Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Cecil B. DeMille Spectacles of Obama

Senator Obama will preside on Election Night over the third of his outdoor spectacles.

The first in Berlin on July 24 was the culmination of his Grand European Tour. Originally proposed for the historic Brandenburg Gate, it was moved at the request of German Chancellor Merkel to the Tiergarten, where it drew 200,000 wild and enthusiastic Germans.

Critics accused him of acting like a celebrity.

His response was at the Democratic National Convention, where he moved his August 28 acceptance speech to Bronco Stadium (Invesco Field) in front of fake Greek columns. His soaring oratory elevated a crowd of 55,000 in the Mile High City.

And now comes the victory celebration in Chicago’s Grant Park before a jubilant crowd of 60,000-70,000 at an estimated cost of $2 million.

Once happens.

Twice may be a coincidence.

Thrice is a clear pattern.

The Senator exults in the adulation of the crowds. Watch his face as he soaks in their vibes. He needs acceptance, mass acceptance. That is a scary proposition. I leave the amateur psychology to you.

Other acts and statements further hint at a high need for acceptance, fear of rejection, a thin skin, and desire not to invite criticism.

Senator Obama voted “present” 129 times (3% of his votes) in the Illinois Senate. He ducked formal votes on controversial issues. That’s not leadership. His intent was either to avoid criticism, or he was looking forward to his run for President.

His answer to Reverend Richard Warren at the Saddleback Church debate is illuminating. When asked when “does a baby get legal rights,” the Senator responded “That’s above my pay grade.” He’s running for President of the United States, and ducked a question of great moral, personal, and religious significance to most Americans.

By way of contrast, whether you are pro-choice or pro-life, Senator McCain gave a direct answer: “At the time of conception.” You know where McCain stands on that issue.

Professor Obama intentionally took a non-tenure track position at the University of Chicago Law School, thereby avoiding the obligation to engage in scholarly and creative work. The Senator has undertaken no leadership positions, and hence has avoided upsetting any major voting blocs.

While the Senator has consistently voted on the left side of issues, thereby securing his political base, he has no written trail, thereby offering a tabula raza for all of us to imprint our hopes and dreams on.

The Senator has consistently singled out FoxNews, Sean Hannity, and Russ Limbaugh for their criticism of him. That is telling, so expect the “Fairness” Doctrine, censorship by another name, to be reimposed on the media. He has stated that he would be winning by a wider margin if it weren’t for FoxNews. Of course, if the mainstream media had flyspecked his record as they did with Governor Sarah Palin, or even Joe the Plumber, then he would not have won the Democratic nomination.

Just a few days ago the Obama campaign kicked three reporters off the campaign plane. Regardless of the explanation proffered, the fact is that in all three cases their employers, the Dallas Morning News, New York Post, and Washington Times, endorsed Senator McCain for President. This act may simply reflect hard nose Chicago politics, but considering that almost every major newspaper endorsed Senator Obama for President, it looks petty and vindictive.

Lashing out and retaliating against critics sends a bad omen for his Presidency. President Obama will actually have to make difficult decisions and face hostile criticism from an increasingly disappointed public.

He insisted certain subjects should be off-limits, including his middle name, his wife, and even Reverend Wright. When you are running for President, nothing is off-limits, no matter out distasteful and unsavory the attacks may be. Michelle Obama has been publicly campaigning for him, and in a moment of exultation uttered a statement that seemed, out of context, to be un-American. That is newsworthy, eventhough my take is that she was so excited because her husband had secured the Democratic nomination that she meant to say “This is the proudest moment of my life as an American.” An even prouder moment will be on January 20, 2009.

Yet, the statement in context with Reverend Wright, Father Pfleger, and Bill Ayres is fair game.

Senator Obama is praised for his “coolness.” He’s “unflappable.” He never seems to panic. But he never lets any observers, including reporters who have been following his campaign for an extended period, see behind his mask. We don’t know who the real Obama is.

But we do, if we look and listen carefully. The “coolness” hides the reality that he is not doing anything. He is leaving decisions and the hard work to others, thereby preserving his popularity. Indeed, during the recent bailout bill, Senator McCain was criticized for suspending his campaign for a day and a half to help out in Washington, but Obama was praised for not doing anything. Technically, Senator Obama said “He would monitor developments.” Wall Street was collapsing, any legislation would affect his Administration, and he would “monitor” events. That is not leadership!

Senator Obama will become on January 20, 2009 the President of the United States, the leader of the Free World, and the most powerful person in the World. Events will force him to make decisions. Acts, not rhetoric, will be called for.

Vice President Elect Biden said President Obama will be tested in the first six months. Wrong! He will be tested from Day I, domestically and globally, by friend and by foe, allies and enemies, challenged by Pelosi and Reid to advance Congress’s agenda, and by the left, his old friends, for their agenda. The AFL-CIO and the Sierra Club will be collecting favors. Vice President Biden will do the bidding for the Trial Lawyers.

The economy is hanging by a thread; the wrong decisions could send us into the Great Depression II, but failing to act or procrastinating, will only compound the problems.

He will soon test leadership against popularity. That’s always a dangerous trap for Presidents, especially those who have never served in executive positions. President Obama will find that his options are limited because talk is cheap when you do not have to make the decisions.

Rightly or wrongly, President Bush decided to ignore popular opinion and “do the right thing.” He’s willing to let history judge.

I worry about President Obama and the American Republic.

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