Chameleons blend in – that’s sort of their job. It is a defensive mechanism to hide from their enemies. A chimera is a mythical beast with composed of the parts of multiple animals: upon the body of a lioness with a tail that ended in a snake’s head, the head of a goat arose on her back at the center of her spine – many monsters in one body.
Obama displays traits of each.
This past week, a set of shock polls found that between 18% and 24% of Americans think that Obama is a Muslim. Immediately the American Left expounded that this proves once and for all that his detractors are ignorant, knuckle dragging savages. It even spawned this declarative statement from White House spokesman, Bill Burton, “The president is obviously a Christian. He prays every day.” Which, I might point out, is typical of this administration because this statement in and of itself does not prove that he is “obviously a Christian”. Muslims answer a call to prayer five times a day. I don’t happen to believe that he is a Muslim and I realize that this will validate once again that I am a “wingnut”, I merely point out that claiming that doing something that is common to more than one group (Christian, Hindu, Coptics, Zoroastrian, etc), isn’t a differentiator.
The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life poll found this: Christian – 34% (down 14% from March), Muslim – 18% (up 7% from March), Other – 2% (up 1% from March), Don’t Know – 43% (up 9% from March), refused to answer – 2%. The most interesting thing about the poll is not that 18% thought the President was a Muslim but that a plurality, 45%, went with “other” or “don’t know”. Another interesting fact that gets left out is that this poll was taken BEFORE the Iftar mess.
I believe this to be the greatest issue that the American public is beginning to have with the President, they don’t know who he is…and I don’t mean that they couldn’t pick him out of a lineup, they just don’t get the feeling that they are dealing with a man of defined character and someone that they can trust.
In President Obama’s book, The Audacity of Hope, he says of himself:
“I serve as a blank screen, on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.” During the 2008 campaign, Obama marketed this trait as a positive, and as evidenced by his victory margin, the majority of voters bought it – lock, stock and barrel.
Prior to the election, even members of Obama’s own party validated it. Joe Biden, in January of 2007, said, “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy…” Harry Reid reportedly opined (in private conversations) during the 2008 presidential campaign that Obama was “light skinned” and “with no N*gro dialect”. Were these racist statements? Even though Reid was forced to apologize and Biden stumbled over an explanation, I don’t think so. What they were saying is that they had a candidate who was free of sufficient history, publicly stated policy positions and had a background amorphous enough to withstand scrutiny and since he was bi-racial, wouldn’t even be challenged. He essentially was a political chimera.
The President has made being a chameleon a core part of his political posture. Froma Harrop, a nationally syndicated columnist, cataloged this in a column in December of 2006, just as the Obama phenomenon was catching fire:
“There’s not a liberal America and a conservative America, there is the United States of America.” These unremarkable words, spoken at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, set off wild applause.
And here is the similar quote that got hearts thumping in New Hampshire: “We’ve got a series of very important decisions to make, and we have the opportunity to make them, not as Democrats, not as Republicans, but as Americans. And it’s that promise that I’m most excited about.”
Obama likes to say things like “We can do better” and “America is ready for a new set of challenges.” He is all for “a spiritual recovery.”
The senator dislikes the “either-or” type of debate and warns against “false choices.” He’s not too left, not too right. Sort of black, and sort of white.
Obama is humble in all the right places. Before a thousand swooning fans in New Hampshire, he says, Evita-like: “This isn’t about me. This is about you.” One gets the impression from his public appearances and book, “The Audacity of Hope,” that he doesn’t even get a haircut without first consulting his wife.
What Obama really thinks should be done about healthcare and the terrorist threat remains a secret that his book does not unlock. His two years in the Senate certainly haven’t revealed any bold policy ideas.
Nothing has materially changed since the inauguration. Obama’s statements that set the Ground Zero Mosque debate on fire and pushed a local planning issue to the national forefront were typical of his approach. First from the now infamous Iftar speech:
“But let me be clear. As a citizen, and as President, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country. And that includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in Lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances. This is America. And our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakeable. The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country and that they will not be treated differently by their government is essential to who we are. The writ of the Founders must endure.”
Absolutely nothing remarkable here, he just confirmed what every American who has read the Constitution believes…but it was delivered in such a context and environment to make it seem that 1) there were unnamed forces seeking to deny American Muslim citizens their Constitutional rights and 2) that the GZM backers had the support of the President of the United States. He wanted to create a self serving illusion of support with an escape hatch.
The President’s supporters will argue that I err in my analysis but I would ask – why would he make a statement so steeped in non sequitur otherwise? Unless he wishes to add the title of “Captain Obvious” to his resume along with his other titles of “Lightworker” and “Healer of the Planet”, there is no other reason than to feign support to a fawning and friendly audience.
As proof of the “escape hatch” theory, here is the President in Panama City on the Saturday following the Iftar statements:
“I was not commenting and I will not comment on the wisdom of making the decision to put a mosque there,” referring to the area near ground zero. I was commenting very specifically on the right people have that dates back to our founding. In this country, we treat everybody equally and in accordance with the law, regardless of race, regardless of religion.”
Hard to interpret that as anything other than a “walk back”. He is all things to all people. Like John Kerry, the haughty French looking guy who served in Viet Nam, he was for it before he was ambivalent toward it.
It isn’t blissful ignorance that leads 63% of Americans to think that our President is not Christian and 45% say that they don’t know who he is. It is Obama’s own actions and inactions coupled with a non-traditional, mysterious and cloudy childhood in faraway lands (where poor records are the order of the day), no college transcripts released, no writings available from his time at the Harvard Law Review, no correspondence released and a history of voting “present”. To blame is the translucency of his being – the chameleon/chimera effect, the art of being an empty vessel while at the same time being perceived as being everything to everybody.
The downside to being an empty vessel is that anyone can fill it up…with anything.
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