Sunday, April 13, 2008

Obama's Wine Turned Into Water...Eventually

The other night I was looking at the Cards playing the Astros in Houston. (I prefer the National League. The designated hitter rule is for sissies.) Anyhow, as the camera zeroed into home plate I caught sight of an old guy sitting in the front row over the batter's shoulder.

Gee, I thought, that old geezer's the spitting image of George Herbert Walker. A dead ringer for Bush 41. Bedad, says I to myself, it's true, we all have doubles running around out there somewhere ruining our reputations. Before the next pitch the camera zoomed in again and there sitting right next to the doppelganger was a grandmotherly figure who looked exactly like Barbara Bush, former First Lady and current First Mater!

I then realized that the guy who looked exactly like former President Bush was former President Bush.

Still crazy - about each other! - after all these years

The same psychological process has happened to many of us in respect of Barack Obama. When he first floated into my ken after his victory in Iowa he seemed aloof, a teeny weeny bit too pleased with himself, too nonchalantly in control. The kind of guy who would take time to brush a speck of lint from his lapel while receiving Holy Communion. I was however overwhelmed by his oratory. He had the cool easy presence and verbal mastery of John Kennedy and the moral passion and power of delivery of Martin Luther King, the two paramount English language political orators since Winston Churchill in his long ago prime.

Unlike Kennedy, King and old Winnie his appeal and impact were exclusively emotional though his essentially dispassionate persona helped him avoid the bombastic drivel speakers of that kind invariably drown in. Yet he was a phenomenon. Yes he was! Yes he was!! Yes he was!!! Against the grim humdrummery of the rest he shone like Betelgeuse.

Hillary plods along like a schoolmarm on valium before turning randomly into a screeching weird sister fresh from stirring her bubbling cauldron on Macbeth's blasted heath. For light relief she throws in her trademark goggle-eyed honk that's straight from the psych ward. McCain sounds like he's reading a translation of the Belgrade and Districts telephone directory and can't quite get his head around why anybody would be remotely interested in what he's saying. His sparse tenor marches to its own drum, rising and falling with utter disregard for the natural rhythms of the words and phrases. His pauses, when not entirely random, come either a beat too late or a beat too early to effectively underscore his points. In other words he's a truck where Obama's a De Lorean as John De Lorean's imagination meant it to be.

Edward's simply an idiot. Even if he spoke as Demosthenes of old we'd all still be infinitely more uplifted by the yowling of raunchy cats. Of course he doesn't speak like Demosthenes, he simply motormouths and the less said the better. Huckabee is an excellent stump speaker and would make a great warmer-upper but he's too deliberately aw-shucks folksy to achieve anything other than conning you into liking him for the hometown boy he most emphatically ain't.

And Romney - well, Mitt doesn't do speaking as such. He just talks. And talks. And talks. And never says anything that you believe he believes in. Nor anything that you believe he believes you believe he believes in. It's all a vacuous waste of God's good air. As for Rudy - remember him? The quondam sure thing. He's that unique, once in a lifetime creature, a real live genuine Noo Yawkah who actually gives a toss what people think of him.

He's like an old time carney outside the Headless Boy tent on Coney Island pleading with the distracted candy floss munchers strolling by to step in and see the most fantastical, the most stupendous, the most mind-boggling sight ever seen by man, woman, child or Denis Kucinich. In other words he too whiny, too persistent and way too needy to give any thought to the mechanics, not to mention the art, of public speaking.

That's my excuse for being bowled over by Obama's victory speech in Des Moines. What's yours? He seemed the real deal. I overlooked the fuzzy generalities and, as I was meant to do, supplied my own details to fill the policy vacuum. I pushed aside the almost sinister way he'd pause and peer through slitted eyes down his nose at the adoring crowds like a hungover Shaka Zulu surveying his Impis the morning after the night before.

I even thought himself and Michelle looked the part - young, handsome, dynamic, in love. A bit like Al and Tipper in '92 before Bill, Hillary, Inventing the Internet, Global Warming, the Oscars and the Nobel Prize had taken their toll. I wasn't yet on the bandwagon, mind you. Obama was, after all, a Democrat. Yet he didn't slither like a snake, snap like a crocodile and lie like a used car salesman so maybe he was a New Democrat like Bill Clinton was supposed to be but , dare I to hope, sincere. A triangulator who had transcended triangles and now dealt in more complex, more inclusive, more insightfully subtle political trigonometry. A guy who genuinely had the good of the country - all the country - and its people - all its people - at heart.

Al and Tipper
feelin' kinda chipper

The brave new world which now seemed even distantly possible gladdened my soul. I realized how sick we all were of the tawdry politics that is the stock and trade of Washington and all the varmints, small, large and gigantic, who infest the place. The sniveling lies, the monumental hypocrisies, the mean stratagems, the cynical ploys, the piddling personal power plays, the partisan parliamentary ambuscades, the prancing, promenading and posturing, the phony sympathy, the banal pandering, the whole three ring circus of fakery, fornication and fortune hunting, the sheer and utter persiflage of it all! Not to mention the galactic waste of money distrained from the pockets of the tens of millions who by their daily toil actually keep the country going.

