Friday, May 30, 2008

Obama - Victim of His Own Success

Had he, like Bush, Sharon and a host of other world leaders, been unable to express himself in such an inspiring way, Obama mania would not exist and America would not be in the throes of Obama’s particular brand of messianism. For if anything is true, Obama’s genius is effective communication, remarkable rhetoric and the rarest of abilities to turn a phrase in a way that makes his acolytes lightheaded. It is most likely a national census would show evidence of radically more babies being named Obama during this political season plus nine months than at any prior time.

So how Obama presents, verbally, visually and attitudinally sets him apart from every contemporary and past politician except perhaps John F. Kennedy. What also sets him apart in this unique Hollywood-ish specter of self-indulgent adoration is that he is “light” on facts, details and policies, to an extent no other major candidate in living memory has had the temerity to manifest.

Yes, Obama is a willing victim of his own outstanding success. He is so successful with his hype, his consistently articulate presentation, that he has been able to deflect any meaningful focus from his essence. Obama is seemingly so taken with his own verbal adeptness, so infatuated with his own phenomenal persuasiveness, his “swoon” factor, that he really does seem to believe he could persuade the genocidal Ahmadinejad to beat Iran’s nuclear swords into ploughshares, that he could convince arch terrorist group Hamas to live and let live, to accept an olive branch from the Israelis and recycle all the thousands of rockets, missiles and suicide bombs that are always in feverish production in the warrens of Gaza.

Obama is clearly so in love with his interactive prowess and his powers of motivation, so evident with the voters, that he sincerely believes that negotiation and compromise can indeed resolve 100% of international problems, wars and terrorism. No need for the backing of the military, for the incomparable power of our Navy, Army and Air Force – no need to speak softly and wield a big stick, a stick Khrushchev, Khadafy, Hitler and many others were in desperate need of. No – Obama will achieve with his unique vocal chords what other mere mortals and politicians needed hard power realism, toughness and indeed often loss of life to achieve.

Obama has stated that since Iran spends one one-hundredth as much on their military as does the USA, we have nothing to fear from them. Clearly he must be amongst the vast minority of Americans who cannot grasp the horrific existential and mortal danger the USA will be in when and if Iran acquires their anticipated nuclear (or even ‘dirty’) weapons. They now have delivery systems – submarines and long range missiles. They are producing the required weapons grade uranium and they are close to, by all accounts, the final weaponization required. And if Ahmadinejad promises America and Israel a Holocaust who is Obama to guarantee us otherwise?

Obama belongs to the Post-60’s era of leftist elitists suckled on a culture of emotions and feelings: all is negotiable, all is relative, evil is never black and white, war is always wrong. These mantras informed Obama’s every ideal, his every vision. To now conceive of him being a natural commander-in-chief is thus effectively a contradiction in terms. He can no more pretend to be a Churchill, an Eisenhower, a Kennedy, than he is ultimately capable of changing, with gifts and soft talk, with appeasement politics and self-defeating respect, the raison d’être that drives people like the Hamas leaders and Ahmedinejad to send their trusting children to their inglorious deaths as suicide bombers.

Perhaps it is Obama’s vanity, his overarching confidence, his preening successes having played only in the playgrounds of free and democratic America, which will ultimately be his foreign policy dénouement.

For Obama cannot see the world of the radical Islamists, of Ayman Al-Zwahiri, of Hezbollah’s Nasrallah, as they indeed see themselves. He cannot contemplate the darkness of their vision, the passion of their hate, their lust for the world to come. He does not understand their vocabulary, their deceit, their comfortability with depravity and their essential differences with the West. These are all realities which do not come easy to Obama, realities seemingly beyond his ken.

Obama’s consequential dislocation is marked, on the one hand by a quintessentially sensitive ability to intuit the needs of the democratic voters and to proffer what they want beyond any practical ability to pay for and deliver those needs; and, in most serious contradiction, on the other hand, the absolute inability to ingest, understand and respond, with non-American style realism and logic, to the essence of the dangerous thoughts, plans, intensions and manipulations of our enemies. Ironically it is our enemies who seem fully adept at understanding our weaknesses as well as our strengths, and they do so with patience and a consistency that is enviable.

