June 12, 2010

LIKE BEING GOVERNED BY KLAATU:

The Very Model of a Modern Major Generalist: Like most multiculturalists’, Obama’s ideological worldview doesn’t depend on anything so tedious as actually viewing the world. (Mark Steyn, 6/12/10, National Review)

[A] couple of years back, Michael Ignatieff, a professor at Harvard and previously a BBC late-night intellectual telly host, returned to his native land of Canada in order to become prime minister, and to that end got himself elected as leader of the Liberal party. And, as is the fashion nowadays, he cranked out a quickie tome laying out his political “vision.” Having spent his entire adult life abroad, he was aware that some of the natives were uncertain about his commitment to the land of his birth. So he was careful to issue a sort of pledge of a kind of allegiance, explaining that writing a book about Canada had “deepened my attachment to the place on earth that, if I needed one, I would call home.”

Gee, that’s awfully big of you. As John Robson commented in the Ottawa Citizen: “I’m worried that a man so postmodern he doesn’t need a home wants to lead my country. Why? Is it quaint? An interesting sociological experiment?”

Indeed. But there’s a lot of it about. Many Americans are beginning to pick up the strange vibe that, for Barack Obama, governing America is “an interesting sociological experiment,” too. He would doubtless agree that the United States is “the place on earth that, if I needed one, I would call home.” But he doesn’t, not really: It is hard to imagine Obama wandering along to watch a Memorial Day or Fourth of July parade until the job required him to. That’s not to say he’s un-American or anti-American, but merely that he’s beyond all that. Way beyond. He’s the first president to give off the pronounced whiff that he’s condescending to the job — that it’s really too small for him and he’s just killing time until something more commensurate with his stature comes along.


You can see why that image would have appealed to Post-911/Post-Katrina/Credit Crunch Americans. But there's a problem with the image, of course--the one Kipling identified in Man Who Would Be King--what happens when the poor rubes realize the guy they've made their leader isn't a superior being?

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 12, 2010 7:22 AM
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