anything; a squirming organism, taking no positive acton, but rather responding to forces around him. When forced to act, he tries to get everyone around him (his ideologues) to come up with something he can embrace and that fits into his world view, and he stumbles his way into choosing the least offensive action presented. He wanders through every crisis, pretending to be thoughtful and deliberate when, in reality, he has no idea what to do.
I recall the 1979 movie “Being There” starring Peter Sellers as an aptly-named gardner named Chance. The dim-witted Chance is very quiet, saying virtually nothing, and speaking in short sentences. An odd set of circumstantial happenings propels Chance into the spotlight. Because of his quiet mystery and seeming aloofness, people create profound meaning from his rare utterances. Everyone reveres and hangs on every word of the accidental incompetent impostor.
Similarly, an odd set of circumstances installed the inexperienced, non-productive Obama into his position. There are some notable differences, of course. Obama is not dim-witted, just paralyzed by his intelligence and elusive, undefined dreams. And in contrast to Chance, he speaks continuously and says nothing. Throw in a little of Hans Christian Andersen’s Emperor (he of the New Clothes) and you have our guy.
In my view, Obama is obsessed with what is wrong in America. His entire intellectual capacity has been devoted to exposing every shortcoming of American society and our place in the world order. This is why so many people classify him as an America hater. He attempts to mask this by assuming the progressive label, which is a disguise to imply positive action and moving forward as opposed to simply reacting negatively to all perceived wrongs. Thus the vague cries of “Hope and Change,” and “Winning the Future.” However, as with most progressives, he has no clue as to how to improve anything except by tearing down what exists. Even if you count Obamacare as a signature achievement, it must be noted that it bears almost no resemblance to what he wanted originally wanted. Obama, Pelosi and Reid were determined to get something through, and when nothing good materialized, they passed Obamacare “just because,” and called it a masterpiece. In reality, all Obama really wanted was to provide poor people access to the same medical care that wealthy people get - at no cost to them. In order to achieve that, he cavalierly approved a 2,700 page monster that has caused considerable angst and divisiveness, and requires expensive wholesale changes to an already overburdened medical system that will probably not survive as a result. He burned the house down in order to find the keys to the car.
I wrote an article about political branding on my blog explaining how progressives are not really moving forward, they are simply rejecting American values and tradition. In the article, I use one of my favorite quotes from a New Republic piece by Sara Robinson, a self-described progressive: “Talking about policies and programs doesn't do it: progressives (have) always been at our best when we speak from a place of strong moral authority, rooted deeply in a daring vision of the kind of world we'd like to create. If we can't envision that world clearly in our own minds, we certainly can't describe it with conviction to other people.” I think this sort of progressive confusion exemplifies Obama perfectly. Asking Obama a question results in a plethora of well thought out issues about the question, especially the negatives, but no real answers - just blithering commentary. His solution to everything really comes back to one thing; undefinable Hope and Change.
So, this leaves a writer with a monumental problem - how to concisely analyze something Obama did and why he did it given that Obama is a walking, speech giving, incompetent, unrealistic, out of touch self-aggrandizing pile of conflicting negativity-based ideas with a “daring vision of the kind of world we'd like to create” yet can’t describe. How do you make sense of anything he does without understanding the complete character? Really. How do you do that?
You don’t. But you just keep plugging away, shortened analysis after shortened analysis, and hope your readers and the public, if they don’t understand already, will put the pieces together and comprehend the big picture. I encourage Katz and others to continue writing because, despite the frustration, their words are working. Every day, people who haven’t been paying attention put the pieces together and begin to get the picture. We have a frustrating but noble cause.
Mercer Tyson StraightThinker.com