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The Chosen One


The Chosen One
 

A few days before or after the inauguration, I was talking to a friend about Obama, and he was relating his highly suspect version of Obama’s dinner with right-wing columnists. According to Dan, Obama had walked into this room of highly intelligent ideologues (George Will, Charles Krauthammer, et al) and simply overwhelmed them with the force and dynamism of his brilliance. Evidently, according to Dan, Obama had taken on all comers that night and had, in one awe-inspiring display of intellect after another, reduced each foe’s arguments to smoking rubble in with a few succinct and dazzling asides. After recovering from having their worldviews demolished in a matter of seconds, everyone left the meal smitten with the new Brain-In-Chief. Man crushes all around.

I’m sure I wasn’t the only cynic subjected to one of these starry-eyed "tales of the ubermensch" from some hyperventilating liberal. So forgive me for expecting a little more out of our Great Leader than garden variety corporatist doublespeak. For a genius firmly committed to the common good, he’s spending a lot of time greasing the palms of elites and fortifying our imperial legacy. Let’s see:

To great fanfare and fawning Congressional approval, the anti-war president announces that he intends to end the war in Iraq. We’ll be pulling out combat troops at a painstaking pace over the next year or two. But, of course, unmentioned, are the tens of thousands we plan to leave in place for "support" purposes. In other words, the occupation continues. And to what sunny climes will our exhausted troops be flown? The craggy peaks of Afghanistan, where we will inject an imperial "stimulus" into the Afghan War, which is increasingly bleeding into an "Af-Pak" war encompassing Pakistani border regions. Does The Chosen One insist on having a military fiasco to call his own? If so, mission accomplished.

Publicly he says he’s going to close Guantanamo for good (thunderous applause in Congress, suspiciously long man-hugs) while also quietly signing off on a $40 million dollar, 60-acre plan to expand the Bagram detention center outside Kabul. So we’re going to shut down Gitmo in Cuba and stage a Grand Re-Opening in Afghanistan?

Then there’s the promise to end torture. A noble move, by any measure. (As I write, I’m gazing lovingly at a framed photo of a tuxed-and-gowned Barack and Michele, with Beyonce weeping noisily in the background.) So no more fake drowning of sheepherders. Brilliant. Of course, we’ll just keep that whole rendition program up and running just in case things get dicey again. In case some hill dweller hurls a rock at a drone. We won’t personally torture anyone, but instructing our flunkies and School of the Americas graduates to do it is just fine. So we’re basically outsourcing torture now? Can’t be bothered to attach the nipple clamps ourselves?

And of course there is the mind-numbing outlay of cash. With his left hand The Man signs over a good and needful seven hundred billion to stimulate the economy. Infrastructure, schools, volcanoes. Good stuff. Then with his right hand he palms off eight hundred billion on Wall Street to "make them whole" (as if!) and promising to use taxpayer money to buy up their trashy investments and cover their losses.

I haven’t seen what Charles Krauthammer and George Will have to say about all this. Maybe they’re still caught up in their starry revelries. Maybe they’re madly texting Obama and begging him to meet them for cake and coffee. ("Give us another chance, B! We could be historic!") You never know.

In any case, if Barack (I like to pretend we’re on a first name basis) is such a genius, then I must be Einstein if I can see through his bait-and-switch propaganda shtick. In fact, there must be a lot of Einsteins running around. Maybe we should elect one of them, and let the ubermensch repair to Mt. Rushmore and the annals of liberal lore.

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