Friday, July 29, 2011

Does Anyone Like Obama?

I am not the only one who has spent considerable time and effort trying to decipher the political enigma that is Barack Obama.

The American people, in a rather unwise moment, chose to elect a man about whom they knew very little. The media did all it could to create an avatar, the image of a man, someone on whom we could project our hopes and fears. The American people bought it.

One is tempted to forgive the American people. They may very well have thought that an avatar was better than John McCain. Recently, Sen. McCain has been trying to remind us of how his histrionic display of ineptitude succeeded in making Barack Obama look presidential. It is not a pleasant memory.

Peggy Noonan must count among the most savvy observers of the avatar that is Barack Obama.

Today she offers a strange and intriguing thought, namely, that no one really likes Barack Obama. Actually, she says that no one really loves Obama, but I think that she means “love” in the sense of “like.” I find it somewhat unseemly to say that the American people love their presidents.

Noonan says: “It is that nobody loves Obama. This is amazing because every president has people who love him, who feel deep personal affection or connection, who have a stubborn, even beautiful refusal to let what they know are just criticisms affect their feelings of regard.

“Nobody smiles when they talk about Mr. Obama. There were people who loved George W. Bush when he was at his most unpopular, and they meant it and would say it. But people aren't that way about Mr. Obama. He has supporters and bundlers and contributors, he has voters, he may win. But his support is grim support. And surely this has implications.”

I like the phrase: “grim support.” I wonder if it means that the only way to support Obama is to “grim” and bear it.

To my mind, if people smile when they talk about someone that means that they like the person, that they admire and respect him, and that they find him to be charming.

With Obama none of it seems to pertain. When it comes to Obama, people suspect that there is no there there. People do not like Obama because they do not feel that there is a living, breathing human being behind the microphone.

Obama is too mechanical, too scripted, too telepromptered, to allow us to relate to him on a human level. We have no idea who is really is, becaue he does not seem to know himself.

According to Obama, the nation is hurtling toward a financial precipice. What did he do today to show how seriously he takes the problem? He announced the new automobile fuel economy standards.

In recent weeks Obama has been addressing the financial crisis. Yet, his public pronouncements, accompanied with much fanfare, seemed to have nothing to do with the situation at hand.

No one, not even his most benighted supporters, would claim that he has been exercising leadership.

Noonan senses that Obama is not very good at politics because: “he doesn’t really get people.”

Clearly, he was good enough in 2008, but I take her point. If Obama cannot relate to people, if he cannot reach out across the airways to touch them, then people will suspect that they are watching an avatar.

After all, no one likes an avatar.

Why doesn’t Obama like people? I think that he prefers ideas. They, not people, are his true love.

Not just any old ideas, but an ideology. Noonan intimates that Obama has been captured by the set of ideas that is currently occupying the minds of supposedly sophisticated academics: a mixture of critical theory and deconstruction.

If you are armed with this ideology, you know how to criticize, and you know how to deconstruct what others have built. You will have no idea of how to build anything yourself.

Noonan explains: “The fact is, he's good at dismantling. He's good at critiquing. He's good at not being the last guy, the one you didn't like. But he's not good at building, creating, calling into being. He was good at summoning hope, but he's not good at directing it and turning it into something concrete that answers a broad public desire.”

Noonan concludes that obama is neither an alien nor a devil nor even a socialist. I will give her the first two, and take some exception to the third.

She adds that America has turned off to him because he is a loser.

I see her point. On Obama’s watch, America has been losing jobs. It is on the verge of losing its AAA credit rating.

Yet, if you listen to Barack Obama you do not get the impression that he can relate to these losses in a human way.  

To me, this spells avatar more than loser.


The Ghost said...

he thinks he can blame it all on GWB ...

David Foster said...

"The fact is, he's good at dismantling. He's good at critiquing"....reminds me of the smart-talk trap.

Dennis said...

I always thought that Clinton had all the tools to make him a great president, but not the wherewithal. Clinton's problem seem to lie in the fact that he had just enough knowledge to be dangerous to himself and others. Clinton would express great understanding of an issue and agree with, say Israel, an them push to give more power to Arafat when Arafat failed to live up to the Oslo Accords, et al.
Obama seems to be a rigid ideologue and cannot truly compromise on any issue. Eventually no body loves Obama because Obama is incapable of anything even approaching empathy for the plight of those who are affected by his policies and actions. Obama will toss anyone, no matter how close, "under the bus" if they become an impediment to his political leanings.
Obama never builds or creates, he only wants revolution because that is where most people are at their weakest and less capable of thinking through their actions. The "Mob" mentality fits Obama perfectly. There is never an attempt to extrapolate ideas to their conclusion because the fun is in "change" no matter the cost.
Obama, and increasingly Democrats, need an enemy, much like most dictators and tyrants, , to keep people from realizing how much they have in common in their person and ideas. That's why one sees the constant demonization of any American who would disagree with Obama and the division of people into groups instead of individuals.
Obama, at his base, possess none of the skills to be a leader or a builder of a better society.

Phil L. said...

Am I the only one who knew before the election that Obama is anti-Semitic, a Muslim sympathizer, Marxist, liar, corrupt, ineffective, and probable atheist? It was all out there for anyone to see who was not too apathetic. Where are the American people's brains?

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Willful blindness, I would call it. The American people knew that Obama had spent 20 years at the feet of the great hate-monger, anti-Semite, and anti-American Jeremiah Wright... yet, they chose to give him a pass.

It is an astonishing failure of judgment.

Dennis said...

I would suspect that if the Republicans had run almost anyone other than McCain Obama would not be President. Large numbers of people did not vote and others held their noses to vote so there was a significant number who knew Obama was not the person for the job.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

And now McCain is blaming it on the Tea Party... just to remind us of how bad a candidate he was.

Phil L. said...

McCain handed the election to Obama on September 15th I think the date was, when McCain voted for the bailout while many conservatives and likely potential McCain voters vehemently opposed it.

Anonymous said...

I noticed during the 2008 election, especially during the convention that McCain had plenty of friends who spoke out on his behalf. But, Obama had NONE. Not one single person.

I think avator is a perfect way to describe BO.

Anonymous said...

"And now McCain is blaming it on the Tea Party... just to remind us of how bad a candidate he was."

Oh yes, w/o a doubt.

And if he is going to use LOTRs analogies, then I can too...

McCain and BO: One DEBT to rule them all, One DEBT to chide them,
One DEBT to bring them all and in the red-ink bind them.

Trailer Dweller said...

Both avatars and sociopaths are incapable of empathy.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Good point... but while sociopaths can lead, I don't think that avatars can.