Monday, February 07, 2011

Presidential Boots Too Big To Fill

Bill Clinton showed up on Time Magazine covers often enough, but never disguised as another American president. But so far Time has presented us with a cover picture of Obama in FDR drag and another one of Reagan embracing Obama. Before the big O's term is done, we may well be treated to another cover of Obama playing basketball with Andrew Jackson on the cover of Newsweek or in bed in the Lincoln Bedroom with Abe Lincoln for Time's last print issue.

Back in the 90's, Time's editors seemed to think that Clinton could stand on his own without dressing him up as any other president. But Obama needs constant disguising. Dress him up like FDR or stick him next to Reagan, before people notice that he really can't stand on his own. The constant parallels are meant to emphasize that Obama is a historic figure in the most hamhanded way possible. But the very attempts to make Obama look historic reveal something else entirely.

FDR was not a historic president, not until he actually made history. Reagan didn't make history by being elected, he made history through the decisions he took once in office. Obama's media lackeys are unable to point to any historic decisions he actually made. Instead he's presented as historic for just being him. Initially the media insisted that his ascension was historic because he was half-black, but had JFK been notable for no other reason than that he was Irish-Catholic, he would be an obscure figure today. Race is not leadership and identity is not historic.

During his campaign, Obama deliberately confused the difference between ancestry and biography. But Americans don't look up to George Washington because he was descended from the kings of Scotland. Nor do they look up to him because he was white. It is what he actually did that mattered. Similarly had George Washington Carver spent his career going on about how confusing his teenage years were, he would never have amounted to anything beyond an annoying dinner companion. Biography is not destiny. It is what you do that makes history, not who you were.

The constant attempts to associate Obama with historic presidents does him no favors. It only makes it all too apparent that the boots of great presidents are too big for him to fill. While Democratic wonks lust for a crisis, they would be better off hoping for peace and tranquility. Obama has already shown that he can't handle a crisis. He can't manage wars or economic depressions or international turmoil or anything more complicated than the dinner menu. His real skills are those of a subpar actor and an average speechwriter, he can tonelessly mimic emotions and crib lines he read somewhere into the shape of a speech that invokes greatness, without actualizing it. Obama is everything that Democrats accused Reagan of being-- a subpar actor posturing on the world stage.

The Time Magazine covers smack of an almost Soviet historical revisionism in which each new leader was given his own cult of personality. A notorious Soviet anecdote described plans to construct a statue honoring Lenin during the reign of Stalin. The sculptor initially submitted a proposal to feature a statue of Lenin reading a book of his own essays. It was rejected. So he submitted another proposal that would have Lenin reading a book of Stalin's essays. Now that Time has a cover of Reagan and Obama to commemorate Reagan's 100th anniversary, the next step is a cover that features Reagan reading, "Dreams from My Father". (In another typically Soviet bit of airbrushing, the cover shows Obama standing taller than Reagan, when both men were actually the same height.)

The constant attempts to make Obama seem historic for just showing up have little to do with history as we understand it. They are the propaganda leaflets of a cult of personality. They are not history, they are anti-history. The Ozymandian statues constructed for the glorification of the beloved leader. Depicting Obama next to Reagan will not make the world view him as if he were Reagan. And dressing him up like FDR will not boost his management skills. Image is not reality and all the glossy magazine covers in the world can't change that.

Obama doesn't have a messaging problem, he has a problem getting the message. He doesn't understand the voters or the world. And he still hasn't learned to accept his own shortcomings. Depicting him next to iconic figures only pours oil on the fire of his ego. If there's one thing that he doesn't need, it's more praise. In half a term, he has gotten more uncritical praise, lavish flattery and hopeless adoration than Lincoln, FDR and Reagan got in all their time in office. And all of that has come his way for smiling into the camera and making liberals feel good about themselves.

We learn as much by failing as by doing. But Obama has never been allowed to fail. Every screwup of his is greeted with applause. Like the brat raised by parents who could never say no, because it might harm his self-esteem, he has no manners and can't cope with setbacks. And when he gets suspended from school, instead of scolding him, his media parents buy him an ice cream cake decorated with a picture of him next to Reagan. Their response to every criticism is that people just don't understand how special Barry is. But that's because Barry isn't special. He's an obnoxious brat whom his media parents raised into a proper little monster, all ego and no sense. He has never had to work for anything and having brained the Peter Principle, he still spends more time golfing and partying than working.

It's not Bush who was the shiftless favorite son, who accidentally ended up in the White House thanks to connections and influence. It was always Obama, who had just enough skills to convince people that he was whatever they wanted him to be. And the covers are a reminder of that. Not just the slavish praise, but the identity morphing. From FDR to Reagan. The liberal hero and the bipartisan moderate. The man of peace and the man of action. Obama's image is so contradictory because it's completely unreal. A cloakroom filled with disguises that his advisers and supports hastily throw over him. The clothes change all the time and the man underneath remains nothing but a chimera with a smile.