Obama never had to survive on the ghetto streets of Chicago, he never had to use his fists, never had to fight or be beaten. Obama learnt the civilized skills of debating whilst McCain was educated in the niceties of human depravity at the Hanoi Hilton. Obama’s outstanding skills uplifted him to the ivory tower of ideals and philosophy, where academic policies are created and lofty goals invented and embellished. International realism, Middle Eastern pragmatism and the cut and thrust of brutal and dangerous foreign policies are not part of Obama’s world, but certainly will be part of his continuing education, should he enter the White House. Obama’s success has brought with it an astounding naiveté, a purity of idealism and ultimately, what will turn out to be, an egocentric irresponsibility that has attracted adoring crowds the likes of which we have never seen. He is now even attracting endorsements from terrorist groups and leaders like vultures waiting for their kill.

And in the end the relevant voters, most of them most likely in the moderate middle, will have to choose between what makes them feel good and what will keep them safe.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

"The Suicide of Reason: Radical Islam's Threat to the West" by Lee Harris

Lee Harris' book The Suicide of Reason: Radical Islam's Threat to the West and the concise review by Janet Levy summarize the conflict between America's freedoms and the fanaticism of much of Islam. Harris talks of our strengths and weaknesses and postulates that our survival depends on us becoming intolerant (and not appeasing) to the intolerance emanating from Radical Islam, on us becoming fanatical (and not passive and shamed) about our own survival. An important and incisive document.

Read Janet Levy's Review:

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Obama and Hillary – The Whirling Dervishes

Obama and Hillary, that unlikely duet of dueling dervishes. Each in their own right a formidable opponent for McCain. Yet in tandem these not so democratic “co-religionists“ are highlighting each others weaknesses and blemishes, are exposing each others faults and half-truths to a previously adoring media; a media that is turning on the Clinton Machine with surprising vengeance. A media that is parting the reeds of fantasy and wish fulfillment and viewing the winding river of Obama’s life and his relationships in a more critical and dispassionate light.

Obama and Hillary have educated us anew about positional squirming, reversing tracks and political expediency. First Obama would not possibly disown his Reverend Wright under any circumstances – then, a few weeks later the esteemed pastor was tossed aside like an aging egg salad sandwich. Hillary initially presented her ‘Kumbaya’ visage, sweetness personified – now she is the pre-eminent Rottweiler, dogged, tough and accusative. The entertaining list of reversals is growing.

Had any opponent, Republican or Democrat, competed with Obama in those first heady months of hope and fervor, of everything new and fresh, of all Americans together and cleanly joined, they would have failed to breach either his message or his form. For Obama, on his orator’s pedestal, invoking the perfection of ideas, the fulfillment of our every desire, was well nigh invincible.

In the harsh light of continuing time and repetition, Obama’s gloss tarnishes and our passion moderates. Boredom creeps in and an interest in detail grows. No longer are we satisfied with enticing but bland generalities – we need information, context and solutions. And Obama is found wanting, fixed in his naive hopefulness, his optimistic new world, his unrivalled promises.

Hillary has more details, McCain has the most. Hillary is shining a harsh light on Obama’s confusing relationships (Ayres, Rezzo and Wright, et al.) and his myopic visions, on his bitter wife and his own ambiguous blackness. Yet in doing so Hillary is exposing her own overflowing ambitions, her extraordinary abilities to pander, manipulate and reinvent herself. And McCain watches in the wings as a newly peeving and irritated Obama is knocked off his white collar pedestal whilst a seemingly bloodthirsty Hillary takes no prisoners and gambles all.

It is said Hillary would, if she loses the nomination, prefer a Republican presidency, thus reserving for herself the likely 2012 slot. The Democratic Party seems unable to rally the troops, to find a common core. An astounding proportion of Hillary’s voters say they will support McCain if Obama gets in. Likewise with Obama’s supporters if Hillary is nominated, an event that would also fundamentally sour the intimate relationship of the black community with their preeminent party, the Democratic Party.

It is fascinating to contemplate, in these most unusual and exciting times, that but for these dueling dervishes McCain would likely have no chance. The long and tedious democratic nomination will wear these two democratic candidates to the bone, only to have another long bout of presidential campaigning with which to contend. And the dirty work will be largely done, the warts in full resplendent view, before McCain has to take up the cudgels.

Ordinarily nothing would have persuaded this country, tired of Bush, impatient with the war, desirous of a change, any change, to contemplate another four years of Republican leadership. Yet in the end the Republicans may indeed have Obama and Hillary to thank, that unlikely couple in perpetual mortal combat, for granting them a fair shot at the 2008 elections. An opportunity the Republicans in their disarray seem incapable of building for themselves.

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