At City Journal, Michael Knox Beran calls Obama’s State of the Union address “deeply incoherent” and says he has “the most riven presidential mind since Nixon’s.”
Let’s leave Nixon out of it, though Mr. Beran’s comparison (found at the link) is most revealing. Here, we’ll just limit our focus to the end of his essay, concerning ourselves with what he terms “Obama’s Schizophrenic Politics”:
Obama converted his racial bitterness into an ideal of social justice that would right social wrongs. It was evidently this fetish that he cherished inwardly as he climbed ever higher in politics, even if he could never afford to be wholly candid about it in public. The Jeremiah Wright controversy showed him how politically dangerous the social-justice conceit could be; yet even after he reached the top of the political greasy pole, he could not bring himself to discard it. When he took office, the electorate was clamoring for jobs and economic growth; yet like some latter-day Count of Monte Cristo bent on getting even with the system, Obama spent extravagant amounts of political capital on the social-justice imponderables of a universal health-care program to be paid for by “the rich.”
Some have argued that Obama has irretrievably wrecked his presidency by surrendering it to the demands of his social ideal. But the president who appeared on the rostrum on Wednesday seemed as confident as ever of his destiny as an epochal Fourth Eclogue figure. His party is likely to suffer painful defeats in the midterm elections, but he himself is preternaturally at ease. Perhaps with good reason: if, in 2012, he relegates the social prophet in him to the psychological cellar, he may once again use a modest and conciliatory demeanor to convince voters that he is not, at heart, a wild man and a social utopist.
….Now the Virgin returns, and Saturn’s reign returns;
now a new generation is sent down from high heaven.
Only, chaste Lucina, favour the child at his birth,
by whom, first of all, the iron age will end
and a golden race arise in all the world;
now your Apollo reigns.
And indeed, Pollio, during your consulship
this glory of the age will enter in,
and the great months will begin to advance;
while you lead, if any stains of our sins still linger,
their negation will free the lands from endless fear.
He will take up the gods’ life, and he will see
heroes and gods intermingled;
and he himself will be seen by them,
and with his father’s virtues will rule a world at peace.
That could’ve been written by the author of “Dreams of My Father”, could it not? Who knew that Obama was cribbing Virgil all this time?
And for yourself, little boy, the uncultivated earth
will scatter its first small gifts:
wandering ivy and cyclamens everywhere,
Egyptian beans mixed with laughing acanthus.
By themselves, she-goats will come home
with udders swollen with milk;
cattle no longer will fear mighty lions.
For you, your own cradle will bear delightful flowers;
the serpent will die, and the plant that hides its venom;
Assyrian spices will spring forth all over.
But as soon as you are able to read
the praise of heroes and your father’s works
and come to understand what virtue is,
fields will slowly turn golden with soft ears of grain,
red grapes will hang down from uncultivated briars
and stubborn oaks will exude dewlike honey.
Or, as Obama put it in 2008, before they stuffed the wild-eyed prophet back into a suit:
the “moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless,” a golden age “when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”
If only it were a cynical pose. But it’s the lawyer who is the poseur. The Messiah is lurking underneath, praying to be back in office after 2012. Then will come the Apocalypse They’ve Been Waiting For.
Mercy me. What is to become of our country if this man continues beyond one term?