Monday, June 23, 2014
Who is Obama?
NOTE: These essays are all reproduced from my defunct blog "Random Notes". All are cited in "The Return of Malaise", mentioning my many analogies between Obama and various individuals, all made during his first presidential race (mostly during the primaries). I confess I underestimated his chances, and anticipated too much press scrutiny (easy to do as he received absolutely none), but looking back, my criticisms still seem quite valid after one and one half terms as president. I may have called the race wrong, but my descriptions still ring true to me.
Many pundits, myself included, have tried to come up with an analogy for Obama. We have tried Carter, due to his belief in talking his enemies to death and his "roll over and play dead" foreign policy. We have tried Clinton due to his efforts to campaign without saying what he actually believes. I even tried Wendell Wilkie to emphasize that we have only had one contender with less political experience than Obama. Others have suggested still other analogies, such as Huey Long, but none, so far as I know, have come up with the analogy I am now going to propose.
Obama is Dan Quayle.
Oh, not the real Dan Quayle who is, by all reports, a nice, smart guy who has a deep love of country and a sharp mind. But the Democrat caricature of Dan Quayle, the idiot who really thinks Murphy Brown is a newscaster and doesn't know how to spell potato. It is that media caricature of Quayle which best fits Obama.
First, let us look at his many, many gaffes. Quayle was famed for saying the wrong thing, though most of thsoe attributed to him turn out, on farther investigation, to be false (eg. the Latin America quote). On the other hand, Obama really has said some truly bizarre things. "Dropped the bomb on Pearl Harbor", his grandfather's liberation of Auschwitz, the 57 states with one to go, sending Arabic speakers to Afghanistan, and all the rest. Obama has made so many verbal misstatements that, were he a Republican, he would have been labeled a moron by the press long ago.
Nor is that all. Like the childish naif the press created from Quayle, Obama is also prone to take people at face value, rather than truly understanding a situation. It is the only possible explanation for his belief in the power of talking. He thinks we can talk to Iran because they say we can, he appears to have never considered that they might use talks to buy time while they finish their bombs. And, perhaps, his naive faith in others even explains his many positions on Israel. He could just be lying to please his audience, but it is also possible that, in any given situation, he takes statements at face value, so to Israel boosters he thinks talking won't work, while pro-Palestinians convince him talk is a great idea.
I admit it isn't a perfect match. Obama isn't quite as innocent and guileless as the fictional Quayle was. He thinks he can put one over on people, though it often fails. But in terms of flubs and naivete, or at least the appearance of both, he really does quite a good job of mimicking the image of Quayle the press created in the 80's.
Originally posted in Random Notes on 2008/09/05.