The liberal intelligentsia would have us believe that the “aloofness” of the president is due to his “coolness”, his “intellectualism” or his presumed distaste for “drama” – “No Drama Obama”, goes the meme. Maybe so, but this sense of disengagement is not merely the province of Obama, it is a theme that runs through the entire administration, from his cabinet on down.
From the 2008 campaign through to the debt ceiling debate, Obama’s first (and hopefully, only) term has had the feel of a “B”-grade movie. It couldn’t have been more compelling unless it was scripted by the Hollywood establishment for a “ripped from the headlines”, made for TV movie.
A young, handsome mixed-race man reared in a global-multicultural society, the son of a white woman who rejected her upper-middle class upbringing to marry a black revolutionary from an impoverished country – thereby breaking all the rules of the racist, oppressive, staid society of the times. She was a social crusader, a veritable pioneer. The young man himself overcomes racism to excel (? – we don’t really know, do we but because he is the star of this epic, it is assumed) in college and navigates his way through the white racist society and academic community, eventually capturing an Ivy League undergraduate degree and becomes an editor for the law review at arguably one of the most prestigious law schools in the country, Harvard Law School.
The rising star works for “the Man” for a short while before he realizes the inherent evil inherent in capitalism and subsequently answers his conscience to “give back” to the community and returns to his “roots” as a black man (even though his upbringing has no link to problems of blacks in the the inner-city) to help the disadvantaged people on the mean and gritty streets of his adopted home town, Chicago. He gives up the big money, big law firm partner opportunity to answer the call to service – and that call leads to political activism and eventually the young, biracial man is elected to represent the people of his district in the Illinois state senate and then as the junior Senator from Illinois.
During his time at the state level, the young man develops a great skill in delivering the words of others and is found capable of voicing, with great conviction and style, the ideas of others. The Democratic Party, a party of symbolism and intent as a substitute for substance and results, notices this skill and carefully cultivates the young man because they recognize his remarkable skills as a salesman and rewards his “abilities” with a choice spot at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. In a speech filled with lofty platitudes and not much else, he sets the wheel in motion for his own campaign for president in 2008:
I believe that we can give our middle class relief and provide working families with a road to opportunity.
I believe we can provide jobs for the jobless, homes to the homeless, and reclaim young people in cities across America from violence and despair.
I believe that we have a righteous wind at our backs, and that as we stand on the crossroads of history, we can make the right choices and meet the challenges that face us.
Hope and change, baby. Hope and change.
After his party loses the 2004 election, the young man returns to his work for “the American people”, unbowed and undaunted, announcing to reporters as early as October of 2004 of his intent to run for president. Obama told reporters on October 4, 2004:
“If I were to seriously consider running on a national ticket, I would essentially have to start now, without having served a day in the Senate. Now, there are some people who might be comfortable doing that, but I’m not one of those people.”
After 143 grueling days in the Senate, he begins his campaign for the office of president.
Unvetted by the national press and protected by the very wealthy special interest groups and lobbyists he rails against, he is elected on two factors – on the basis of a ephemeral slogan and the support of a segment of the nation that was more interested in seeing the movie end with the triumph of multiculturalism than realism, a self-loathing, racist segment voted for him to assuage feelings of white guilt, and the opposition party selecting the candidate who was “next in line”, a seasoned establishment insider, easily portrayed as old and out of touch as compared to the young and hip bi-racial man.
If this were a movie, it would have ended with the election in 2008. The plot would have been resolved when the young, handsome, oppressed, biracial man overcame the odds and was elected to the office in spite of running a campaign in the most racist, bigoted and evil country on the face of the earth, a situation lamented by his long suffering wife, Michelle (who has a compelling backstory as well, rising from a humble beginning to attend Princeton and then receiving a law degree from Harvard.):
“…for the first time in my adult life I am proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback.”
But this isn’t a movie. It is real life where decisions (or lack thereof) have real impact on real people. Life doesn’t end when the credits roll – while the actors go on to create more fantasy where complex problems can be resolved in 90 minutes, the audience goes back to real lives where many problems last a lifetime (sometimes several lifetimes) without resolution.
The president and his administration are performing as if they are actors on a stage and this is some sort of “grand play” of Shakespearean proportions. They posture and preen for the cameras, always seeking to create the best “optics” for a president who was elected on “hope”. They spin and deflect while waiting to be fed the next line in the script from off-stage.
Hollywood actors are not their roles. They are hired for a look, a visual or auditory quality or an interpretative skill that brings believability to the role. Acting is a job. Tom Hanks is no more Forrest Gump in real life than Tom Cruise is Ethan Hunt or a member of the Impossible Missions Force. Actors like Danny Glover, Morgan Freeman and Dennis Haysbert have all portrayed strong, confident blacl presidents but none are truly qualified to BE president. Charlie Sheen, Michael Douglas and Shia Lebouf have all portrayed players on Wall Street but nobody expects them to dispense financial advice in real life. When the job is over, they disconnect from the role and go back to being their true selves – back to their lives.
Obama exhibits the same characteristics as those of an actor playing a role.
The vacations, the innumerable golf outings, the campaign fund raisers, the Hip-Hop Birthday Bash that was just thrown at the White House – all indicate a startling sense of detachment from the critical issues of the day. Where prior presidents actually projected the vision that they were constantly on the job, this president seems to remain unconcerned and yet confident in the belief that time will wait for him. While the press savaged Bush for being “lazy”, they excuse this president because presidentin’ is hard work, and members of the press and his party encourage him to take even more time off because he has aged ten years in the past two.
He approaches the office as if it were an hourly position where working your 40 hours a week is all that is expected of him (maybe he is our first hourly president!). He exhibits a startling lack of leadership awareness and a propensity to blame others for his failings or the results of his inaction. He’s the guy who punches in at 6:59 in the morning and out at 5:01 at the end of the day, always in the line at the clock and always takes his all his allotted vacation time and holidays, even if he only sits at home because that is “his” time and the company has no right to it.
They accused Ron Reagan of being an “actor” – but he wasn’t playing a role as president, he WAS the president. He lived it. It was him. He took responsibility. He acted. He led.
Obama is acting. That is the reason that we know so little about him away from the public persona that has been created. Obama the man is apparently quite different from the contrived persona. If we knew him in person, we would know that he never was up to the task, he is only the representation of what the country wanted, a Madison Avenue cardboard cutout in the lobby of the theater. In “real time”, he has proven that he has neither the skill nor the ability to be president. Other than for the trappings of the position, he exhibits little desire to be president, it seems as much a role for him to play as any actor in any summer blockbuster.
Now he, the liberal intelligentsia and the DNC are planning the sequel. It is not a movie that I want to see.