In the midst of all this George W. Bush seems - is - a obelisk of decency and honor. For all his faults he is a sincere man and as honest a leader as can be considering the Gommorah over which he presides. This, despite his limitations, is the reason the American people chose him - twice.

Obama also seemed sincere, decent, honorable but without the limitations of the increasingly ineffectual President. The junior Senator from Illinois had the soul of a visionary, the heart of a healer and the tongue of a poet. He promised to bring us to a place in which we had long ceased to believe, a Shangri La - but a real one - where harmony, mutual respect and brotherly union were not only possible but so palpable we had merely to reach out and pull the lever for him in the Fall and such a transcendant renewal of the Nation would come to pass. How our palms began to itch for that shining lever.

Then spake Michelle. "For the first time in my adult life I am proud of my country!" We frowned, bemused momentarily, but like a husband who hears his loving wife call out the name of another in her sleep, we shook off our unease. The alternative was too appalling. It was a thing of nothing. She misspoke. Over-egged the pudding in the heat of the campaign. Happens all the time. However those who never felt the power of Obama's vision or were professionally required to ignore it clamored for an explanation. We thought them mean-spirited, petty. Way too cynical.

Ain't she sweet?

Michelle, reluctantly, spoke again, dignified, defiant. She "clarified" her remark by repeating it! We frowned some more. Our tiny newly born unease, mewling in its basinette, grew suddenly into a pre-school misgiving, sturdily toddling about our living room. Like my catching sight of the former President's "look-alike" we refused to accept what our mind was telling us. We fashioned an array of convenient fables to explain it away.

Then instead of the familar comforting features of Barbara Bush, our attention was rivetted by the bizarre rage-contorted countenance of Jeremiah Wright spraying his savage spittle. It was like being slapped in the face with a catfish still slick with the slime of its native habitat. Our toddling unease became in a flash a college going disillusionment. Obama's Philadelphia speech was its graduation ceremony.

Isn't it wonderful how reality intrudes like a foreclosure notice into our carefully, dare I say willfully, fabricated dreams of borrowed bliss? As we looked at the macabre spectacle unfolding in the pulpit of the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago all the straws in the wind came together and buried not our belief in politics and politicians - that had long since breathed its last - but rather our desire to believe.

And there were enough straws to make a hefty hay rick. Obama's haughty demeanor and attitude of inbred condescension. His disinvitation of his pastor, mentor, friend, and "uncle" at his campaign launch. His cosying up to Weatherman Bill Ayres who makes Ted Kaczynski seem quite a decent sort. His awkward tango around the Farrakhan endorsement in the debates until Hillary nailed him on it. His declaration that he had never heard Wright say boo to a goose. His subsequent declaration that he had been present at several quite energetic goose boo-booings. His ritual sacrifice of his white grandmother with a calculated coldness that would have made an Aztec High Priest proud.

William Ayres, distinguished
Professor of Ed
at the University of Chicago

"I can't wait to set the timer...I mean, pull the lever next November 4 for my comrade in arms, Barack Obama."

The passing days have subsequently served only to confirm this reality to all but the terminally self-deluded and those many for whom political exigencies are always greater than the duty of truth telling. Barack Obama is indeed a New Democrat but only in the sense that we haven't seen his likes rise so high for a very long time. You have to go back, way back as far as George McGovern to find such a Way Out Far Left Dem rise to such Presidential prominence.

The Irresistible
Force Meets The
Unelectable O

To give his due to that strangely effete Son of Erin, poor George wasn't a monumental hypocrite. In fact he wasn't a hypocrite at all. He was one hundred per cent WYSIWYG: a naive Left Wing Idealist who believed that the essential milky goodness of a noble humanity would triumph if only the nasty war-mongering capitalists would go away, far far away, and take their horrid running dogs in the GOP with them.

George of course lost in the biggest landslide since the one that wiped out the dinosaurs but there is little comfort there for us. Not only is Obama a specious and remarkably proficient political operator with an arresting presence and a natural talent for grand set-piece oratory he is temperamentally and intellectually well suited to the great masquerade in which his whole campaign is grounded.

Unlike McGovern who regarded himself as a mere standard bearer around which the disaffected Democratic masses would willingly and actively gather, Obama sets himself up as an Uber-Leader come from on high to create a grand coalition not so much of the willing as of the willing-to-be- enchanted, a docile yet fervid mass of fanatical supporters for whom nothing he does is wrong because it is he who does it.

Now, where have we seen that before? Here's a clue.

