The Incredible Lightness of Being a Pop Culture President

Back in 2004, President Obama’s speech at the Democratic Convention put him on the map. A young State Senator from Illinois, highly educated of mix race who raised hopes of a better America. From that springboard he thrust into the national spotlight, first elected to serve in Congress as Illinois’ Jr. Senator serving in that capacity from 2005 until his election as President in November 2008.

In 2006, the future President wrote a second book, The Audacity of Hope, this book was more like a thesis on his political views and made his case to ascend to the Presidency. His first book, Dreams of my Father, which had been published in 1995 and then re-published to include the 2004 speech, was an auto-biography of his life until his election as the first Black President of the Harvard Law School Review. Both books won Grammy’s for best spoken word album, Dreams in 2006 and Audacity in 2008. Oprah Winfrey highly recommended his books, and was a central early supporter for his bid to the Presidency.

President Obama became a celebrity, even before he ran for President. Little was known about him except that which he had written in his books. The vetting that normally accompanies anyone seeking our highest office was forgotten. Contrast this to the investigations into the life of Sarah Palin who was running as VP candidate. Remember the calls from NY Times and other media entities for help in reading all, of  then Governor Palin’s e-mails, accusations that she was not the mother of her son, etc.

Very little vetting of Barry Soetero, aka Barack H. Obama was done. His celebrity status served as shield to his past and his written words were taken as gospel as to how he would lead the country. Obama would use his celebrity, clamoring for Hope and Change but anything time his got specific about what that entailed, he would either say something that should have made people cringe and take pause, or he would speak in such general terms that the words were meaningless. He would get a Nobel Peace Prize, months after taking office and without any accomplishments to merit such award, other that just being Obama.

When in January of 2008, as he was running for the nomination for President he said;

You know, when I was asked earlier about the issue of coal, uh, you know — Under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket. Even regardless of what I say about whether coal is good or bad. Because I’m capping greenhouse gases, coal power plants, you know, natural gas, you name it — whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, uh, they would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money. They will pass that money on to consumers.”

While he was unable to establish his cap-and-trade system as his own Democrats bailed on the idea, he is now doing using Executive fiat by utilizing his EPA and their power to regulate to achieve the same goal. At the time the MSM was not listening, they were remarking on how great the creases on his pants were, how good his oratory sounded, what would his picks for NCAA would be.

After all he was this guy who as Joe Biden said, was clean and articulate and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid would expound as, “light-skinned” and “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one”,  was a star. A celebrity that they could ride into the White House and to control Congress. Obama was that and much more, like a Hollywood A-list actor who could portray many roles, a blank slate that people could project anything to.

To the young, he was someone who appear just as comfortable talking about basketball, movies and Hip Hop music as he was about boring politics.

To women, he embodied the new man, a well-dressed metro sexual totally in tune with his femininity.

To Blacks, he was one of their own, someone raised by a single mother who through education and hard work had risen to the top, despite discrimination and racism.

To the Old, here was a minority candidate that would prove once and for all that they were not bigots, and racists, that they could elect some other if the candidate was right.

To the Academia, he was a product of themselves, an embodiment of their goals

To the Middle Class, he appear as someone who knew their struggles, an outsider who had risen, to deliver the relief they needed after the battering the Recession had given them.

He was the anti-War, anti-Bush, anti-Capitalist candidate, he was everything they projected and he was none of that. At the end of the movie the projector is turned off and people have to get on with their lives.

The movie is over for many people, the credits are rolling for others. Far too late many are recognizing that it was all a façade an illusion. It was a long movie that had a promising plot and characters but that ultimately did not deliver. This is not just those Independents and Republicans who helped to elect him and re-elect Obama but many of his own that are realizing this.

As Richard Fernandez writes, using a runaway train for a metaphor;

The illusion of concordance may have held up at first, at the start of the Obama administration. But ever since Hope and Change left the off-ramp it seems headed off into the blue and nobody is quite sure where it’s going.  A terrible realization has set in among insiders. Suppose this wheel is disconnected from the steering linkage?”

Although it fashionable to caricature the liberal mindset, intelligent liberals are no fools. Many of them have a record of solid achievement believed they could safely engage in income transfers, arms control, engagement with American enemies or even opening the border because they could turn off the valve if things threatened to go too far.  They were comfortable with power and certain — perhaps over certain — of their own judgment.’

“They’re a bunch of authentic geniuses on a runaway train wondering what went wrong. The blind spot that fooled them was basic.  They took the terms of the train journey at face value. That made them highly vulnerable to the one man who boards the train for whom the agreement means nothing at all;”

Worth reading the whole article, these are people who read the plot the skipped the reviews or only those that were favorable and paid to see this movie but now the movie is ending and a hallow feeling is all that is left. Yet there are still some believers, some refuse to leave the movie theater and want an encore.

As James Taranto, writing in Wall Street Journal, describes National Journal’s Lucia Graves’ article “Obama’s Thankfully ‘Dictatorial’ Approach to Climate Change.”

According to Graves, Limbaugh “has it precisely backward: The decision to use executive authority is the means, not the ends.” And you’ll never guess what justifies the means: “It also makes a lot of sense when it comes to global warming given Congress’s failure to pass the Waxman-Markey energy bill in 2009, and, for decades before that, to pass any sort of comprehensive climate legislation whatsoever.”

Yes, it has come to this. Americans are being urged to submit to “dictatorial” government because democracy is incapable of controlling the weather. “In college classes, climate change is taught as a textbook example of where democracy fails,” Graves asserts in the very first sentence of her column.”

As with all fads in Pop Culture, Obama has a deadline. At some point people realize that wearing pants 3 sizes too big and showing your dirty boxers, is not cool anymore. Or that Uggs boots are ugly, that Rap music is not Urban Poetry but a misogynist, violent and detrimental genre of music to the Social fabric of our country, especially the Inner Cities.

There is nothing wrong with having ‘Hopes and Dreams’, as long as we keep the facts in mind and act accordingly. Otherwise we have to delude ourselves and as Victor Davis Hanson, writes treat “Fictions as Truth”, another must read.

Eventually, the credits roll and the movie ends. We have to move to the exits of the theater and ponder the reality as it hits us in the face. Currently there are more people who are more familiar with our Pop President’s dealings with Jay-Z and Beyoncé, Will and Jada Smith or his basketball picks than his policies or their effect on them.  Obama is not the first Pop President, certainly JFK and more recently Clinton used their celebrity to help govern. Obama may be the first to be elected because of his celebrity, and has proven just as shallow, as little as them.

Perhaps Obama should remember those words that helped to propelled him into the spotlight, and eventually into the Presidency:

Now even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us, the spin masters and negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes.

Well, I say to them tonight, there’s not a liberal America and a conservative America; there’s the United States of America.

There’s not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there’s the United States of America.

The pundits, the pundits like to slice and dice our country into red states and blue States: red states for Republicans, blue States for Democrats. But I’ve got news for them, too. We worship an awesome God in the blue states, and we don’t like federal agents poking around our libraries in the red states.

We coach little league in the blue states and, yes, we’ve got some gay friends in the red states.

There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq, and there are patriots who supported the war in Iraq.

We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.

Those words that seemed to have so much meaning then, but now sound just like any other spoken by a Hollywood Actor. Roll the credits; THE END


 

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