One More Zing


Ricochet’s Morning Zingers provide, IMHO, one of the more entertaining web briefings around. But this morning cannot be zung without taking a look at Dorothy Rabinowitz’s WSJ op-ed page tour de force “Alien in the White House.” It’s a great piece and, among other things, gives a certain symbolic credence to the folks who insist Obama was born elsewhere or that he’s secretly a Muslim and suchlike. That may all be nonsense, but it expresses their accurate sense that this is not our guy somehow, not, I mean, America’s guy in very basic and important ways. The piece is free online at the link. Tolle lege. (Peter Robinson will explain what that means.)

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  1. Profile Photo Contributor

    That’s a zinger, all right, Andrew! I’ll repeat here my all-purpose caution to critics of Obama: don’t focus your ire on the emopolitical terms that are the creation of the post-’60s left — I have no idea what it is to “reflect a powerful sense of urgency,” but I do know it has all the substance of perfume. That said, it’s remarkable to me that an administration which often judges policies so much more on the message they send than what they are or what they do is so consistently tone deaf.

    Obama is now at a point where he is failing to connect not only with his foes on the left but with his fans on the left and the independent middle of America. That’s not to say expectations weren’t too high, or that Obama is running the country into the ground. It is to say that the expectations clustered around Obama’s biggest, most potent, and most appealing campaign promise — clear leadership in shadowy times — were legitimate… and that serious criticism on this count, now that Obama’s had a year in office, are legitimate, too.

    National inspiration can be therapeutic theater, but Obama must convey our purpose.

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  2. Profile Photo Inactive

    That was a great op-ed, thanks for posting. At risk of being deemed fringe or “emopolitical” here are some interesting pictures. IMHO snopes debunks the idea that this was the “first” flag-less press conference, but at the same time makes it look pretty darn premeditated. C’mon Mr. President let your freak flag fly…fly the flag.

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  3. Profile Photo Inactive

    Great article! Thanks for linking.

    We hosted some friends who were coming to DC to attend the Obama Inauguration. I was looking forward to discussing their support for him, since I never understood what his appeal was. My dear friends who had driven 14 hours by car and taken time off work answered my inquiries with, “We need a change.” I prodded for more information hoping there was something more to it. The media had so convinced them Bush was a buffoon and anyone would be an improvement, that electing an individual with weak credentials and good optics as leader of our nation was somehow not only justifiable and appropriate, but noble. I think people are coming around to the truth that Bush wasn’t the clown he was made out to be and that Obama is out of his depth.

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  4. Profile Photo Inactive

    Agreed, the article is “tour-de-force”, that brings into clear view something that has been in the back of my mind, and many other minds apparently.

    I wonder what you call the opposite of a “Teflon President”? We may find out. It’s usually said that “nothing ‘stuck’ to Reagan because of how people liked him,” but perhaps it’s more that people sensed how much he liked them. Bill Clinton has a bit of that, and his wife famously does not. This President seems so forced in his attempts to be “a man of the people.” When the contempt shows through, it’s off-putting but seems more honest.

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  5. Profile Photo Member

    Karen, if you’re ever interested, I am willing to defend the proposition that Bush was the clown he was made out to be, and that Obama is out of his depth. These aren’t mutually exclusive propositions.

    Daniel Frank,

    As is so often the case when I hear people accuse Barack Obama of being un-American, I see that you haven’t really offered an argument that it is so — you’ve merely asserted that he isn’t one of “us” by alluding to an unspecified attitude that he supposedly lacks.

    I’m afraid I don’t find that persuasive. There is a lot to dislike about our current president, a lot to criticize about his performance in office, and plenty of reasons to believe he is every bit as American as any of us.

    You’re doubtless arguing in earnest about something that rubs you the wrong way, and as ever, I am here willing to listen with an open mind to an argument for just about anything, but you’re not giving those of us who disagree with you anything to work with, and so I am sticking with my belief that however misguided are some of his policies, Obama is a patriot doing his uninspiring best.

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  6. Profile Photo Inactive

    Brilliant summary, and high time that people are beginning to see the true weirdness of this presidency.

    Back during the campaign, I think my wife tired of me endlessly harping on three things:

    1. Obama is a fast tracker. I have seen lots of these types in my work life, and I never cease to be amazed at the havoc they wreak, between their lack of real skills; their blind faith in abstract, untested concepts; and their lack of experience with failure. (Fast trackers are always promoted before they have to try and fix the damage they’ve caused.)
    2. There is something fundamentally off about him, emotionally. Am I the only one who thinks the guy has some very deep seated emotional problems, tied to his abandonment by his father and semi-abandonment by his mother?
    3. He’s just so un-American. (The more popular term, absent McCarthyite resonances that might upset liberals, is “post-American.” And no, this isn’t about his birth certificate.) He’s just missing almost every attitude and value that makes Americans American.

    Or to put it another way, he’s alien.

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  7. Profile Photo Contributor

    Tolle lege, is, of course, Latin for “take up and read,” the first half of best-selling novelist Andrew Klavan’s motto. The second half? “But buy the book first.”

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  8. Profile Photo Contributor
    Daniel Frank: […] He’s just so un-American. (The more popular term, absent McCarthyite resonances that might upset liberals, is “post-American.” And no, this isn’t about his birth certificate.) He’s just missing almost every attitude and value that makes Americans American.

    He’s missing a few, I think it’s fair to say. But I think there’s a real difference between un-American and post-American. As I suggest over in the epic Palin thread, it seems to me self-evident — from his word and deed — that Obama really is pro-American, just in a way peculiar to a certain stream of thought on the left. In this stream, America is great because only American history points humanity beyond the particularities that are seen as the ultimate sources of social injustice. Only the history of America fully reveals the way to the historical destination of the human race. Now, I think this is wrong in some big ways and misleading in yet other ways. But it’s a very home-grown view. You can see it come alive in Walt Whitman as much as in Woodrow Wilson. If we misunderstand this, we misunderstand the challenge Obama poses to more traditional visions of Americanness left right and center.

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