"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Monday, August 8, 2011

What Happened to Obama?

There was an essay in the New York Times over the weekend by a professor of psychology named Drew Westen entitled "What Happened to Obama?"   It is almost unreadable as straight commentary because of the cliché liberal mindset of the author (everything is the fault of evil rich people and evil corporations).   But it is remarkable in revealing a turning point in liberal views of the President they elected less than three years ago.   Put simply, the Emperor has no clothes, and the left is suddenly realizing that they have hitched their wagons to a nag:
A second possibility is that he is simply not up to the task by virtue of his lack of experience and a character defect that might not have been so debilitating at some other time in history. Those of us who were bewitched by his eloquence on the campaign trail chose to ignore some disquieting aspects of his biography: that he had accomplished very little before he ran for president, having never run a business or a state; that he had a singularly unremarkable career as a law professor, publishing nothing in 12 years at the University of Chicago other than an autobiography; and that, before joining the United States Senate, he had voted "present" (instead of "yea" or "nay") 130 times, sometimes dodging difficult issues.

A somewhat less charitable explanation is that we are a nation that is being held hostage not just by an extremist Republican Party but also by a president who either does not know what he believes or is willing to take whatever position he thinks will lead to his re-election.
 Put aside the borderline homoerotic aspect of any adult male being "bewitched" by a politican's "eloquence."   And put aside the knee-jerk reference to "an extremist Republican Party" (so extreme it just won 230 seats in the House of Representatives last November).   Look at the terms he's now using about Obama:
  • "not up to the task"
  • "lack of experience"
  • "character defect"
  • "accomplished very little"
  • "singularly unremarkable career as a law professor"
  • "dodging difficult issues"
  • "does not know what he believes"
  • "willing to take whatever position he thinks will lead to his re-election"
These are extremely pejorative terms that describe a weak, lost, amoral and selfish man.   And, worse for liberals, these are the exact things that conservatives were saying about Obama before the 2008 election.   How would liberals ever re-energize their devotion to Obama, if this is what they've now come to realize about him?   That conservatives were right all along about him?  

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