Even more significantly, the country, nay, the world has changed fundamentally since McGovern floundered haplessly into oblivion in 1972. The Western Tradition of free, informed and rational political discourse still prevailed back then. The essential institutions of state and society were still coherent and interconnected by an agreed and cogent system of moral, social and civic values and norms in which the population at large not merely acquiesced but which were an integral part of the personal ethos of the vast majority of citizens.

Today the soul-eating viruses from the Sixties have had ample time to do their terrible work. The public discourse has declined so much from rationality that Al Gore stands as a Nobel laureate alongside Albert Einstein and Willie Yeats. Global Warming is not merely one of many scientific hypotheses but rather an hysterical quasi-religious cult complete with dogmas, incantations and solemn excommunications which even the likes of George Bush and John McCain feel constrained to engage with.

Dear Old Willie looking especially grand.

The greatest poet of the 20th century won the Nobel Prize in 1923 long before it began to rival a Ché Guevara T-Shirt as a Left Wing fashion accessory.

Marriage and consequently fatherhood are mere remnants of a savage paternalism which the tide of progress will shortly sweep away. Self-help gurus are the new hierarchy of an infantile postmodern spiritualism while God and any mention of Him or any sign, symbol or artifact likely to connote His existence are excluded from the nation's classrooms with a zeal heretofore exhibited only by the brainwashed apparatchiks of state sponsored atheistic Communism.

The schools themselves are fallen prey to the suffocating group-think that permeates all the federal and state bureaucracies from sole to scalp and the curriculum is expressly designed to indoctrinate America's children in the fractious factional socialist verities of modern pedagogy. This can only be done, of course, by denying them a real education which would by its nature enable them to easily see such a squalid exercise in social engineering for what it is.

This, therefore, is the Age Of the Easily Duped and Obama is its King.

And we are duping ourselves if we fail to take seriously the likelihood that come next November he may also be its President.


christmasghost said...

"That's my excuse for being bowled over by Obama's victory speech in Des Moines. What's yours? "

well, i really don't need one as i never drank that kool-aid.
maybe it's because like most ignorant, backwards, small town white Americans i was too busy cleaning my short barrel pump action shotgun.....who knows?
stick a fork in him....he's over done.

liamascorcaigh said...

"'That's my excuse for being bowled over by Obama's victory speech in Des Moines. What's yours?'

well, i really don't need one as i never drank that kool-aid."


dave said...

Wow, Chris, I never liked you! But, this was a great story. I especially would like America to wake up to what you say about educators.

I always love when kids get their first job and their first pay check and they exclaim, "Man, did you see what the government took out?!?!"

The Scarecrow said...


Wowee, thanks for the most excellent writing, it was fun to read.

"Your verbosity is only exceeded by your intellect, and may it never be the other."


CT said...

Brilliant! Thanks for the blog, I'll be back for more.

Claudia Burrows said...

Great writing. I agree with the mantra "Don't Drink the Kool-Aid"....I am sickened by the sheer volume of people who are rushing, hands clasped in prayer-like stance, glazed-eyed, to belly up to the bar for a pint of the stuff!

Jaycephus said...


Anonymous said...

Well done sir. Picked up your blog from the comment you left at Pat Buchanan's post. Obama is still a charmer and therefore still dangerous. I believe his comments in Pennsylvania showed his true colors. McCain or Hillary? Ugh. Wake me when it's over. From Canada, I'm Johnny Cash at the Christian Defender.

everdream said...

I agree with the Scarecrow's comments. I thought I had a problem with being verbose! Now I feel much better about myself! Thanks!

About your blog: this is great funny stuff! You could write for Colbert, except that he's always making fun of conservative folks like me. The thing about Colbert is that I enjoy him making fun of me!

I wonder how Obama fanboys feel about your blog?

Anonymous said...

Well said Mr. liamascorcaigh. Good explanation as to why people are so enamored with Obama.

I'm happy to say I never fell into the trap even after watching his DNC convention speech at Kerry's nomination. He simply never grabbed me...probably becasuse I grew up Catholic and all preachers bore me...probably also becasue my husband grew up Southern Baptist and noted he has qualities of Baptist preachers who are all actors. Anyway, I was first tipped off by Obama's remark about the Bell trial (of Gena Six fame) and the associated black "Civil Rights" Gena march. His remark was something like "...I think any injustice (to Bell) should be examined...and corrected...". From that point on I thought we might be dealing with a racist. I was right.

Anonymous said...

I think the has an excellent report on the AP meeting of editors today in which McCain and Obama spoke and were interviewed. That writer Dana (?) got it: Obama is bitter not the small town folk in PA, IN, KY and IL. Bitter that the con is up! And, bitter that he has been found out by no less than his own $2300 supporter Mayfill Fowler (letting what she recorded stew for 4 days)!

Let's hope it is not too late to nominate Mrs. Clinton and save ourselves from the coming race riots. And, let's hope the blacks in NC wake up as well.

Lone Conservative in MA said...

I loved this piece - so well written and I agreed with every word. I will definitely be back for more. Thank you for posting this.

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