Obama is not Reagan. He's not FDR or even JFK. He hardly even qualifies as Carter. The media has been so busy dressing him up as what he isn't, that even they have no idea of what he really is. In the 90's, Time knew who Clinton was. But they have no real idea who Obama is, behind the curtain of race, the veil of liberalism, all the distractions and diversions, are more of the same. Obama is a hall of mirrors. His image is a reflection of all the posters, slogans and flattering articles directed his way. Not a man, but a meta-image with more in common with Ronald McDonald or Mickey Mouse, than Ronald Reagan or FDR. And an image can't fill a real president's boots.


lemon said...

Don't you like Barry?

Anonymous said...

Such a well written article! Bravo! It gave me such satisfaction to read what I think about this clown Obama expressed in such an eloquent way! You say it for all of us Sultan! Thank you!

Akiva said...

Time magazine? Is that thing still published? Does anyone read it anymore? I don't think I've seen a Time cover in 10 years.

Was Reagan a great president because of his ideas and direction, or because he surrounded himself with extremely competent effective people? And conversely even if Obama actually stood for something, the people around him are all academics and ideologues, not effective at making things happen.

Allen said...

I sent an email two days ago, trying to express my frustrations with the media's attempts to compare Obama to past Presidents. Daniel, your words express my own thoughts in ways I never could. I am sure you are aware of your talent to put thoughts into words, or you would not be sharing them with us. Thanks, again. Here's what I said in my email, "We cannot let Obama get away with "playing" Reagan. I am so appalled by this arrogant move. But, my hope is that it will ultimately backfire, just like his major outreach to China. Obama does not understand the American people. He does not realize that we are out here working and shopping, disgusted by the "Made in China" label on EVERYTHING! So, let's give them a huge State dinner at taxpayer expense! We are screaming out here! He mocks us. And, now he is trying to be our Reagan? HELL NO! I wish Time magazine and the MSM would figure out who this President is, and stick by it. There is no Obama. He is, he is, he is, he is Reagan...Obama himself told us he was anything we wanted him to be. I say he is NOBODY, and this great Nation cannot abide this NOBODY as our President. We are big, and we are great, and we are full of individuals who are themselves. Each one of us is our own somebody, and proud of it. Ronald Reagan knew this, and he loved all of us, even his citizens he disagreed with. What a great man." I have another thought...doesn't this liberal obcession with painting Obama as a white man smack of racism?

HermitLion said...

Is times magazine the one that comes with a coloring booklet for children, or the one that has pornographic images of celebrities in the center?

Keli Ata said...

Obama will go down in history as the president who was famous for being famous. People can compare him to FDR, Clinton, Kennedy etc. but no matter how you slice it Obama is nothing more than a make believe president without an identity or substance.

If you're a class TV buff you might remember the episode of Family Affair in which Jody sings Every Little Boy Can Be President. Early political correctness.

Can't you just imagine Obama singing that at the little Islamic school he went to?

Hope this reference isn't too obscure lol. I loved Family Affair except for this episode.

Allen said...

Wow! After the 2 applaud speech to the Chamber of Commerce yesterday, Obama is back to being Kennedy in all the media hype...not because of policy similarities, but because Obama used Kennedy's patriotic Ask Not rhethoric. The media should realize they are looking like complete idiotic puppets. Of course, according to Couric, we are just the unwashed masses out here, uneducated and probably not capable of figuring out the spin. They are so clever.

Anonymous said...

House of Mirrors is such a correct term. Obama is a reflection to the left - they reflect from him what they want and he becomes the image of their reflections. How many of them really want to know what's in his head.

821dbf7c-33c8-11e0-8ec1-000bcdca4d7a said...

the "unpackaging" of Obama,,love it! Brilliantly written! ( As always)

Anonymous said...

Extremely well done and articulated . The there is not there because there is no there...Obama has no substance...he is a fabrication

Always On Watch said...

All part of the Left's propaganda war -- this trying to compare Obama and Reagan in such a manner.

The comparison is so skewed as to beggar all credibility!

Jewish Odysseus said...

I believe there is a significant element of reverse-racist patronizing here as well--"See, our suuuuuuper new, shiny, black/Muslim leader is similar to MANY of our beloved pale-face leaders, don't you racist rubes see it? Of course not, so we have to hit you over the head with it, no matter how preposterous is so clearly is."

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

yes that is certainly one factor

Bruce said...

Regarding: "He doesn't understand the voters or the world. And he still hasn't learned to accept his own shortcomings."

I suspect that he understands the world and voters quite well. The problem is that he despises the voters and loathes the world that is not of his imagining.

On this basis, the Obamination is utterly unlikely to honestly admit to, nor attempt to correct any of his glaring shortcomings. He sees them not as "bugs" but as "undocumented features"

Anonymous said...

When you talked about the press and Obama being like the parent who, when the child misbehaves, gives him a came with his picture with Reagan on it. Add one thing to that.

As a teacher, I know that after the parent did that, they'd call the principal and everyone else they could and bad-mouth the teacher, just as the media attempts to delegitamize the Tea Party or anyone else who point out "their child's" failings.

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